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British Heart Foundation
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Horses and Hearts!

I'm 62 and have had horses and ridden all my life........and I have never smoked and dont drink - In fact I would have said I was pretty fit as I do at least three hours of horse induced exercise a day! To cut the usual long story short I was found to have an NSTEMI one morning when feeding chickens - many days in hospital, waiting for tests etc, the end result (so far) was a blocked coronary artery, plus a pulmonary embolism (nice). I am on a horrible cocktail of drugs, bruise like hell and bleed really easily. I have to go for a Perfusion Scan next week. My issue is the fitness bit........I have been told to 'take it easy' but how do I define that? All my life I have pushed barrows, carried buckets of water, horse feed etc and ridden, and not found it difficult. I have been very good and not ridden, but am desperate to again! Several people have looked at me as if I have lost the plot when I mention the riding word .........

I haven't had any pain or breathlessness since the bad day, but I must admit that the memory is still there, and I do wake up worried every morning, until I get myself moving again.......I just want to be back to normal again, but dont know if that will ever happen!

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I have a similar issue (although not had a STEMI or any diagnosis for my issues yet). People in general tell me to take it easy, but for me doing haynets, bringing in and out, feeding, mucking out, rug changes, riding etc are all my baseline activities, so as far as I’m concerned I am taking it easy if that’s all I do. The stuff I’m avoiding is running and the other sports that I enjoy that I consider to be more physical. But I will admit that doing my basic horsey chores does make me out of breath at the moment. Definitely a tough one as if I don’t do the horsey chores, no one else will!

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Hi

Sorry to hear of your recent issues. I clearly recall the frustration after my heart attack and stents but I was told very clearly to rest for a month e.g. confine my activities to light household activities. It was described to me as a necessary period of healing post HA and was not to be skipped however well I felt.

I may be being conservative but I would have thought that the underlying cause of your event has not yet been treated or resolved e.g. the blocked artery, and on that basis alone I would play it safe until the results of the tests give someone the necessary details to manage a progressive return to your full range of activities.

There is light at the end of the tunnel - I returned to cycling, scuba diving etc. but over a period of months rather than weeks.

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exercise doesn't do anything for clogged up arteries bur changing your diet can?

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You must avoid the physical strain for a few months like wheelbarrows and strenuous mucking out but it will improve and you will get back to what you were doing before. A heart attack physically damages your heart and you must allow it to heal. Have you been offered cardiac rehab? Do take it because it's a way of finding out how much you can do safely, under supervision and gradually getting back to full health. Talk to the rehab nurse or phone the lovely nurses on the BHF helpline. If you had a stent fitted you must give it time to embed before doing anything strenuous. The hospital should have told you how long it takes. A lot of the tablets can make you feel horrible but there are alternatives if the side effects are unbearable. It's just difficult discovering which one is the culprit. & months on from my heart attack ( a non stemi) I'm down from 10 tablets to 5. You should have been advised on what changes to make to your lifestyle. Diet, smoking and exercise. You sound to have the exercise sorted normally so work on anything else while you recover. Treat it like any illness and give your body time to recover. You will feel a difference in about 3 months but even better after 6. Take it steady.

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