Exercise is good for you! There is a wealth of scientific data that demonstrates the many benefits of regular exercise. Thus, regular exercise can reduce the incidence of a vast range of medical problems including:
● bowel disease (including cancer)
● high blood pressure
● anxiety neurosis
● breast cancer
● osteoporosis (brittle bones)
● heart disease
Although exercise is usually good for the heart, there are some conditions that are associated with exercise-induced heart disease. The most common of these is coronary artery disease. This is the most frequent cause of exercise related heart problems in adults of middle age and above. Coronary artery disease is particularly common in smokers and in people with a family history of heart attacks (“myocardial infarction”) or elevated blood cholesterol (“hypercholesterolaemia”).
In younger adults and teenagers there are a variety of uncommon heart conditions which can lead to major heart problems on exercise. These include abnormalities of the heart muscle (“cardiomyopathy”), abnormalities of the heart structure (“congenital heart disease”) and abnormalities of the heart rhythm (“cardiac arrhythmia syndromes”). These conditions can occasionally present for the first time in older adults. Most of these conditions can be diagnosed by a combination of a careful family and medical history, an electrocardiograph (ECG) and an examination of the heart structure using ultrasound (echocardiogram). Occasionally, additional tests such as prolonged ECG testing or measurement of the heart rhythm while running on a treadmill (exercise ECG stress test) are necessary.
Sports Cardiology Ireland provides an comprehensive, consultant–based assessment service for the older child and adult taking part in regular exercise. Find out more about who needs screening here.