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Old 01-11-11, 11:40 AM   #1
gettingold
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Heed the Warnings!

I'm 51, I bike 100 to 150 per week in season, have low blood pressure and weigh 145.

Recently (about 3 weeks ago) I began to have brief episodes; shortness of breath, pressure and pain in my chest. It started out infrequently and then became a daily occurrence. I thought it was a hiatal hernia that was putting pressure on my diaphragm. It came to a head on new years day. Set out to do a 20 miler with my daughter which starts as a downhill and I immediately began to have chest pain. I figured since there was no exertion, it could not be my heart. Finally (without telling her I felt lousy) we cut it short to 10 miles. She thought it was just the rain and cold. Chest hurt the entire way around. Decided that even if it was a hiatal hernia, I wasn't going to let it affect my cycling so I decided to get it checked. Called on Monday morning and made an appointment for Tuesday (obviously, I didn't give the nurse any details). Doc immediately thought heart; I told him he was wrong. Hooked me up to an EKG and didn't like the results. Sent me to a cardiologist who hooked me up to an echo cardiogram and didn't like the results. Admitted me for an angiogram, found 95% blockage in a main artery and put in a stent.

Obviously, i'm very lucky they found it before I did any damage and I feel better than I've felt in years. I'm waiting for some good weather to get back out there. My daughter's reaction when my wife told her I was in the hospital and it was happening during our ride? I thought I was finally getting faster than him!
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Old 01-11-11, 11:57 AM   #2
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You are indeed a lucky man!
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Old 01-11-11, 12:02 PM   #3
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Lucky isn't the word my wife used. I think it was "moron".
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Old 01-11-11, 12:07 PM   #4
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Glad to hear you are still with us.

Lost my dad to a HA when he was 41 y/o.
He had pains but would not go a hospital which was 6 blocks away.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:13 PM   #5
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Lucky isn't the word my wife used. I think it was "moron".
Mine has a way of putting me in my place too.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:16 PM   #6
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Doc has me getting checked out on a PET test some time this month. No pain, just a lot of stress lately.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:17 PM   #7
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A happy ending, well done! Let us know if riding is any different after your next ride.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:22 PM   #8
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Glad to hear you are still with us.

Lost my dad to a HA when he was 41 y/o.
He had pains but would not go a hospital which was 6 blocks away.
My family history is similar. Good luck.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:27 PM   #9
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Lucky isn't the word my wife used. I think it was "moron".
Wife has it right--Warning signs are there to be queried- not ignored.
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Old 01-11-11, 04:13 PM   #10
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I am so lucky my Dad is still around (just turned 90) had his first heart attack in the 60's, one in each decade since. We watch over him like a hawk. He wears Nitro patchs and can't walk very far, but he sure likes to go golfing and fishing in the summer. Going to take the folks on a Cruise to Mexico in March. Gotta enjoy them why they are arround!
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Old 01-11-11, 04:17 PM   #11
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Yikes man!

How is your eating habits? Does being extremely active have little effect on the health of your arteries?
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Old 01-11-11, 04:39 PM   #12
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My dad died from ignoring chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Massive heart attack at 49 y.o. and instantaneous death in 1976. Glad you are still kicking around now. Don't let something like this go, please. Are you on a return doctor's visit following the stent? Listen to the cardiologist advice or orders. We need our members at BF and 50+ sticking around. Dead men's posts don't go over very well here.

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Old 01-11-11, 04:46 PM   #13
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There's a reason why an ER immediately admits someone who arrives complaining of "chest pain". Glad you are OK!
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Old 01-11-11, 05:11 PM   #14
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Glad you got it checked out -finally- before you met Mr. MI.
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Old 01-11-11, 07:43 PM   #15
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Glad this worked out well. Genetics can have as much to do with this sort of thing as diet and exercise. Can't control what we were born with but good habits and medical care can have significant impact on our life and health. Seems like most folks here are pretty good with diet and exercise. Why we are slow at times to get to the medical help and advice we need makes no sense. Very few of us are immortal.
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Old 01-11-11, 08:01 PM   #16
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Thanks for the heads up. You just never know when it's going to hit. It's good to hear, you made it in time to be taken care of.
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Old 01-11-11, 08:24 PM   #17
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I had a heart attack in Dec., 2008. I chalked it up to family history, too much dessert, and some serious stress. I couldn't do much about the first issue.

In August, 2009, while riding the first hill at 9,000 feet in Yosemite, I felt a stabbing pain in my chest, and I was extremely short of breath. I put it down to my age, the altitude, and a lack of warming up. I was fine once I slowed the pace, and was able to push hard, pedaling up thousands of feet, once I was warmed up.

