What is sports heart syndrome?

The heart is one of the main organs of the body, pumping blood and delivering it to all tissues and organs. Unfortunately, there are many diseases and pathologies that disrupt the functioning. One of the problems is the sports heart. The article discusses the features of symptoms and treatment.

What it is?

The syndrome of the sports heart is called a whole complex of symptoms that occur in response to changes in the adaptive and adaptive nature. Pathology was known for a long time, and the term in the 99th year of the nineteenth century was brought into medical use by the German physician Henschen.

Intense physical exercise is pronounced to affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. With active training, the heart rate (heart rate) increases, the myocardium decreases more often. But gradually the heart gets used, as it adapts to the load and goes into the so-called energy saving mode. Heart rate remains almost normal, the pulse does not increase, but the volume of the heart muscle increases, which increases the force of contractions and allows you to pump blood intensively.

With the sports heart syndrome, a lot of changes occur. First, the lack of oxygen coming to the tissues is compensated by an increase in blood emissions at each contraction of the myocardium. Secondly, dilatation occurs, that is, the expansion of the organ chambers. Thirdly, hypertrophy (thickening) of the walls is observed. Fourthly, in response to constant loads, the number of coronary vessels penetrating the heart increases.

But the reserves are not limitless, so a number of pathological processes are launched, the anatomy of the structure changes. New emerging capillaries do not have time to reach the desired size and grow. Muscle fibers, due to nutritional deficiencies, gradually die off. Cells die, which causes inhibition of impulses through the nerve and muscle fibers. In addition, dead areas begin to be replaced by connective tissues, and scars are formed, and because of this, heart failure develops. The risk of myocardial infarction increases.

The sports heart syndrome usually develops either in professional athletes, or in people whose professional activity is associated with constant intense increased physical exertion.

Types of syndrome

There are two main types of sports heart:

  1. Physiological.Muscle undergoes adaptation to increased loads, but the changes are still minor and reversible. A slow heart rate is observed (usually about 60 shortenings per minute or less), an increase in the shock volume and quantity of pumped blood, thickening of the walls of the left ventricle.
  2. Pathological. Changes obvious and pronounced may be irreversible, disrupting the cardiovascular system. The heart grows in volume, sometimes twice. There is marked bradycardia - a pathological slowing of the heartbeat. Often the heart rhythm is disturbed and strays, tachycardia occurs.

Why does such a syndrome develop?

The causes of the development of the sports heart syndrome are intense physical exertion. As a rule, the diagnosis is made by professional athletes who devote several hours a day to training. But why do some remain absolutely healthy, while others face characteristic unpleasant symptoms? The point is in the features of training.

Changes begin with intense and prolonged aerobic training, in which oxygen becomes the source of energy.First of all, these are cardio-operations, assuming the performance of rapid exercises, which provoke a rapid increase in respiration and heart rhythm. These include cyclic, speed-power and game sports: jumping, sprinting, all-around, gymnastics, hockey, skis, football, skates and others.


The sports heart syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • bradycardia - slowing heart rate, reducing heart rate to 60 beats or less;
  • hypertrophy of the heart tissue, an increase in its size;
  • hypotension - lowering blood pressure, accompanied by weakness, darkening of the eyes, dizziness;
  • pronounced, palpable palpation and apparently externally pulsating blood in the carotid arteries;
  • arrhythmia - pathological abnormalities of the heart rhythm (the pulse changes, gets lost);
  • displacement of jolts during a heartbeat in the left side of the chest.

At the first stages of the syndrome development, changes can remain imperceptible, but then their manifestation is felt: fatigue after short training and in a calm state, weakness, dizziness, decreased efficiency.

Diagnostic measures

It is important not only to identify, but also to differentiate the sports heart, that is, to distinguish the syndrome from other pathologies of the cardiovascular system. For this purpose, a comprehensive diagnosis is carried out, which may include:

  • ECG (changes in rhythm are observed);
  • echocardiography (ultrasound examination of the heart allows you to detect changes in volume, wall thickness);
  • stress tests are used to assess the performance of the heart during physical activity.


Treatment of sports heart syndrome depends on the degree of change. If they are minor, then simply reduce the load. But in some cases, showing a complete rejection of training until the full return of the heart to a normal structure. It is important to observe the regime of activity and rest, not to overwork. The load increases gradually.

In case of serious pathological changes, medical preparations may be recommended. Adaptogens increase endurance, improve metabolism and nutrition of tissues. Beta-blockers normalize the level of blood pressure, provide good conductance of the muscle and nerve fibers of the heart.Vitamin and mineral complexes replenish nutrient reserves, nourish the heart muscle. Dietary supplements have a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Healthy eating is important. From the diet it is desirable to exclude fried, sweet, salty, spicy, fatty, flour. The menu should contain foods rich in proteins, amino acids, magnesium, potassium, complex carbohydrates, vitamins of group B: lean fish and meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and berries, greens, cereals.

If you do not detect the sports heart in a timely manner, you can cause serious consequences, up to a heart attack and a sudden stop. But proper treatment will help normalize the functioning of the body.

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