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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-13-08, 06:00 PM   #1
WheresWaldo
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Anyone here cycling after having stents put in?

I found out some bad news this week and was curious if other Clydes are in my same position.

I found out on Monday that I had a some minor myocardial infarctions, although the damage was minor, it was there nonetheless. I had two stents inserted. I had blockages on both sides in the 95% range. I am curious if any other Clydes have had PCI procedures? How has it affected your cycling goals? Are you on medication? Have any of you weened yourselves off medication?

Just looking for some encouragement and to reinforce some of my goals with regard to cycling.
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Old 03-13-08, 06:56 PM   #2
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I had a not-so-minor MI in 2001. Had 2 stents implanted, then had to have new ones in Dec. 2005 (the old ones were closing up). Then I started riding, lost 70 pounds and have gained a new life. I still take medications but YMMV. I'm absolutely certain that if I hadn't started riding I wouldn't be here to write these words. Be thankful, work with your cardiologist and ride it like you stole it.
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Old 03-13-08, 07:50 PM   #3
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I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine that a cardiologist would not want you to ride after having stents put in. He may have some limitations for you, especially early on, probably something like wearing a heart monitor and keeping your rate bellow a certain level, and progressing slowly so you don't induce a serious heart attack by over stressing a recently weakened heart. But no I can't imagine that there would be a major problem with it.
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Old 03-13-08, 08:07 PM   #4
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I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine that a cardiologist would not want you to ride after having stents put in.
I didn't intend to give anyone the idea to jump off the cath lab table and onto the bike, but to give you the idea that once you've done the medically-required dog and pony show, you have a better idea what will work for you than the doctors. And they usually don't know WHAT to tell you. But I will say one final thing..to just lay back and take it easy is to invite disaster.
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Old 03-13-08, 08:24 PM   #5
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A colleague of mine had a stint put in and he is doing Olympic triathlons so I don't think you will have to many limitations...good luck
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Old 03-13-08, 09:06 PM   #6
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I plan on starting off slowly. I have three weeks to rest, according to the doctors. After that I will slowly ramp up the mileage and intensity until my goal ride June 9th.

I always ride with a heart monitor.
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Old 03-13-08, 09:06 PM   #7
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I had 3 put in two and a half years ago and am doing fine. One artery was 100% blocked (reqd 2 stents) and the other was 90%, had no heart attack. The doc said I should have dropped dead but because I've run all my life and never smoked, he said that saved my life.
I wear a Polar heartrate monitor when excercising. I do notice that when my heartrate is around 150-160 for any time say over a 10 minute stretch I will tire after about an hour. If I can keep the heartrate in the 140 range I do much better and am not so pooped out that night. I've also learned this week while on club rides which groups to ride with and which to stay away from. Keep your nitro with you just in case!
Still take generic Zocor 80 mg and Zetia 10 mg, this has finally got my cholesterol down to 131; I also learned that depending which generic you take the total # can fluctuate all over. So if you get the numbers at an acceptable level tell your doctor you need to stay with that "specific manufactured med". I also take 4 fish oil, 1 aspirin and a prilosec each morning.
I would think they'll want to keep you from moving your leg around too much until they are satisfied the artery is healed 100%. Just take it easy at first and don't get too crazy, you'll do OK.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:41 AM   #8
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Quad in 2004

After all of the hurricanes were cleaned up in our area in 2004, I had a 4 way bypass. My doctor warned me that at first I would notice a "little" discomfort within the region, but to be cautious. So as soon as I was permitted to drive I started back on my bicycle. When I visit him, every 6 months, he stands in wonderment of my progress, etc. The only thing he talks about is losing weight, etc. But the route I normally ride goes past a few donut shops. The donut shops have an magnetic effect on my aluminum bike similar to the 7-11 has on my lawn mowers...... I just have zero will-power. I must pull in. As you start back, using the words of my Doctor, "Just be cautious and listen to your body."

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Old 03-14-08, 05:23 AM   #9
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Thanks, all. I already was in pretty good shape other than the blockages. My overall Cholesterol numbers the past two years have never exceeded 130, the last blood workup was 114 without medication. Blood pressure is normal or low normal. I was prescribed Coreg, Plavix, Altace, Nitro and Lipitor, along with two adult Aspirin a day. I understand the need for most of these medications.

