Heart Attack Survivors - Any Tips?

OneEyedHunter

New member
Hello Everyone:

I recently had a heart attack and would appreciate information from any of you who have also experienced that "exciting" experience:

How long did you wait after the attack before you began hunting pheasants & quail again?

What precautions did you take to help insure your safety if it happened again (ex. a life alert - GPS system)?

Please let me know anything you think was/is important.

Thank you!
 

KansasCowboy

New member
Very sorry to hear about that and hope you have a speedy recovery. But why is this on the Kansas thread? Administrators please move this to a thread that might get better attention for his question.
 

koja48

New member
As previously stated, sorry to hear of your travails & godspeed for quick recovery. I experienced a heart attack 18 years ago (at 50 years of age). I hunted birds & big game that year but paced myself & eventually gave-up big game hunting due to my knees & age, not because of the heart issue. As for advice? Listen to your doctor re: diet, exercise, general well-being; make your check-ups & take your meds. When I go anywhere, I leave word as to where I'm going; I don't carry/wear an alert pendant/device but do carry my cell phone & always have the location feature activated. Hang in there.
 

BritChaser

Active member
Best of luck in recovering your health for a return to life as you knew it and hunting. A friend had a bad heart attack - a so-called "widow maker" which is a blockage high in a main coronary artery. He fell passed out cold at the gym while on a treadmill. His doc said that his habit of regular exercise had increased the vascularity of his heart muscle which likely was why he survived. He was a long-time gym rat. The lesson here is the value of regular exercise like daily walking.
 

OneEyedHunter

New member
Thank you for the good wishes.

Your friend and I had a similar experience as I also had the "widow maker." The DR told me that most of the people who have it die or have a severely damaged heart as a result. I exercised every day, had a good diet, never smoked, etc. All of that plus prompt assistance probably saved me and prevented heart damage. Thanks again.
 

OneEyedHunter

New member
As previously stated, sorry to hear of your travails & godspeed for quick recovery. I experienced a heart attack 18 years ago (at 50 years of age). I hunted birds & big game that year but paced myself & eventually gave-up big game hunting due to my knees & age, not because of the heart issue. As for advice? Listen to your doctor re: diet, exercise, general well-being; make your check-ups & take your meds. When I go anywhere, I leave word as to where I'm going; I don't carry/wear an alert pendant/device but do carry my cell phone & always have the location feature activated. Hang in there.
Thanks for the response and good wishes.

How long before hunting season was your attack? Mine was at the end of July.

Do you carry nitro or aspirin when you go out?
 

Chestle

Member
I didn't have a heart attack. In 2002 I did have a 98% (the Doc said maybe even 99%!) blockage of the Left Anterior Descent (LAD) artery. It presented merely as shortness of breath on a 2 mile walk on a cold February day. I was very lucky, caught it before I was really in trouble. They just put a stent in; there wasn't any damage. I got good advice on getting treatment quickly from a Doctor whose land I hunted. See...there's a reason to be a hunter. ;)

I hunted that Fall and every Fall since. I did lose some weight and get in better shape, knocked my LDL cholesterol number way down, took a statin and a coated aspirin every day.

The only caveat the Docs gave me about hunting was to watch it in extremely cold weather. The heart has to work harder to maintain core temperature and also pump that blood out to the extremities. Filling your lungs with below freezing air doesn't help this; it can decrease your lung capacity = less oxygen to the blood/heart. So for the first couple of years they had me wearing a PolarWrap heat exchanger mask when it was really cold. Looks like they are out of business now though. https://www.amazon.com/Polarwrap-Exchanger-Model-Mossy-Break-Up/dp/B000JKLBFY

At any rate, I don't use the mask anymore. I DO use a light polyester hood from Cabela's. It's basically a lightweight balaclava that you can stuff in a pocket and keep handy. They say you lose 20% of your body heat through an uncovered head. I personally feel like putting on the hood is like putting on a light sweater. I'm out on a nice chilly Fall day, great day to be afield and the temp drops 10-15 degrees and a wicked wind comes up...out comes the hood. Amazing what the one small change does for my personal warmth. I find it is better than the PolarWrap, it's way more comfortable and unobtrusive and just that layer of material over your mouth warms the air a bit. Not as much as the PolarWrap but sufficient for me. About $15 Cabela's Men's Camoskinz? Hood. There is ALWAYS one in my strap vest.

