Cardiovascular screening tackles disease in NFL pros

The colossal linemen of the National Football League and large folks in general may have more in common than their size. People who weigh more than 300 pounds are more than twice as likely as a lighter person to die from a heart attack or stroke, according to a study sponsored by the Living Heart Foundation.

LHF founder and former NFL quarterback Dr. Arthur "Archie" Roberts and colleagues at Mount Sinai and the Mayo Clinic sought to identify cardiovascular risk factors in retired NFL players. Researchers found that major risk factors include metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, elevated cholesterol, cardiac enlargement, and left ventricular hypertrophy. They also found these risk factors make players, particularly linemen, twice as likely as the average person to suffer heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. The study will be published soon in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.