Exercise and stress with Aortic Aneurysm

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Lucky13

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
5
Location
California, USA
Ok Guys I'm confused with all the differing views. I have very similar experiences that you guys have. My cardiologists gave me no restrictions but my surgeon and nurse practitioner reprimanded me in regard to lifting over 200#'s for deadlifts/squats. The surgeon told me that lifting places too much strain on the aorta. I have upcoming surgery to correct my BAV and aorta. I have very severe leakage due to the enlarged aorta/BAV. I've been doing Crossfit for apprx 7 years. I'm 49 and tailor the workouts to my ability. Going forward I will adjust my workouts by limiting the weight. But I'm uncertain what the correct weight would be. Especially for cleans and snatches. I just like to have a good workout. I enjoy weights more than long cardio exercises. My ADHDism can't handle a long run/bike! Impressed with TheGymGuy but granted I'm older and never plan to pick up that much weight. My wife is worried I will do damage post op. I guess the morale of the story is that everyone is different and just be smart. Don't over do it and don't think you're invincible.
 

AZ Don

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Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
721
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Lucky13,
I think most Dr's agree on limitations when there is an aortic aneurysm. What really caught my attention is that a Yale study of aortic dissections found that 2/3's of those in the study were coincident with physical or emotional stress, and many anuerysm's were well below the surgical criteria. I suggest you take it pretty easy until you are cleared after the surgery. After the surgery and recovery (about 3 months), many Dr's will say no restrictions. Some will still suggest restrictions because of the risk of another aneurysm.

Taking it easy means different things to different people. Post surgery, at least for now, I am limiting myself to a weight that I can lift at least 25 times and slow down if my heart rate goes above 145. Pre-surgery I stopped lifting and kept my heart rate below 120.
 

Agian

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Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
2,341
Location
Adelaide, South Australia
The concern with lifting weights is that it increases blood pressure, which is the real issue. Keeping you BP low gives you more room to move. If something raises your BP by 20 and you're already sitting on 140/90, then this is not a good thing. If your BP is 100/60 and it goes up by 20, it's no big deal.

I've lifted for years, but now I've gone very low weight. It's just not worth the extra anxiety. I'm a middle-aged git now and looking 'buff' is not one of my major priorities.
 

TheGymGuy

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Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
994
Location
Rockville, MD
If I can put in my 2 cents and you know what they are, your limitations are mostly in your head. I truly believe in the power of belief. For some of us surgeons replace all that they can to hopefully avoid future surgeries, for others they are more conservative and only replace what they must, so each of us has a very unique case. All of this comes with considerations of age, abilities, health history, etc. Though, when it comes to being healthy and strong we are all the same. The healthier and stronger you are the longer you will live and the better you will feel. Think about how nice it feels to be fit and in reasonable shape.
I don't have to site the multitude of studies that show that being physically active is better than not. Yes this sentence was generic on purpose ;) Show me a study that says exercise is bad for you and that it shortens your life-span or reduces your happiness.

Lucky13, determining what you can do is only up to you. You know how to push yourself given that you have been x-fitting for years. Make your goal health and longevity and remember that nothing worthwhile comes easy. If you are to continue your regimen you will need to take small risks, and push yourself a little bit. Your body will tell you when to stop.
 

Beekind

New member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
3
Location
Philadelphia PA
Thank you for all the good info. Last year I had a TIA, lost eyesight in left eye for 2minutes only, sight came back all tests in hospital said no stroke. I have been in the waiting room for 3 years now (67 yr old) with a bicuspid aortic valve, stenosis and with ascending aortic aneurysm at 3.9. What happens to me is I love to garden, so out I go to cut back my bushes with 10lb electric hedge cutter. If I work for 30 minutes and rest for 15 minutes I’m ok to continue. But if I go for 45 to 60 minutes I am breathing heavy, thinking I am going to pass out, lay down and BP goes way down to 90/40 with pulse at 110 to 120. (Resting pulse is normally 60, BP 120/78). I tell the doc and he says, stop at 30 minutes and rest and repeat. I get so scared I want to stop everything but walking flat surfaces for no longer than an hour and forget the garden! My fear is a dissection of the aneurysm or passing out because the valve can’t keep up. This is no way to live! My aortic valve area shows at 1.35cm2, so I will be waiting longer for valve replacement and or ascending aortic repair. Any other women out there have similar response to physical labor with this type of diagnosis? If so how do you cope and learn to not worry? Thanks for all your input, this place has helped me feel that I am not alone.
 

