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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 08-25-08, 07:25 AM   #1
rraabfaber
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Heart Patients riding?

This has probably been covered somewhere in BF's long illustrious history, but I've not been around long enough to have read it. I've been wondering; how many people in the 50+ forum are either current or recovering heart patients?

I had angioplasty when I was 38 -- just a hop, skip, and a sharp stabbing pain, away from a full-blown heart attack. I'd had a full blockage that was not treatable with a stent, and so I went on a exercise program at a rehab place. It was mostly treadmill and walking (and diet). Within two years I was pronounced clear. My heart had basically built a natural bypass. So, now, 12 years later, I'm not in the best shape of my life, to be sure, but not the worst either. I've only been back in the saddle for four years, and I lost a lot of one season because of some respiratory problems. I can't help thinking that if I'd started riding sooner it would have helped.

So has anyone here had to deal with this? Since you've been riding, or as therapy as a result?
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Old 08-25-08, 09:38 AM   #2
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Started riding at 43 after a 10 year lay off from sporting activity. At 52 had a bypass and I really thought I was at the fittest I had been for 20 years. Didn't help though. At 61 now and still riding.
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Old 08-25-08, 10:12 AM   #3
Ed in GA
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Originally Posted by rraabfaber View Post
So has anyone here had to deal with this? Since you've been riding, or as therapy as a result?
In June, I was in for a heart catherization when my stress test showed abnormalities. Even though my EKG showed everything normal.

The Cardiologist found a completely blocked artery for which nothing could be done. He ordered a CT scan and had me in a week later for follow up.

When I went to the follow up, I asked "Ok, what now?", to which he responded, "Nothing, life as usual."

Of course, I thought that this could not be as I had a completely blocked artery. The Cardiologist explained to me that, like you, my heart had self replaired and formed new vessels to carry blood to the part of the heart that was served by the blocked artery.

Well, I wasn't real sure about this and neither was my personal physician so I was referred to a Cardio-Vascular Surgeon for a second opinion. Now, you have to understand that going to a Surgeon and asking if you need surgery is like walking into a Barber Shop and asking if you need a haircut. The answer is just about always going to be... YES.


However, the CV Surgeon had the same position as the Cardiologist. Told me that I should just continue on with things as usual and that my heart had, in fact, self repaired.

I asked about activities that were very physically demanding and about exercise that would raise my heart rate. "Life as Usual" was his answer. Both the Cardiologist and Cardio-Vascular surgeon told me that, other than the blocked artery, my heart is very healthy and that excercise would do not nothing but help.

I took up cycling about a month later.

I'm betting my life that they are both correct.

ciao`

Ed
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Old 08-25-08, 11:48 AM   #4
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I never had a heart attack, but 8 years ago at age 60, I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. Heart catheterization procedure showed no blockages, but I have a leaky valve (a murmur) and hypertension. I'm taking beta blocker, ACE inhibitor, and calcium channel blocker medications. The cardiologists tell me to exercise but with limitations...I'm not supposed to get out of breath to the point where I couldn't carry on a conversation. I can comply with that by biking if I take it easy. So, I ride slowly on MUPs in the park.
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Old 08-25-08, 12:15 PM   #5
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I've had 5 stents and an angioplasty in the last 4 years. this is my first full season of riding with no problems. I can go full bore without hesitation. Average speed is up over 2mph this year and my recovery time is excellent. My cardiologist said I was in such good shape in September that he thought a stress test was not needed. Then he said the magic words, "See you in a year !!". I'll be 56 in November. I really believe riding is saving my life.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:34 PM   #6
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Atrial fibrillation repair (ablation) 3 years ago, well actually it was exactly 3 years ago - and never a problem since. Ride as long and as hard as I can.
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Old 08-25-08, 04:06 PM   #7
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HI, Try Vitamin C therapy.

