Ascending Aortic Aneurysm and Exercise

Posted by bryanfox @bryanfox, Aug 31, 2019

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 group.

@hopeful33250

Hello @upartist,

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.

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Hi Teresa. Thank you for your long standing mentoring. I have had issues before, unrelated issues, for which you and your group has assisted me with. These recent things are new to me and unexpected. The adrenal management is tough, and has occurred on top of the accumulating cardiac things. Then there was a foot surgery tossed into the mix last summer, which is recovering well. As for the exercise, I always carry my cell phone, and have figured out where not to go. I have a partner 90% of the time, and pick my trails accordingly. I have backed off on my intensity and duration, following some uncomfortable events. Our gyms have been closed, so weights have been let go. Our pool has been closed as well. The upper body resistance parameters and the fatigue management with the cortisol dosing are a challenge. I am not sure if it is the adrenal fatigue or cardiac fatigue. So maybe a very informed physical therapist might be able to assist me. I was hoping for suggestions on what questions to ask my cardiologist and my endocrinologist. I also have looked at the NADF (American site) and Bart’s Endocrinology out of the UK for information. However information about the combination of cardiac concerns along with the endocrine seems to be unavailable. I have great Docs at Mayo, but I don’t want to pester them unless I have a legitimate question. They always get back to me! They are very very supportive. Do you have suggestions? Thank you Teresa!

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@upartist

Hi Teresa. Thank you for your long standing mentoring. I have had issues before, unrelated issues, for which you and your group has assisted me with. These recent things are new to me and unexpected. The adrenal management is tough, and has occurred on top of the accumulating cardiac things. Then there was a foot surgery tossed into the mix last summer, which is recovering well. As for the exercise, I always carry my cell phone, and have figured out where not to go. I have a partner 90% of the time, and pick my trails accordingly. I have backed off on my intensity and duration, following some uncomfortable events. Our gyms have been closed, so weights have been let go. Our pool has been closed as well. The upper body resistance parameters and the fatigue management with the cortisol dosing are a challenge. I am not sure if it is the adrenal fatigue or cardiac fatigue. So maybe a very informed physical therapist might be able to assist me. I was hoping for suggestions on what questions to ask my cardiologist and my endocrinologist. I also have looked at the NADF (American site) and Bart’s Endocrinology out of the UK for information. However information about the combination of cardiac concerns along with the endocrine seems to be unavailable. I have great Docs at Mayo, but I don’t want to pester them unless I have a legitimate question. They always get back to me! They are very very supportive. Do you have suggestions? Thank you Teresa!

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I am glad that you are being seen at Mayo, @upartist. I'm sure that this combination of endocrine and cardiac problems makes it difficult. Keep working at it.

Please take a look at this discussion, which discusses how to manage fatigue when you have chronic health problems, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-do-you-plan-your-day-and-conserve-energy-are-you-a-spoonie/.

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Thank you Teresa! I checked it out, and the Spoon Theory is a very relevant and practical approach. Maybe I can learn to be more forgiving to myself. 💕

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I have an ascending aortic aneurysm. My latest echo showed a small hole in my heart also. When do they operate on that and what do they do about this new problem? thanks!

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@upartist

Thank you Teresa! I checked it out, and the Spoon Theory is a very relevant and practical approach. Maybe I can learn to be more forgiving to myself. 💕

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@upartist Yes, please do practice forgiving yourself! I'm glad that you found it helpful.

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@anniejam

I have an ascending aortic aneurysm. My latest echo showed a small hole in my heart also. When do they operate on that and what do they do about this new problem? thanks!

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Hello @anniejam

I can understand you want some more information about this new diagnosis of the hole in your heart. Here is some information from Mayo Clinic's website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atrial-septal-defect/symptoms-causes/syc-20369715.

What information has your cardiologist given you about this?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @anniejam

I can understand you want some more information about this new diagnosis of the hole in your heart. Here is some information from Mayo Clinic's website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atrial-septal-defect/symptoms-causes/syc-20369715.

What information has your cardiologist given you about this?

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Hi Anniejam. Regarding your small hole in addition to your ascending aortic aneurysm… I actually have both. I didn’t think to much about my little patent foramen ovale (the hole) because functionally it didn’t seem to impact me. However, during my foot surgery last summer, the anesthesiologist was concerned, and the anesthesia was altered. Plus I had to have levonox shots (blood thinner) for two weeks following. Mine is not a concern as far as potential repair and function because it is small, but it does need special care if I have anesthesia because of blood clot potential. I am quite glad I had a team working on me at that time , because Honestly, I had no idea. I hope this helps.

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I am also looking for some more specific guidance on exercise. I have no symptoms but decided to have a CT scan after some friends died and found out I have a 43mm ascending aortic aneurysm. The cardiologist said no heavy lifting that feels like straining and no aerobic activity beyond the point where I can carry on a conversation. I tried to get something more specific, such as a percentage of max heart rate and machines vs. free weights, but he really couldn't be more specific. I'm 64 and taking BP and Beta blocker meds. I'm nervous about what I can keep doing. I came a cross an alternative weight lifting technique called the hundreds where you lift 20% of your 12 rep max for 100 reps (broken into sets based on how many reps you can do in one set). Has anyone tried this? Is it effective? What about cardio. Has anyone been given a more specific set of guidelines?

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@mermaid1

I am also looking for some more specific guidance on exercise. I have no symptoms but decided to have a CT scan after some friends died and found out I have a 43mm ascending aortic aneurysm. The cardiologist said no heavy lifting that feels like straining and no aerobic activity beyond the point where I can carry on a conversation. I tried to get something more specific, such as a percentage of max heart rate and machines vs. free weights, but he really couldn't be more specific. I'm 64 and taking BP and Beta blocker meds. I'm nervous about what I can keep doing. I came a cross an alternative weight lifting technique called the hundreds where you lift 20% of your 12 rep max for 100 reps (broken into sets based on how many reps you can do in one set). Has anyone tried this? Is it effective? What about cardio. Has anyone been given a more specific set of guidelines?

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i was told nothing over 50 pounds. Cardio was ok to do, so i bike a lot once snow is gone

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@mermaid1

I am also looking for some more specific guidance on exercise. I have no symptoms but decided to have a CT scan after some friends died and found out I have a 43mm ascending aortic aneurysm. The cardiologist said no heavy lifting that feels like straining and no aerobic activity beyond the point where I can carry on a conversation. I tried to get something more specific, such as a percentage of max heart rate and machines vs. free weights, but he really couldn't be more specific. I'm 64 and taking BP and Beta blocker meds. I'm nervous about what I can keep doing. I came a cross an alternative weight lifting technique called the hundreds where you lift 20% of your 12 rep max for 100 reps (broken into sets based on how many reps you can do in one set). Has anyone tried this? Is it effective? What about cardio. Has anyone been given a more specific set of guidelines?

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My 78 year old husband, who is in good physical shape otherwise, was told not to lift over 25 lbs. He was also told to keep his BP under 120/70. He takes 100 mg cozaar at night and 25 mg extended release metropolol. He is doing fine. The aneurysm, which is 46 by the cardiothoracic surgeon's measurement and 48 by the radiologist, has not grown in a year. Of course, at some point it WILL grow.

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