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Just survived heart attack at age 38, follow up to Phil's post

maldorf

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Just when I was feeling great and looking just about better than ever I had a heart attack. It happened on July 18th, so it has been a bit over 3 weeks.
I felt healthy and looked great, on the outside at least. I was maintaining my bodyfat below 10% no problems, thanks to Phil's guidance. Working out 6 days a week and doing 20 minutes or more of cardio 4 or 5 days a week.
I did use AAS off an on for about 8 years or so. It is not possible to point the finger specifically at AAS and say they were the cause, but it would be ignorant to ignore it altogether.
I had blood tests run at least 2x per year, sometimes more. My LDLs were always low, but HDls were very low too. Had a HDL reading of 17 when I was admitted to the hospital right after the attack. Back in January I had a hematocrit reading of 62, and realized that was a problem. I was able to get that down to 50 by donating blood and cutting back on what I was using. The cardiologist doest not think the hematocrit had anything to do with the attack, since it had been under control for almost 3 months or more. MOre tests will be run on the clotting cascade and to test for factor 5 disorder.
I was doing squats at the gym when the heart attack happened. I had just finished doing 3 sets of squats. 455x12, 405x13, 365x14. After racking the weight on the last set I felt really dizzy and sat down. After sitting for maybe half a minute I broke out in a cold sweat and my heart was beating rather fast. I didnt think too much of it though because Ive felt similar many times in the past when I push really hard on squats. Been lifting since I was 16, so over 20yrs now and Ive felt sick enough in the past that I have thrown up. So i figured I had just pushed it too hard. I quit the workout and drove home at 9:30 pm. I rested at home hoping to feel better. I developed a heartburn feeling and took some antacids and 3 aspirin just to be safe if it was the heart. At 4am I realized it wasnt going to go away and I had my wife drive us all to the hospital. Had to drag my 6 and 4 year old daughters along.
They did an ekg and angiogram after that ,since the ekg showed signs of heart attack.Angiogram showed 100% blockage of my right coronary artery. they used an angioplasty type surgery where he used a mini "vacuum cleaner" like tool to suck out the blood clot. I had develped a large clot blocking blood flow.
I was in ICU from Friday until tuesday night, so almost 5 days. They had to pump me full of dopamine to get my blood pressure up. My heart was beating so weakly that my pressure was hovering at around 60/35. Once they got my systolic pressure up to 80 without being on dopamine they released me from intensive care. I then spent one day in a regular room and was sent home.
Not sure at this time how well my heart will recover. I will know more in 3 weeks when an ultrasound is done of my heart. After that heart attack my ejection fraction was down to 40%, so thats not really low. I am hoping for the best.
The cardiologist is telling me I can never lift as hard I as was, just lift light weights. Very hard for me to take this. My plan is to take it one day at a time and build up slowly. I am not ready to accept this, and cant see how he can make such a broad statement about my future since he hasnt even looked at an ultrasound of my heart after its had time to heal. Of course when I told him I was taking steroids I got the full lecture and he blames the entire episode on it. He did say that he has had 3 other young men like me have heart attacks, all bodybuilders on steroids. He is a young doctor too, about my age or slightly older so he hasnt been at it very long. Surprised me to hear this. He doesnt seem like the kind of guy that would lie either, he is very straight forward.
MAIN REASON I AM WRITING THIS IS TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING, TO CONSIDER THE RISKS WE TAKE WHEN WE ARE DOING AAS. I THOUGHT I WAS USING SAFELY AND HAD BLOOD TESTS DONE,BUT THINGS STILL WENT WRONG. I HAD NEVER EVEN COMPETED BEFORE, WAS PLANNING ON DOING A CONTEST IN MARCH 09 BUT THAT IS ALL OVER NOW. LOOKNG BACK, THE BENEFITS FOR ME OF USING AAS DID NOT OUTWEIGH THE RISKS. OF COURSE I DID NOT KNOW THAT, BUT NOW IT IS TOO LATE. I LET MY OBSESSION WITH BUILDING A MORE MUSCULAR BODY BECOME A PRIORITY OVER MY FAMILY. NOW I REALIZE THAT THIS WAS UNFAIR TO MY WIFE AND TWO LITTLE GIRLS. THERE IS A CHANCE NOW THAT MY HEART MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED ENOUGH THAT I WONT BE ABLE TO LIFT LIKE I USED TO EVER AGAIN. I PRAY THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE, AND I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP HOPE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BLAME STEROIDS ENTIRELY, SO DONT TAKE THIS POST AS JUST ANOTHER ANTISTEROIDS CAMPAIGN. JUST TAKE SOME TIME TO STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE. THINK ABOUT WHY YOU USE AAS AND WHAT YOU HOPE TO GET OUT OF IT. CONSIDER THE RISKS WE TAKE, ESPECIALLY WHEN USING AAS THAT ARE PRODUCED IN UNDERGROUND LABS. THIS IS ANOTHER THING TO BE CONSIDERED, SINCE WHEN USING THESE SUBSTANCES YOU DONT ALWAYS KNOW 100% WHAT YOURE GETTING AS FAR AS PURITY ETC.
My goal now is to recuperate and get back to being a better father and husband. To be natural and bodybuild like I used to. Since I wont be using AAS anymore, be able to accept that I wont grow much larger than a lean 225 lbs at 6 foot tall. There is a lot more in life that is more important.
 

