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  • Scary topic: HEART ATTACKS

    I never worried about heart attacks. Then one day I woke up as a 40-something guy and learned of friends MY AGE dying of heart attacks. It really hit him last month. A buddy of mine, 47 years-old, was a cross-fit advocate and was in the best shape of his life. No family history of heart disease. He is about 601 190lbs and shredded. Complete 6-pack of abs, working out x-fit 4 times per week and doing HIIT 2-3 more. He was on a paleo diet. In 2013 he had a body scan and stress EKG. He was picture perfect. Seemingly in the prime of his life. Last month he just finished a HIIT session and suffered a heart attack known as the "widow maker" which is complete blockage of the main artery (in laymens terms). He barely survived with a balloon and stint to clear the blockage. They Dr told him "some times bad things happen to good people."

    He has since been on a quest to learn more about the factors of heart attacks and his findings surprised me. His cardiologist told him to stop all fish oil supplements as, based on his blood work, caused inflammation that possibly led to the heart attack. He recommended I read the book Beat the Heart Attack Gene and I am currently reading it. The book cites seemingly random stuff as being indicators for a heart attack (example: bleeding gums when you floss).

    Heart attacks kill so many people but the information out there is very contradictory. One article states that saturated fat kills, while another pushes coconut oil (loaded with sat fat) as a heart healthy supplement. Some feel that high intensity cardio training puts you AT RISK for heart attacks as it is akin to running a car at maximum speed for long peroids of time. Eventually it will break down. How is it we can put a man on the moon, we can voice text message people around the world, we can stream high definition football games onto my 65" big screen TV BUT we don't have the slightest clue about the biggest killer of human beings?
    Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

  • #2
    And honestly there is an elephant in the room. How many HUGE 60-70-80 year old men do you see walking around? Few (if any) as they are all dead. So I am at a crossroad in my life as I am purposely lifting big and eating big in order to get bigger...but the fact is, big guys don't live that long. And modern medicine etc. is now allowing guys in their latter years 70+ to live very productive lifestyles. Is walking around with 20lbs of muscle now worth shaving 20 years off my life? I am not a scientist or a doctor, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that big guys (fat or muscle) simply don't live as long. Once again, it brings me full circle to how LITTLE we know about the causes of heart attacks.
    Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
      I never worried about heart attacks. Then one day I woke up as a 40-something guy and learned of friends MY AGE dying of heart attacks. It really hit him last month. A buddy of mine, 47 years-old, was a cross-fit advocate and was in the best shape of his life. No family history of heart disease. He is about 601 190lbs and shredded. Complete 6-pack of abs, working out x-fit 4 times per week and doing HIIT 2-3 more. He was on a paleo diet. In 2013 he had a body scan and stress EKG. He was picture perfect. Seemingly in the prime of his life. Last month he just finished a HIIT session and suffered a heart attack known as the "widow maker" which is complete blockage of the main artery (in laymens terms). He barely survived with a balloon and stint to clear the blockage. They Dr told him "some times bad things happen to good people."

      He has since been on a quest to learn more about the factors of heart attacks and his findings surprised me. His cardiologist told him to stop all fish oil supplements as, based on his blood work, caused inflammation that possibly led to the heart attack. He recommended I read the book Beat the Heart Attack Gene and I am currently reading it. The book cites seemingly random stuff as being indicators for a heart attack (example: bleeding gums when you floss).

      Heart attacks kill so many people but the information out there is very contradictory. One article states that saturated fat kills, while another pushes coconut oil (loaded with sat fat) as a heart healthy supplement. Some feel that high intensity cardio training puts you AT RISK for heart attacks as it is akin to running a car at maximum speed for long peroids of time. Eventually it will break down. How is it we can put a man on the moon, we can voice text message people around the world, we can stream high definition football games onto my 65" big screen TV BUT we don't have the slightest clue about the biggest killer of human beings?

      Not exactly a heart attack, but certainly heart related. Up until recently i suffered from Atrial Fibrillation. Had been for some years. Attacks would go as little as a few hours, and as long as 5 days with the heart out of normal rhythm. Had surgery to correct it 3 years ago, but it came back. My second surgery took place this year in May 4 days before starting a diet prep with Skip! So far, it's been a success. With no attacks of any real significance.

