Fatal heart diseases don't spare even athletes

London: Athletes whose fitness levels are very high may have life-threatening cardiovascular abnormalities, warns a new study.

A study of more than 2,000 athletes eligible for the summer and winter Olympic games and screened for cardiovascular health has revealed an unexpectedly high prevalence of cardiovascular conditions.

Olympic stars at risk
"Even Olympic athletes, regardless of their superior physical performance and astonishing achievements, showed an unexpected large prevalence of cardiovascular abnormalities, including life-threatening conditions," said Paulo Emilio Adami from the Institute of Sport Medicine and Science of the Italian Olympic Committee, Rome.

The study assessed the cardiovascular health of 2,354 elite athletes (1,435 male, 919 female) as part of their screening to compete in Olympic games from 2004 onwards.

The investigators were surprised to find that 171 of the 2,354 athletes had some form of cardiovascular abnormality.

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