Sarah M. Speck, MD, FACC
Cardiologist & Internist located in Ballard, Seattle, WA
Dr. Speck helps athletes throughout Seattle, WA to manage their heart health with her Sports Screening Cardiology program at Speck Health in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
Sports Cardiovascular Risk Screening
Why Would An Athlete Seek Cardiovascular Health Services?
An athlete may seek a cardiovascular specialist for a wide variety of reasons. Athletes put their bodies, including their heart through tough and rigorous training, so it is essential to ensure that the whole body is at optimum health and fully functional. Some specific reasons to visit include:
- Advice on controlling cardiovascular risk
- Evaluation of impaired or deteriorating performance
- Discussion about family history
- Evaluation of symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations which occur during training
- Clearance to return to training after a cardiac diagnoses or event.
What Cardiovascular Conditions Are Common in Athletes?
Athletes have their own cardiovascular needs. The heart is a muscle that is exercised along with the body. Athletes spend hours training everyday, so it makes sense that their hearts would be developed as well as their more visible muscles. For example, athletic heart syndrome, which is also known as athlete’s heart or athletic bradycardia, is a condition where the heart is enlarged and the resting heart rate is lower than normal. Also, while the difference is slight, some athletes have thicker walls in their hearts, separating the ventricles. These, and similar conditions, do not typically present physical symptoms, and are usually only diagnosed following a cardiac screening. Most of the time these conditions are not dangerous, but should be monitored to ensure the health of the athlete.
How is Athlete’s Heart Diagnosed?
Since there are no signs or physical symptoms of athlete’s heart, the condition is usually found during a routine screening. The doctor will perform a clinical evaluation, usually ordering an ECG and sometimes stress testing. The ECG can reveal sinus bradycardia, atrial or ventricular ectopy, atrial fibrillation, or atrioventricular (AV) blocks of first or second degree status. If there are any irregularities, Dr. Speck will need to order other tests to ensure that the test results are not due to another condition.
What is POTENTRx?
Dr. Speck offers an in-office fitness lab where athletes can monitor their health and fitness. She and her colleagues provide a multidisciplinary approach with medicine, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle coaching combine into a bespoke program to help patients reach and maintain optimal health, fitness and performance throughout their lives. This service can help athletes to make small but signifcant changes to their diet and training regime to achieve new personal bests and records in performance.
Below is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed below.
Words from our patients
"I am so glad I found Dr. Speck. She is an excellent Dr. I trust her knowledge so much...She got me on the correct meds and my life/health has been wonderful since then."
"Very knowledgeable and patient oriented group...I highly recommend this clinic for both athletes and those wanting top cardiac care and advice."
"Dr. Speck has a preventative approach to good heart health...In this scary area of heart health, Dr. Speck puts me at ease knowing I am in excellence hands."