Ascending Aortic Aneurysm and Exercise
New to this, nervous (like everyone). 44YO male, 5'10", 195 lb, diagnosed with 4.3cm ascending aortic aneurysm last month. Doctors put me on beta blockers, resting BP around 128/70 since I started with them (it was over 140 before, but only in the last year did I see abnormally high BP). I go to the gym 5 times a week. Cardiologist told me to continue exercising, but not to lift over 100lb (I use machines, not freeweights, so I'm not lifting over 100lb anyway). But I'm curious about cardio as well – I go 3-4 miles on the elliptical 3-4 times a week, and I sweat. I'm sure my BP is raised while doing that. Is this healthy?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aortic Aneurysms Support Group.
Hi @bryanfox, thank you for sharing your story and success so far, as well as you concern about how cardio exercise could affect your ascending aortic aneurysm.
I'd like to tag @degarden_girl @laverne @crhp194 @rory @morninglory @jend @thegoodwife @thankful @ch246cf10 @debbydiane @janet26 @Drew944 @twocents @prward and @anniejam as they may be able to offer their opinions and may be able to offer support as you look to exercise safely.
Back to you @bryanfox did your cardiologist give you any guidelines for your cardio exercises?
Only weightlifting, nothing over 100lbs. He said cardio was ok when I got the diagnosis a few weeks ago, but in reading various forums since then, it seems like there should still be some sort of restrictions. Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but clearly cardio is going to raise BP, right?
@bryanfox Hi Bryan, You are much younger than I am and you are male so I think your weight lifting limits will be different than mine. You are on a beta blocker as am I. My blood pressure doesn't really get much higher when I do my cardio work out. I attribute that to the beta blocker (and I split the smallest dose tablet). I think your MD is giving you proper advice to continue your cardio as I don't think that is the issue. I would be careful about doing the" jerk and lift" moves I see at the gym. My feeling is that jerking the weight will place extra strain on the aneurysm but that is just my opinion. And I understand it is important to exhale when lifting, don't hold your breath as THAT will raise blood pressure. But you seem to be an experienced weight lifter and I am sure I am preaching to the choir here.
I am anxious to find out if my aneurysm has grown in Nov according to the echo. I joined a gym and have been lifting 3lb weights which are kind of heavy for me and I started doing the treadmill for 1 mile at a time. Does anyone see a problem with this?
@anniejam I think you are on the right track, toning your muscles and developing your cardio fitness. But you might wish to give your MD a call just to assure this is OK for your particular health issues. If yes, this sounds like a marvelous way to stay in shape. Over time you will find the 3 lb weight is not so heavy and that you will feel up to walking a bit further. And one of the great things about joining a gym is making new friends.
I would think if he told you to continue exercising, he meant your cardio routine, but I would advise you to call and clarify!. I was told to continue to do my exercising – which I told the doctor was walking, elliptical, biking. I don't run so I didn't ask about that. Weight lifting would benefit me since I have developed osteoporosis due to being on aromatase inhibitors (breast cancer), but I don't do it because I have been advised not to lift anything heavy. I have the same measurement as you. Started as a 3.9, found during an echo, but CT measurement was bigger. That made me nervous, but they say it is still considered stable. I have had two separate occurrences of breast cancer over the last 6 years. I'm not on BP meds because my blood pressure is good, 110/60-70 range. So I am just watched. Due to my other health concerns this is sometimes overlooked, but its always in the back of my mind, and I see my cardiologist every 6 months and he is briefed on all other health issues I have.
I just biked 22miles, and at times my 74 yr old male friend (I’m 65) and I were at 19 mph. I often bike, but it doesn’t do much for osteoporosis, so I also walk a mile a day, up hills. I also swim some on summer. I have a 3.9 AAA by ct scan. I have BP problem. Often 148/95 when I wake- then I take pill of 10.mg. (beta blocker , I believe) and it gets down to 130-120 over 90. I think it’s congenital. But I exacerbate by drinking alcohol at night esp. in summer as I’m social with friends and enjoy up to three beers. I know I should stop that but I cut out my salt and I eat plenty of vegetables less red meat lots of beet juice etc. micro greens etc. my weight is the same as in high school 120 pounds. I’m trying to keep my cardiovascular strength. The the pump that is the heart is well tuned, Even if the tube exiting isn’t the best.
@cinnie The measurement of the aneurysm will be different depending on which test — echo or CT. One is measured on the bias and one is measured directly across. Also, different technicians might find different readings on the same test. So, your aneurysm may not be bigger at all.
I have questions about activities with ascending aortic aneurysm (42cm). I am a 5 ft 3 female , 64 yr old. I got hit with a whole lot of cardiac/endocrine stuff a year and a half ago and lack guidance in exercise parameters. I take amlodipine, but already ran a low blood pressure. I also have newly diagnosed adrenal insufficiency, which complicates things. My meds are all timed and tricky. I am an exerciser and always have been. I get chest pain with both excursion and rest, and am followed by cardiology for this. (Prinzmetal angina) I carry and wear nitro meds so I can get out and move. My aneurysm was diagnosed with a last minute echo getting ready for a cardiac cath with the ACTH challenge. It showed the significant enlargement, and the cath was positive for endothelial induced cardiac spasm. And then Covid hit. So things have been difficult to rein in from a distance. I am working hard to identify my limits so I can keep my sanity. Do you have guidelines and/or resources I could access? I want to be safe on the trails and in the kayak. Thank you for any help!
I appreciate your post and your interest in continuing to exercise with your cardiac diagnoses. If you haven't discussed these questions with your cardiologist, I would do so right away.
Also, have you considered asking your cardiologist about cardiac rehab? I know that this type of rehab is usually offered after a heart attack or heart surgery, but perhaps a physical therapist could offer you some suggestions on the best exercise program for your heart problems.
Do you generally exercise alone or with others? This is probably an important consideration. While I like to be outdoors when the weather is good, I will often just walk in the nearby neighborhood, with my cell phone nearby, just in case I have any problems.
I also have a membership with my local Y and use their treadmills or exercise bikes in the case of inclement weather.
I look forward to hearing from you again as you develop a plan for your exercise routine.