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Training on Heart Meds

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Training on Heart Meds

Post by Viking on Thu May 15, 2014 1:19 pm

So, I'm 65 y/o former endurance athlete 1.5 years post-op from quadruple bypass. I am on the lowest possible dose of carvedilol (3.125 mg/day) and 10 mg of lisinopril. This despite the fact that my blood pressure is in the below normal range and my resting pulse around 55 or lower.

It takes me a good 15 to 20 minutes of moderate riding, say 15-16 mph on the flats, to get my pulse up to 120, which correlates to a Zone 2 effort: conversational pace. The highest I've been able to push my heart rate is 145 and that is definitely in my "red" zone.

The range I have to work with seems quite narrow. My heart recovery rate is better than my age adjusted HRR, so I am comforted to know that even with a low ejection fraction (41%) from a damaging heart attack at age 43, my heart is working up to specs.

This all may seem overly technical and obsessive, but I trained consistently last year and made great progress with no illness, injury, or overtraining by watching my numbers and gradually increasing the workload. I also rested at least one and usually two days a week, continued to hike 3 hours/week and have done strength work over the winter.

Still, I am wondering what others experiences have been with exercising on these common heart meds. I admit I am nervous about pushing myself to my limits - it just doesn't seem like a good idea, but I do want to improve my fitness further this year.

Thanks for reading.

Viking

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by trishb on Thu May 15, 2014 4:49 pm

Beta Blockers are the scourge of athletes.

Pretty much anyone who has had a heart attack or bypass surgery is automatically put on beta blockers...regardless of what your blood pressure or HR is.
Older studies showed that putting a patient on BBs was beneficial to increase survival rates.
So docs kept their patients on the drugs forever.

However more recent studies have shown that those on BBs fared no better after a 4 year period than those who never took them.

It is just a matter of convincing your doc (who may be old school) that you may not need the BBs.

I would ask for sure. You would have to be weaned off the BBs (you don't want to quit cold turkey), but in the long run...you would be better off....IMO.

As far as what you are doing right now, don't push too hard. You are not going to get the HR rate to pre-med levels. And by trying too hard, you are just going to feel like you are hitting a brick wall.
That does not mean you are not getting the same cardio benefit with the lower heart rate, but it will compromise your endurance.

Good luck!


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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by Tom price on Fri May 16, 2014 9:19 am

Trish is, of course, correct....I hate beta blockers.  That being said, they do serve a purpose.  What you should do is talk to your cardio and ask why you are on them.  If just to lower BP, then there are better drugs with less side effects.  I did a quick look up on carvedilol, and it is for lowering the chance of a second heart attack, but it appears only for a short time.
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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sun May 18, 2014 5:07 pm

I was on BBs for probably 7 or 8 years after my surgery and I always felt like I was going to pass out when I stood up from sitting. I maintained about 20 - 25 miles of running a week but always felt abnormally exhausted after long runs. After changing over to a Calcium Channel Blocker to manage my BP those symptoms are gone... I used to have a good article about BBs not being recommended for athletes and good alternatives. I'll see if I can find it.

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by Viking on Mon May 19, 2014 10:27 am

Thanks Dave, I would be interested in that article if you can locate it. I am on the lowest dose of carvedilol - the pills are so tiny they get stuck between my teeth!

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by Dave Tuttle on Mon May 19, 2014 5:17 pm

I'll try to find the article Viking... It's not on this computer so I'll have to fire up my old one to see if it's there.

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by Dave Tuttle on Thu May 22, 2014 2:20 pm

Here you are Viking. I know your BP is fine but there may be something useful for you here.

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0801/p445.html

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

Post by mikenall on Thu May 22, 2014 6:04 pm

I'm in the process of going off a beta blocker for the second time in one year, and I'm at the point of being off entirely. I'll try to put my opinions on this here in more detail this weekend. I have the viewpoint(s) of doing it abruptly like the doctors told me a year ago when they suddenly discovered my pulse was very slow and doing it the way I'm doing it now - very slowly.

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Re: Training on Heart Meds

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