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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

Old 10-25-19, 06:45 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I would think the medical screening process is the same: Start with the basic risk factor screening, then move on to the next level if warranted.

I'm going through this currently, to rule out my PVCs being a symptom of something serious. Blood tests, check. ECG, check. Zio Patch, waiting for results. Stress test, pending. CT catheter, hope it doesn't have to go that far.
Yeah. For guys our age, the overwhelmingly probable cause is vascular disease and it has to be ruled out as the cause, so I think you are right in practice. I should have stated something more like, if “cyclists’s heart” were to become a recognized and diagnosable clinical entity, the workup would be different.

I hope your workup turns up nothing bad.
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Old 10-25-19, 07:06 PM
  #52  
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I never even think about it and while don't ride mega distances I do a lot of climbing and push if for all I'm worth quite a bit. Figure I'm keeping things healthy by staying as fit as I can.

From an article on an extensive study that appeared in the JAMA last year. Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals.

"There is no level of exercise or fitness that exposes you to risk," he said. "We can see from the study that the ultra-fit still have lower mortality."

"In this study, the most fit individuals did the best," said Metzl, who was not involved in the study. "Once cleared by their physicians, patients shouldn't be afraid of exercise intensity."
It is a great article and well worth a few minutes to read it if you have time. Since we are all somewhat physically active I have to assume, it will make you feel great about all that work you've been putting in.
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Old 10-25-19, 07:54 PM
  #53  
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I think about it. But not as much as a year ago.

Two years ago I decided to do something about my weight, and that was weight loss surgery. Part of the workup to that included a sleep study and cardiology. And she scared the crap out of me. A diagnosis of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction was given. And I was started in a cardiac rehab program. Echo was done, and at least I had a good score for Ejection Fraction. 67 is pretty good. My cholesterol numbers were never bad, but would be in a few more years. My BP was 152/85 on medication, and resting heart rate was 105 to 110... Also, severe obstructive sleep apnea. And the cardiologist again, scared me. Since I acknowledged I had a problem after that sleep study, I readily accepted that CPAP machine have been nearly 100% compliant since...

Now, 1 year after surgery, I'm down 113 pounds, 135 total. BP is now 105/65 and resting HR is 65 to 69. I've been released from the Cardiac Rehab program. But absolutely continue cardio as well as riding... I ride with a HRM chest belt. I am clear for 110% workouts. And back off at anything over 170. Now, I have spiked 180 on the bike, but not from actually excercising. I spiked from FEAR before a descent... (I crashed and broke my back on a fast descent 8 years ago...)

Yeah. I think about it. I'm 56, and have a better shot now of seeing many more birthdays...
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Old 10-25-19, 11:46 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
Nope. Everyone in my family dies of cancer. Our hearts are strong.
"Funny" thing ... as I mentioned I've got 2 damaged valves and arrythmia so I've always figured heart would be the big concern ... and then I was diagnosed with a couple different forms of cancer (pre-cancer). When I was told, I'm sitting there thinking ... NO! Heart is my thing ... not cancer!
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Old 10-26-19, 02:18 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
So, there are many reasons most of us ride and one of them is for health, physical and mental. But unfortunately , in our general age group (I am 55), cardiovascular disease can become an issue. Exercise is obviously very good for the cardiovascular system. But all the exertion that comes with a hard ride also does, to a certain extent, increase the risk of a cardiac event in those susceptible. Personally, if I die on my bike, I will be a happy man. My question is, given the potential heart risks and given age, do you ever worry while you are riding that you are working too hard? Like, dangerously hard? Do you ever back off a little because of that? I ask this because, the other day, I was on a quite tough climb and I was really, really working and it suddenly occurred to me--hey, you may be in good cycling shape, but you're not 30 anymore. Maybe you should chill out.

I kept going. But it got me to wondering whether I was the only older fella who ever thinks about these things. If so, how does it figure into your riding? Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.
I think about it all the time under the same circumstance and for the same reason. Even though I've never had any heart issues, I know there's no guarantees. Heart failure can happen to anyone, anytime at any age even when you feel you're in good condition.

Sometimes I'm toiling along really pushing it on those climbs or racing the transit to the next stop, and then suddenly have to remind myself I"m no spring chicken and back off.

Funny story: I try not to be a hypochondriac, but one night not too long ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a chest pain I believed was a heart attack. It really felt like I was being stabbed through the chest. I was preparing to call 911, but needed a glass of water first to clear my throat. Just when I drank the water I felt a pressure release and the pain went away. I realized it was gas. Take care of yourself.
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Old 10-26-19, 02:52 AM
  #56  
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Nope, I don't worry too much about my heart.

But I didn't worry about cancer until it happened to me. Mine was taken care of with surgery, no chemo. So far, so good, no recurrence.