HI,
try that vitamin c therapy, I take 3-4 grams of C a day and 3-4 grams of L-lysine a day,
The theory is this we are all exhibiting symptoms of a animal that can't make Vitamin-c, even our dogs that have blood lipids in the thousands rarely have heart attacks.
the reason is they make a natural vein repair called vitamin -C.
SOme people who were scheudaled for CAths have actually improved after a few months much to their DR's amazement.
The reason its so Hush Hush is most drug companies want us to take Statins instead of Vitamins and amino acids.
Visit the Vitamin C org.
Hey its your body, I can't take statins cause they depelete my Cq 10 to the point I can Barely walk.My Dr thought I was getting MS when it was only a drug reaction..
Funny how the Drug companies know this but are afraid to tell anyone.There's alot more thats not being told about medications and how some people react.
Doug


http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/news.htm




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Old 08-25-08, 04:11 PM   #8
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I had an heart attack at the age of 44 - 30% involvement of the heart. I started riding as part of my exercise program after the heart attack. 2-1/2 years ago, I had two stents put in. I am 58 now and still riding. I have been on the ususal meds and now I am on plavix.
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Old 08-25-08, 05:41 PM   #9
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Right now I have a hart proplem.

My name is Dan and I live in central Oregon. I have had a lot of hart problems over the last two years. I just had my 70Th birthday. Now I want to get a bike to exercise on and I live in a rural town. Living 10 miles out of town I can ride to coffee each day. Some dirt road riding about 2 miles and the rest on the road.

I'm having a hard time deciding on a bike. I do feel better when I ride. If you can help with a type of bike please do.

Thank you
Dan

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Old 08-25-08, 05:49 PM   #10
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I'm having a hard time deciding on a bike. I do feel better when I ride. If you can help with a type of bike please do.

Thank you
Dan


Please read the especially written newbie sticky thread, which was written just for you.

For the 50+ 'newbie' rider

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Old 08-25-08, 07:22 PM   #11
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For what it's worth, triple bypass July 2000, also type II diabetes. Bought a bike fall 2004 when it dawned on me that I enjoyed biking in my youth and it just might be a form of exercise I would actually do; since couch potato life style wasn't working. Four bikes later, no problems, pass annual check ups with flying colors. Hoping to pass at least 30 more annual check ups.
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Old 08-25-08, 07:46 PM   #12
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http://www.bikescor.com/
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Old 08-26-08, 10:41 AM   #13
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Thanks DnvrFox

Hi,
Great and useful link DNVRFOX/
It deserves a sticky.
Doug


For the 50+ 'newbie' rider
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Old 08-26-08, 02:33 PM   #14
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Have never had a heart problem but riding has made a substantial difference with my blood pressure.
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Old 08-26-08, 04:04 PM   #15
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Hi,
Great and useful link DNVRFOX/
It deserves a sticky.
Doug


For the 50+ 'newbie' rider
I do believe it already IS a sticky!
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Old 08-26-08, 04:18 PM   #16
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Atrial Fib here. Had it since I was 50 (now 57). Flecainide, Atenelol, and healthy amounts Magnesium supplements keep the episodes down to once a week for 4 - 10 hours. Thats much better than it used to be (twice weekly for 24+ hours). Ablation will likely be in my future but, I'll put it off until it becomes intolerable. I'm happy with my performance as long as the heart doesn't go into A-fib during a ride, which it does do on occasion. Otherwise, a somewhat lower max heart rate is the only handicap and, frankly it doesn't seem like much of one.
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Old 08-29-08, 04:54 PM   #17
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Interesting. Thanks for your stories.

In 2001, about 3 years after I had my incident (a year after I got the all-clear from the cardiologist) the company I worked for went bankrupt. My savings were shot, so I couldn't afford COBRA, and I was out of work for nearly 10 months.The upshot was that I couldn't afford my meds any more. So, it's been nearly 7 years since I've been off of my cholesterol meds, etc. I seem to be doing OK. I can push a high heart rate for a fair amount of time without dying, so that is good.

