Endurance Exercise May Cause Heart Damage

Endurance exercise may cause heart damage in some athletes and triathletes.

Long distance endurance events like the marathon or marathon De Sables Sahara dessert marathon or Ironman triathlons or endurance cycle events.
According to the European Heart Journal changes to the heart may happen in some athletes during extreme endurance events and these changes remain after an endurance event.

It is not known if heredity of a parent who died early in life of heart failure is a common factor.

Athletes who take pain killers for injuries may also

Researchers scanned 40 athletes who involved in training at least 10 hours a day.
Test were carried out before and after demanding sports like Alpine cycle competitions or Triathlon races.
The endurance competitions lasted form 3 to 11 hours
Tests were carried out 2 weeks before the competition and straight after the athlete’s competition then about a week later.
They found that the heart muscles had stretched some athletes hearts recovered and went back to normal while some still had changes or long term injuries a week later.
These problems could results in Arrhythmia or irregular heart beats, either too fast or too slow. The condition can be life threatening and even cause cardiac arrest or palpitations.
We should not jump to conclusions with such a small study of athletes. Thousands of athletes compete in most marathons few die of a heart attack. Over 60,000 compete in the Ironman events each year so more should be done to establish a safety protocol.
The heart is often fatigued after an endurance event is it because it fatigued because it is a muscle or because of heart damage.

Listening to your body keeping hydrated not taking drugs and having a healthy diet  train sensibly should all help to prevent illness sickness and life threatening problems.
Know when to ease back or stop to fight another day should be considered when you feel un -well.
Above all allow enough time to recover.
Seek medical advice straight away or call the emergency services if you experience chest or heart pain or palpitations.
The above survey found it may cause heart muscle damage however this does not mean that training and competing is unsafe and not healthy.

If you are worried contact your doctor or hospital immediately.

It seems obvious that the heart is a muscle so extreme training (something you are not use to) should cause muscles (The heart) to experience break down then it repairs and becomes stronger. The heart beats 24/7 and may not be capable of beating fast for many hours in a day.
The motto is build up gradually.

Some healthy young endurance athletes have died of heart problems; it is possible that without exercise some would have died even earlier.

I suggest that more research by completed with endurance athletes who have been competing for at least a decade.

What the researchers found was the right ventricle (the chamber that pumps the blood around the body) was bigger and did nit function as well after endurance.
They also found that a chemical called Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) was higher in subjects who had heart damage.
This is a sign of heart damage (Stretched) that can lead to heart failure.
One interesting fact was the athletes who had competed for the longest has post competition scarring & the right ventricular had impaired function.

Conclusion
Intense endurance exercise or competitions can cause stretching scarring or dysfunction of the right ventricle. Many athletes appear to make a full recovery.
As an ultra distance runner and ironman competition I want more studies to be carried out soon.
Links of interest
http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/05/eurheartj.ehr397.short?rss=1