What is Sports Cardiology?
Are you an athlete? At Premier Heart and Vein Care, we evaluate and treat cardiac and vascular symptoms with the goal of keeping athletes active. We are experienced with treating athletes and are committed to offering treatment that allows them to continue playing sports whenever possible. Our sports cardiology services ensure that potentially serious cardiac and vascular disorders are addressed early on.
How we address Cardiac and Vascular Disorders for Athletes
Dr. Ken Stevens has served as a team physician for both the US Olympic Team and US Maccabiah Team, as well has competed for many years both nationally and internationally in track and cycling, so he thoroughly understands athletes’ needs. We work closely with athletes to evaluate their symptoms and recommend treatment options that allow them to stay active in sports. Our sports cardiology services cater to each individual’s specific needs but may include any of the following:
- Review of athletic and medical history
- Electrocardiogram and echocardiogram
- Laboratory testing
- Cardiovascular examination and testing as appropriate
- Sports nutrition consultation
Remember: competitive athletes are not immune to cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death, either. If you have known cardiovascular disease, have experienced an unexplained decline in athletic performance, have uncomfortable symptoms during or immediately after exertion, or have a family history of sudden death at a young age, consider coming in for a sports cardiology consultation. At Premier Heart and Vein Care, we’re dedicated to helping athletes stay active and continue participating in sports while ensuring their safety.
What is an Electrocardiogram Test?
An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, is a non-invasive test that observes the heart's electrical signals. It is one of the most common cardiac tests performed to detect conditions such as Arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) Coronary artery disease (clogged arteries) Damage to the heart muscle Your doctor may perform an EKG to explore potential causes of symptoms such as rapid pulse, lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, fatigue, or a decline in physical performance.
What is an Echocardiogram Test?
An echocardiogram is essentially an ultrasound of your heart. The test is performed by a licensed ultrasound tech who captures data that indicates the pumping action of the heart. The echocardiogram may involve Doppler technology or color to accurately identify how blood is moving through the different valves and chambers of the heart. Some echocardiograms are done under "stress." In this test, the sonographer monitors heart activity at rest and also while you walk on a treadmill. An echocardiogram may be used to help diagnose or rule out the following: Cardiomyopathy Congenital heart disease Valve disease Pericardial disease.
What Are the Most Common Heart Problems in Athletes?
An echocardiogram is essentially an ultrasound of your heart. The test is performed by a licensed ultrasound tech who cap
It is easy to assume that an athlete is generally healthier than the average person. Regardless of physical fitness, athletes are not without risk. As an athlete, you might still develop a heart condition or have a heart attack. Several cardiac conditions could affect your health and wellness, including:
- Hypertension is the most common heart condition seen in athletes.
- Arrhythmia, an irregularity in the rhythm of the heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation is an example.
- Coronary artery disease.
- Congenital heart disease/congenital heart defect, in which often there is an inherited abnormality in the heart's structure.
tures data that indicates the pumping action of the heart. The echocardiogram may involve Doppler technology or color to accurately identify how blood is moving through the different valves and chambers of the heart. Some echocardiograms are done under "stress." In this test, the sonographer monitors heart activity at rest and also while you walk on a treadmill. An echocardiogram may be used to help diagnose or rule out the following: Cardiomyopathy Congenital heart disease Valve disease Pericardial disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Problems in Athletes?
Some of the symptoms that may warrant a full cardiac workup include:
- A sensation of pressure in the chest
- Chest pain
- Dizziness with exercise
- Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations (racing heart)
- Unexplained decrease in physical performance
- Unusual shortness of breath
The team at Premier Heart & Vein Care uses the latest technologies to diagnose the cause of cardiac symptoms. The vast majority of our diagnostic tests are completely non-invasive.
What Causes Heart Disorders in Athletes?
First, it is important to understand that athletes, like all people, may have predisposed risks for heart disease and cardiovascular conditions. Beyond genetics and health habits, athletes who engage in intense exercise for several hours a week have a risk of what is called athlete's heart. This cardiac condition is caused by physiologic changes in the heart, mainly the left ventricle, in which the muscle becomes thicker and larger to accommodate the need for increased circulation. When the heart is enlarged, whether due to a genetic disorder like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or responsive remodeling due to exercise, it does not function as efficiently as it could. Fortunately, athlete's heart can be treated successfully, as can most cardiac conditions in athletes.
What Are the Treatment Options for Cardiac Disorders in Athletes?
Treatment options are wholly related to the condition that cardiac tests confirm. If you're experiencing cardiac symptoms, Dr Stevens will perform very specific tests to determine the cause, and, from there, can discuss the particular modalities that may be most helpful to you. He has served as team physician for both the US Olympic Team and US Maccabiah Team.
"The staff is very friendly and professional. The ultrasound technician was also outstanding. Dr. Stevens is thorough and gave an informative diagnosis. I look forward to returning."
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Schedule a Client Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about Sports Cardiology, contact us at 805-254-3905 or fill out one of our forms.