When I asked about the time frame for these medications the only one with a specific timeline was Plavix, she said I would take that the next year, every other one was indeterminate. When I questioned the Doctor about the Lipitor, she became annoyed. When I suggested that her use of the term indeterminate meant 'the rest of my life' she became annoyed once again. I spent the last two years becoming "drug free" and I do not want to be stuck on drugs the rest of my life, if at all possible.

2.5 years ago I was 350 pounds, had hypertension (140-150/100-120), diabetes (200+), high cholesterol (400+ total, 800+ triglycerides), asthma and obstructive sleep apnea. All that remains today is the sleep apnea (although extremely mild). Everything without medications. I am just trying to see if this is possible again especially given my current, now diagnosed, situation.
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Old 03-14-08, 06:47 AM   #10
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Sounds like a good plan. One piece of advice......tightness of the chest, etc can indicate that you need the stents serviced. My mother has 5 of them inserted and/or replacements. Scar tissue formed in her stented arteries and this required a reinsertion.

That said, you can lead a very normal life with 'em. As othwers have mentioned, keep your cardiologist in the loop, and you will be fine.
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I plan on starting off slowly. I have three weeks to rest, according to the doctors. After that I will slowly ramp up the mileage and intensity until my goal ride June 9th.

I always ride with a heart monitor.
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Old 03-14-08, 12:53 PM   #11
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I have a stent that was put in 2005 after I had a heart attack. I had one 90% blockage. I was 45 at the time. My cardiac rehab started out slowly but soon I was walking quite a bit and becoming more active. I didn't like the stationary bike much, so I bought a cheap bike just for fitness in 2006. I got quite addicted to riding and got a entry-level bike last year and rode about 850 miles on it, including a ride in the Tulsa Tough. My cardiologist released me after 2 years and told me to keep on exercising. My doctor agrees. I hope to improve my stamina and ride past 1000 this year.
Good luck.
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Old 03-14-08, 01:29 PM   #12
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Old 03-15-08, 01:41 PM   #13
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Maybe you can contact the bicycle club that put on the SCOR Solvang (Calif.) bike ride. Google the Solvang century bike ride there are two, you want the one run by SCOR. They started as a group doing cycling for cardiac rehab. an many members of the club have first hand experience with this....I bet they could really hlep with your questions. Stents are better every year and the implantation and evaluation tactics have improved radically. Best of luck to you.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:38 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone, I am encouraged. At 49 and now with this behind me, I am already planning my training for the remainder of the year. I rode 4000 miles last year with blockages and so far this winter about 400 miles, some at near race pace. I don't really foresee any issues picking up from where I left off after a few weeks off the bike.

I am planning to start back slowly but will more likely ramp up just a bit faster than I would normally. Plan is to do a Masters Race at age 50.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:06 PM   #15
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I had a heart attack and 3 stents in 2000. It's been difficult at times, but I'm in much better shape now than I ever was before. I ride about 100 miles a week, walk 10 miles, lift weights, and enjoy other physical activities. My life is a lot better now than it was before the stents.

I don't reccommend weaning yourself off the meds. The meds (usually a beta blocker, aspirin and statin) statistically decrease risk more than diet, exercise or anything else you can do. I plan to stay on meds for the rest of my life, and I have no problem with that. Just don't use the meds as an excuse to indulge in an unhealthy lifestyle.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:18 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone, I am encouraged. At 49 and now with this behind me, I am already planning my training for the remainder of the year. I rode 4000 miles last year with blockages and so far this winter about 400 miles, some at near race pace. I don't really foresee any issues picking up from where I left off after a few weeks off the bike.

I am planning to start back slowly but will more likely ramp up just a bit faster than I would normally. Plan is to do a Masters Race at age 50.
Don't worry about ramping it up quickly. Your body is in a terrible state right now, and it's going to take a few months to get back in shape. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

And it's never behind you. Your risk of another heart attack is very high if you have had a first one. There is no cure for heart disease, unfortunately. Whatever caused your problem is still ticking away inside you. But the treatments for heart disease are good, and getting better all the time. What other disease has a treatment that's as fun as riding a bike and eating high quality food?

