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Old 08-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #21
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My doctor has always given me an EKG as part of the annual check up. I had a treadmill test once, when I thought I had a problem with my heart. The cardiologist did not see anything wrong.

I have an interesting anecdote to tell. I knew a man who looked reasonably fit for his age of 65. He felt something wrong, but his doctor's EKG did not find anything. He still felt bad, so requested a threadmill test.

Well, he fell off the threadmill due to a heart attack! They rushed him to the hospital, where it was found that one of his coronary arteries was 95% clogged up. After a stent was placed, he was back to normal.

What a close call!
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:22 PM   #22
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I had a coronary artery bypass in 2004. Have been on meds ever since and my stats have been under control with some tweaking now and then. I have had a number of stress tests over the years since but would not consider it a part of a normal annual physical for anyone. Then again, every physician is different as is every health plan.

I am no longer able to do the treadmill but rely on the injection to get my heart up to tempo. My primary care physician is a cardiologist and he does the stress tests in his office. I am due for one this year.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:23 PM   #23
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My doctor has always given me an EKG as part of the annual check up. I had a treadmill test once, when I thought I had a problem with my heart. The cardiologist did not see anything wrong.

I have an interesting anecdote to tell. I knew a man who looked reasonably fit for his age of 65. He felt something wrong, but his doctor's EKG did not find anything. He still felt bad, so requested a threadmill test.

Well, he fell off the threadmill due to a heart attack! They rushed him to the hospital, where it was found that one of his coronary arteries was 95% clogged up. After a stent was placed, he was back to normal.

What a close call!
Most doctors won't do the test anymore because of this. They refer you to a specialist. In my case, I went to the cardiac ward of a hospital. I was 26 years old. Didn't matter.

Before the test, in came a two nurses and a doctor. One nurse powered up the defib unit and prepped some injections of adrenaline or something. The other nurse and doc attended.

So I say, "Sheesh, is all this necessary?" They said they didn't expect any issues with me, but they've had to use the equipment for many patients, typically before they even started a jogging gait.

By the way, all this preparation for my possible heart attack added a hell of a lot of stress to me!
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #24
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Most doctors won't do the test anymore because of this. They refer you to a specialist. In my case, I went to the cardiac ward of a hospital. I was 26 years old. Didn't matter.

Before the test, in came a two nurses and a doctor. One nurse powered up the defib unit and prepped some injections of adrenaline or something. The other nurse and doc attended.

So I say, "Sheesh, is all this necessary?" They said they didn't expect any issues with me, but they've had to use the equipment for many patients, typically before they even started a jogging gait.
Happened to a friend of mine years ago. They stopped the test while in progress and sent him in for open heart surgery. He's in his 80's now and not in the best of health but could have died right there 15 years ago.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:34 PM   #25
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When I had my threadmill test, it was at a cardiologist. I did not know what other "rescue" equipment he had. The man I talked about also had his done at a cardiologist.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:37 PM   #26
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Thanks, I read this article. It is from 1984 but probably still relevant although maybe there are new diagnostics now. James Fixx was an avid runner but had a history of heart disease in his family and yet was not having regular checkups. He had a 2 pack a day smoking habit which he'd given up 17 years before.

I'm going to mention Bush's case with my doc and then ask about a better reading on my ticker and it's connectors. I did ask about an EKG last year and he was not enthusiastic about that idea. The article says that clogged arteries will not show up on an EKG which detects only damage that has already occurred to the heart.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:38 PM   #27
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So my doctor won't give me a referral because he says he sees too many cases of false positives .....
that is what I was told too.....
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:38 PM   #28
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When I had my threadmill test, it was at a cardiologist. I did not know what other "rescue" equipment he had. The man I talked about also had his done at a cardiologist.
What kind of test is that exactly? Is that some special er.org forum stress test for frequent posters to various threads here?
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:08 PM   #29
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Never had a treadmill test, though I have had some pretty thorough physicals in the past.
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:22 PM   #30
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What kind of test is that exactly? Is that some special er.org forum stress test for frequent posters to various threads here?
I looked back at my posts, and I did spell treadmill as threadmill in several places. Good catch!

Oh yeah, I have got to be careful not to get too involved in some threads to stress myself out.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:16 PM   #31
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Bush definitely had more stress in his life then I've had. I'm betting he also had lots of rich foods due to being around high net worth people. Just speculation though.

P.S. Just looked up Bush and he's still running like crazy:
BREAKING NEWS: George W. Bush Decides To Run Across America
I am convinced that excessive cardio training is not good for the heart. You can read the studies and decide for yourself, but here is one explanation as to why it's not all that healthy:

Chronic Cardio is Still Unhealthy | Mark's Daily Apple

Also, diet plays a huge role in heart health. We really have no idea what kind of diet GWB eats, but my guess is that there is probably room for improvement. Here is one quote from an article I read on the favorite foods of presidents when they were in the White House:
" Like his father (and president) before him, George W. didn't care much for green foods."
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:17 PM   #32
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I read one study that claimed that greater then 15 miles per week was not such a good idea. Since that is about where I'm at (maybe 20 per week), it fit my views and I clipped out that article. I've run for decades but never did a marathon. Disclaimer: I think marathoners are generally fine people.

I noticed that Bush was tested at the Cooper Clinic. Cooper is a guy who has done extensive research over the decades on various exercise routines including diet and all. Cooper was also cited in the article I mentioned above as agreeing that excessive exercise could be a health risk.

Here is that article: Endurance Sports: Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits - WSJ.com
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:01 PM   #33
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I had heart surgery (non-invasive) about 10 years ago when an echo cardiogram detected I had an enlarged heart, the result of a birth defect. Since then I have an annual checkup with my cardiologist (in addition to my annual physical with my regular doctor) where they perform an echo and based on that decide if a further stress test is needed.

