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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

Old 02-05-20, 11:24 PM
  #176  
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I have a 8 stents, but a completely blocked LAD, and RCA blockage with a stent-within-a-stent. Both the RCA and the LAD stents scarred up and blocked after several years - the LAD is a lost cause and the RCA was restented. At some point I did some damage to the left side of my heart likely from the LAD blockage from after a strenuous ride (before I knew of the scarring blockage of the stents).

Apparently my LAD was a runt from birth, so the collateral arteries from the RCA have built up over time and provide some supply to the left side of my heart - otherwise I would be dead. If my RCA goes, I am toast. A heart surgeon told me go ahead and ride as hard as you want as it will build the collaterals. That was bad advice that resulted in the damage. I feel it on rides some, so I take it easy now.

I have beat cancer (16 years) and there is a history of Alzheimer disease in my family. Croaking on a ride would not be be the worst way to leave this world.
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Old 02-06-20, 11:43 AM
  #177  
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Yes, I also have heart problems at age 71. Blockage in one artery and a dilated ascending aorta. The latter has not changed in size since it was found 10 years ago but sudden exertions and anything that jumps the blood pressure up suddenly is verboten. LDL levels low. HDL levels high. My BP is usually around 100/70, low enough I may get dizzy when I bend down to set a golf tee. They said bike riding was OK. I just shoveled the driveway and 200' of walk, but it was only 1" of snow. If we get heart attack snow, I know it will melt if I wait.

My biking is cruising anyway, and it's also 90% electric, but I still work up a sweat. Lost 20 pounds five years ago when I started bikiing again and kept most of it off.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:54 PM
  #178  
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Nope! 57 and no heart problem. For 20 years every doctor I have visited asks what I do because my heart is really strong.

When I was in real good shape, I could ride and climb and never feel my heart was a factor. Older, fatter, slower, still don't feel much strain on my heart.

Always been that my legs would fail before my heart ever started to stress.

So I don't worry about a heart attack. I guess I worry more about a leg attack.
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Old 02-07-20, 05:42 PM
  #179  
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No heart worries! no meds. of any kind!! 55 1/2 been at this sport on/off for almost 50 years. I live in Texas and every year my body is tested against this harsh, hot environment. Be smart and train within your limits and know your body.
Many happy miles to ya'a''!!
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Old 02-07-20, 06:57 PM
  #180  
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
Nope! 57 and no heart problem. For 20 years every doctor I have visited asks what I do because my heart is really strong.

When I was in real good shape, I could ride and climb and never feel my heart was a factor. Older, fatter, slower, still don't feel much strain on my heart.

Always been that my legs would fail before my heart ever started to stress.

So I don't worry about a heart attack. I guess I worry more about a leg attack.
Definitely not trying to rain on your parade, but being asymptomatic is no proof without some tests and without symptoms none may be ordered. I had zero symptoms, ever. Broke my left femur on vacation 500+ miles from home in a semi-remote area of our state. They did some preoperative tests and uncovered a blocked artery. I elected to go ahead with the surgery and was advised to follow-up at home.. which I did. Great, small 17 bed hospital in Michigan's U.P. by the way. Result at home, the blocked artery could not be reached. Another partially blocked artery was stented. Still no symptoms of any kind. Just saying.
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Old 02-08-20, 12:08 AM
  #181  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Definitely not trying to rain on your parade, but being asymptomatic is no proof without some tests and without symptoms none may be ordered. I had zero symptoms, ever. Broke my left femur on vacation 500+ miles from home in a semi-remote area of our state. They did some preoperative tests and uncovered a blocked artery. I elected to go ahead with the surgery and was advised to follow-up at home.. which I did. Great, small 17 bed hospital in Michigan's U.P. by the way. Result at home, the blocked artery could not be reached. Another partially blocked artery was stented. Still no symptoms of any kind. Just saying.
Similar with me. I had some pain in the center of my chest at 60 yrs. I didn't think it was my heart but my doctor ordered a stress test anyways and I failed. I had two major blockage, turns out , eventually years later, they found I had an esophageal hernia that was causing the pain in my chest. Lucky. Saved my life for awhile I guess. I have always had high cholesterol and excessively high triglycerides though, but was asymptomatic and in good shape from riding. Good thing that femur break!
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Old 02-08-20, 08:25 PM
  #182  
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I don't worry at all, I let my Dr. do that. They do all of these tests and they always come back with results that "need watching" but aren't at all serious. So they keep watching and they don't get worse. I did a stress test a few weeks ago and they are grilling me about my activities, how I feel, shortness of breath, etc... I always tell them the same thing: If you aren't short of breath when climbing a hill you aren't riding hard enough. My HR regularly exceeds 180 when I ride, yet they turn off the treadmill when I hit 135. That's barely a warm up. End diagnosis, I'm fine. Keep riding.
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Old 02-10-20, 09:51 AM
  #183  
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I agree if you must go, go like Simpson. "Put me back on my bike"
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Old 02-10-20, 10:02 AM
  #184  
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Originally Posted by cbuddy2005 View Post
No heart worries! no meds. of any kind!! 55 1/2 been at this sport on/off for almost 50 years. I live in Texas and every year my body is tested against this harsh, hot environment. Be smart and train within your limits and know your body.
Many happy miles to ya'a''!!
Only one more thing: your body is not static. It is in constant change, so in order to know your body you must listen to it every day and recognize new limitations.
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Old 02-10-20, 04:53 PM
  #185  
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This thread has been an informative and interesting read! At 62 I have never worried about my heart. I mountain bike 3-4 times a week and regularly push my BPM into the 160s and typically over the 12 mile trail I usually ride, I will average out to around 148-155 for the duration. I always feel great afterwards. No pains, no tightness, no nothing. Just a pure endorphin buzz that puts me in a great mood.

