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Wellness Wednesday: Your Athlete and Heart Failure Risks

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Attention Parents of Athletes!!

As a Cardiac Surgery scheduler, I learn how inconvenient it can be to monitor your heart health once you have been diagnosed with Heart Disease. Whether you, or someone you know, has a diagnosis of CHF (Congested Heart Failure), AFIB (Atrial Fibrillation), CAD (Coronary Artery Disease), Hypertension (elevated Blood Pressure), Mitral or Aortic Valve Disease, etc… it is a strict regimen that patients need to follow to battle such diseases.

Common risks are poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress, athletes and smoking. These are all controlled risks. We can decide to not smoke to lessen our CAD or eat right and exercise to maintain healthy blood pressures and cardiac rhythms. It is the uncontrolled risks that we just have to accept. We have to know these risks and if they apply to us, we need to really watch our controlled risks that much more seriously. The uncontrolled risks are Age, Sex, even Race, Family History (the big risk) and preconditioned disease such as Diabetes and poor cholesterol among other risks.

Let’s put it this way, when I am obtaining Authorization for high tech imaging or cardiac procedures such as Angiograms and stent placements, Insurance companies have risk assessments they use to determine a patients risk and necessity to have such testing. A patient who is having symptoms-Shortness of Breath, Palpitations, Chest Pain, Fatigue, Syncope, etc…they only have to qualify for 2 of the above risks for Insurances to say STOP! Go ahead and perform-they need this done! So say…..
At any age you feel more fatigue then usual or short of breath-you have a family history of Heart Disease and smoke-see a Cardiologist!
At any age you feel like your heart rhythm isn’t right-you eat poorly and have bad cholesterol-see a Cardiologist!

Now imagine your child-too young to have really been screened properly and you have heart disease in your family history. He/She is on the field and seems more winded than usual-does he/she recognize that? Probably not-they think ‘I’ve been working hard and I am winded. Big deal.’ They surely don’t want to alarm anyone-they may have to sit out! The Shortness of breath you don’t know about combined with a family history of heart disease can potentially be a serious and even fatal combination for them one day in a stressed or overworked body! I don’t mean to scare you, just educate you.

Do you have an Athlete or a child/family member at risk? Want to learn more?
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9 thoughts on “Wellness Wednesday: Your Athlete and Heart Failure Risks”

  1. Great info! My son is a Freshman baseball player. It is a scary thing as a parent to think about this stuff, but it is necessary. When my bro-in-law was in high school, he broke his neck playing football. Thankfully no one moved him, and he is fine today. It is heartbreaking to read the stories about young athletes dying of heart attacks.

  2. This is excellent info to share. My daughter's a band girl, but my little one is already loving everything sports and I have little doubt he'll be an athlete.

  3. You pointed out some great things I had never thought of! Mine are not to that point yet but things to keep in mind when they do!

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