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What does afib feel like when running? (Read 990 times)

    Suspect I had afib during a run last week.  My heart rate went over 200 bpm on a run.  It was a faster than normal run (7:30 pace instead of 9:00 pace).  I stopped and walk until my heart rate came down.  I ran-walked the rest of the way home and heart rate went up to 200 bpm again.  I've felt tired ever since.  The same thing happened in August.  I went to the doctor.  She suspected it was a)faulty reading on my HR monitor, b)dehydration/electrolyte imbalance or c)low iron.  Blood test came back normal for electrolytes and iron.  Was told to come back in if I don't feel better.

     

    I will schedule another Dr appt but felt didn't get much help in August.

    JML


      Suspect I had afib during a run last week.  My heart rate went over 200 bpm on a run.  It was a faster than normal run (7:30 pace instead of 9:00 pace).  I stopped and walk until my heart rate came down.  I ran-walked the rest of the way home and heart rate went up to 200 bpm again.  I've felt tired ever since.  The same thing happened in August.  I went to the doctor.  She suspected it was a)faulty reading on my HR monitor, b)dehydration/electrolyte imbalance or c)low iron.  Blood test came back normal for electrolytes and iron.  Was told to come back in if I don't feel better.

       

      I will schedule another Dr appt but felt didn't get much help in August.

       

      I have had that happen twice in the last few years (once during a half marathon, once during a recovery interval while running a speedwork session).  My heart rate spiked to an uncomfortable place and I felt lightheaded.  Having a sibling who had some cardiac issues and on the advice of my Dr, I took the precaution of getting a full cardiac workup which thankfully turned up nothing.   The Dr. feels that both occurrences were an anomaly and has given me the all clear based on the cardiac testing.

       

      Don't mess around......get it checked out.

       2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

        HRMs do sometimes go crazy. If you see a really strange reading remember that you can always take your heart rate manually to a reasonable degree of accuracy.

         

        Note also that 200bpm is not necessarily a problem. Max heart rate varies a lot from person to person. I can still get over 200 aged 47 - 20 years ago it would go significantly higher than that. But if you're at your max heart rate you definitely know about it - it's eyeballs out, "oh god I'm about to be sick" kind of thing.

          I also find this disconcerting with a history of heart issues in my family.  It is good to be careful though.  I started running again for my health at the age of 40 after a long absence.

           

          One study I read shows 10 percent of the time there is no heart disease. In these cases, AF may be related to alcohol or excessive caffeine use, stress, certain drugs, electrolyte or metabolic imbalances, severe infections, or genetic factors. In some cases, no cause can be found.

           

          I tend to drink a lot of coffee and have a stressful job .  I had it happen to me this past weekend while I was on a mini-vacation with friends which involved way too much eating and drinking, so there may be something to this. Half-way through my Sunday run the HR monitor went crazy. I too feel tired, but have been training for an upcoming marathon so I figure I should be.

          I'm curious to see what else folks here say though.

          What was I chasing again?

            Thanks for the replies.  Forgot to mention my age.  I'm 53.  I would guess my Heart rate maximum is 180-185bpm.  I haven't run a short race in awhile or hard interval workout.  I'm also have had touble sleeping so I've cut out caffine and alcohol.  The high heart rate in August could have been due to the heat and dehydration but felt pretty good last week prior that run.  Hard to say how much is due to greating older but I sure can't run hard anymore.

              Suspect I had afib during a run last week.  My heart rate went over 200 bpm on a run.  It was a faster than normal run (7:30 pace instead of 9:00 pace).  I stopped and walk until my heart rate came down.  I ran-walked the rest of the way home and heart rate went up to 200 bpm again.  I've felt tired ever since.  The same thing happened in August.  I went to the doctor.  She suspected it was a)faulty reading on my HR monitor, b)dehydration/electrolyte imbalance or c)low iron.  Blood test came back normal for electrolytes and iron.  Was told to come back in if I don't feel better.

               

              I will schedule another Dr appt but felt didn't get much help in August.

               

              How do you know your HR was over 200 bpm?