Jello

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Good luck and enjoy your time with your family.
 

thebrick

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Maldorf, thank god you are OK and were given another chance. You sound like you will not waste your new beginning. There's a hell of a lot more to this life than looking pretty. My prayers go out to you bro.
 

Pekkerwood

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Maldof:

You may not feel this way at this time but you are LUCKY! Many heart attacks end badly. You are home. No one will likely ever be able to tell you what specifically caused your heart attack. This is good in some ways and bad in others. Right now, it is clear to you that the risk is not worth it to continue with "supplement" use. In time, however, your mind will rationalize and compartmentalize, to meet its own goals. This is when it is important to re-read your own posts, re-read mine when I had my heart failure last year, read Baldnazi's trials and tribulations, re-read. Lil Savages post on redirecting his efforts.

I have been given the same speech and took it to heart. I had it easier as I could not lift at all for nine months, so I lost so much size, strength etc, it was easier to start back lifting differently. I think one reason why they recommend the lighter weights is potentially the spike in blood pressure the doctors feel you may experience at heavier poundages.

I currently don't know if I can even bench three hundred or military press 225. I don't load up the bar with wieghts I cannot do 12 to 15 times and these weights no longer qualify for me.

My ef is 50% now from a starting point of 15%. I get an echo every three months but this visit is actually six months. I am on doctor approved HRT and am maintaining muscle nicely while dropping weight (on purpose) I want my heart to have to work less hard on a day to day basis.

Please keep you chin up. Your health and training give you a leg up on all recovery statistics. If I can be of any assistance please let me know. My thoughts are with you. Be at peace.

Pekkerwood
 

muscledoc1

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Wow,that sucks!!-you are waaay too young for this to happen,but i have seen people at your age that had a heart-attack(i do echocardiograms at a hospital)-but its kind of scary because you described kind of my stats(im 34y/o,do cardio 6-days a week 1-hour in the am,i do use AAS on and off,and also my HDL is low)-im glad you are good now,you are VERY lucky to get out of it like that-a COMPLETE blockage of the RCA is VERY serious.(not as bad as the LCA).
 

Sanctus Umbra

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I am very sorry to hear this.Keep safe and take care.Your health comes first.Now take care of yourself and your family.It is the most important thing to do.
 

muscledoc1

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this kind of stuff freaks me out. what else can we (as risk taking bodybuilders) do to prevent heart attacks and other side effects of supplements and etc.? blood work was mentioned but didn't seem to be enough of an indicator of potential heart attack risk, so what else can we do?????? -STEELE
Well actually it did indicate it in a way(lowered HDL)-that does have a connection to AAS usage.
 

Walter E Kurtz

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Glad you're alive and well and on the road to recovery. If you don't mind me asking, what is your family history like with respect to heart ailments?

I'm no doctor, but I'm beginning to think that a lot of this kind of thing has more to do with hidden Claymore mines in unlucky peoples' DNA than it does lifestyle choices.