So I got a physical about a month ago and as I was pulling up my britches after the pleasantries of the prostate exam, the Doc was typing up my stuff and asked if anything was on my mind before we wrapped up. I told him of two mountain bikers in their 50s who have died of heart attacks out on the trails in the past year. Being an orphan I have no family history to reference and asked what I could do to know my own heart outlook. He referred me for a Calcium Scoring evaluation but noted that since there was no probable cause for one to give my insurance company, I would have to pay out of pocket. I opted to do this.

While I was awaiting my appointment, my physical results came in. Flying colors across the board with the exception of my LDL (Bad Cholesterol) which has been on the higher end of normal for a couple of years now, occasionally going above normal by just a bit. His write up said "Keep up the good work! Good readings all around. LDL Cholesterol remains a bit high but is not a major concern given other risk factors. I do recommend a diet more abundant in fruits and vegetables and less red meat."

If I had not requested the Calcium Scoring, I would have been blissfully ignorant with this.

So...how did the Calcium Scoring go? Not good. I got the results yesterday and have been referred to a Cardiologist. Completely freaked out! The results are below. The 357 is the freak out generator. Given my fitness level, everyone is shocked. No one is more shocked than I am however. My diet has never been that unhealthy although I do like my steaks. I did spend 38 years in corporate hell where my cortisol was probably pegged more often than not. My wife is so freaked out she wants me to stop riding until we know more. Seeing a cardiologist on Thursday. I'm sure the first visit will accomplish nothing other than deciding what will take place on the second visit.

1) TOTAL CORONARY CALCIUM SCORE IS 525. The score is at the at the 88th percentile according to the MESA database.

CORONARY ARTERY SCORE
Left Main Artery (LMA) 13
Left Anterior Descending (LAD) 155
Left Circumflex (LCX) 357
Right Coronary (RCA) 0

Last edited by Joe F; 02-10-20 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-10-20, 05:34 PM
  #186  
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Calcium score is not a be all, end all. Here's an article you might find interesting:
https://www.runnersworld.com/health-...your-arteries/
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Old 02-10-20, 07:26 PM
  #187  
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I recently had a Calcium Cardiac Cat Scan on the recommendation of my primary care physician. I had been having chest and left arm discomfort for 2 weeks which Prilosec wasn't handling. Like Joe F, I flunked it (my score was a 266). Within a few hours of the test, a cardiologist from the hospital that did the test called me at work and urged me to proceed directly to an ER due to a family history of cardiac issues and my chest discomfort.

I spent the night in the hospital and had a heart catheterization the next morning. They found very mild arteriosclerosis, with the worst occlusion being 25%, and no stents installed. They also found I had a congenital myocardial bridge, which occurs in a small percentage of the population. The Cardiologist said that the arteriosclerosis was pretty normal for a 58 year old and that the myocardial bridge was likely not causing me any issues as I am able to exercise fairly vigorously without getting out of breath. 7000 dollars later and 3 months later, I still have the chest and arm pain, but they say it's not my ticker.