               

              If you are using a HR monitor (Garmin, Polar etc.) the readings can be erratic at times and give really high readings. Do a search about high HR readings and you will find countless threads about erratic and bad readins from them. I use one regularly and find that when its dry out, low humidity, the readings are abnormally high. This is especially true in the early spring and fall. It hasn't rained in MN for months and has been extremely dry so most of my runs have some high readings at the beginning of them. I also get bad readings from some tech shirts that I own until I get a good sweat going. I try and combat that by holding my hand over the monitor so my tech shirt is not rubbing on it while I'm running for the first 5-10 minutes during my warmup.

               

              Basically if you see HR numbers over 200 and you are not at the end of your hardest run 5k, don't believe it. Take your pulse manually and compare to what your devices is reading.

               

              The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

               

              2014 Goals:

               

              Stay healthy

              Enjoy life

               

                Thanks for the reply Burnt Toast.  I wear a Garmin 305.  My heart rate was too high to measure by feeling my pulse with a finger (also the fact I was dizzy and nauseous).  I wouldn't have been as concerned if it was one reading but it jumped up multiple times when I tried to run even though I was going slow.  I had also worked up a pretty good sweat so I feel like the strap made good contact.  You can take a look at my log.  I bothers me that I still feel tired after almost a week later.

                  How do you know your HR was over 200 bpm?

                   

                  If you are using a HR monitor (Garmin, Polar etc.) the readings can be erratic at times and give really high readings. Do a search about high HR readings and you will find countless threads about erratic and bad readins from them. I use one regularly and find that when its dry out, low humidity, the readings are abnormally high. This is especially true in the early spring and fall. It hasn't rained in MN for months and has been extremely dry so most of my runs have some high readings at the beginning of them. I also get bad readings from some tech shirts that I own until I get a good sweat going. I try and combat that by holding my hand over the monitor so my tech shirt is not rubbing on it while I'm running for the first 5-10 minutes during my warmup.

                   

                  Basically if you see HR numbers over 200 and you are not at the end of your hardest run 5k, don't believe it. Take your pulse manually and compare to what your devices is reading.

                   

                  +1.  Mine did this today, during a lightning storm.  Cruising easy, seeing numbers (and feeling the effort for) 145-155 BPM.  Suddenly, it shot up to 190+ with no discernible change in effort or feeling.  I shrugged, listened to my breathing, and carried on.

                   

                  If the monitor spiked, but you didn't feel your heart pounding, light headedness, etc, it could just be the monitor being wacky.  I'd definitely get checked out, but I wouldn't be worried based solely on a reading.   

                  "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                  Emil Zatopek


                  Fat butt on couch

                    Thanks for the reply Burnt Toast.  I wear a Garmin 305.  My heart rate was too high to measure by feeling my pulse with a finger (also the fact I was dizzy and nauseous).  I wouldn't have been as concerned if it was one reading but it jumped up multiple times when I tried to run even though I was going slow.  I had also worked up a pretty good sweat so I feel like the strap made good contact.  You can take a look at my log.  I bothers me that I still feel tired after almost a week later.

                     

                     

                    I would get in to see the doc ASAP and not run until you get checked out.  The HRM reading is one thing, your symptoms are another.  Hopefully they will do a more thorough cardiac workup to either figure it out or put your mind at ease.  We went through this with a relative of mine when they started running, we were worried but after the test knew everything was okay and it was a big help to their confidence in sticking with the running program.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                     


                    I've got a fever...

                      I had three episodes of afib in the mid-to-late 1990s.  The common thread on all of them for me was that during or after a run, I slammed ice cold liquid (gatorade in the first case, don't remember the other two).  Yeah, it shouldn't have taken three tries to know for sure, but the doctors dismissed my cold liquid hypothesis on the first one, so I re-ran the experiment a few times to confirm.  Turns out that ice cold liquid can stimulate the vagus nerve (which passes near the esophagus), which influences the heart.

                       

                      Alcohol and caffeine are also considered to be triggers for afib, but I've spent the last decade drinking a lot of alcohol and caffeine (while avoiding slamming cold drinks) and I haven't had an problem; good thing -- my last two afib incidents required cardioversion (i.e the paddles -- CLEAR!) to bump my heart back into normal rhythm.

