What Runners Need To Know About Heat Stroke

August 9, 2014 2:55 PM

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What Runners Need To Know About Heat Stroke

There's a rather cynical debate brewing in the scientific community as to whether you're more likely to die of heat stroke or cardiac events while out for a long run. The reason for it: A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that in warm climates, runners in endurance races are 10 times more likely to die of heat stroke. This goes against the findings of a previous study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found only one death from heat stroke and 42 from cardiac events out of over 10 million runners. Unless you're looking for an excuse not to run, the debate misses the point, which is that heat stroke is an indisputable threat to runners -- and one that can be prevented.

"Heat stroke is relatively prevalent and unexpected, meaning that it can happen in any type of weather to any type of runner," says cardiologist Lior Yankelson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the JACC study. That's because of exertional heat stress, which can lead to heat stroke even on pleasant days i...

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