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Haywire Heart : How Too Much Exercise Can Kill You, and What You Can Do to Protect Your Heart
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Lennard Zinn was riding his bike hard up a steep climb on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, a challenging ride he had done a thousand times before. When his heart began to flop like a fish in his chest, and his heart rate monitor jumped from 155 beats per minute to 218 and stayed pegge there, his first reaction was simple: “I went into denial.” Zinn rode his bike to the ER and was admitted to the cardiac unit, still wearing his VeloNews cycling kit, for an overnight stay. Four months later, Zinn finally accepted his own retirement: his forty-year career of riding hard and racing harder was over, victim to tachycardia. Today, Zinn can still enjoy the sport he loves, albeit more slowly, thanks to new advances and research on his condition, known as “athlete’s heart”.
80% of America’s 40 million endurance athletes are between the ages of 30 and 55 and they are driven to run, ride, and swim into top physical condition. Despite their lean looks and healthy glow, some of these athletes will join Zinn and thousands of hard-racing runners, triathletes, and cyclists in his diagnosis.
Arrhythmias, hypertrophy, and myocardial cell failure are appearing with alarming frequency among older athletes who endured years of intense sports training and competition they thought would keep them health and strong into their senior years. As the most recent generation of masters athletes enters its 50s, heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths are rising precipitiously—in what was supposed to be the healthiest generation of active athletes yet.
The Haywire Heart is the first book to examine heart problems in athletes. Starting with a wide-ranging look at the symptoms and how to recogize your potential risk, The Haywire Heart reveals the race to document the problem and find effective treatments. Complete with gripping case studies, a frank discussion of exercise addiction, advice on talking with your doctor, and the most trusted recommendations for treatment and avoidance, The Haywire Heart is the athlete’s guide to heart care, hearth health, and long life.