The goal of sports cardiology is to take an integrative approach to ensuring our patients can continue to safely enjoy their sport of choice at the highest possible level. Whether a patient is recovering from, diagnosed with, or at risk for cardiovascular disease, NYMA will work with you to find a treatment and maintenance plan that will allow you to continue or improve your active lifestyle.
Sports cardiology can address a number of concerns for adult athletes ranging from amateurs to professionals. While athletes are often our healthiest patients and at times exhibit exceptionally high levels of physical fitness, they are not impervious to the risks of heart disease. In fact, elite athletic training can place the heart under high levels of stress and present a different set of concerns. In some instances their hearts may actually grow larger and their heart rate may become slower, mimicking more dangerous conditions. Some smaller studies have also suggested that long term endurance training, such as the training required for marathons or triathlons, can lead to deleterious changes to the heart, including scarring of the heart and heart arrhythmias. Vigilance and regular screening is required to optimize your health. Each patient will be carefully evaluated with a history and physical, including an assessment of all potential risk factors. Your doctor will tailor a testing regimen appropriate for you, whether it is just an ECG or more advanced cardiovascular testing. A comprehensive cardiovascular risk profile is then formulated, with a detailed discussion on how to optimize your heart health.
We also encourage athletes not to dismiss unusual symptoms or changes that may occur during exercise. If you notice an unusual or sudden decrease in athletic performance, we can discuss potential causes and diagnoses in the office. The sudden onset of dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath or chest tightening could signal a more serious problem that you may want to have evaluated by a sports cardiologist.
In addition to diagnosing potential cardiovascular problems, sports cardiologists also help patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease to find the best way to re-incorporate athletics into their lives during and following treatment. We will help you evaluate different training regimes and how they can safely remain a part of your life even while having heart disease.
For patients who have not been active as adults, we can assess risk factors for cardiovascular health and work with you to find sports and activities that will allow you to try a new athletic endeavor or pick up a favorite childhood sport again. Incorporating more exercise into your life, even a moderate amount, will help improve your cardiovascular health and reduce risk factors for further heart problems later in your life. Exercising more or for the first time will strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your physical and mental well-being.