I've had occasional cardiac oddities for as long as I can remember, and I've been physically fit most of my life. Various doctors at various times have mentioned a murmur, afib, arythmia, etc., but nothing ever shows up consistently on tests and none of 'em seemed too worried about it, including when I described my fitness and diet routines. Looking back and more recently at those occurrences of irregular heartbeats, etc, it usually coincides with stress -- anxiety, overwork, inadequate rest. Occasionally my BP and HR will spike for no particular reason, but usually it's within the normal range.

I'm pretty careful now about my fitness routine, including giving myself plenty of time to warm up. I need about an hour to warm up before my heart rate and blood pressure stabilize and I don't gas out on sprints or climbs. I join a few somewhat fast group rides a month, but if I'm not feeling it I'll drop out and go my own way at my own pace. On good days I can keep up pretty easily. A couple of weekends ago I had both experiences -- gassed out on our first cold morning, couldn't seem to get my legs working, couldn't keep up with a moderate 15 mph pace. The next morning I was fine with a 17-18 mph pace on a 35 mile ride. My only competition is the calendar and nobody beats that game. So I just do my own thing and wait for a better day.

My family doesn't really have any serious history of congenital heart defects or cancer. Most of the cardiac and respiratory maladies were related to smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Generally they withered away in their 70s and 80s from congestive heart failure.

A great aunt died of leukemia. My dad died after a long bout with prostate cancer that suddenly metastasized after we thought he'd beaten it. More than 10 years without too many problems, then he was gone in a month in his late 70s. But that's the only occurrence of cancer metastasizing in my family, that I can think of. A couple other folks had benign tumors, melanoma, nothing too unusual or too frequent considering the size of our large extended family -- I'm thinking of dozens of relatives and only a few instances.

I'm more worried about dementia and Parkinson's. Those occurred on my mom's side of the family.
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Old 10-26-19, 04:46 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Given that I've got 2 damaged valves and arrhythmia, and have had since I was 4 when I developed Rheumatic fever, I do worry about my heart now and then.


Rheumatic fever, jaundice, heart murmur when months old and now leaky valves, joints bone on bone, half a thyroid left, osteoporosis from DEXA, on guard regarding glaucoma, Dr. concerned about high cholesterol numbers since mother was high and on drugs, aggressive PCa (prostate cancer the killer kind) ------ but still vertical while awake.


Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post
I'm nearly 59, vegetarian since 2010 (iirc), eat organic when possible and bike 40+ miles most weeks... pushing the hills for what I'm worth! Got a bike late 2013 as a hyper tensive clyde... no longer....


Taking good-ish to best care of myself... no worries....


I've been on heart healthy-cancer preventing diet -- veggies-fish-turkey-spices for decades, never smoked, minimal alcohol, no excess weight since '80's, loved hills when living back north, 100 mile/day rides 1 to 3 times/week, marathons, Ironman triathlons adding up to my above post results at age 69 now.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:19 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by fly135 View Post
Although this isn't directly relevant to your question, I was listening to an article on the radio talking about top tier cyclists needing to have a HR monitor with an alarm while they sleep. Apparently their resting HR is so low that they can die in their sleep. When their HR drops too low the alarm goes off and they have to start exercising to increase their HR.

