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When Working Out Hurts Your Heart

Some have version of gene that leads to heart enlargement, study says

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TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A gene linked to exercise-induced heart growth has been identified by Spanish researchers.

They found the hearts of athletes who had two copies of the D (deletion) form of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene grew more in response to exercise than the hearts of other athletes with 1 D allele and one I (insertion) allele.

The study, which appears in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, may give new insight to scientists studying heart enlargement in certain diseases.

The findings indicate there's an association between this gene and heart growth, not that the gene itself is responsible for controlling the rate of heart growth. This fits in with other researcher linking variations of the ACE gene to heart enlargement.

The study included 61 male athletes, aged 25 to 40, with similar fitness training backgrounds. Ultrasound was used to measure the size of their hearts. The researchers found the DD genotype was associated with a higher left ventricular mass index than the ID genotype.

"This association between left ventricular mass and DD genotype was seen regardless of other known biologic factors which may influence cardiac growth, such as age, hemoglobin levels, years of training, body mass index and blood pressure, among other factors," researcher Dr. Domingo Hernandez says in a statement.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heart problems.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, Aug. 5, 2003
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