Health

Cardiovascular risks seen from marathon running

1 min read

Researchers think it's time to reassess

Researchers analyzed the blood of marathon runners less than 24 hours after they had finished a race. They found abnormally high levels of inflammatory and clotting factors of the kind that are known to set the stage for heart attacks. “My concern is for people who exercise thinking ‘more is better,’ and that marathon running will provide ultimate protection against heart disease,” said Arthur Siegel, director of Internal Medicine at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “In fact, it can set off a cascade of events that may transiently increase the risk for acute cardiac events.” That doesn’t mean that runners should stop running marathons, “But it does mean we need to understand more about marathon training and how the human body reacts to stress,” said Charles Schulman, president of the American Running Association and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Dr. Siegel’s research may lead us to conclude that running a marathon is not a panacea. In fact, coupled with poor or improper training, it could lead to consequences much more serious than just the usual running injury.”