I only had one treadmill stress test since the operation, and that when I reported having brief flashes of slight chest pain, but wasn't sure of the source since I also lift weights regularly. Fortunately the stress test results were normal and other test indicated it was a chest muscle strain and nothing related to cardio.

Fortunately my heart is back to normal size (I told my relatives the can't call me a "big-hearted" person anymore ) and with the annual cardio and physical exam (the physical includes an EKG) I haven't needed a stress test again.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:02 AM   #34
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I read one study that claimed that greater then 15 miles per week was not such a good idea. Since that is about where I'm at (maybe 20 per week), it fit my views and I clipped out that article. I've run for decades but never did a marathon. Disclaimer: I think marathoners are generally fine people.

I noticed that Bush was tested at the Cooper Clinic. Cooper is a guy who has done extensive research over the decades on various exercise routines including diet and all. Cooper was also cited in the article I mentioned above as agreeing that excessive exercise could be a health risk.

Here is that article: Endurance Sports: Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits - WSJ.com
I think that is a very interesting article. What I found most intriguing was how much these distance runners seem to love it. I always loved games, and sprinting, but jogging or long races seem totally boring and punishing. Some of the comments suggest that an excess of competitiveness is pretty common in these guys too.

Ha
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:58 AM   #35
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I think that is a very interesting article. What I found most intriguing was how much these distance runners seem to love it. I always loved games, and sprinting, but jogging or long races seem totally boring and punishing. Some of the comments suggest that an excess of competitiveness is pretty common in these guys too.

Ha
I run on average between 25-30 miles per week. Running has directly helped maintain my weight loss, managed my stress level, and has vastly improved my HDL. Those items in turn have improved my overall heart health. I'll keep doing it for as long as I'm able. Yes, it can be hard on the joints and back. But for me it is the better choice.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:48 AM   #36
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I think that is a very interesting article. What I found most intriguing was how much these distance runners seem to love it. I always loved games, and sprinting, but jogging or long races seem totally boring and punishing. Some of the comments suggest that an excess of competitiveness is pretty common in these guys too.

Ha
If one has access to trails in a park where there are people and creatures, the run can be fun and invigorating. Depends on your temperament too I guess.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:46 AM   #37
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I want to know what you think about nuclear stress tests (NST). Here are my thoughts:
1) Tim Russert had some known issues and was under cardiac care. As far as I can tell a NST was not done. Some artery in his heart burst and he died. Maybe I am over simplifying or read the stories wrong.
2) A few local folks had poor heart history, family history of heart problems and poor eating habits/high cholesterol. They had heart attacks and lived. Now their daily routines and their eating are greatly restricted.

Seems like it would make more sense to do a NST for those with known issues at some age, before a heart attack.

We do that with colonoscopies. Those 50 or over have a colonoscopy every 10 years. It has apparently reduced colon cancer by some huge number. Seems like we could the same thing with NST or some similar test. I am pushing NST because it is a relatively inexpensive procedure ($600 - $800 per an article I read) and it finds blockages whereas an EKG or regular stress test may not. Those tests will only find that overall or certain areas of the heart do not work well. So we do the NST at age 55 for those who have "two or more yes responses on the following list". If we find blockages we make lifestyle changes and evaluate in one year. If the blockages are severe we mitigate those blockages through the normal procedures. Seems to me that this would be much better for the patient and a whole lot cheaper than doing them as an emergency repair.

I have a degree in accounting so I am not an expert. I would ask the opinion of those in the field or those on this forum who have been through it.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:28 AM   #38
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My doc was suggesting that I might want to do a Coronary Calcium CT Scan if I want further testing. He said it was under $100. One link is here: Heart scan (Coronary calcium scan) - MayoClinic.com
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:08 AM   #39
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Two experiences...
First was a chemical (I guess Nuclear) but can't remember. Lying in a big thumping (open) tube, with needle in the arm for injecting the "whatever"... I could look back and see a big TV screen that showed the valves in my heart, opening and closing... fine... very interesting... until... whoompf!!! it felt like King Kong had picked me up and was crushing my chest... the world went black, and I came to... thinking "did anyone get the licens plate number of that truck?" Anyway, all ok... passed w/flying colors.

Second was three years ago, not sure why... It was the treadmill test. As others explained... Doctor, nurse, two attendants, and me, wearing this heavy harness. Was doing fine, as treadmill accellerated, but for some reason, my pusle rate wouldn't go up, so the incline ramp raised... still couldn't get the blood pressure or pulse up to where the doctor wanted... It was a long time, and I was getting tired, but "keep on going"... started sweating, and the room began to get fuzzy... still not where the doctor wanted the readings... sheesh... Finally the two big guys who were holding me up decided I'd had enough, and I was led... to a seat where they contuinued to read the harness, electronically... Doctor was leaving the room... and nurse SCREAMED
"DOCTOR!!!!". My heart had apparantly stopped. Panic set in, and everyone rushed around, doing what I don't know... Nobody said "code blue", so that made me feel better.
Anyway, I was awake the whole time, and actually feeling quite good. The doctor was busy reading the paper tape print out, and the staff still looked panicky. After a minute or two more, the doctor looked at me, and said "you're fine... nothing wrong... "It was just an ANOMOLY" And so I learned to love that word.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:09 PM   #40
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I have a stress/ECG test every year as part of my company physical. Each year they find I have 1st degree AV block, which is a slow signal conduction through part of the heart. This was originally found in my early 20's, and is just my own version of normal. I find the test uncomfortable, as 1) I have lots of hair on my chest and I don't like either the sticky or shaving options for the electrodes; and 2) I have long legs, and when the treadmill goes fast and steep, my stride usually bumps the upper end of the ramp.
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