In many endurance athletes, increased left ventricular (LV) size, a mildly reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and lower resting heart rate develop as an adaptation to strenuous exercise. These non-pathological changes are termed as ‘athlete’s heart’, a term first used in the medical literature in 1953, although the first description of athletes with enlarged hearts dates back to the late 19th century. However, there is a fine line between athlete’s heart and true systolic dysfunction and pathological cardiomyopathy. Many professional athletes are diagnosed with cardiac pathology while still competing at the highest levels, while many others have died during games or competitions, or shortly after that, mostly due to dilated cardiomyopathy leading to sudden cardiac arrest. These findings have challenged the notion that excellent exercise capacity excludes pathological cardiomyopathy.
Two new studies highlight the negative impact of depression on the health outcomes and health-related quality of life of people with cardiovascular disease.
A new study has found that undiagnosed depression can significantly affect the lives of those who had a heart attack, and an increasing body of evidence points to a strong correlation between depression and heart disease risk.
One such study earlier this year reported that depression raises the risk of abnormal heart rate by almost a third, and other research pointed out that having both depression and heart disease can raise the risk of premature death by twofold.
The link between depression and heart health, while very strong, is also a complex one; the causality behind it remains unknown.