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IKEM study: After marathon, 70 percent of runners show heart damage

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Among the runners who took part in the Prague 2019 marathon, 70 percent showed detectable and mostly reversible heart and kidney damage, representatives of the Prague Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The IKEM experts said amateur runners often take part in a marathon without adequate preparations and without knowing their health condition, meaning they can damage their body.

“The effects are usually temporary and recede after rest,” IKEM’s anesthesiology, resuscitation, and intensive care clinic head Eva Kieslichova said.

In May 2019, IKEM tested 97 marathon participants immediately after they finished the run and also a day later. The most important finding was that even active recreation sports enthusiasts who trained for the marathon by exercising several times a week have a health and body weight profile that is very similar to the general population.

Carlo Capalbo from the RunCzech agency that organizes the Prague marathons told CTK that some countries require runners to undergo a physical check before they are allowed to run. In the Czech Republic, the runner’s signature is enough.

IKEM Cardiac Centre head Jan Pirk, an amateur runner himself, said it is important to note that the marathon is not for everyone and no one should try finishing it at all costs.

Over 10,000 people take part in the Prague marathon every year and roughly two-fifths of Czechs jog regularly, one-half at least once a week.

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