May I continue exercising even though I have an ascending aortic aneurysm?

I’m a 70 year old who’s been told I have an aortic aneurysm in the ascending aorta of 4.6 cm size. I’m reasonably vigorous, active and want to remain so. I run, lift weights, swim and scuba dive. I don’t smoke and have a reasonable diet. Can I continue these activities? What should I consider next?

Submitted by John from San Antonio, TX on 02/11/2014

by Patrick J. Cook, MD

I would certainly advise you to follow-up with your cardiologist regarding the aneurysm, with serial imaging. I would avoid straining with heavy weights (anything more than toning), but have no problem with moderate aerobic exercise. It’s important for your blood pressure to be well controlled. There’s no indication for surgery of that size aneurysm, unless it has been seen to be growing or is causing symptoms. If just discovered, imaging it at intervals is what is customarily done.