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  1. #1
    Damn that hurt
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    Heart problem and biking

    A couple weeks ago I ordered a new Cannondale planning on getting back into it after about 12 years. I'm in decent shape, 10 or 15lbs overweight, just quit smoking again. regular checkups showed no health problems. A week ago I had a heart attack and had to have two stents put in. There's still some blockage in other arteries and I have a stress test in two weeks. Some of my rookie partners had trouble keeping up with me at work. I never saw any of this coming. Anybody else here have similar issues that could offer any advise. Much Thanks. Terry

  2. #2
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    Wow sorry man. I'm not gonna pretend to be an iternet Md. but think it's safe to say the obvious like make improvements in diet and lifestyle. Exercise regularly and look for gains but take it slow and eat right/hydrate while doing it.
    It's always good to get a second opinion and try for the best one possible.
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  3. #3
    Titanium junkie
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    Not a Dr., am a Type 1 Diabetic and understand your concerns.
    This may sound horrible, but it's my motto with what I have.
    Live like it's your last day.
    Do what your Dr, tells you, and don't dwell on it.
    Causes more stress if you worry about it.
    When your cleared to do so, get on that bike and ride.
    Climb into the sky, never wonder why - Tailgunner
    You're a Tailgunner

  4. #4
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    You might pm slocaus. He has had much worse heart issues and he has found a way to continue to ride and keep his doctor happy that he won't kill himself in the process

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango59 View Post
    A couple weeks ago I ordered a new Cannondale planning on getting back into it after about 12 years. I'm in decent shape, 10 or 15lbs overweight, just quit smoking again. regular checkups showed no health problems. A week ago I had a heart attack and had to have two stents put in. There's still some blockage in other arteries and I have a stress test in two weeks. Some of my rookie partners had trouble keeping up with me at work. I never saw any of this coming. Anybody else here have similar issues that could offer any advise. Much Thanks. Terry
    Once your stents are in you are pretty much fixed. You may have other stable lesions in your coronary arteries but exercise generally won't cause another heart attack and it can only help your recovery. There is a slight increase in risk for a heart attack during vigorous exercise so work into mountain biking at a gradual pace. Since you still have lesions in your coronaries you might get chest pain or your "anginal equivalent" but it takes a surprising amount of blockage to cause this.

    In fact, a lot of the stents that are put in are probably unnecessary strictly speaking although yours were definitely required as you had an actual infarction of an artery.

    There is a difference between a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and exertional chest pain (stable angina). The two are related but chest pain from stable lesions does not equal another heart attack.

    Naturally run this by your cardiologist but he'll probably encourage you to continue to ride, never go back to smoking, take your medications as prescribed, and eat a reasonable diet.

    The Beta Blocker you will no doubt have to take for the rest of your life will make you feel a little sluggish at first but you'll adjust to it.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys, this does make me feel a little better. I'd still like to hear from more people about any experiences with medical problems and biking.

  7. #7
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    I've had a valve replaced, an aortic aneurysm repair, take coumadin, and a beta blocker and I've never stopped riding. Just work with your Doc on it and get your regular checkups done.

    It did take me awhile to get used to the beta blocker, but I was recovering from the aneurysm repair too and I was slow that summer. This season my body has appeared to have adjusted to the lower RPM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by drag_slick View Post
    I've had a valve replaced, an aortic aneurysm repair, take coumadin, and a beta blocker and I've never stopped riding. Just work with your Doc on it and get your regular checkups done.

    It did take me awhile to get used to the beta blocker, but I was recovering from the aneurysm repair too and I was slow that summer. This season my body has appeared to have adjusted to the lower RPM.
    I wish all of my patients were as motivated as you. Make my job easy and health care costs go way down. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?

  9. #9
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    I'm 37 with congenital heart disease. Peeps: GO TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR, and not just when you are sick. I found out about my hbp on a regular check up. I'm the type of guy that would've done nothing and ended up with a stroke or heart attack on the trail. Now, I have a prescription and I monitor myself with a Dr. visit every year.

    I have a good vegetarian diet and limit my caffeine. People only go to the doctor when they are sick, and sometimes that can be too late.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Drag_Slick, that makes me feel alot better. Ailuropoda, I'll definately follow my cadiologist's advise and I certainly appreciate yours. I'm a 52 yr old street cop and don't plan on changing anything except for the diet and increase in the exercise.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    I wish all of my patients were as motivated as you. Make my job easy and health care costs go way down. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?
    I'll be 37 on Friday.

