Regular exercise 'can sometimes cause misdiagnosis of heart disease'

11 August 2016

A new UK study has shed light on one way in which regular exercise can sometimes increase a healthy person's chance of being misdiagnosed with heart disease.

Researchers from the Medical Research Council's Clinical Sciences Centre, based at Imperial College London, has offered the first evidence that healthy adults who do regular exercise may develop enlarged hearts.

This is a recognised trend among endurance athletes, but the extent to which the hearts of regular healthy people adapt to the demands of moderate exercise was not previously known. More than 1,000 people took part in this latest study.

It was found that those doing more exercise above a threshold of three hours a week were more likely to see their hearts adapt accordingly, with greater amounts of exercise linked with more pronounced changes.

This underlines the importance of doctors considering an individual's activity level before diagnosing common heart conditions.

Declan O'Regan of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre said: "Going to the gym frequently increases the thickness of your heart muscle and the volume of your heart chambers, particularly the right ventricle. It's a completely normal, healthy response. It shouldn't be misdiagnosed as being heart disease."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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