Dr. D please help with recent setback

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    Dr. D please help with recent setback


    I am 45 years old, been training off and on for 20 years. In the last couple years I have been having Fatigue that I have never experienced before, I recently went to my PCP and told him about the way I am feeling. It has got to the point that when I do a set and rack the weight my heart is racing and I feel dizzy and way out of breath, more so that normal.. My PCP put a heart monitor on me and had me go workout, so he could see what my heart was doing under a load, he called me at home after I took it back and he read it. He said my heart was pausing and I need to see a heart specialist about my Arrythemia. I went on 1/9/12 and he told me when I lift I am activating my Vagal Nerve, which when activated it slows my heartrate and lowers my blood pressure quite a bit. He said this is what I am experiencing in the Gym and I need to stop lifting immediately, he ordered a heart monitor for me to wear for two weeks to see exactly what my heart is doing 24 hrs. a day. He said it was ok for me to do cardio, but to not lift anything over 50 lbs. This has been a HUGE blow for me personally, because like alot of us here at AM, lifting is my Antidepressant and what has got me through alot of things in life. I am throwing this out to everyone here to see if anyone can offer any advice or experience with this condition.. I have googled quite a bit about this , but have yet to find a cure or treatment.

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    damn bro, thats too bad. do you get the same problem during cardio?
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    No, apparently just when lifting weights. The Dr. said he is seeing this condition pretty frequently with people who are atheletic, I live near a Air Force base and he said he is seeing alot of young guys (20s) coming in to see hime with the exact same thing. I have found plenty of info on palpatations and tachachardia, but very little on Vagus nerve activation from exercise....
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    First off, thanks for sharing the story. You are certainly an "interesting" case and I can appreciate you would rather not be "interesting" at all. If not anything; the ability to use even AM as a form of therapy for people who hold sympathy in your plight is certainly a good avenue and could help us all learn from it - while it is very unique nonetheless.

    It sounds like your blood pressure is spiking during those times which in turn attempts to regulate itself by shutting everything down, unfortunately, the heart is included in this. There aren't a lot of physicians who are really qualified to discuss this topic and I may too not be the best one, but I certainly understand the mechanics to some level and would probably have offered a bit different response...one that doesn't seem so life-ending/altering than the one you received. However, I don't have the luxury of being your examining physician so it kind of leaves me at a handicap in understanding what is truly going on.

    What I usually recommend for people that suffer from this; mind you I have treated only a handful at best - so take it cautiously - but you are ultimately going to have to retrain yourself on training. Sounds unusual; isn't a response you'd get from many - but let me go a bit more in-depth with what I mean and you can feel free to review this with your doctor. What is the one thing that has changed recently from your on and off training before which I presume didn't cause you the same concern or you wouldn't just be finding it an issue today? Maybe you've gotten stronger; maybe as a result you lift more (increased intensity - defined in weightlifting by how close you lift to your 1RM); maybe as a result of that - your blood pressure goes higher...fortunately (and I know it doesn't seem like a fortunate thing) - we have a shut-off valve to all the positive stimulus weight-lifting can supply and the one challenge is that it doesn't disciminate between the heart (heart rate) and blood vessels (blood pressure). But trust me - this is a good thing or your heart might explode. See when your blood pressure rises; this increases the pressure of backflow on the heart and the heart winds up beating faster and stronger to overcome this pressure...so here we are now with high blood pressure and a heart that is trying to speed up and get stronger with each beat...the end result is either something to shut it off OR allow the heart to explode. I think you can see that the latter is not an option as far as survival considerations.

    What's another thing you do during heavy lifts? Breathe much differently. These breathes - in particular, the holding of your breath (also better cited as the Valsalva maneuver)...usually during the eccentric (or lowering portion) of a lift...increases intra-abdominal pressure (weight-lifting belts do this too and can make the situation much worse) which, in turn, increases blood pressure which in turn tells your vagus nerve..."we gotta shut this thing down" (to avoid the above scenario).


    So - let's take a step back...what lifts (or if its all of them; what would a typical routine look like) cause this? Also - talk to me about your breathing technique; amount of weight used; your conditioning in general...


    I apologize if it seems like I am asking too much, but I really need this data to make even an educated response here.

    D_
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    I have been lifting regularly for the past four to five years. I was going to the gym 3-4 days a week and doing ten minutes cardio before lifting and then around a hour of weight lifting and then another 20-30 minutes cardio. I lift in the 10-15 rep range, basic exercises and some machines, around 8-10 sets per body part. I dont lift very heavy anymore, lifting really heavy just makes my joints hurt at this point in my life and I have found lighter weights and squeezing the muscle on all reps has made me grow a little faster and not have excess joint pain. I do not hold my breath when lifting and have always tried to breath in on the eccentric part and out on the way back up. I squat only 225 for the above reps, I do bent over rows with one end of the bar in a corner and three 45s on the other end,same rep range, these two exercises seem to really give me that out of breath and dizziness feeling. I have discussed with my PCP and this new Heart Doc, that I may have sleep apnea as well, the Heart Doc. is fighting with my insurance about which heart monitor to wear, Doc. said the one he wants me to wear could tell him if I am having sleep apnea and that if I have it bad enough, this could be causing alot of my problems.So I am waiting to get monitor and see what it shows. I have started taking Natural Calm, its a Magnesium supplement and it has helped alot in the last two weeks with my sleep, I am waking up without a headache and am feeling better all around, no more sudden onset of fatigue for no apparent reason or just a different feeling in my chest sometimes.. Thanks for taking a look and let me know any more info u need and I will keep updating when I see the Doc. in a couple of weeks.
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    I forgot to add I,m 5'10 200 lbs, around 12-14% bodyfat and have been active all my life playing basketball, raquetball,softball, and weighlifting on and off for 20 years, being tired like this is completely new for me. I just cant seem to get enough sleep until the last couple weeks, since adding NC I have had a couple days lately I have felt pretty good. The Family and I have been riding our four wheelers alot and I have not been bck in the gym for the past two weeks, may try and go this weekend and see how I feel.....
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