Athletes might be more likely to develop atherosclerotic lesions, but it’s not necessarily a cause for concern, reports MedPage Today.

The observational nature of the two studies “is well suited for documenting associations but is not capable of establishing cause-and-effect relationships between exposures and clinical phenotypes,” they wrote, citing the potential role for unadjusted confounding factors.

Even more important, they wrote, “it is important to acknowledge the complete absence of clinical outcomes data in athletes with CAC.” Although CAC in less active populations has been linked to adverse outcomes, “it is possible that the presence of CAC among dedicated lifelong endurance athletes may very well represent a clinically benign phenotype.”

The editorialists said that physicians evaluating athletic patients should rely on conventional risk factors and do not need to obtain a CAC score except “in limited situations” where it may “provide adjunctive information.”