Other than that, I haven't changed anything. I hunt now like I did before the stent. I do make it a practice to walk with my dogs every possible day. I usually get in 4-5 miles a day at just under 4 mph. I figure if I can do that without discomfort, I can hunt the fields.

OK...maybe I do use a bit more common sense than when I was younger. When I find myself in the rough going, hacking through the cattails or heavy cover, I slow down. When I find myself getting winded and my heart first begins to pound a bit...I stop until I'm rested.

In your case, fresh off the heart attack, you want to take it easy this year and see how you feel as you go. Always go out with someone else. Get the young studs to walk the tough stuff, you take the edge. Don't press; try a couple of short hunts first, don't go at it all day long right off the get-go. Don't be afraid to sit out a day and let your body rest. Watch the below zero breathing.

Lastly, and I don't mean for this to sound stupid, pheasant hunting with dogs is the main reason I am able to put up with the BS the rest of the year provides in ample quantity. If I couldn't do it, I'd be miserable. So, knowing that none of us get out of this alive, I'm going hunting anyway. I had that attitude right after they put the stent in and I still have it 14 years later.

So, do what the Docs say, be in the best walking shape you can manage before you start and then go on a few short hunts and see how it goes.

Good luck and good hunting!
 

Chip

Member
Since the first of the year I have had two heart attacks and in April double bypass surgery. 6 weeks after surgery I went into cardiac rehab for 3 months. Now I'm in the gym 4 days a week. So far so good. I'm much stronger now than last year. I'm headed to SD next month and hopefully it will go well.
 

OneEyedHunter

New member
I didn't have a heart attack. In 2002 I did have a 98% (the Doc said maybe even 99%!) blockage of the Left Anterior Descent (LAD) artery. It presented merely as shortness of breath on a 2 mile walk on a cold February day. I was very lucky, caught it before I was really in trouble. They just put a stent in; there wasn't any damage. I got good advice on getting treatment quickly from a Doctor whose land I hunted. See...there's a reason to be a hunter. ;)

I hunted that Fall and every Fall since. I did lose some weight and get in better shape, knocked my LDL cholesterol number way down, took a statin and a coated aspirin every day.

The only caveat the Docs gave me about hunting was to watch it in extremely cold weather. The heart has to work harder to maintain core temperature and also pump that blood out to the extremities. Filling your lungs with below freezing air doesn't help this; it can decrease your lung capacity = less oxygen to the blood/heart. So for the first couple of years they had me wearing a PolarWrap heat exchanger mask when it was really cold. Looks like they are out of business now though. https://www.amazon.com/Polarwrap-Exchanger-Model-Mossy-Break-Up/dp/B000JKLBFY

At any rate, I don't use the mask anymore. I DO use a light polyester hood from Cabela's. It's basically a lightweight balaclava that you can stuff in a pocket and keep handy. They say you lose 20% of your body heat through an uncovered head. I personally feel like putting on the hood is like putting on a light sweater. I'm out on a nice chilly Fall day, great day to be afield and the temp drops 10-15 degrees and a wicked wind comes up...out comes the hood. Amazing what the one small change does for my personal warmth. I find it is better than the PolarWrap, it's way more comfortable and unobtrusive and just that layer of material over your mouth warms the air a bit. Not as much as the PolarWrap but sufficient for me. About $15 Cabela's Men's Camoskinz? Hood. There is ALWAYS one in my strap vest.

Other than that, I haven't changed anything. I hunt now like I did before the stent. I do make it a practice to walk with my dogs every possible day. I usually get in 4-5 miles a day at just under 4 mph. I figure if I can do that without discomfort, I can hunt the fields.

OK...maybe I do use a bit more common sense than when I was younger. When I find myself in the rough going, hacking through the cattails or heavy cover, I slow down. When I find myself getting winded and my heart first begins to pound a bit...I stop until I'm rested.

In your case, fresh off the heart attack, you want to take it easy this year and see how you feel as you go. Always go out with someone else. Get the young studs to walk the tough stuff, you take the edge. Don't press; try a couple of short hunts first, don't go at it all day long right off the get-go. Don't be afraid to sit out a day and let your body rest. Watch the below zero breathing.

