Fit middle-aged athletes susceptible to cardiovascular risk factors

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 60 , No. 8 , October 2018 , Pages 414,417 News

A recent UBC study highlights how important it is for middle-aged athletes to have their doctor check their cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of cardiovascular disease.

For the study, researchers followed 798 “masters athletes”—adults aged 35 and older who engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 3 days per week. The participants included a range of athletes—runners, cyclists, triathletes, rowers, and hockey players.

Participants were asked questions about their health, family history, and physical activity levels. They also had their blood pressure checked and waist circumference measured. Some participants also took part in an exercise stress test. Those with abnormal results underwent further testing, such as a CT coronary angiogram, to determine if they had cardiovascular disease.

Of the 798 athletes, 94 (12%) were found to have significant cardiovascular disease. Ten participants were found to have severe coronary artery disease (blockage in their artery of 70% or greater) despite not having any symptoms.

This study’s findings build on previous research that found masters athletes have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease than non-athletes of the same age with similar risk factors. However, previous research has also found that, compared to non-athletes, masters athletes typically have more calcified plaque, which is known to be more stable and less likely to cause a heart attack.

While the findings may seem alarming, Barbara Morrison, the study’s lead author and a PhD student in experimental medicine at UBC, emphasized that it doesn’t mean masters athletes should stop exercising. She recommends people see their doctor for regular checkups, including blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring, especially if they have a family history of heart attack or stroke, and exercise in moderation. When taken to the extreme, exercise may have the potential to do harm.

Coauthored by researchers at SportsCardiologyBC, BC Children’s Hospital, and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, the study was funded by Mitacs Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The study is titled “Assessment of cardiovascular risk and preparticipation screening protocols in masters athletes: The Masters Athlete Screening Study (MASS): A cross-sectional study,” and is published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine.

. Fit middle-aged athletes susceptible to cardiovascular risk factors. BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 8, October, 2018, Page(s) 414,417 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply