Is My Heart OK For Exercise? (with Anu Rao, MD)

Your Doctor Friends

Is My Heart OK For Exercise? (with Anu Rao, MD)

October 4, 2022

Is My Heart OK For Exercise? (with Anu Rao, MD)

Newspaper headlines can be terrifying. Sometimes, although rarely, young runners die suddenly during marathons, despite seemingly good health. If athletes at their peak physical performance are dropping dead from cardiac events, you might ask yourself; how do I know if my heart is okay for exercise?

Helping us navigate these concerns is Dr. Anu Rao, an Associate Professor of Cardiology in the department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College, a board-certified cardiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital, and an expert in matters of the heart.

Dr. Rao’s goal is to educate and empower, working collaboratively with her patients to create a care plan, reduce future risks, and help them reach their full health potential.

With this in mind, we take a look at Dr. Rao’s weekly exercise recommendations to reduce your risk of heart disease, how likely it is that you’ll suffer from a cardiac event during exercise, and some of the unusual symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.

As Dr. Rao reminds us, nothing in life is risk-free! Don’t break up with your favorite physical activity just because you’re worried about a cardiac event. Instead, consider moderate exercise on alternating days, get adequate rest, and if you’re really savvy, get your heart checked. Oh, and listen to Your Doctor Friends, of course!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Why runners die at marathons, dating back to Ancient Greece
  • Unpacking the term ‘cardiac arrest’
  • Risk factors that warrant being screened for heart disease
  • The controversy surrounding widespread EKG screening for athletes
  • Common feelings of anxiety that come with abnormal test results
  • A cardiologist’s recommendations for weekly exercise
  • Unusual symptoms that should raise red flags
  • Why we don’t recommend going from couch to marathon
  • Insight into why cardiologists treat professional athletes differently
  • Genetic commonalities among different populations
  • Why you might want to consider genetic testing
  • A reminder that nothing in life is risk-free
  • Important advice regarding your cardiac health
  • Stage fright, St. Louis-style pizza, and more in the rapid-fire segment!

Request an appointment with Dr. Rao by visiting the Rush University Medical Group website here or the St. Luke’s Hospital website here.


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(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)

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