T Nation

Heart Issue

Howdy, ya’ll !

I decided to post this to get opinions and to provide a heads-up to my esteemed colleagues at the T-Nation !

I recently had a mild heart attack and spent 3 days undergoing tests at the local hospital. I awoke from a nap with the classic squeezing chest pain centered right behind my sternum. I suspected heart problems immediately. As a long time weight trainer, I had experienced a lot of different kinds of pain in the past (all good)and this was different. The hospital diagnosed it as a heart attack and confirmed it with a blood test that showed I had levels of an enzyme in my system that indicate heart damage. My blood pressure returned to normal (120/75)shortly after arriving at the hospital and my heart cath indicated that I had no blockages or any buildup at all in my coronary arteries. YEE-Haww ! Three days later I was released.

I’m 49 years old, have been lifting since 1969. I was a pathetic ectomorph my teenage years and through my twenties and only started really thickening up in the last 15 years when I switched from a bodybuilding type of lifting to power lifting. With the help of heavy lifting, 7 or so two week cycles of MAG-10, along with creatine, protein shakes, M and TRIBEX, I reached my “pinnacle”(?) of size and strength in 2003 - 5’8" tall, 205 lbs, approximately 16% bodyfat. I was strong and aggressive, for an old fart. I liked carrying the extra bodyfat because I was always so skinny growing up. I really felt good at 205… The day I had my little “episode” I had not lifted for about 4 days because I was real busy at work.I was off all supplements for about 1 month, with the exception of protein shakes. I was not feeling any undue stress from work or home.

I used ephedra before every workout for the last 6 1/2 years ( I had a big stash of it)One diet fuel per day every other day for this period. Although I took it for a long time, I never took more than one at a time. Never ! Ocassionally, I would substite Power Drive for ephedra, but not very often. Also, I rarely did any cardio. Yea, I know… I loved lifting but grew to hate cardio…I was a xcountry runner in my skinny days and I got sick of cardio by 1988. These 2 issues may have contributed to my eventual heart problem.

My prognosis is good. I have to take 1 baby aspirin/day for life and I’m currently on Lipitor to further lower my already low cholesteral. The doctor, aware that I was a lifter, ordered me to take 2 months off from the iron and to “start lifting like a bodybuilder again, damnit !” Of course I tossed all of my remaining diet fuel and am wondering what I’ll do with my stash of MAG-10… Hmmmm, maybe I can sell it to my buddy T-blaster…

Please let this diatribe serve as a precaution to some of you older lifters who get the urge to go heavy, go hard and take and energy enhancers. I survived, you may not.
I thought I was invincible.

One final bit of advice : if any of y’all ever get chest pains, take aspirin immediately (regular, not enteric)and get your ass to the hospital. Machismo has caused many a man (and women) to ignore chest pain. The pain will usually go away if you wait long enough. Problem is, the next time it flares up it will be much, much worse for your heart. You can save much of your heart function if you get blood thinners and medical attention ASAP !

It’s good to be alive.

Hope you continue to improve!
Good advice there,
Old Dax

I’m glad to hear that you are ok and that you weren’t seriously affected by this. I have to wonder though why you would allow yourself to be on a statin drug(lipitor) though. Here is a classic example of the misinformation by drug companies and doctors that trick people(especially older folks) into thinking that these drugs are really helping the issue. You’re taking asomething that ultimately damages the kidneys and/or liver to lower your “already low cholesterol”–sounds insane to me. Not to lecture you or try to make you sound like a fool. Thats not my intention. I’m only pointing out this shining example of how millions of americans around us are being misinformed and basically screwed over to line the already fat pockets of these drug giants. Cholesterol is EASILY controllable with a little knowledge and discipline–which it seems like you have plenty of the latter. As far as the aspirin, yes as an emergency measure if an attack came on but as an everyday thing–sorry don’t think so. From what I’ve seen you don’t need something that will make you bleed internally(yes even the baby aspirin will do that) to get your blood flowing smoothly and keep your heart healthy. Of course if you are totally stuck in the old paradigm of western medicine—treat symptom with drug, if that fails then cut out the problem, then this is all falling on deaf ears. I only hope that some of you can finally realize that the man in the white coat does not have all the answers. Especially when those answers come with nice perks from their drug reps.

Hi, Stori,

Yep, considered your view and debated bringing up these points while writing the original post.

For the time being, I’m too scared to stop the aspirin and/or Lipitor. Unfortunately, (or maybe not)I’m an engineer, not a Doctor. My buddy at the local health food store, whom I respect greatly, went over your exact points with me last week. I plan to discuss these issues with my regular Doctor and the heart Doctor dude and slowly work off of these drugs and replace them with sensible lifestyle (read : diet) changes. I could not agree more about the Lipitor
scam… I started cardio and lifting again this week. Lost 8 lbs in a 2 month layoff.Thanks for your input. Y’all are great.

As mentioned before, what your doc recommended may not be the best way to go. Sounds like your friend has a good take on nutrition and sups so I’d follow his advice. Now just my 2cents (taken mainly from Dr. Atkins Age Defying Diet Revolution, and Barry Sears Omega RX zone): CoQ10, fish oil, and get those insulin levels in check! A little cardio probably wouldn’t hurt either. Best of luck.

The two posts above are correct…You need to find another doctor.

Liptor/Asprin are pretty well known to cause more long-term problems.

For the cholesterol, eat your oatmeal, eat clean…as for the heart, Vitamin E (found in most EFA supps) will thin the blood a little w/o the liver damage.

FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!