You should be in a cardiac rehab program. This is by far the most important thing you can do at this stage. In cardiac rehab, you exercise three times a week while hooked up to a medical heart monitor (EKG). This is very important! You will also learn about diet, exercise, medications, and stress reduction. You are much more likely to live a normal life if you go to cardiac rehab now. Most insurances will pay for it gladly, because it's well proven how beneficial cardiac rehab is.

Like I said before, my life is much better now than it was before I had the stents put in. You have a good attitude, but I worry that you haven't taken advantage of all the help that's available--especially cardiac rehab. I also worry that you're setting yourself up for disappointment. But I hope I'm wrong!
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Old 03-15-08, 03:29 PM   #17
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BTW, the heart monitor used in cardiac rehab is a "real" heart monitor (EKG or ECG) that measures the rate, ryhthm and pattern of your cardiac activity. The monitors used by cyclists measure only the rate of the heart. That is practically useless information for a cardiac patient. You should have a Stress EKG (treadmill test) about 3 months (IIRC) after your stents were put in. The cardiologist will tell you what your actual individual maximum heart rate is--more accurate than the "220 minus age" estimate. After that, you can use the athletic heart monitor with confidence (if you want to) and follow all the advice you get on this forum.

I got a stress EKG every year for five years after I got my stents. Now I'm down to every 2 years.
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Old 03-15-08, 10:06 PM   #18
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I have 5 stents . I had 2 put in the day after xmas 2008. Thirteen years ago I had three put in. I play racquet ball 3 times week. I started rideing a few years ago . Today I went out for 25 mile ride. I felt great. Dont think abount it just do what you want to do . STENTS are GREATS
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Old 03-18-08, 11:06 AM   #19
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Stents

Hey there,

I had a quadruple bypass almost five years ago. Would have died without it. Took up bicycling July 2007, as running was killing my legs (plus, I hate running). I try to ride twenty plus miles several times a week. I still take cholesterol and blood pressure meds, as well as aspirin and a few others. Sometimes your exercise will help you get off your meds, but ALWAYS check with your doctor first. Getting off some of my meds is my goal. Happy riding!

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Old 03-18-08, 06:23 PM   #20
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had a heart attack in 1990; did 3 stents then, then in 1997 had several more stents put in (only then did i quit smoking). had the final 3 put in in 2001 (i think the residual carry over from the quit smoking overeating syndrome). they never really slowed me down other than waiting about 2 - 3 weeks after the procedure to ride or carry on the normal activity. i don't think i will ever need another one due to good lifestyle changes.

obviously check with your dr. but in my case my doc says do as much as i want (riding, loving, etc..). when they put me on the treadmill for a yearly testing, i am in the top 95% performance of my age group.

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Old 03-23-08, 09:05 PM   #21
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Stents

I'll see ya two stents and raise ya a double bypass. lol.
Seriously: I had double bypass back in november. I've been on the mag trainer (hey,It's Buffalo..two seasons winter and the 4th of july)sence just after the first of the year.
Get a decent HR Moniter (polar makes some good ones)
Talk with the folks our at SCOR (Southern Cal. Cardiac Rehab cycling club)
Plain talk with the cardio doc doing the stents helps defray a ton of the apprehension.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:37 PM   #22
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I have 5 stents . I had 2 put in the day after xmas 2008. Thirteen years ago I had three put in. I play racquet ball 3 times week. I started rideing a few years ago . Today I went out for 25 mile ride. I felt great. Dont think abount it just do what you want to do . STENTS are GREATS

Is Dick Cheney on this forum???
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Old 03-24-08, 07:16 AM   #23
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I have 5 stents . I had 2 put in the day after xmas 2008. Thirteen years ago I had three put in. I play racquet ball 3 times week. I started rideing a few years ago . Today I went out for 25 mile ride. I felt great. Dont think abount it just do what you want to do . STENTS are GREATS
You HAD them put in xmas 2008? Uh, can I borrow your time machine, I'd like to fast forward to next Sunday, see what lotto numbers were the winners for this coming Saturday, and then return to today before buying my ticket
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