So I found that article by the previous poster about runners calcium cat scan scores to be very interesting as well. I used to be a long distance runner prior to developing hip arthritis and switching to cycling.
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Old 02-10-20, 08:21 PM
  #188  
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Thanks you two previous posters. That gives me a glimmer of hope! I guess I will start to unravel this Thursday with my first ever cardiologist appointment. Just still in a bit of shock that after getting good marks on my physical, this test that I asked for in spite of my Dr saying it wasn't warranted resulted in me getting referred to a cardiologist for follow-up. I tear around the trails keeping up with guys half my age and never have any symptoms of any kind. Oh well. Hopefully the uncertainty will be resolved positively soon enough. I guess it's good that it's going to rain here all week. Gives me an excuse not to ride so my wife will stay calm.
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Old 02-10-20, 10:14 PM
  #189  
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I'm going for a calcium test next week on the recommendation of my cardiologist. I was also told I'd have to pay out of pocket. I have no particular complaints, and so far I've completely checked out OK. Just another test to endure.
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Old 02-10-20, 10:21 PM
  #190  
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I got to freak my doctors out about my heart. My heartburn I have had all my life was getting worse and I found it made my left arm hurt a lot) but I had torn muscles and my rotator cuff on that arm) and I knew it was not a heart attack but its sure got my doctors worrying. They wanted me to run to the emergency room but I said I would go to urgent care when it opened. one egg and later a stress test and the heart is fine but for some extra beats now and again. Arm still hurts when my esophagus hurts (thats often but getting better) Burt it too that to actually get them to listen to me how bad my heartburn was.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:31 AM
  #191  
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Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
Calcium score is not a be all, end all. Here's an article you might find interesting:
https://www.runnersworld.com/health-...your-arteries/
Yes. I also have a high calcium score but good cholesterol scores and low BP, usually ~115/70. Morning resting HR ~48, standing ~55. I don't worry about it. One of those things where more testing isn't necessarily in one's best interest. For those who are not long term endurance athletes though, it's otherwise. I'm sure as heck not going to stop riding the way I want to ride. I am careful about recovery however and take anti-inflammatories.
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Old 02-12-20, 02:34 PM
  #192  
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One somewhat contradictory aspect of the "brave new digital-diagnostic medical world" is the volume of information a person is exposed to as each and every one of us nears the end of our lives.

Most of us can have all kinds of tests with pages of results out the wahzoo - but none of us can be sure the information we take away from these diagnosticss and the strategy we may or may not pursue will always make the quality of our whole life better.

Careful for the longevity your chasing - you may get it - but end up in a situation you wish you had "checked out" of. ;-)
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Old 02-12-20, 03:38 PM
  #193  
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I had to see a cardiologist prior to my weight loss surgery I had Oct 2018. Down 140 or so pounds from my heaviest. But the sleep doc and the cardiologist scared the crap out of me. My cholesterol numbers were sliding the wrong way, I was always out of breath, retaining water, 105+ resting heart rate, high blood pressure and advancing A1C numbers... I was not in good shape and getting worse rapidly.

CPAP changed some of that. Agressive water pill regimen helped, Cardiologist put me in her cardiac rehab gym program because I was headed for a heart attack. She was very surprised that my Ejection Fraction score was 67 (70 or so is nearly perfect). Six months after surgery she had me in for a Coronary Calcium CT Scan. At which she was surprised by a perfect ZERO. And frankly, I can't even tell you how I didn't have a high score. High cholesterol runs in my family, though heart disease does not...