      But yes, it makes you think of the things you mentioned. I'm often dumbfounded when i hear of people who smoke, drink and generally mistreat their bodies and live long lives, when others who live a healthy lifestyle drop dead for no apparent reason.

      The fish oil his cardiologist told him to stop is an interesting one, as it's supposed to help fight inflammation!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
        And honestly there is an elephant in the room. How many HUGE 60-70-80 year old men do you see walking around? Few (if any) as they are all dead. So I am at a crossroad in my life as I am purposely lifting big and eating big in order to get bigger...but the fact is, big guys don't live that long. And modern medicine etc. is now allowing guys in their latter years 70+ to live very productive lifestyles. Is walking around with 20lbs of muscle now worth shaving 20 years off my life? I am not a scientist or a doctor, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that big guys (fat or muscle) simply don't live as long. Once again, it brings me full circle to how LITTLE we know about the causes of heart attacks.
        That's scary you mentioned size. When my AF's returned, it was when I was trying to gain size!

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm of the personal opinion that its just almost all genetic. Just like the odds of being a genetically gifted bodybuilder come around, so do the odds of having a bad heart. Too bad Amazon doesn't sell new hearts.

          I think the issue of muscular size in relation to heart attacks has merit as well because your poor heart has to pump blood through all that tissue. If your trying to be a really big dude it's definitely something to consider.

          I'm pretty sure this is one of the big reasons Dante's purposefully getting smaller as he ages.
          liftweights
          Lightweight Member
          Last edited by liftweights; 09-19-2014, 02:55 AM.
          :preach:

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
            The book cites seemingly random stuff as being indicators for a heart attack (example: bleeding gums when you floss).
            As you are rightly in a state of reflection and fear it's easy to take everything you read as true, but this claim from the book seems far fetched. I would wager that most people don't floss and as a result when they actually do their gums will bleed. Once you get into a consistent flossing routine that will stop.

            I do agree with you that it's frustrating we can put a man on the moon (if that actually happened ) etc. and we know so much, but we really know so little. Your friend is a textbook example of how genetic traits (in this case not inherited just random) don't care what you do. Your friend sounds like an all-star athlete whose picture should be next to 'healthy' in the dictionary. Then you contrast him with the likes of Keith Richards and one can't help but be baffled.

            Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
            Is walking around with 20lbs of muscle now worth shaving 20 years off my life?
            No. At least I don't think so. Bodybuilding is an endless battle against homeostasis. The human body has no interest in being a monster. I remember an old thread by Dante where I think he was questioning whether or not people really want to be bodybuilders and if they truly know the risks involved. He talked about how when you get really big, 250+, you deal with things like sleep apnea, heavy breathing, excessive sweating resulting in having to change shirts a few times a day etc. And if you look back in the last 5 years or so, a lot of pros from the '90s era are passing on and that's when the mass game really started.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
              And honestly there is an elephant in the room. How many HUGE 60-70-80 year old men do you see walking around? Few (if any) as they are all dead. So I am at a crossroad in my life as I am purposely lifting big and eating big in order to get bigger...but the fact is, big guys don't live that long. And modern medicine etc. is now allowing guys in their latter years 70+ to live very productive lifestyles. Is walking around with 20lbs of muscle now worth shaving 20 years off my life? I am not a scientist or a doctor, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that big guys (fat or muscle) simply don't live as long. Once again, it brings me full circle to how LITTLE we know about the causes of heart attacks.
              This is precisely why I'm in the process of slowly reducing my bodyweight to a more reasonable level. It's a tough transition so far. My mindset has dramatically shifted the last few years.....I'm completely ok with maintaining the LBM that I have now and just staying leaner/lighter. I just have to get there now.....

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bleeding gums, I am only a few chapters into the book. It appears they are emphasizing inflammation as being the cause of heart attacks, and bleeding gums = inflammation. Like I said, I am just scratching the surface with the book so I will see where it leads me.
                Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Swaminator View Post
                  Re: Bleeding gums, I am only a few chapters into the book. It appears they are emphasizing inflammation as being the cause of heart attacks, and bleeding gums = inflammation. Like I said, I am just scratching the surface with the book so I will see where it leads me.
                  I have read this before that gum disease are highly correlated to heart disease...
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                  • #10
                    How long had he been doing his CF/paleo lifestyle? What did his diet and exercise look like prior to that?