    I've been active my whole life, no contact sports, mainly weightlifting and MTBing, it does freak the Docs out a little, but I'm aware of the risks and I don't bruise as easy as some. My biggest complaint though, because of having this at a young age, the Docs are not sure what to do with me, they're used to people with my history being twice my age where hard exercise means walking. My surgeon has given me the best advice.

    Let me tell you, coming back from those surgeries is a lot easier if you're in shape. Plus you're easier to fix, they don't have to push and retract fat to get to what they need to work on. I actually walked from the ICU over to my room on Telemetry after the AA repair which was in Oct 2010 and was my 3rd open heart. How's that for extreme sports!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango59 View Post
    Thanks guys, this does make me feel a little better. I'd still like to hear from more people about any experiences with medical problems and biking.
    ANY medical problems? would coming within hours of dying from cancer, brain swelling, liver failure, and kidney failure count? link in my sig has more details on that and my recovery than I could ever post here. In short, keep your doc in the loop and take it easy in the beginning.

  13. #13
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    I've had a valve repair and at times go out of rhythm. Get the best FRAME you can. When I was recovering from a strep infection in a spinal disk (in the fluid is meningitis) my frame came into play. I was riding pathitically slow as my recovery was tough. Just like when I had the valve repair. I ride a Turner. It's so amazingly well balanced that for months of recovery I didn't fall when falling would have been serious. It handles so great, only other Turners, an Ibis and a Trek 9.9 are as balanced that I've tried.
    agmtb

  14. #14
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    I did an easy local race towards the end of the season in 2009. Started off well but started getting passed by people who never passed me before and I had no energy. I finished and my heart was beating crazy fast and it took a long time to come down to normal. Something was not right.

    I laid off for awhile and rerode the course a month later to see why it became so hard. First half hour was fine but then I started walking rideable hills and then sitting down to get my breath back. I half rode, half walked back to the car and was exhausted. Riders stopped to ask me if I was ok. i said yes, although I wasn't. I thought I was just burned out and stopped riding for the year (it was late November)

    A few weeks later I had a colonoscopy scheduled and had a pre-surgery EKG scheduled. The nurse ran the test twice and said something was wrong. The same day i was sent to a cardiologist who then scheduled me for an angiogram a few days later. All during this time I felt fine with no problems.

    Well, the angiogram came and went, I had a stent put in and was told that my LAD artery, the widowmaker, was almost closed. I was lucky - I missed the heart attack.

    The first thing that they want you to do for recovery is exercise. So just get out there and do it. Most patients just sit on their butts and do nothing. However I can't get a definitive answer on how hard I can ride now. I've had two stress tests and both times I was cruising along when they said that I completed the tests. They're more used to patients who barely walk, not ones who want to ride all day, every day.

    I realize that at my age (I'm old enough to retire) that i don't need to race or even just ride fast anymore and I have to find my limits. My riding is slowing down from my aging as well as from the heart problem. But i still miss that comraderie during competition and find myself going to the registration pages of events and wondering what if. What ends up happening is that I end up buying a bike part or taking my family to dinner with the race fee. When people talk about having the heart to do something, they are usually not considering the physical limitations of the heart.

    So yes, you have to search out your own answers. Search out the Slocaus threads in mtbr. There are a lot of questions but not as many answers. Keep riding, having fun riding and if you slow down a little, perhaps it will give you another minute to see how much that you're enjoying life.

  15. #15
    It's about showing up.
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    I have a friend who went through this. Short and sweet? He came out a lot healthier.

    Keep your chin up. Be patient and move only as fast as your doctor says to.

    I don't rattle.

  16. #16
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    A little over a year ago, I started having a slight chest "discomfort" that rapidly got worse over a month. It only happened when mtbing. I went to a cardiologist and was given a nuclear stress test which showed almost nothing. The doc noticed a small blip on the EKG. Three days later he put 3 stents in two locations and found another artery with 40% blockage (not enough to bother with). I'm 58.

    Another nuclear stress test at my 6 month checkup showed all was well. Wrong...one month later I started noticing the discomfort again. Enough scar tissue had formed at the end of one stent to cause problems and required another stent to open it up.

    My cardiologist encourages me to continue mtbing as hard as I want, and I do. No problem at all.

    FWIW, I take Effient (antiplatelet), Metoprolol (beta blocker), Crestor and low dose aspirin.

    I view riding as my diagnostic tool for when I have a problem.