Still working on me, my cholesterol numbers are much better. My BP is averaging 105/65, and NO meds. Resting HR is typically 56-64... A1C is 5.0. And I'm on a much lower pressure setting with my CPAP, with a potential to not need it in a year or so. I'm OK with my weight, what I weighed 19 years ago when I retired from the Navy, and 2 pant sizes smaller than then. But, I would be better if I could lose another 25-40 pounds. My surgeon, my cardiologist and my GP doc all agree, I wasn't going to see 60 the way I was going... My wife is disabled, and along the way, I forgot to take care of MYSELF.
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Old 02-12-20, 04:22 PM
  #194  
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Originally Posted by Baboo View Post
Iíve had 4 heart attacks none of them were while exercising. 3 of them were when either sitting down or laying down one was while driving. I was an active bike rider during all of that time, most recent was 2 months ago. I do have coronary artery disease itís mostly from genetics (high cholesterol). They have occurred at about nine year intervals with no symptoms before the event. The last one was several months after a dye test in the cath. lab that didnít show a problem that would trigger a repair. For me itís just a ticking time bomb but I donít worry about high levels of exercise triggering one.
As my electro cardiologist told me ďIíve never heard of a heart exploding! Keep riding unless you feel pain or dizziness.Ē Iím 79, had two ablations, five cardioversions and now have a pacemaker due to low resting HR with pauses.
I ride 75-100 miles per week at about 14-15 mph av. Unless told otherwise, keep going!!
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Old 02-12-20, 04:27 PM
  #195  
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For an overall healthy person with a healthy heart, there is almost nil risk to the heart from exercise. There is, however, substantial benefits to the heart and other parts of the body obtained from exercise. (For the heart, especially aerobic exercise.)
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Old 02-13-20, 07:35 AM
  #196  
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Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
Calcium score is not a be all, end all. Here's an article you might find interesting:
https://www.runnersworld.com/health-...your-arteries/
+1
Google: ďGCN heart healthĒ for more info.
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Old 02-13-20, 03:31 PM
  #197  
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I thought I'd follow-up on my earlier post about the freak out after getting my Calcium Score results. As others have noted, it did turn out to be a bit of a "The sky is falling" scenario. I am just back from my consultation with a Cardiologist. I think he actually rolled his eyes at Calcium Scoring and made some comments about the uptick in panicked first timers he sees during February (American Heart Health Month).

After review of all my blood work from my recent physical, performing an EKG and hearing about my mountain biking experience as well as observing my fitness level, he decided not to even schedule me for a stress test. He noted that Calcium Scoring is not..as someone above noted, the "be all end all". He was completely unconcerned and suggested I be the same. He told me to hit the trail once the rain clears out tomorrow and feel free to continue to push my BPM as high as I felt comfortable with and enjoy my life. He did note that my LDL cholesterol has been on the high side for a few years now and that it would be of great benefit to pull it down. He gave me the choice of trying to approach it through a diet/lifestyle change or jump start it via a daily Lipitor pill at bedtime. I did get the prescription as a precaution, but am going to do a bit more research on lowering cholesterol naturally. I do know that I eat wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too much red meat so that is likely a good place to start.

Really looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight having these answers. He seemed ticked that GPs recommend these Calcium tests so casually without patients being given an immediate understanding about what their numbers really mean in light of so many other factors. I asked him if after making some diet changes and hopefully bringing down my cholesterol a bit over the coming year I should take the test again next year. He said it would be a waste of time and whether my calcium numbers had improved or worsened would be largely irrelevant without getting the total picture like we had just done.

So...there ya have it. Think I might ride my local trail twice tomorrow!

Last edited by Joe F; 02-14-20 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:30 PM
  #198  
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Joe F - glad to hear you're okay!
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Old 02-15-20, 07:48 PM
  #199  
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i should worry. i retired in oct 2015....had a heart attack dec 21,2015. i live in a very rural area. the western mountains of maine. population 800. my wife was down river taking care of her mother, so it was me and the dog. i knew i was going to have the attack, so i put the dog out and loaded the pellet stove..... had the attack, let the dog in, and drove to the health center. ended up having 3 stents put in. and a whole list of do's and dont's which i have ignored. so now 5 years later i am buying a bike to again ride the trails and logging roads in my mountains. i am not worried about my heart. no matter what, i can deal with it. i am old enough to follow my body (i hope). worry is the worst thing i can do to myself i think.
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Old 02-16-20, 09:49 AM
  #200  
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Iím getting to the age (52) to where, itís not that I worry, but you think about it.

One thing I donít fully understand is that it seems like the best way to determine if someone is at risk, is to ďlookĒ at the coronary arteries for signs of blockage. But, I guess due to the cost of these procedures, they are not part of routine examinations. Again, I donít know much about it, but it seems that itís after someone had symptoms (or worse) of heart trouble, that they actually do the tests to see the blockages.
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