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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Stress test, anyone?

    The discussion about colonoscopies reminds me of the stress test recommended for 50+ folks when they begin to exercise. How many of you had one?

    I was at my parents' yesterday when a neighbor stopped by to get his young daughter out of the pool. He told us about his wife's double bypass a few weeks ago. She has diabetes and has only partial kidney function so she was starting the screening routine to qualify for a kidney transplant. One of the screening tests is a stress test. During the test, she was asked if she felt any chest pain. The person giving her the test said the read-out suggested a possible heart attack in progress. She said she felt fine. Long story short, she was scheduled for a triple bypass which turned out to be a double. She had a lot of calcium deposits in two major arteries.

    She had NO SYMPTOMS. She is a member (or teacher?) of a rigorous exercise class. She looks fit and trim and takes care of herself. No one would have suspected her as a candidate for bypass surgery.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Calcium deposits in her arteries? Wow, I don't even know how that would happen. But, then, I'm not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV

    I'm hypertensive and just recently had a stress/echo to see how my BP reacted to high levels of exertion (which turned out to be a lower level than what I was doing on my bike. Go figure. Call it ignorance on my part). That's when the cardio set my limit. I had no idea
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  3. #3
    Senior Member guybierhaus's Avatar
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    Well it was May 2000, I made a second attempt to dig out a small tree stump. As I did during my first attempt, I felt some odd pressure on my chest, and did not force myself. I was only 55, couldn't be a heart problem. But I was 60 pounds over weight and quite a couch potato. Asked wife to get me a doctor appointment when she went in for hers, it was nine years since I was last looked at. She came back and told me my appointment was the next day. Apparently chest pressure was the magic words. In rather quick order I had blood work, stress test and heart catheter. I recall during the stress test I didn't get very far into it before I stumbled in exhaustion off the thread mill. My July 4th was spent recovering from a triple bypass and also was type 2 diabetic. While I got things sort of under control with diet, I really didn't lose weight till I started biking some 4 years later. I feel a bit lucky I didn't actually have a heart attack before my condition was discovered. A follow up stress test in 2004 went well. Had at least 6 months of biking under my belt by then and seemed like I walked forever before my pulse was high enough to actually take the x-ray pictures of my inners. I've talked to too many people who have been back in for 2nd and 3rd times for a bypass, and seem to take it for granted. I for one would really rather avoid another operation.
    Last edited by guybierhaus; 08-03-07 at 04:01 PM.
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  4. #4
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Had the last stress test in Feb of last year and did my max heart rate for something like 12 minutes on the incline according to the doc it was the last step in the test and then the treadmill started making some weird noises and he told me " I think you broke my treadmill" all was well and he was happy and this was before I lost 30 lbs so when I have the next one I should kill that machine. I hate those treadmill tests I even had the one where they give you the radioactive pill or shot or what ever I can't remember and then do the scan like a MRI and the doc said I had an excellent heart and no clogs anywhere. So at 54 I feel pretty good. Now watch me get hit by a bus then they can he died but he was in really good shape.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    The treadmill stress test doesn't tell all that much. I think going to the cardiologist and taking the stress test with injections of isotopes was a better indicator of how the heart is working. That way the cardiologist can actually watch the blood flow on his screen during exercise to determine any obstruction.

    The better way is the invasive technique of angioplasty. As with any invasive technique, you want a well trained and competent cardiologist. Someone who does many of these procedures per year will most likely be better at it.

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    Not me. Just started riding. Then again, no big health probs...good chloresterol levels, blood work, blood pressure, history, etc. and have regular annual exams. Was overweight in my own opinion (195 at 6'1"....but spent most of my life at 160) so went on diet to drop weight and increased my riding frequency which helps that a lot. Down 17 lbs so far with 25 total for goal. Very interesting thought, though.

  7. #7
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    About 10 years ago my then doctor told me I was out of shape, over weight, had high cholesterol and I should take a stress test. About 3/4 of the way through the test, he stopped the test and told me to sit down, that I had failed the test. He put me on heart medication and cautioned me against any exertion until I could see a heart specialist. The following Monday I saw the heart specialist. Long story made short, after conducting a second, more accurate test using x-ray and dyes injected into the blood stream, I was informed my heart and circulation system were fine, no blockage whatsoever. His only caution, don't ever take a stress test again. According to the heart doctor, there is a percentage of the population that, when being monitored during the treadmill stress test, send off a false positive indicating to the equipment that there are heart/circulation problems, but actually have no such problems, and I'm one of them. Strange!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    The treadmill stress test doesn't tell all that much. I think going to the cardiologist and taking the stress test with injections of isotopes was a better indicator of how the heart is working. That way the cardiologist can actually watch the blood flow on his screen during exercise to determine any obstruction.

    The better way is the invasive technique of angioplasty. As with any invasive technique, you want a well trained and competent cardiologist. Someone who does many of these procedures per year will most likely be better at it.
    An echocardiogram seems to fit the bill as well. No injections, no invasions
    I also had a false-color carotid ultrasound that was quite revealing.

