Weak heart, just lifestyle?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/27/2011 7:36 AM (GMT -6)   

I've been to a cardiologist last week, mainly for routine checkup, but also because I felt somewhat tired and exhausted, not just lately but basically for my whole life, and I wanted to see whether it has anything to do with my heart. I'm 24 years old, male, 178cm, 70kg.

The echo showed that, while my heart is structurally perfectly fine, not the least bit enlarged, and no other anomalies, I do have a rather low left ventricular ejection fraction of 39%. Therefore my heart also beats pretty fast most of the time. That's it, though, everything else is perfectly normal.

The doctor didn't quite know what to make of it, said I'll have to do some more tests. His best shot was some sort of dilated cardiomyopathy, but to me that seems unlikely since there is absolutely no enlargement, and I'm 24 yrs old with no other health issues. I also don't have any specific symptoms, just a decreased stroke volume. Also, I felt tired and exhausted pretty much for my entire life, and I've always been rather sensitive to cold, and had very cold feet, so my guess is that my heart has always been like that.

My question is this: could such a "weak heart" simply derive from insufficient activity? For my entire life I've basically never done sports, I sit at my computer for literally the entire day, and I only go out to get food, if even that. Lately (2 months ago) I started running and going to the gym regularly, and that made me feel much stronger overall, but I still tend to be somewhat weak and exhausted.

Is it possible that a 39% LVEF, with no further anomalies, simply derives from a lifelong extremely sedentary lifestyle, or does that seem very unlikely? Do I have reason to believe that if I become an extremely vigorous exerciser my EF could improve to 60-70% or more after a year or two, or are such changes absolutely inconceivable? Note that I do not suffer from exercise intolerance, I can easily go running for an hour or more (while keeping a heart rate of 180-190 bpm), with no negative symptoms or anything. I just don't run very fast when I do.

Please consider that I'm not looking for a yes/no answer based on gut feelings, or some sort of reassurement, but information with scientific references that explicitly refer to this pattern of markedly decreased left ventricular EF / stroke volume in the absence of any structural change or further problems.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/27/2011 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning and welcome to HealingWell.  I would follow up with your Dr. looking for the reason why your EF is below normal. 
Here is a link to a good article that speaks to Ejection Fractions :
If you have any doubts re your Dr. do seek out a second opinion.
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/27/2011 10:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks. Of course I will follow up with my doctor, I do not see this forum as a replacement of any kind for actual medical consultation, and so on...

Still, if anyone here can tell me whether there is a reason why anyone could have a 39% LVEF, congenitally (for his entire life), without any heart disease, without progressive worsening, and so on, let me know. I know what ejection fraction is, how the heart works, what cardiomyopathy etc. is and so on, I'm looking for more specific information that many cardiologists would not be aware of.
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:35 PM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 3,004,726 posts in 329,166 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 161748 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Adil.
348 Guest(s), 9 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
ezhoe, clocknut, Kent M., Octobergirl, PeterDisAbelard., JNF, Sherrine, Sahale, iPoop