                    Yeah the left anterior descending artery is the widowmaker for sure.

                    I'm in the camp that it's multifactorial, that genetics and lifestyle issues play a huge role when it comes to heart disease. I was just talking to one of the pathologists at the coroner's office and she said she's definitely seeing a lot more people in their 30s with atherosclerosis. And by people I mean cadavers.
                    #docswholift
                    PGY-1 FM
                    "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

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                    • #11
                      Nexa,
                      I have known this guy for 25 years. He has always been a great athlete and in peak physical condition. He has no family (immediate) history of heart disease. He had been on TRT for a few years. I think the Paleo thing was kind of new. He had been doing HIIT and Xfit for a couple years. At age 47 he looked leaner than at any point I had known him, so appearance wise he was at his best. Obviously, inside, something else was going on. The scariest thing was he had done a complete body scan and stress EKG within the past year.
                      Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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                      • #12
                        That's really unfortunate that it happened to him. Sorry to hear.
                        #docswholift
                        PGY-1 FM
                        "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

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                        • #13
                          I think it seems pretty obvious to me: Crossfit almost killed him.

                          Seriously, I was asked a question for my next Q and A about heart health, aging, bodybuilding, gear, etc.. In short, I will speak for myself: I have a lot to live for but I refuse to live with the fear of dying - especially based on my decisions of what to eat, how to live, etc.. At the same time, I take time to think about potential ramifications of decisions I make in my life from riding a motorcycle to what I eat and how big my weight is, etc.. Outside of that, I am thinking about LIVING, not DYING. You said yourself that your buddy basically had nothing much else he could do to take care of himself as he was doing it all, already. Had he not been, he may have not made it (his health could have saved his life in a weird irony) or he could have died 10 years ago.

                          You do what you can for yourself and what you are willing to do and then my best advice is not to dwell on it.

                          Skip


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                          • #14
                            Swami,

                            I have not had the experience hit close to home like you, but I do have the same concerns. I have heart disease that runs in my family and every one of us on both sides of the family have cholesterol issues. Because of this, I started going to an endo about 6 months ago. This is the most thorough care I have ever received. I did this because I completely understand that no matter how good your outward appearance/physique is, or how good of shape you are in, it does not necessarily mean that you are healthy on the inside. This is the scenario my family falls into. Nobody is overweight and many are in decent shape. Almost all are medicated though.

                            I don't carry as much size as some, but I do stay around 230-240 year round. My goal is to get to 200-210 over the next year and stay there. Largely due to things like sleep apnea and overall comfort. My blood work is not too bad but my lipid profile has some abnormalities that most general practitioners would never see or know to look for. They also never do the types of labs that provide the most in depth information. This has caused me to shift from general medicine to internal medicine specialists for most things other than the flu lol. Joking aside, after looking at family history my endo ordered an advanced lipid test that uses predictors that gauge your risk for heart disease. I have never seen a test like this, ever. The results were 5 pages. With many different lipids on every page. Furthermore, it tells you what each item means, what is does in your body, and what you can do to help them. It also puts you into a risk category for every lipid from low to high for heart disease.

                            The reason that I wrote this wall of text is this, #1 there are times where even when everything looks ok on the surface (yearly checkups, bloodwork, etc) there can be something looming in the darkness that if you don't know to look for you will never know it was there until it is too late, and #2 you be a diligent as humanly possible with your health. Doing everything right, and even with all these tests and measures I am taking to be here as long as possible for my family, I could drop dead tomorrow. I am very much like Skip in the regard that I WILL do everything I know to do to have longevity but I WILL NOT live in a state of fear of dying.
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                            • #15
                              Skip,
                              I think...until more is known about the causes of heart attacks, that you have the best mentality. And Mateus, yes, he is also going through a battery of those same blood tests. Apparently one of those tests revealed that fish oil, to him, was inflammatory and possibly led to his heart attack. My post was basically a rant about how little is known about the one thing that kills more of us than anything else. Heck, we can give a blue pill to a 90 year old man and get him a woody, but a 45 year old "healthy" guy might drop dead of a heart attack without warning. It just seems crazy how little we know.
                              Family Guy but also; Old School SoCal, punk rock loving, powerlifting, hardcore gym rat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLQ73EutoY

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