Antigua launches heart disease campaign

St.John's (Antigua), Sep 12 (IANS/CMC) Antigua has begun a campaign to educate athletes about heart conditions that cause sudden death as a result of the passing away of a triathlete here two years ago.

Sep 12 2013, 3:24am CDT | by IANS

Antigua launches heart disease campaign
Photo Credit: OMAR TORRES, Getty Images

St.John's (Antigua), Sep 12 (IANS/CMC) Antigua has begun a campaign to educate athletes about heart conditions that cause sudden death as a result of the passing away of a triathlete here two years ago.

The American University of Antigua (AUA) has teamed up with organisers of the annual Tinman Rohr triathlon to raise awareness of the diseases which claimed the life of 25-year-old Jonathan Rohr, reports CMC.

The next Tinman Rhor triathlon scheduled for later this month is being used to spread information about underlying heart conditions that can trigger sudden death.

"The symptoms are either fatigue or the thickening of the heart," said Elias Jackson, assistant professor in the department of medical physiology and neurosciences at AUA.

"They may go on for years without even knowing they have it then all of a sudden they die."

Two years ago the local triathlon and AUA community were shocked when without warning Rohr passed away suddenly in his sleep.

The athlete was posthumously diagnosed to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - a genetic heart disease which affects 1 in 500 people and has been known to result in sudden death in extreme athletes.

"HCM is difficult to detect and differentiate from the common athletic heart," his father John Rohr said.

"The failure to correctly diagnose the difference leaves an affected extreme athlete in a Russian roulette scenario, risking suicide by athletics."

Jonathan was a founder of the Tinman Rohr triathlon which was named in his honour after his death.

Over 70 AUA students and staff will take part in the half-iron distance triathlon Sep 22 to honour Jonathan's memory alongside hundreds of athletes from Antigua and Barbuda and the region.

--IANS/CMC

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