If you are an avid athlete, you tend to put a higher demand on your heart on a daily basis, and for this reason, the treatments for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart muscle problems and diabetes can be slightly different than for those who are more sedentary. If you have high blood pressure, most of the medications used to control hypertension can cause dehydration or blunt peak performance in an avid athlete. For this reason, an athletes blood pressure medications need to be tailored to avoid these side effects. If an athletes cholesterol is too high, the medications used to get the numbers under control can cause muscle cramping. In those who are athletic, these side effects from the medications can be more pronounced. For this reason, we tend to use different medications that cause less side effects. Sudden death in young athletes is something all of us have heard or read about.There is something called “Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy” which is a thickening of the heart muscle that can cause an obstruction to the flow of blood out of the heart in certain situations.
When someone has this disease and is too dehydrated, a dangerous rhythm in the lower chambers of the heart can occur which can be lethal. For this reason, you need to be seen by a Cardiologist if you are an athlete and have symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath or passing out spells. At the New Mexico Heart Institute, we have physicians that specialize in the care of highly trained athletes.