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Aortic Dissection

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  • Aortic Dissection

    My father (78y.o.) just had type 1 aortic dissection. Two doctors at the hospital he is being treated told me in passing that the risk is hereditary and I (38y.o. male)should get myself checked out. I did some research online and saw weight-lifting included among the risk factors.

    My questions are as follows:
    1. Does weight lifting cause cumulative wear and tear to the aorta that can result over the years of training into an aneurysm or dissection?

    2. Should I adapt my workouts to include more volume at lower RPE? Maybe add a bit more cardio? Should I stop working out all together?

    3. How often should I be checking my heart health and what are the recommended tests that would detect aneurysms or any other warning signs that could result in a dissection?

    4. Are there any dietary choices that could lower the risk of an aortic dissection?


  • #2

    Thanks for the post and the interesting question. My thoughts are below with full admission that we don't have tons of data on this particular topic AND that you (and your dad) should refer to your cardiologist for an in-depth discussion on this.

    1) At this time, no. The data suggests exercise including resistance training does not do that.
    2) I don't know if that would be advisable- though I don't know your programming and existing risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. I think a frank discussion with your cardiologist about risks and benefits of exercise (including resistance training) compared to being sedentary AND what the available evidence on this matter has to tell us is the best action here. In general, my default recommendation for folks is 2-3 resistance training sessions per week with 2-3 conditioning sessions per week. From there, I would tailor the recommendation to an individual's goals.
    3) There are standard intervals published for cardiac monitoring and diagnostic work that are specific to the risk factors that are present and your current medical status. This is 100% a discussion to have with the cardiologist.
    4) Not that I am aware of from a primary prevention standpoint, however there are dietary choices that are known to be beneficial from a heart disease risk factor standpoint, e.g. maintaining goal blood pressures and lipid levels, for instance. Additionally, maintaining the appropriate body weight and body fat are important here.

    Tl;dr- we cannot advise you specifically here and would 100% recommend discussing appropriate management with your primary care doctor and cardiologist.
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