Maybe I'm totally wrong and we're all taking grave risks...''you play, you pay'' and all that.

If its the latter, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing anyway and not worry about it...the Almighty pulls everybody's number at some point, sooner or later.
 

Tom

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health above all else

Maldorf,
thank God you are ok. now family comes first but that doesen't mean you shouldn't go to the gym. no more aas but you will look fantastic even at a hard muscular 205 and be that much healthier overall.
 

maldorf

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Maldof:

You may not feel this way at this time but you are LUCKY! Many heart attacks end badly. You are home. No one will likely ever be able to tell you what specifically caused your heart attack. This is good in some ways and bad in others. Right now, it is clear to you that the risk is not worth it to continue with "supplement" use. In time, however, your mind will rationalize and compartmentalize, to meet its own goals. This is when it is important to re-read your own posts, re-read mine when I had my heart failure last year, read Baldnazi's trials and tribulations, re-read. Lil Savages post on redirecting his efforts.

I have been given the same speech and took it to heart. I had it easier as I could not lift at all for nine months, so I lost so much size, strength etc, it was easier to start back lifting differently. I think one reason why they recommend the lighter weights is potentially the spike in blood pressure the doctors feel you may experience at heavier poundages.

I currently don't know if I can even bench three hundred or military press 225. I don't load up the bar with wieghts I cannot do 12 to 15 times and these weights no longer qualify for me.

My ef is 50% now from a starting point of 15%. I get an echo every three months but this visit is actually six months. I am on doctor approved HRT and am maintaining muscle nicely while dropping weight (on purpose) I want my heart to have to work less hard on a day to day basis.

Please keep you chin up. Your health and training give you a leg up on all recovery statistics. If I can be of any assistance please let me know. My thoughts are with you. Be at peace.

Pekkerwood
thanks for the insightful post. I was following your story as it unfolded. It does give me hope to see that you have come so far. With the heavy weights, yeah Im sure its the spike in BP that is the concern. I am just starting to lift again, and am sticking to 20 reps or a bit more so and watching my breathing very carefully. Not feeling light headed, just finding that my endurance is nill. taking it real easy for now.
I am seeing an endo now, going to see if I need HRT. Test was in "normal" range last time she checked, but that wasnt too long after being off. The reading was just 395. Sure it will probably drop. Just had another blood test today so will see if it has dropped anymore. Going to wait months to see if it the test level comes back on its own. She is talking about letting me take up to 6 months to get back to normal. I am hoping that I am not going to have to endure 1/2 year of rock bottom test levels.
thanks again for the post and good wishes.
 

muscledoc1

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Had a HDL reading of 17 when I was admitted to the hospital (qoute)

Some way's to increase HDL is:prescription-strength niacin,red-wine,and fish oil.
 

maldorf

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Wow,that sucks!!-you are waaay too young for this to happen,but i have seen people at your age that had a heart-attack(i do echocardiograms at a hospital)-but its kind of scary because you described kind of my stats(im 34y/o,do cardio 6-days a week 1-hour in the am,i do use AAS on and off,and also my HDL is low)-im glad you are good now,you are VERY lucky to get out of it like that-a COMPLETE blockage of the RCA is VERY serious.(not as bad as the LCA).
Yeah, I was glad it didnt get the LCA, well aware of how it is the "widow maker". RIght side supplies the pulmonary system though, and thats important too. The doc couldnt believe how large my arteries were, in fact they couldnt use a stint on me because they did not have one large enough to fit. He indicated that he thought it wasnt normal for my arteries to be so wide, he thought they were stretched out. Thing is I have controlled my BP the last 5 years with an ACE inhibitor, and it never got over 120/75 or so.
 

maldorf

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Had a HDL reading of 17 when I was admitted to the hospital (qoute)

Some way's to increase HDL is:prescription-strength niacin,red-wine,and fish oil.
I had been taking fish oil, and just started niacin. Of course me being off the AAS will do the most for me.
 

maldorf

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Glad you're alive and well and on the road to recovery. If you don't mind me asking, what is your family history like with respect to heart ailments?

