Posts Tagged ‘heart rate’

Athletic Heart Syndrome

runningheartI went to the doctor tonight for a re-check after being off my beta blocker for two weeks. I had been on the medicine for almost two years for an arrhythmia (my heart would beat irregularly and feel like it was trying to escape from my chest).

Several weeks ago, however, I started having some dizzy spells after exercising or when getting up too quickly. At the doctor, I found out that now my heart rate is unusually slow.  He took me off the medication and told me to continue what I’ve been doing (running, biking, swimming). The palpitations have not come back really (I have bouts of them but they are more moderate and don’t last very long) and the dizziness has abated somewhat unless I get up too fast.

However,  tonight, I still have a slow heart rate (it hovers around 45-50 resting; normal is above 60). Not as slow as a couple of weeks ago, but still slower than what’s considered normal.

His diagnosis? Most likely it is just a slow athletic heart. Meaning that by dieting and getting lots of cardio exercise, I’ve strengthened my heart to where it doesn’t have to work as hard.

I don’t know that I exercise enough to warrant a “slow athletic heart,” according to what I’ve read about this,  but I prefer that to any of the alternatives. Maybe because I was on the beta-blocker for most of the time, my heart just got used to beating slow? It’s not a dangerous condition, so that’s good.

At any rate, the next stop is the cardiologist to make sure that’s all that’s going on. And maybe it’s time for that heart rate monitor after all.

I have to admit, it was kind of cool to be told that some part of me is athletic! That’s not something I’ve ever actually heard before. 🙂

Mind Over Matter

So yesterday, my doctor removed my crutch. As I mentioned in my last post, I have heart palpitations, an irregular heartbeat, tachycardia, whatever you’d like to call it. Basically, I can feel my heart beating a lot of the time, which at the very least is annoying, and at its worst is a little scary. I’ve been on a beta blocker for two years to keep my heartbeat more or less regular. Losing weight and exercising regularly has changed the composition of my body, and the beta blocker was causing my heart rate to drop precipitously when I’m in a resting state. On an EKG yesterday, my heart rate was 32 beats per minute. No, I’m not in a coma.

But the rate was sufficiently low enough for the doctor to tell me to stop taking my medication— immediately. I asked if I should continue exercising until I see the doctor again on Friday, and her answer was a resounding yes. That would at least raise my heart rate. My concern though is that would also trigger the palpitations again.

So this morning I went running. Or running/walking, I should say. Which kind of bummed me out. I am also having a slight issue with a muscle in my hip, which was all twingy this morning too. But more than that, my concern was that I would set my heart off on its funky beat again, a feeling I do not like.

So I ran. And then when I was feeling even a little winded, I would walk for a minute or two and then run again. All told, I probably only walked a half mile of a 2.5 mile run and I tried to run the rest of it at a faster pace, which was the plan for today’s run anyway.

I was frustrated with myself though. I haven’t let getting winded slow me to a walk in more than a month now. This morning though, I let fear get the better of me. I won’t let that happen again.

So far, no palpitations. And my heart rate has been holding steady at about 50 beats/minute. It was considerably higher after running this morning. It will take another day or two for the medication to be fully out of my system. But for the rest of this week, while I’ll stay alert, I won’t be letting a little thing like fear of heart palpitations slow me down again.

I have a race in less than two weeks after all.