I'm relatively new to biking and ride a torque sensing mid drive ebike that allows me to get just the exercise I want. Although I am very athletic for my age (63), I'm not a fan of stressing my heart too much. I have no real scientific reason behind it. Just a gut feeling that it isn't as good for your general health as many might think.
Gut feelings and cyclists dying in their sleep from too much exercise.
Good stuff
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Old 10-26-19, 07:08 AM
  #59  
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Besides maybe drinking a bit too much on rare occasion, I'm a vegetarian that pedals four days a week, so I don't worry about it.
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Old 10-26-19, 07:10 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
A few warning signs to watch out for while riding:
  • feeling light-headed, dizzy, or fainting
  • very fast racing heart beat
  • chest pain or tightness
These are signs that something could be very wrong with your heart. Get it checked out.
hmmmm. . . . I get two of those three symptoms every time I ride.
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Old 10-26-19, 07:23 AM
  #61  
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Worry about my heart-no. But I do keep an eye on general overall health. Stopped drinking and smoking decades ago. My wife makes certain we eat healthy foods. Annual physical. Probably in better health at 68 than I was at 38. I do find myself getting a bit more tired quicker when mountain biking (yeah that can happed at 68-surprise!). Don't have much comparison for how I do road riding now vs. past, as until 13 yrs ago, was strictly an off-road rider. I did have a stress test once when I drank alcohol and smoked heavily, amazing that all was OK then. It could only be better now, as life style these days is considerably healthier than past.
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Old 10-26-19, 08:05 AM
  #62  
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Tons of quotable posts in this thread. I don't "worry" about heart issues having had multiple cardiac workups and regular blood work over the years. I'm pushing 64 for cryin' outside, half dead. I worry more about quality of life matters like arthritis, failing hearing and eyesight, and the fact that both of my parents spent their last years in a nursing home with dementia. Been clean and sober the last 30 years. Lose weight, pedal as much as I can stand, get regular checkups, croak. Now where daheck did I put those cone wrenches. Maybe in the freezer.
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Old 10-26-19, 08:15 AM
  #63  
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@FBOATSB, Dementia is a horrible way to go. I am sorry about your parents.
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Old 10-26-19, 08:24 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Gut feelings and cyclists dying in their sleep from too much exercise.
Good stuff
Yeah I know... The crazy things that people believe. BTW, have you met Jesus?
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Old 10-26-19, 02:57 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
So, there are many reasons most of us ride and one of them is for health, physical and mental. But unfortunately , in our general age group (I am 55), cardiovascular disease can become an issue. Exercise is obviously very good for the cardiovascular system. But all the exertion that comes with a hard ride also does, to a certain extent, increase the risk of a cardiac event in those susceptible. Personally, if I die on my bike, I will be a happy man. My question is, given the potential heart risks and given age, do you ever worry while you are riding that you are working too hard? Like, dangerously hard? Do you ever back off a little because of that? I ask this because, the other day, I was on a quite tough climb and I was really, really working and it suddenly occurred to me--hey, you may be in good cycling shape, but you're not 30 anymore. Maybe you should chill out.

I kept going. But it got me to wondering whether I was the only older fella who ever thinks about these things. If so, how does it figure into your riding? Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.
I've never though about my heart while riding, I just think about going out having fun. I like to do regular what I call thigh burner climbs at 20-30% grades for fun, I love suffering. I really enjoy going out and pushing a hard and don't figure I'll stop anytime soon.
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Old 10-26-19, 04:59 PM
  #66  
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I do not. My BP is great, BPM is normal, no chest pain. I ride a lot and keep a pretty good pace and sometimes really push it.
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Old 10-27-19, 09:20 PM
  #67  
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To answer the OP's question directly and succinctly, "No." I worry far more about being hit by some clown yakking or texting on the cellphone. I do not have any consistent family history of heart problems. Yes, I do know that people who live right, eat right, and exercise right are still known to have heart attacks, but many of them do have a genetic predisposition. We do the best with the hand we are dealt.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:11 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
So, there are many reasons most of us ride and one of them is for health, physical and mental. But unfortunately , in our general age group (I am 55), cardiovascular disease can become an issue. Exercise is obviously very good for the cardiovascular system. But all the exertion that comes with a hard ride also does, to a certain extent, increase the risk of a cardiac event in those susceptible. Personally, if I die on my bike, I will be a happy man. My question is, given the potential heart risks and given age, do you ever worry while you are riding that you are working too hard? Like, dangerously hard? Do you ever back off a little because of that? I ask this because, the other day, I was on a quite tough climb and I was really, really working and it suddenly occurred to me--hey, you may be in good cycling shape, but you're not 30 anymore. Maybe you should chill out.

I kept going. But it got me to wondering whether I was the only older fella who ever thinks about these things. If so, how does it figure into your riding? Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.
Just my 2 cents.

At 63 I worry a bit. I have had this conversation with my doc a few times. He simply says that we are doing what we can to monitor your cardio health. I ask him about blockages and he tells me that I would not be able to ride 3+ hours on a bike if I had blockages. At 63 it sometimes bothers me.

With that, I have ridden with a HR monitor for at least 6 years now. One thing for sure, know your max heart rate. Number 2, know how many matches you can burn during a ride before you bonk out. My match burning HR is 140. I know if I go over 140, that is a match burned. I give myself 6 matches. So, I do pay attention to my monitor.

If you manage your HR and are managing your cardio health like blood pressure etc, then there is not much else you can do. By all means though, get a HR monitor.

john
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Old 10-28-19, 01:15 PM
  #69  
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I could write a book on this topic

Having by the grace of God survived a widow maker heart attack and subsequent open heart surgery, I am of course acutely in tune with my heart. I am now 20 years post open-heart, and had zero issues for the first 18 of those years. Two years ago I was sitting in my recliner when I felt something odd. I looked at my wife and said honey, I dont know what just happened, but something has changed with my heart. The next day I could only walk two blocks before feeling that all too familiar pressure in my chest.

