Hi folks, welcome!
From time to time I’m asked directly for advice on exercise with an aortic aneurysm, and here is such an example, provided as a excerpt from a comment stream on the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Awareness Facebook page.
Ranjit: “There’s this gentleman I played golf with once. He was my age 64yrs and very well built. I was not aware that he had been treated with endovascular surgery/stent for an abdominal aortic aneurysm! I am told he was a bit of a gym rat and passed away in the gym as his aneurysm had ruptured. My friends cited this case and asked me to exercise with caution, as I too have a stent due to AAA.”
Bonnie: “Hell, I have Had a MISPLACED Abdo Aortic Stent for Almost 10 Years..I have never Been Told To Watch Exercise…I Also Have 2 Stents in Left Renal Artery (Due to the Misplaced AA Stent)..No Restrictions!”
Alan: “High blood pressure spikes during exercise can cause dissection. Valsalva during workouts can kill you. My opinion and most of the top Ten surgeons opinions.”
Pauline: “You can probably become acceptably fit with low weight, lots of reps, which may be safer.”
Bill: “They haven’t found a genetic cause of my dissection but it happened after a hard workout at the gym. And you think you are exercising to stay healthy yet it can kill you”
Ranjit: “Kevin, I bench press like a sissy with 40 kgs, and deadlift 40 to 50 kgs. Bicep curls with 10 kg dumbells.I do sets of 10,10,10 reps. Is this safe enough? Please advise. Thanks!”
My first reaction was, he’s lifting far too much weight in the dead lift, but the bench press is fine IF he isn’t transferring load to his abdomen. I, personally, would back off on the weight and increase the reps. Too much weight!!! This does not mean that I am correct in his case, see below:
My longterm advice, Ranjit, is fairly simple:
- Collect information and understand as much as you can about your condition, and the risks associated.
- Research the literature – for instance, I found an example where a person displaced their AAA stent graft through vigorous rowing, and I haven’t used the rowing machine to warm up in the gym since. I now use an elliptical trainer.
- Ask your medical professionals for their advice, but remember that they are not you and they may not understand why you want to do what you want to do. They are also concerned about litigation.
- Talk to other people with a similar condition, and get a feel for what people are doing safely.
- Carry out your own benefit/risk assessment (I wrote an outline blog about this idea, previously).
- Don’t, whatever you do, become a prisoner of fear or throw your life away by making unwise exercise choices – the classic human paradox.
Do your homework and enjoy your life.
Important Note: These posts do not provide medical advice. You should always consult your physician before undertaking or significantly modifying an exercise program.
Copyright © 2010 Kevin T. Morgan aka FitOldDog, Old Dogs in Training, LLC.
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