I knew it couldn't be an angina attack, as I was eating better, taking meds, and exercising even more than I had been (which was a significant amount).

A week and a half later, I felt pain again on a hill, after a leisurely 10 mile warm-up at sea level. I popped a nitro tab and felt immediate relief. I finished the climb (knowing I had some time before the nitro wore off), coasted comfortably home, showered, went to the hospital and was admitted, of course, immediately.

The next day, I had two more stents to open up 80-90% blockages of my "widow maker" artery.

Even when the signs are more obvious, denial is a powerful weapon against reality.

OP, you're far luckier than I am that you're alive.
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Old 01-11-11, 08:38 PM   #18
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I got my heads up several decades ago in a kind of second-hand way. One of the smartest people I ever met was my major professor in grad. school. During the last quarter that I was his teaching assistant, he would regularly stop in the middle of lectures and seem to get a bit confused and even disoriented, followed by ten minutes of being meaner than ever to the poor undergrads. It got so bad that I had to schedule do-over lectures to cover the material he was supposed to but never did. I assumed that he was getting some sort of early-onset Alzheimer's. Six months later he had a massive MI. Only his wife's insistence that he get his hiney into the ambulance saved his life (she is also a biochemist who worked in synthetic blood development).

I have always felt that I should have recognized what I was seeing. I think my judgment was clouded by his larger-than-life intellect and presence. The next person who showed similar signs in my life was my mother-in-law. Her idiot bottom-of-their-class local cardiologists couldn't figure it out. I sent her to the nearest university hospital, they got her right in (the dean is an old friend) and put two stents in that day. She also kept the warning signs she had a secret for far too long.

The good news: we're all human. The bad news: same as the good news. I'm glad you caught the problem in time. I hope I do as well when I face a similar situation.
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Old 01-11-11, 09:15 PM   #19
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Chest pain is actually a misnomer, Cardiac pain comes in all shapes, forms and styles of discomfort and or feeling. It can be just a funny feeling in just about any part of your torso to a crushing pain taking your breath away. Any consistant strange feeling in your body whether it's in your chest, jaw, arm, back, neck or gut should be investigated. It can be a "toothachey" type of pain, a stiff neck, indigestion without a cause, sore muscles where you never had soreness before or just a feeling of something not right. It can show up with exertion,exersize or just sitting around doing diddly squat. It can be at anytime of day or night although there is a higher occurence of onset in the early morn. If something wakes you up at night and it ain't your bladder you might want to get checked out. Any medical person would perfer finding out that there is nothing going on with you than doing C.P.R on you.
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Old 01-11-11, 10:43 PM   #20
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... sore muscles where you never had soreness before ...
That would have to be an out-of-body experience. I really can't think of anyplace on my body that has not been sore at some time.
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Old 01-12-11, 07:37 AM   #21
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Lucky isn't the word my wife used. I think it was "moron".
I’m happy to hear you are OK.

Moron – hmm, I’m glad to see I’m not the only wife who said that.

Six years ago my husband had a heart attack. We had gone for a mtb ride and then when we got home, he decided to mow the lawn before he took a shower.
He started to feel nauseous and was pale & clammy. It was a hot day, so I’m thinking it was just over heating. He went inside to get some water & lay down. After putting the mower away I went inside and asked him how he was feeling, he said still nauseous, his head hurt and – pause – his arm was sore. I asked which arm? His left arm. I said “you’re having a heart attack you moron!”
He still ribs me about that, but I really meant it in the most loving way!
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Old 01-12-11, 08:52 AM   #22
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I know this thread is about heart attacks. But the advertising banners about heart issues just shows you how this forum gets it revenue.
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Old 01-12-11, 08:56 AM   #23
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All familiar stories. Denial is definitely powerful. I was convinced it was not my heart. Looking back in hindsight I wonder how I could be so stupid. The trouble is, at fifty, heeding all the signals your body puts out would be a full time job!

To answer one poster, my eating habits are so-so as was my cholesterol (about 205). That coupled with bad genetics is all it took.

The good news is I'm back skating (I coach youth hockey) and skiing. Waiting for another good day to get back out on the bike.
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Old 01-12-11, 09:10 AM   #24
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gettingold - I'd be interested in knowing your cholesterol and lipids numbers. Were they out of line? Any history of HDL/LDL or triglyceride troubles? Those numbers are supposed to be the best indicators of future heart trouble, but heart trouble freqeuntly seems to hit people with normal numbers.
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Old 01-12-11, 09:31 AM   #25
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Reminds me that I need to go ahead and schedule that stress echo......
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