I'm no doctor, but I'm beginning to think that a lot of this kind of thing has more to do with hidden Claymore mines in unlucky peoples' DNA than it does lifestyle choices.

Maybe I'm totally wrong and we're all taking grave risks...''you play, you pay'' and all that.

If its the latter, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing anyway and not worry about it...the Almighty pulls everybody's number at some point, sooner or later.
Family history was a thing the docs asked about too of course. They told me though that only your parents are important enough to influence your outcome, and they dont even consider grandparents or those further removed. This seems illogical to me, but who knows. My grandfather died of a heart attack when he was 64, but other than that no big issues. My father has high blood pressure which I inherited but otherwise his heart is healthy.
 

maldorf

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Maldorf, thank god you are OK and were given another chance. You sound like you will not waste your new beginning. There's a hell of a lot more to this life than looking pretty. My prayers go out to you bro.
I feel like a teenager. Its like how kids dont learn anything until you let them make the mistake for themselves. Ive made the mistake and now I have learned. Just sucks that it was such a dangerous lesson.
 

maldorf

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anything else? -STEELE
I should have taken the raised hematocrit more seriously and had myself checked out then. A stress test or at least an ekg.
 

Walter E Kurtz

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I should have taken the raised hematocrit more seriously and had myself checked out then. A stress test or at least an ekg.
Maybe...or maybe it wouldn't have made any difference.

Was AAS use the proximate cause of your heart problem? I guess you'll never know.

A good friend of mine stroked out when he was at work about a year ago...he was 31, not overweight, average-joe sort of guy in his 30s. His only risk factor was that he smoked cigarettes. The doc made a lot out of his tobacco habit...does that mean he would have been ok but for cig. smoking? That doesn't make a lot of sense, IMO.

I don't think you should be so hard on yourself...the overwhelming majority of people who use AAS don't have heart attacks in their 30s. There wasn't any reason to believe that you would and you very likely would have had one anyway. Take gear out of the equation for a minute...would you have been safer if you didn't train, didn't juice, were inactive and 10-20lbs overweight?
 

maldorf

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Maldorf,
thank God you are ok. now family comes first but that doesen't mean you shouldn't go to the gym. no more aas but you will look fantastic even at a hard muscular 205 and be that much healthier overall.
Yes, thats the frame of mind I am in now. I am just going to be the best that nature allows me, and work harder on nutrition and training. Phil should be a great aid in that. Hanging around this board is a good thing too. I just pray that eventually I will be able to go all out in the gym again and push myself like I used to. It is not in my nature to do something at partial effort, for me its all or nothing. Going to be real hard for me to hold back for awhile, but I am keeping time in perspective. A few months at low effort wont amount to much loss in the long run. Went through something similiar to this when I had 3 hernias repaired last year. The last few years have not been kind to me.
 

maldorf

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Maybe...or maybe it wouldn't have made any difference.

Was AAS use the proximate cause of your heart problem? I guess you'll never know.

A good friend of mine stroked out when he was at work about a year ago...he was 31, not overweight, average-joe sort of guy in his 30s. His only risk factor was that he smoked cigarettes. The doc made a lot out of his tobacco habit...does that mean he would have been ok but for cig. smoking? That doesn't make a lot of sense, IMO.

I don't think you should be so hard on yourself...the overwhelming majority of people who use AAS don't have heart attacks in their 30s. There wasn't any reason to believe that you would and you very likely would have had one anyway. Take gear out of the equation for a minute...would you have been safer if you didn't train, didn't juice, were inactive and 10-20lbs overweight?

YOu make some very good points, and Ive thought of all of them. Yeah maybe if I had just sat around as a couch potato and eat junk food all day I would have been ok! I have a brother in law that is about 100 lbs or more overwieght and his heart is healthier than mine. He calls himself a "healthy fatman" and he seems proud of it. Makes no effort to lose weight or be healthy. Life just isnt fair.
 

gravityfighter

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Have a few buddys in the ground because of heart failure. One's actually next to my moms grave. Everytime I go see Mom,I see him,and can picture him pounding away at the slag iron. Didn't make 40 yrs...sure makes me wonder.
Best wishes on your recovery........GF
 

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