I agree, with Kragg that riding is saving my life. Well, that and having quit smoking and not eating bacon and six-egg omelets every day.
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Old 08-29-08, 05:00 PM   #18
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Interesting site. It reminded me that i also occasionally suffer from gout. It is weird, but I can ride with gout (I just can't put my foot down!) I've noticed that if I am feeling an onset of a gout attack, especially one in my foot, I can head it off but going for a good ride. It seems to get the glands, or whatever, working and flushing the uric acid from my system.
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Old 08-29-08, 05:45 PM   #19
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I have gout, too, but exercise would initiate flare-ups, not prevent them. However, once I began treatment (colchicine and allopurinol), I have had no problems. I've now been off the colchicine for more than a year (allopurinol only, now), and still have had no more flare-ups.
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Old 08-29-08, 06:48 PM   #20
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Widowmaker @ 43 years old. I have permanent damage (ejection fraction of 0.41).

The latest report said Blood pressure as 92/56 and no further cardiovascular symptoms. It also stated that I have no cyanosis, clubbing or edema and that I can continue exercising without restrictions. (yay!)

Most people I ride with have no idea...
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Old 08-29-08, 11:34 PM   #21
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ATENOL may lower cq-10 too

HI,
I used to take atenol, but I asked my DR to change me to Lisinopril,
Many drugs are losing favor with the new cardiac Doc due to clinical studies. Its really hard for DR's
to understand the complex relationship of many types of med being prescribed at the same time.
remember most clincal trials are done on one class of med alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atenolol

Doug

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Old 08-30-08, 05:48 PM   #22
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In July, 2007, I had open heart surgery to replace a congenitally deformed aortic valve and to repair an aortic aneurism. They gave me a cow valve and a long piece of dacron hose where my ascending aorta used to be.

I never had a symptom. I ran marathons. I played competitive basketball. I was averaging about 100 miles a week on the bike when they told me I need open heart surgery. It was pretty scary.

A year later, everything is good. I'm riding better than ever, at age 58, almost 59. I don't have to take any meds. Somewhere between 10 and 20 years, I will likely have to get another new heart valve, but until then, I'm going to do my best to wear out the one I"ve got now!

Screw all the doctor stuff. Do what you can, push it if you can, and don't let any of them tell you to take it easy!

John
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Old 10-28-08, 05:48 PM   #23
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I'm in a similar health position as many of you described. I think we should be pro-active in our own health issues and part of that is to be knowledgeable. Just for you all to digest, especially if there are beta blockers and/or specifically Atenolol in your past, present or future take a look at this article I just received from Medscape titled: "Reducing Heart Rate in Hypertension Is Harmful -- or Is It Just Atenolol? which concludes with these two "Pearls for Practice":
  • Heart rate lowering with beta-blockers in patients with hypertension is associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
  • Heart rate lowering with beta-blockers is associated with an increased risk for heart failure, nonfatal MI, and stroke, with a linear inverse relationship."
Minor side effects - increased mortality (dying) and increased risk for heart failure etc.

NOT GOOD!
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Old 10-28-08, 06:46 PM   #24
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Obviously you should check with your cardiologist, and with another one if you don't like his answer, but most heart patients I know (except the ones who've kept on smoking and eating the diet that got them into trouble in the first place) are exercising and doing great. I haven't had serious heart problems, but I do have an abnormal rhythm they watch closely, and my cardiologist (a former marathon runner, now ultradistance cyclist) urges vigorous exercise for me and nearly all his other patients. "Vigorous" varies from case to case, of course, but he's told me several times that he wants everybody exercising every day: "Say you're going to get out every day, and you'll probably make it five times a week, which is about what you need."
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Old 10-28-08, 06:54 PM   #25
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Heart attack 2001, ventricular tachycardia 2002 (where I got my defibrillator) started bicycle riding in 2006 and lost 70 plus pounds. Rode without effect until May of 2008 when I had a little defibrillator incident while I was riding (only five or six shocks!). Took a couple of months REAL easy, then have been back at it again (100-130 mile weeks) and am now back to relatively normal. Of course, I could drop dead right now, but here I am and here I ride.

BTW, I'd have been dead in 2006 if I hadn't started riding.
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