Think hollistically…The pharmacudical companies are in business for one reason: Money. They are salesman, and the doctors place the orders. Don’t be fooled by the latest snakeoil (look at vioxx)

The FDA is PAID by the pharmacutical companies - the whole system is broken. Don’t be another victim. You are young enough to know better…I feel back for my parents and grandparents blindly believe what their doctors tell them these days.

I’d be interested in knowing what all of you think about taking a glass of red wine (4oz.) per evening (red wine specifically because I believe that has been linked most strongly to heart benefits)? I realize that the calories from the alcohol aren’t nutritionally productive from a muscle standpoint, but the benefits for the heart seem fairly well established. In a scientific advisory statement issued in 2001, the American Heart Association noted that there were at least 60 studies linking alcohol consumption with lower heart-attack risk. The benefits seem to be maximum at the equivalent of 2 servings for an adult male.

Is there another proven way to get the benefits of the wine without drinking alcohol? I haven’t heard that any of the extract supplements have had the same effect.

I hear ya but there is no end justification. Wine, like chocolate, does have actual health benefits but there are the caloric drawbacks. Wine also has the detriment of sulfites and if its californian then xenoestrogenic pesticides as well. That being said life is too short to nitpick every calorie and deny indulgences. But thats what wine is–an indulgence. I love all kinds of wine. Riojas are my favorites but as I’m sure you know its an indulgence to be had in moderation just like that piece of chocolate!

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
I’d be interested in knowing what all of you think about taking a glass of red wine (4oz.) per evening (red wine specifically because I believe that has been linked most strongly to heart benefits)? I realize that the calories from the alcohol aren’t nutritionally productive from a muscle standpoint, but the benefits for the heart seem fairly well established. In a scientific advisory statement issued in 2001, the American Heart Association noted that there were at least 60 studies linking alcohol consumption with lower heart-attack risk. The benefits seem to be maximum at the equivalent of 2 servings for an adult male.

Is there another proven way to get the benefits of the wine without drinking alcohol? I haven’t heard that any of the extract supplements have had the same effect.[/quote]

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Is there another proven way to get the benefits of the wine without drinking alcohol? I haven’t heard that any of the extract supplements have had the same effect.[/quote]

Full strength grape juice has been shown to have similar effects. Best is the non-alcoholic types sold by real wineries (note that these cost almost as much as the actual wine). There have been a few studies on this, but I can’t recall where.

Here is the link to a Winery in NC that I buy from.

http://catalog.duplinwinery.com/catalog/DUPLN/wines/muscadine/QKMuscadine/index.html

Please note that they can not ship actual alcohol across state lines, but they can ship the juice.

My only problem is that my kids love it too much.

TD

Token –

I’ll have to see what I can find on the grape juice.

Storey –

Funny you should mention chocolate – I just recently started having a small (approximately 1/18 of a bar) piece per evening of dark chocolate. And I do like my dry red wine too… The rest of my diet is really clean, so I don’t worry about it too much.

[quote]StrongMan wrote:
The two posts above are correct…You need to find another doctor.

Liptor/Asprin are pretty well known to cause more long-term problems.

For the cholesterol, eat your oatmeal, eat clean…as for the heart, Vitamin E (found in most EFA supps) will thin the blood a little w/o the liver damage.

FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!

Think hollistically…The pharmacudical companies are in business for one reason: Money. They are salesman, and the doctors place the orders. Don’t be fooled by the latest snakeoil (look at vioxx)

The FDA is PAID by the pharmacutical companies - the whole system is broken. Don’t be another victim. You are young enough to know better…I feel back for my parents and grandparents blindly believe what their doctors tell them these days.[/quote]

so, hollostic solutions are free? Granted, i do agree that the pharmacutical companies are greedy bastards, but it isnt like the “all-natural” solutions are cheap by any means. look at things like sharks cartillage, SAMe, glucosamine/chondroiten. these can be quite pricey. also, many are more hype than effective products.

UB07 does make a good point. BTW its holistic not hollistic. The supplements he listed I would put in the hype category. The difference though between high grade nutraceuticals and synthetic drug pharmaceuticals is that with the nutrition you can correct the imbalances and deficiences that cause these conditions unlike drugs which merely treat the symptom but in doing so usually create more symptoms. The real issue here is that 90% of the things people go to the doctor for is easily fixed with proper nutrition/supplementation. The ONLY way I would ever go to a hospital or doctor is if I broke something or lacerated something bad enough that it needed stitching. If people took just a little bit of their own time to educate themselves on natural remedies they could see the error of their ways in going to a doc to get antibiotics for every damn thing you get!

[quote]storey420 wrote:
UB07 does make a good point. BTW its holistic not hollistic. The supplements he listed I would put in the hype category. The difference though between high grade nutraceuticals and synthetic drug pharmaceuticals is that with the nutrition you can correct the imbalances and deficiences that cause these conditions unlike drugs which merely treat the symptom but in doing so usually create more symptoms. The real issue here is that 90% of the things people go to the doctor for is easily fixed with proper nutrition/supplementation. The ONLY way I would ever go to a hospital or doctor is if I broke something or lacerated something bad enough that it needed stitching. If people took just a little bit of their own time to educate themselves on natural remedies they could see the error of their ways in going to a doc to get antibiotics for every damn thing you get![/quote]

Yes you are 100% right about 90% of problems being solved if they just eat healthy! I’ve been preaching that for a long time. That would mean alot of the doctors would be out of job. Do you really think they give a shit about getting us healthy? I blame it on FDA and US Govt for not doing anything about it. They let it get out of control and I don’t know how they’ll ever fix this crisis as long as greed is there.