Exercising with various aort problems

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Swawe

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Jul 30, 2022
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Turkey
Hello,

I am 19 years old diagnosed with Bicuspid Aort Valve Type 1, Aort Stenosis (Mild-Medium), Aort regurgitation (Mild) and Septum Hypertrophy (Mild). I really want to exercise(to lift weights). Can i exercise without harming myself by keeping the intensity low with weights and controlling my heart rate and breathing? Thank you for your time and interest!
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hi

Can i exercise without harming myself by keeping the intensity low with weights and controlling my heart rate and breathing?

basically the answer is yes and yes you should. I bolded the words I felt important in what I quoted.

Now really you should be asking your team if you are able to do this (but your description suggests the answer is yes). You will probably need to disreguard anything a gym instructor says to you about intensity but listen and be guided about things like technique. Tell them your situation (some will be freaked, others you will find have a brain in their heads, although that's less common). Over time you'll come to learn the good ones from the dickheads.

I recommend that you also do some cardio work and I feel cycling (preferably also for transport) is ideal. You absolutely do want to develop a good healthy frame and cardiovascular system.

My advice is to not think about "what's the biggest thing I can lift" and instead focus on reps and endurance. You'll be guided by that in terms of choosing what weight you can do. For instance if you can do 3 sets of 20 reps with a weight then you can go up an amount, if you can't then it was too heavy.

Consider some other training which works on core such as planking , but assiduously avoid explosive high output stuff such as swinging around heavy kettle bells or CrossFit.

Consider taking up something like fencing or judo too!

Best Wishes
 

Swawe

New member
Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Turkey
Hi



basically the answer is yes and yes you should. I bolded the words I felt important in what I quoted.

Now really you should be asking your team if you are able to do this (but your description suggests the answer is yes). You will probably need to disreguard anything a gym instructor says to you about intensity but listen and be guided about things like technique. Tell them your situation (some will be freaked, others you will find have a brain in their heads, although that's less common). Over time you'll come to learn the good ones from the dickheads.

I recommend that you also do some cardio work and I feel cycling (preferably also for transport) is ideal. You absolutely do want to develop a good healthy frame and cardiovascular system.

My advice is to not think about "what's the biggest thing I can lift" and instead focus on reps and endurance. You'll be guided by that in terms of choosing what weight you can do. For instance if you can do 3 sets of 20 reps with a weight then you can go up an amount, if you can't then it was too heavy.

Consider some other training which works on core such as planking , but assiduously avoid explosive high output stuff such as swinging around heavy kettle bells or CrossFit.

Consider taking up something like fencing or judo too!

Best Wishes
Hello,
Thank you for your answer! I am so happy to learn that I can exercise!!!! Thank you! Is 12-15 rep range too low? And, Judo seems interesting :) I will check that. Thank you for your reply.

Sincerely
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
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10,285
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
I was given the feedback that 10-15 reps is ideal
its a vexed topic because
  1. doctors usually have zero idea about sports physiology, default to "wrap in cotton wool" management, take a zero risk analysis perspective and have never actually done any followup
  2. sports physiologists are (in the main) little more than parrots, have no knowledge of cardiovascular disease states and even less about the outcomes of hydraulic pressure.
So basically we are on our own and in the early days of probing best practice. My approach has been to proceed carefully and rely on the feedback of the yearly (or so) scans and visits.

Best Wishes
 

Gordo60

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Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
120
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Avoiding sudden and high increases in blood pressure is what it's all about.

See attached which is a useful start. They are being quite conservative with exertion recommendation which is likely in case big compound movements such as deadlifts and back squats are included in the program. These are unnecessary unless power lifting etc is the goal. There are many other safer substitutes (eg split squat and single leg romanian deadlift).

Single limb and isolation exercises can be trained at higher levels of exertion. The main thing is to avoid straining. Provided good form and steady rep speed is maintained a useful rule of thumb is to stop the set when the bar speed of the current rep slows noticeably compared to the previous rep. This puts you in the "effective" rep range for muscle growth without the risk of straining (= excessively high increase in blood pressure).

Training further away from technical failure to avoid straining can be compensated for by increasing volume (additional sets).

The great thing about this approach is that it's also much more joint friendly.
 