Margot

New member
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
4
Location
Atlanta GA
I'm very surprised you are being asked to wait for a valve replacement. I was actually in a similar situation: bicuspid aortic valve with increasing stenosis. I went to another cardiologist for other reasons. He gave me a stress test and said - whoa, it's time. The waiting created a 4.1 ascending aortic aneurysm. Another opinion can't hurt.
 

Protimenow

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Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
4,010
Location
California
Beekind -- I don't think that you had a TIA (and medical tests confirmed this). The temporary blindness could be a reaction to a drug. (I know two others besides me who have taken Zyrtec and experiences similar reactions - temporary 'blindness', often numbness in a finger or two, numbness in the lips or tongue, and other infrequent neurologic symptoms). Is it possible that you took Zyrtec when this happened?
I know these things are scary as hell -- but they resolve, and they aren't TIAs (at least, my experience and that of the two others who I know, they aren't).
As far as activity is concerned, there's not a lot I can say - push yourself a bit, but don't get overly tired. Before I had my AVR, I didn't have much endurance, my skin would turn white if I was too active, and I was looking forward to finally fixing the valve problem. (When I asked my doctor 'how sick do I have to be (to need the surgery)?' he agreed that it was time.
 

Beekind

New member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
3
Location
Philadelphia PA
Thank you for your input. I got a second opinion from a cardiologist back in 2016 when I got my first report. I was disturbed that the new Dr wanted to put me on a statin, which I didn’t need because my numbers were excellent already. So I went back to the original Dr who is very conservative. He is a good listener and we make decisions together, plus he knows I won’t always agree with him and he accepts that. However he will push me if he thinks he is right, i.e. raising my BP meds to keep my BP lower. I went along with that one.

My next echocardiogram is in October, we do them yearly. At that time we will compare my numbers and discuss. My Dr has said on one occasion that he wants me to wait as long as possible because the surgery technique and general knowledge changes so quickly concerning valve replacement and aorta repair. I just saw a story today on making 3D valve replacements customized to your heart....amazing! So here I sit in the waiting room, meditating on the meaning of life.
 

rocknrudy311

New member
Joined
Sep 22, 2022
Messages
1
Location
Corpus Christi
I'm 45, I've been lifting weights since my teens, done cardio, used to smoke VERY briefly, diet wasn't always great. In 2019, I found out I had a 4.3 aneurysm of the ascending thoracic aorta. It freaked me out. However, out of sight, out of mind, I kept lifting heavy.

In 2021, I had another scan, it read my aneurysm measured at 4.1 (I don't think it shrunk, perhaps just read differently?). I began doing very intense HIIT workouts, lifting heavy workouts with little rest, started eating more beef, full fat dairy, my cholesterol was high, and I've been studying for the CPA exam, which stresses the hell out of me.

Then, this year 2022, it read 4.4. Really freaked me out. I noticed in my notes, that I've had this aneurysm since 2017, when it was 4.1. This time around, it has really changed me. I've implemented my workouts entirely around walking pretty much. I've done a couple of workout sessions with dumbbells with about half of what I was lifting before with more reps. However, lately I haven't done any weights. I'm just scared of what to do. I don't see a Cardiologist until October 2022 (a month away).

For now, I've stopped eating beef, pork, all dairy, started taking a statin to lower my cholesterol, and like I said, integrated walking as my main workout routine. I sold my squat rack, bought a treadmill, and I'm just lost about what workout routine is good for me. I love lifting, but scared to do so BEFORE I see my Cardiologist. Even though I'm in no way a huge guy, I hate the thought of losing muscle, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
 
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