Lastly, and I don't mean for this to sound stupid, pheasant hunting with dogs is the main reason I am able to put up with the BS the rest of the year provides in ample quantity. If I couldn't do it, I'd be miserable. So, knowing that none of us get out of this alive, I'm going hunting anyway. I had that attitude right after they put the stent in and I still have it 14 years later.

So, do what the Docs say, be in the best walking shape you can manage before you start and then go on a few short hunts and see how it goes.

Good luck and good hunting!
Thank you. I appreciate it. Take care.

I noticed you are close to FW. I'm near McKinney.
 

Chestle

Member
Yeah, I'm a Texan now. I really like Texas overall except that there's no public hunting to speak of. For anything. That totally sucks, a BIG negative for me.

At an early age I was hunting rabbits and quail in Missouri with my Dad My Mom made an outstanding rabbit fricassee. In college (Jayhawk) I started hunting pheasant in Kansas. Kansas, IMO, is (or was last time I hunted there) pretty much a public land bird hunter's paradise. I do miss that.

Last decade though I've pretty much been pure SD for pheasant. No regrets there either.

Long drive up from DFW, isn't it? Worth it though.
 

koja48

New member
Thanks for the response and good wishes.

How long before hunting season was your attack? Mine was at the end of July.

Do you carry nitro or aspirin when you go out?
My heart attack occurred some 8 months before bird season, but it wasn't as severe as yours. I was back to normal activities fairly quickly. I always have low-dose aspirin in my first aid kit that I carry. Now that I am 68, I have slowed down a bit & don't hunt nearly as hard as I used to do.
 
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BleuBijou

New member
I always carry Nitro. My doc is a hunter and he said that in many instances with heart attacks the patients are too far away from good medical care and do not survive. Hunters % is even worse as they are usually in remote areas. He told me that the Nitro will give whoever has the heart attack at least a chance to make it to good care. Especially for people in the hills away from roads where the nearest Hospital could be 2-4 hours away. You just never know but I like to be prepaired to some extent. Glad you are on the mend.:thumbsup:
 

OneEyedHunter

New member
I always carry Nitro. My doc is a hunter and he said that in many instances with heart attacks the patients are too far away from good medical care and do not survive. Hunters % is even worse as they are usually in remote areas. He told me that the Nitro will give whoever has the heart attack at least a chance to make it to good care. Especially for people in the hills away from roads where the nearest Hospital could be 2-4 hours away. You just never know but I like to be prepaired to some extent. Glad you are on the mend.:thumbsup:
Thank you

Good luck this season
 

OneEyedHunter

New member
Yeah, I'm a Texan now. I really like Texas overall except that there's no public hunting to speak of. For anything. That totally sucks, a BIG negative for me.

At an early age I was hunting rabbits and quail in Missouri with my Dad My Mom made an outstanding rabbit fricassee. In college (Jayhawk) I started hunting pheasant in Kansas. Kansas, IMO, is (or was last time I hunted there) pretty much a public land bird hunter's paradise. I do miss that.

Last decade though I've pretty much been pure SD for pheasant. No regrets there either.

Long drive up from DFW, isn't it? Worth it though.
We hunt in SW Kansas. It is a very long drive and seems a lot longer on the way home.
 

JMc

Super Moderator
Had my "widow maker" and stint put in on September 23, 2015 and hunted quail in November and pheasant in December. Didn't really diet but began drinking tons of water and eating smaller portions and dropped about 60 pounds. Now I try to exercise regularly and continue to eat better and all is good. Also, carry my little brown bottle of Nitrostat everywhere I go. Have your blood sugars checked. I never had issues but after my heart attack, I'm now borderline Type II diabetic and have Meds for that as well.
One thing I do recommend if you have a smartphone...enter all your health data including medications. If you have another attack the doctors can access your info and get a head start on your issues.
 

BritChaser

Active member
Since the first of the year I have had two heart attacks and in April double bypass surgery. 6 weeks after surgery I went into cardiac rehab for 3 months. Now I'm in the gym 4 days a week. So far so good. I'm much stronger now than last year. I'm headed to SD next month and hopefully it will go well.
Hope all is now well. You worked hard for renewed health.
 
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