    Another rider I know had a heart attack while training for a triathlon early last summer, had a stent put in and was back to mtbing by late summer.

    Yet another rider I know (he may jump in here) had a heart transplant last year. I couldn't come close to keeping up with him before, and I can't come close to keeping up with him now.

    My advise is to see your cardiologist for regular checkups, follow his advise and go ride. Oh yeah...DON"T start smoking again (I quit 7 years ago after 2 packs a day for 30+ years).

  17. #17
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    Wow, I thought I was gonna end up as one of those "Mall Walkers" with the funny shoes. I was doin long walks but the wife (Former Resp Therapist), called the doc and they called me back and told me it was too early and to park my ass till the test on the 4th. These stories sure do make me feel better. MUCH THANKS

  18. #18
    Sweep the leg!
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    When it's your time, it's your time.

    I briefly knew Sergio de la Torre who was a multiple state champion in the time trial. I went to his funeral after he'd had a heart attack in a criterium only a few days after a cardiologist had given him a clean bill of health. He knew he had a heart problem for years as did most of his family. He'd been healthy all his life and was cautious to the extent that he saw a cardiologist twice a year or more because he was racing so much.

    I knew Chris Hipp better. He was a multiple state champion and raced as a professional. Chris didn't know of any heart problems that I'm aware of. He too had a heart attack on the bike and died.

    In your case I'd listen VERY carefully to the doctors and do exactly what they say.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  19. #19
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    >>I have a good vegetarian diet and limit my caffeine. People only go to the doctor when they are >>>sick, and sometimes that can be too late.

    I'm vegan too now. Thought being a ~15 hour a week road and mountain bike cardio athlete the last thirty years...that and not eating red meat (also none last 30 years) would keep me safe. Just lean chicken and fish and fried stuff, lots of salads and veggies but did all the oils and dairy. I now am battling back from advanced CVD that is at the level of that of surgical specialist Dr. Crowe in Dr. Esselstyn's book. Now, thanks to the diet change; my heart generally feels like it's not even working half the time even much of the time above anaerobic threshold. I suspect there are thousands of athletes out there with this going on like a ticking time bomb. Including one recent ultra-endurance guy with 90% coronary artery blockages in Atlanta that had to undergo a quad by-pass. Sure wish somebody would have told me this many, many years ago.....(it's always the genetics/gene's fault that one person can tolerate more poison than another....)

    The Last Heart Attack - CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta- Full Documentary - YouTube

    I had been to several renowned cardiologist but only one steered me in the right direction....just the statin alone never had me feeling the way I do now and also my heart test are pretty remarkable compared to what they were with just the statin. Plus I could cut my statin way down & still have remarkable HDL/LDL numbers.

    Riding the tour veggie DZ
    Riding the Tour De Vegetable: David Zabriskie Plans to Race in France on (Almost) Vegan Diet - WSJ.com
    Only mistake DZ makes is the oils.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dr. Lewis Kullerís (University of Pittsburgh) decade long cardiovascular health study found that: ďAll males who are 65 years of age and all females who are 70 years old who have been exposed to the typical Western diet already have cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such.Ē
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Btw, this is regardless of hereditary risk....

    Articles, Study and Video
    The slides at the end are of Dr. Crowes widow maker reversal.

    No I don't get book royalties, just can continue the sport I love.....

  20. #20
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    I had a heart attack in 2008 at the ripe old oge of 41. I rode bikes and worked two jobs. One of wich was very manual labor intense. Besides smoking a 2 packs of cigarettes a day and eating like a good southern boy does (fried foods and red meat) I thought I was in pretty fair shape. I had two stents put in and found out I was type 2 diabetic. I have not had a cigarette since that day and changed my eating habbits. My doc. told me to exercise as much as I felt comfortable with. I am now more active and feel better than I have since I was in my twenties. I dont want to say I am glad that it happened,but it sure made me re-think about what I really wanted from life. Think of it as a new begining becuse it could have been the end of the world but we got another chance.

  21. #21
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    Yea, only problem with that is; I did nothing wrong except diet. Never ever would smoke a cancer stick. Did not have to rethink anything about my life as I had led my life in a responsible manner. Worked my way thru school to advanced degrees from off the streets. Was a nurse for over 15 years & have been an environmentalist all my life & took care of everything & everyone around me and now do animal rescue.
    I would say I got another chance but have a pretty good idea why.
    Last edited by glovemtb; 12-04-2012 at 05:58 AM.

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