Episode 19

Published on:

4th Oct 2022

Is My Heart OK For Exercise? (with Anu Rao, MD)

Newspaper headlines can be terrifying. Sometimes, although rarely, young runners die suddenly during marathons, despite seemingly good health. If athletes at their peak physical performance are dropping dead from cardiac events, you might ask yourself; how do I know if my heart is okay for exercise?

Helping us navigate these concerns is Dr. Anu Rao, an Associate Professor of Cardiology in the department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College, a board-certified cardiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital, and an expert in matters of the heart.

Dr. Rao’s goal is to educate and empower, working collaboratively with her patients to create a care plan, reduce future risks, and help them reach their full health potential.

With this in mind, we take a look at Dr. Rao’s weekly exercise recommendations to reduce your risk of heart disease, how likely it is that you’ll suffer from a cardiac event during exercise, and some of the unusual symptoms you shouldn't ignore.

As Dr. Rao reminds us, nothing in life is risk-free! Don’t break up with your favorite physical activity just because you’re worried about a cardiac event. Instead, consider moderate exercise on alternating days, get adequate rest, and if you’re really savvy, get your heart checked. Oh, and listen to Your Doctor Friends, of course!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Why runners die at marathons, dating back to Ancient Greece
  • Unpacking the term ‘cardiac arrest’
  • Risk factors that warrant being screened for heart disease
  • The controversy surrounding widespread EKG screening for athletes
  • Common feelings of anxiety that come with abnormal test results
  • A cardiologist's recommendations for weekly exercise
  • Unusual symptoms that should raise red flags
  • Why we don’t recommend going from couch to marathon
  • Insight into why cardiologists treat professional athletes differently
  • Genetic commonalities among different populations
  • Why you might want to consider genetic testing
  • A reminder that nothing in life is risk-free
  • Important advice regarding your cardiac health
  • Stage fright, St. Louis-style pizza, and more in the rapid-fire segment!

Request an appointment with Dr. Rao by visiting the Rush University Medical Group website here or the St. Luke’s Hospital website here.


Find us at:

Website: yourdoctorfriendspodcast.com 

Email: yourdoctorfriendspodcast@gmail.com 

Call the DOCLINE on 312-380-5005 and leave us a message. We will listen and maybe even respond/play it on the show!

(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)

Connect with us:

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About the Podcast

Your Doctor Friends
The show that teaches you to sniff out the garbage and answers all the questions you wish you could call or text your doctor friend. Don't get caught in endless web search spirals and stop scouring social media for health answers. Let us be your doctor friends!

About your hosts

Jeremy Alland

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Dr. Jeremy Alland is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, consistently top-10 nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago, IL. In addition to a busy clinical practice, he serves as the head primary care team physician for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Dogs, as well as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Fire Soccer Club. An avid athlete, Dr. Alland played collegiate baseball for DePauw University before pursuing medicine and enjoys golfing, basketball and stand-up paddleboarding. He lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, Katie, two children, Olive and Logan, and their goldendoodle, Archie. He never thought he would have a podcast, but has found it insanely fun and is excited to bring fun and approachability to the most common questions we hear as doctors.

"Work Hard + be kind" -The Alland Kitchen Wall

Julie Bruene

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Dr. Julie (Julia if we’re being formal, Julia Rose if she’s in trouble) Bruene is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago. She serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and DePaul University. Aside from her obvious interests in sports and medicine, she is a true crime obsessive and is a total sucker for rescued cats. She lives in Chicago with her husband and partner-in-crime, Adam, and with several of the aforementioned rescued cats. We don’t need to get into specifics about the exact number here. She likes when people are kind to one another and when animals dress up like other animals. Rock over London, rock on Chicago.