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Chuck C

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Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,652
Hi and welcome to the forum!

I really want to exercise(to lift weights). Can i exercise without harming myself by keeping the intensity low with weights and controlling my heart rate and breathing?

I would say yes, with the caveat to always defer to your cardiologist. Having said that, if I was bicuspid with only mild/moderate stenosis and mild regurgitation, and my cardiologist said to do no exercise, I would get a second opinion. Pre-surgery, I also had a bicuspid valve. While my arotic stenosis was in moderate stage, I exercised a lot and with some intensity. But, I avoided lifting heavy weights and especially things like squats or abdominal crunches that can increase the pressure inside your heart chambers signicantly and result in bursts of high blood pressure.

I can see no good medical reason not to participate in exercise and it is very important for our overall health, especially our cardio vascular health. When your day comes for surgery, which will likely be many years down the road, you want to go into surgery in good physical condition.

Thank you! Is 12-15 rep range too low? And, Judo seems interesting :) I will check that.

I think that doing 12-15 reps would be just fine. If you are lifting weights and can't do at least 10, I'd say that you're lifting too much weight. I do a lot of push ups and pull ups daily, so these are exercises with generally higher reps and lower weight. You can get really good results going high rep and I am of the opinion that it is better for our long term health, regardless of the fact that you have a valve condition. Also, you want to avoid straining and don't hold your breath when you lift. Judo is a great sport. You might also check out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which I have done for years.
 

Jerry D

Member
Joined
May 24, 2018
Messages
5
Location
Irvine, CA
I had a bicuspid aortic valve and had to have it replaced by open heart in May 2018 (cow valve). I was pretty active before that, racing outrigger canoes, biking, hiking, and lifting at the gym. Reading up about post-surgery exercise after the surgery, people would say that they could go back to playing golf after 3 months. I hate golf. Three months after my surgery I was back paddling a one-man outrigger canoe and coaching 6-man, but not racing. I was hiking (3-4 miles) and biking (10-12 miles.) I paddled throughout the winter season. I coached novice in 2019 and raced 6 Iron races (10-12 miles) in a 6-man, medaling 5 times. Pandemic halted coaching and racing in March 2020, but I coached 5 months in 2021 and did long racing pieces in the ocean, although there were only 3 sanctioned races all season and I did not race. I coached this year and raced Iron races in rocking water in the ocean. Last week and last night's practices were in pretty heavy seas for off the coast of SoCal and I steered a boat with only 4 paddlers and we rocked it. I just turned 73. What I don't do is heavy lifting, and since the pandemic I have not been back to the gym (petri dish, you know.) I have TRX straps and do 15-20 minutes of body weight and stretching exercises every morning. I do light kettlebell exercises (10 and 20 lbs.) 3 times a week or so. I gained 5 lbs. of weight after doctors put me on blood thinners (Xeralto) which I can't seem to get off no matter the diet and exercise. (I had ablation in December, developing A-fib and A-flutter after the open heart surgery.)

In short, there is a lot of exercise you can do to stay fit and active. You may not be able to lift heavy weight anymore because of the pressure on the heart (don't know if I should do it at my age, anyway), but you can stay very active and keep fit. Also, I strongly recommend going through cardiac rehab. It made a huge difference for me. I went to cardiac rehab starting 6 weeks after surgery and kept at it for 8 weeks until they felt I was stable, healed, and getting fit. I have a fellow paddler that had open heart for bypass and he went back to do cardiac rehab after not doing it at first. It made a big difference to him. The medical professionals/trainers at cardiac rehab bring you through increasingly more cardio and lifting and give you lots of counsel, all the time monitoring your heart and pulse.
 

ThomasM

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Jun 29, 2022
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Detroit Mi
Hello,

I am 19 years old diagnosed with Bicuspid Aort Valve Type 1, Aort Stenosis (Mild-Medium), Aort regurgitation (Mild) and Septum Hypertrophy (Mild). I really want to exercise(to lift weights). Can i exercise without harming myself by keeping the intensity low with weights and controlling my heart rate and breathing? Thank you for your time and interest!
I wouldn't take anybody's advice in here and run with it, this is a question for your doctors and nobody else. Nobody knows all the details of what's going on in your body and it would be foolish to suggest you can exercise or you cannot.
 
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