                       

                      As for how it actually felt when it was happening?  Well, I felt just a little off.  My chest was a little tight.  A little short of breath.  That first time it happened, it was really hot out (which is why I stopped for Gatorade in the first place).  I was kind of dogging it -- maybe due to the afib, but maybe just the heat.  I stopped to check my pulse (this was the pre-HRM era), not because I suspected anything, but just to see how it compared to my exertion level --it felt like the drum solo at the beginning of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher."   It was scary -- when I first checked my pulse I thought I was seconds away from death.  But the Grim Reaper thought I was too ugly to take, so I just walked over to a post office and called a friend on a payphone (kids, there used to be these phones that stayed in one place, and you had to pay money to use them.  And the wasn't even a screen!  No texting!) and got picked up.  

                       

                      Eventually went to the hospital because even  though my HR slowed way down once I got cooled down and rested (into the 40s -- I used to a Runner), the rhythm was weird.

                       

                      As for the OP -- avoid the triggers (lots of alcohol or caffeine close to a run, don't powerslam ice-cold liquids (but stay hydrated)) and see a cardiologist.    Bear in mind that HRMs usually spike high when they lose good contact with your skin, so that might be all there is to this.

                      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                        The HRM reading is one thing, your symptoms are another. 

                         

                        I'm curious if any particular symptom is a bigger cause for concern? The fact that the heartrate spiked, or the tiredness after a week, or...etc?

                         

                        I have felt my heart skipping a beat or something a couple times this year during a run, once my heart started racing for no reason when I was just watching TV (it had nothing to do with the programming either). I have never thought much about it since I felt normal afterward, maybe I should?...

                          Had Dr appointment this week.  Did an at rest EKG.  Didn't get much out of him.  Sending me to another Dr for a Echo Stress Test Nov13th.  Said its OK to run.  Showed him an article how long time endurance athletes have greater occurrence of afib.  He just nodded in agreement.  Hope the stress test shows something.  Had another lousy run today with Max HR>190 bpm

                            Can one wear a Holter monitor while running?

                            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                              Finally met with my GP to discuss my stress test results.  He confirmed I have atrial fibralation.  I had some heart rhythm "issues" during the stress test but they really showed up after as my heart rate returned to normal.  My GP told me that caffine, alcohol and cold tablets can trigger it.  Started me on a beta blocker 2 days ago (Toprol XL).  First run in 2+ weeks this morning.  Let's hope this works!  Thanks for the posts.


                              Pass the coffee.

                                Finally met with my GP to discuss my stress test results.  He confirmed I have atrial fibralation.  I had some heart rhythm "issues" during the stress test but they really showed up after as my heart rate returned to normal.  My GP told me that caffine, alcohol and cold tablets can trigger it.  Started me on a beta blocker 2 days ago (Toprol XL).  First run in 2+ weeks this morning.  Let's hope this works!  Thanks for the posts.

                                 

                                I've been managing my arrhythmia for 13 years without drugs... but: it's minor, and I'm a younger.  There are 5 factors I manage, hopefully these will help you, which is why I'm posting:

                                 

                                Slurp - stay hydrated

                                Salt - my doctor told me to be generous, so YMMV - it's about getting plenty of electrolytes.

                                Stress - as a previous poster mentioned. Take measures to diffuse what you can.  Try to find something that is relaxing for non-run days.

                                Sleep - get plenty of sleep.

                                Soda - avoid caffeine - and yes, cold tabs can hop you up, too.  The "new formula" sinus tabs aren't as stimulating as the "behind the counter" types, but if those bother you, you can look for the "High Blood Pressure" formulas that are even gentler. Coricidin HBP  is one.

                                 

                                I was a senior in college at the time - I looked at my doctor and about laughed as I was living on Mt Dew and little sleep, working on senior capstone projects (stress!).  Dr had mentioned beta blockers but we both wanted to give the lifestyle modification a shot first.

                                 

                                Hopefully this will help you manage yours.  I will still have a flare up occasionally (3 times a year give or take) and if it is a run day I will stop and walk home.  I have been able to carefully run in heat and cold, staying outside as temps adjust, you just have to be careful about being acclimated and knowing your body's signs.

                                 

                                Good luck.

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