    My cardio also is not a big believer in the validity of a walking stress test. He authored a study that found a recumbant stationary gives much more accurate results. I don't know if that's true but it seemed accurate enough
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  9. #9
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    These types of cardiodiagnostic tests are generally not indicated in the absence of problems or risk factors. Some are prescribed as part of a workup prior to surgery. For folks starting vigorous excercise at the ripe old age of 50+, or anybody with concerns, it's worth a discussion with your healthcare practitioner.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    An echocardiogram seems to fit the bill as well. No injections, no invasions
    I
    Did this test and the stress test with injections of isotopes. Also told was a better indicator of how the heart is working. That way the cardiologist can actually watch the blood flow on his screen during exercise to determine any obstruction.
    I too was told a heart attch may be occuring, They had me wear a monitor for 24 hrs. After I REPEATEDLY told them how much I ride (3500 last year) they finally said all OK. I do have palputations. Was on Beta blockers (long thread seferal months ago) and was worried over high HR (I saw 208) when I got off. I've been off beta blockers for about 4 months now, but no bikes. When running/walking hard up a hill, I usually hit 170 (I'm 60).

    3 Drs finally told me 'What heart trouble?" Keep cycling.
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  11. #11
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    There are different types of echocardiograms. The first one I had was a "stress" test and involved injections. Subsequent ones have not required any injections, or any invasive procedures at all...just the ultrasound imaging. In neither case was there any exertion on my part...I just lay there and let them do their thing.

  12. #12
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    The discussion about colonoscopies reminds me of the stress test recommended for 50+ folks when they begin to exercise. How many of you had one?

    Who recommends these babies? Is this 50 exercise stuff testing written anywhere, or is it urban legend?

    Heck, I am almost 68 and somehow missed that "recommended" stress test at 50. Darn. Can I go back and do it?

    My doc recently suggested some sort of screening, but wasn't very pushy about it. I think he wants to be able to say that he recommended it if anything might happen. It is $195, and I still have the prescription on the refrigerator door, still thinking about it. My deductible for such tests is $200!

    He knows my cholesterol is very low, that I exercise a lot, and that I had EKG's and other tests all over the place before and when I got my afib repaired.


    http://www.medhelp.org/forums/cardio...ges/33905.html

    The decision to have a stress test depends on a history and physical and cannot be reliable recommended or discouraged via the internet.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-04-07 at 04:54 AM.
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  13. #13
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    I'd rather have this...

    http://www.heartscanplus.com/
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  14. #14
    Senior Member ftsoft's Avatar
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    I had a stress test a couple of weeks ago. I sort of agree with Garfield. They may not be that useful. Mine was the injection type, but there were several problems. I have REALLY bad knees, plus a max Hr of 180, plus I can't really run and have never used a treadmill. So... they did a 220-age (I'm 65) and decided my max was 155 and decided to settle for 140 bpm. I don't know how long I went, but at the end I was running pretty hard and FINALLY got to 140. On a stationary bike I could have gone much higher. So they weren't really looking at my heart under stress as far as I was concerned. I talked to a friend who had an event with a calcium deposit a few months ago and he had gone through the same battery of tests that I did and passed with flying colors. So does it mean anything. Not sure, but I sure spent a lot of the insurance companies money.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I had a stress test done at age 50. I had ridden hard the night before and my calves were crying. Doc walked me faster and faster until he got my pulse into the mid 140s. It seemed to take forever. Everything looked good; he almost looked disappointed. I wanted to see how high I could go (get a good number for my max) but he was done. Rats!

  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I was probably the fittest I had ever been for 20 years when I had a bypass- No warning- not overweight- correct diet etc. While I was in hospital, my riding mate had indigestion- went to the Doctors and immediate Hospitalisation. He was having a heart attack. He was given the stress test- X-rays- Angiogramme and declared fine. Two years later on a bike ride he had Indigestion again and was dead in 5 minutes.

    Bike riding or any form of exercise does not eradicate Heart problems- but it will make you fit enough to get through them.
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  17. #17
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I had one done last year but it was because I was having some vague chest pains and wanted to make sure all was well. They did a stress/echo and everything came back clear. These tests may miss problems since they really only show cardiac electrical function and the echo gives you some idea of muscle movement. You would really need an angiogram or CAT scan if you wanted to 100% sure your arteries are clear. Both are costly procedures and angiograms do have some risk involved so unless you have a lot of family history and the cardiologist requires it I would not ask for it.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    I'd rather have this...

    http://www.heartscanplus.com/
    I think this is Electron Beam Tomography. Not as accurate as the isotopes.

  19. #19
    Rail Trail Jockey Gr8Day2ride's Avatar
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    I'm 52 and type 2 diabetic as well. I had a stress test done this past Feb. after trying to act my shoe size and ride up a hill that was more than I was capable of. MY heart seemed to take forever to slow down and I was dizzy for a while. Scary!!??
    They did the isotope injection and I got to the running portion on the treadmill until my MHR was 100%. The nap on the xray scanner was great. Turns out I'm fine and all is clear. The doctor reminded me to remember to act my age and build up to riding that hill sometime later. Also, he recommended seeing a cardiologist yearly for a while since I am just starting to ride after many years as a couch potato.

    It is reassuring to know that everything is in good working order in there. Even so, I don't push myself as hard. Slow and sure helped the tortoise win the race.

  20. #20
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    The prescription I have is for a

    • Calcium Scoring CT Scan

    Heart Score uses 16-slice CT scanning technology.

    Anyone know anything about that?

    I notice on the internet that many labs use a 64 slice? Is that significantly better?
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  21. #21
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have been exercising aerobically, including miles and miles of jogging and bicycling, since I was a teenager, and I have controlled my blood pressure through a low-fat, low-sodium diet since my early 30s. My resting pulse rate is in the mid-40s, and it still recovers rapidly following exertion. My father is overweight and type-II diabetic, but his heart is still ticking after 78 years, and his brother is still going strong at 80. I see no reason whatsoever, for someone in my particular circumstances, to undergo a cardiovascular stress test.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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