Two weeks later I was having a heart cath and sure enough, there was significant blockage in two arteries. The original by-passed artery was still as clean as a whistle though. The most dangerous thing however was that a piece of plaque had broken loose in an artery and had wedged itself at a 45 deg angle in the artery, basically cutting off 95% of the blood flow in that artery. That was the something that had changed with my heart I had felt. My Cardiologist told me I might have had three more weeks on this earth had I not been so in tune with what was happening.

Basically, I know my limits with how far I can go with exercise. Some of that is controlled by medicine, as my heart rate limit can only go so high because of a medication I take. The bottom line here is that everyone should pay close attention to their heart whenever they exert themselves. As my father told me when I was a little boy,if you feel like anything is not just right, get it checked out. Had he heeded his own advice perhaps he would not have died from heart disease at just 50 years of age. Trust me on this, none of you are Superman or Superwoman. You might wear the cape, but you are still susceptible to the ravages of heart disease, heredity or not.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:22 PM
  #70  
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Sure I think about that. I worry for DH too.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:24 PM
  #71  
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No. In fact I enjoy pushing.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:35 PM
  #72  
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I don't really worry about it. One of the reasons I don't worry about it is that I've been cycling walking, skiing etc. all my adult life. In 1956, the cardiologist Paul Dudley White identified the sedentary lifestyle of post war America as one of the causes of heart disease, and he recommended cycling and other forms of exercise as preventative methods.

So far so good...
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Old 10-28-19, 02:06 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
If you manage your HR and are managing your cardio health like blood pressure etc, then there is not much else you can do. By all means though, get a HR monitor.

john
Not being critical but if you don't have a specific recommendation from a doctor what is the point of a hr monitor? I know some people train with one but say you've never had a heart issue, what would the numbers even mean?
The way I understand it, if your heart is n good shape you can push it all you want, within reason, including hitting your max hr.

I've also heard people say that a hr monitor is useless for protecting yourself, again if you don't have a specific problem.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:12 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I just finished a book entitled The Haywire Heart - How Too much exercise can kill you, and what you can do to protect your heart.

It's written by athlete cardiologists and Lennard Zinn, who many may know from his books and technical articles on cycling.

It has lots of actionable information for the masters athlete.

If you're a cyclist with concerns about your cardio health, I highly recommend getting a copy. It's available from velopress.

Here's a review of the book from cardiologist and athlete Larry Creswell, MD.
Read that. It's a good book, but does more than a bit of scare-mongering. I've been riding with ultra-cyclists and just plain hard-riding folks for 20 years. We've had two riders develop Afib. One is an ultra-cyclist with a wall full of medals, the other is a runner/cyclist who ran a 4:11 mile in his early 20's and kept up that level of training until his mid-70s when he was still one of the fastest riders I've had the pleasure to paceline with.. So yeah, it's possible to overdo it, but it takes absolutely incredible dedication. Those of you who have ridden at that level for a couple decades should take note and maybe back it off. For the rest of us, have at it all you want - very unlikely that you have the physiology to enable that level of stress for long enough to cause any damage.

I've always ridden with a bit of moderation. IOW I ride myself into the ground regularly, driving my HR as high as it will go for extended periods, panting like I'm being pursued by lions, but I don't do that all the time and I recover well from those bouts. Recovery is the key to avoiding long-term damage, and also the key to getting fast. Anyone can train hard, what's hard to do is to recover adequately between bouts. At 74, I can still do long endurance rides in the mountains and finish well up in the pack and feeling good. That said, there's a lot to learn about what you're doing w/r to training and your health. Read everything you can get your hands on.

About getting a full heart workup: I've had one because I had something odd happen to me during a very hard bike tour, more like a stage race really, but at 70+. Mostly I was just vastly overcooked, way beyond my previous experience. I couldn't get my HR over 105 no matter what I did and was panting like crazy even going relatively slowly. Anyway, that was a good enough story to get my insurance to pay for the workup. The cardiologist found that I had the physiology and aerobic conditioning of a fit 40 year-old, but had a lot of calcium built up in my coronary arteries. My research revealed that a high "calcium score" is very common among endurance athletes for unknown reasons. However for this group, a high score is not predictive of a heart attack, in fact the opposite. We are less likely to have heart problems.

I don't take a statin and have no heart issues. I do get some chest pain, but that's just normal lung pain, nothing to worry about. If you go hard enough, your lungs will hurt. Just how it is.

A HRM is a good idea. It's good to know what your heart is doing. I also use a power meter for cycling. Using both together is very informative.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FlRon View Post
Trust me on this, none of you are Superman or Superwoman. You might wear the cape, but you are still susceptible to the ravages of heart disease, heredity or not.
I think we all know that. Heart disease is still the number 1 cause of death.

I agree with getting things checked out but as I have whined about on this forum before, I haven't had a lot of success with doctors.

I'm sorry you have had such problems and I wish you luck with that going forward.
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