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Old 07-24-20, 06:19 AM
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My ongoing Heart Saga

Several years back I posted here looking for answers about a persistent problem. On many days I struggle to get my heart rate up. At about 75% of max or 140/182 I feel destroyed, my left arm starts to feel numb, swollen or tight, and sometimes my heart goes the same way. This can be well after a good 15 minute warmup. I often feel a breakthrough later in the ride where I can suddenly get my HR up. To break down the advice I received here it was basically, You're going to have a heart attack go to the doctor.

About 1.6 years ago I finally broke down and went to the doctor. He ordered an echo stress test and bloodwork. On the treadmill I felt fine and the bloodwork came back with no problems. I decided it was in my head and essentially ignored it. I have experienced the same issue when walking hard up hills or trying to run, which I don't do.

I started my indoor training on Zwift this winter, and it seemed worse that last year, it's always worse at night indoors. I sent emails to several coaches to ask if they had heard of any such problems. I got so many answers back, they ranged from, You're about to have a heart attack, to my splein, to exercise induced asthma, but they all encouraged me to go to the doctor. I went back to the doctor and asked about exercise induced asthma and was given albuterol to try. At first I thought it worked, but it came back.

When Covid hit I decided to take up coaching with someone who gave me a really good response to my question. Since March I've been pretty much riding on a training schedule and training with power. I can generally hit the power numbers I'm suppose to hit, but it's often a struggle that leaves my left arm tight and sometimes pressure in my chest.

Two weeks ago I finally got a consult with a cardiologist.. I was given an ECG and it was abnormal showing a thickened heart since my one 1.6 years ago. He was every concerned about my blood pressure, which I check often and find to usually be around 120/80. At the office that day it was 130/88. He was worried about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy ordered a regular echo test and a Nuclear Stress test. He said the echo showed a very healthy heart that had grown 1mm thicker since last year.

I did the Nuclear Stress test yesterday, I was feeling really, really nervous about it, and generally just freaked out. Before the treadmill stress part I had a blood pressure of 157/110 and they weren't going to let me do the test, but I stood up and it went down. As soon as I started running on the treadmill I knew it was a waste of time. I felt perfect, It may sound stupid but I could feel this rush of oxygenated blood everywhere in my body. I had zero symptoms and could have jogged at 85% for an hour if they wanted me too. Though doing it with a mask on wasn't fun.

In my next visit next month the doctor said he plans on prescribing me BETA BLOCKERS, which I said were the opposite of what I was trying to do, I want to be able to get my heart rate up, not down. I think I'm going to discontinue treatment.

Whatever is wrong with me, it's not my heart and when I asked about artery issues the doctor said he didn't think that was a possibility. He said his best guess is that my heart was outstripping my blood supply and essentially outpacing the rest of my cardiovascular system. That's exactly what it feels like.
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