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  1. #1
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this, as it doesn't really require modification of bike, just habits. I have a heart condition - an enlarged heart. It's inherited, no amount of Cheerios is going to fix it. In hindsight there were clues my whole life but I didn't start actually getting chest pain until I was in my early thirties. This is common. It's why teen athletes with the same thing keel over dead one day... they had no idea there was a problem.

    I'm on blood pressure medications, which limit heart rate. There have also been some blood sugar side effects which limit my diet, and make me feel like crap after eating any sort of bulk carbs. I sometimes get dizzy standing up. Exercising has therefore been frustrating. I never know setting out if I'm going to feel good enough to keep going, and I never get going too quickly. I have to stop once in a while and no one really wants to go slow enough for me to keep up with him. Getting heart rate up to 90% or burning a lot of calories is out of the question, as is any sort of weightlifting (builds heart muscle in the wrong place).

    But I need to keep at it... because it's still exercise and it's still needed. It took me about two years from my diagnosis to really get back to a place where I was happy with my health. I dropped everything at first. But I missed cycling a lot and remembered there were lower gears. I've lost about 25 lb due to diet and lack of weightlifting, that has helped too. So if you are reading this and think that your heart problem means you get to sit on the couch and read the Internet all day - get back out there you big wuss.

    Patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Place Unnecessary Restrictions on Exercise

  2. #2
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    thanks for the encouragement. there are a lot of us out here with somewhat similar issues. I'm on beta blockers and all sorts of meds that now limit my HR too and it's frustrating but there is nothing that can be done about it in my case either, other than a dramatic change of diet and making my biking adapt to the new reality. I also just broke a collar bone so it's a moot point for the next two months. The only upside is we're still around to complain about the downside . Now when my wife is hoping I'll keep it up, she's thinking of my attitude, not my... bank balance.

  3. #3
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Thanks, glad I'm not alone.

    My pace on my MTB with slicks is about 9 mph. I'm usually at the top of the middle ring. Before the problems on the same bike on the same roads, but with knobbies, I was spinning out the top gear. I do wish I had a top gear over 100 inches in a few places, but not most of the time. A wide gear range helps a lot. I think it's pretty likely any future bike purchases will be certain to have a low gear if not in MTB range then at least better than a road double. I also believe that cyclists place a moral imperative on staying in the saddle, not stopping or getting off to push the bike or rest. I have to give up on this sometimes. You shouldn't stubborn yourself into a heart attack.

  4. #4
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    A new one for me: riding my bike to a diagnostic and being told that, due to the results, I should not ride home. Thus began a hospital adventure that amounted to nothing... better safe than sorry I guess.

  5. #5
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Hey Darth, I'm gonna get in on this because I may end up that I have HOCM, but may not. We'll see. But my father does have it. He was first diagnosed, I think, in the 60's when he was a teenager, when it was called something else. But he was physically unable to do much of any physical activity for many years, decades in fact. I'm hoping it will not come to that for me. I love cycling too much.

    Interesting about being told you couldn't ride home. How did you feel riding to the appointment? I usually feel fine when riding. Hills can be pretty hard for me, and I'll be breathing pretty hard (not sure of heart rate, I don't have a HRM), but I'm not feeling any chest pains or anything.

    How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Hey Darth, I'm gonna get in on this because I may end up that I have HOCM, but may not. We'll see. But my father does have it. He was first diagnosed, I think, in the 60's when he was a teenager, when it was called something else. But he was physically unable to do much of any physical activity for many years, decades in fact. I'm hoping it will not come to that for me. I love cycling too much.
    Are you sure that it is HOCM you're talking about? Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually almost or completely asymptomatic, that is why it is so insidious (often the first indication that the person has it is sudden death). If your father was physically unable to do any physical activity, that does not sound like HCM, it could be, for example, pulmonary valve stenosis.

  7. #7
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Interesting about being told you couldn't ride home. How did you feel riding to the appointment? I usually feel fine when riding. Hills can be pretty hard for me, and I'll be breathing pretty hard (not sure of heart rate, I don't have a HRM), but I'm not feeling any chest pains or anything.

    How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?
    I'm 36. The way that all went down was as follows...
    They read my ICD and some months earlier it had turned up the voltage for one of its pacing modes. So they scheduled me for an echocardiogram. At that, they looked at the end of the ICD lead and decided it looked suspicious. They didn't want me to ride home because they were worried about clots. I wasn't worried - whatever had happened was four months ago! They sent me home to wait for a berth at the hospital for a trans-esophegeal echo, which was unpleasant, ate a day, and revealed nothing. They also sent me back to the doc who installed it for his opinion, and he was unimpressed with the whole thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Are you sure that it is HOCM you're talking about? Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually almost or completely asymptomatic, that is why it is so insidious (often the first indication that the person has it is sudden death). If your father was physically unable to do any physical activity, that does not sound like HCM, it could be, for example, pulmonary valve stenosis.
    HCM is not just one thing but a class of hereditary heart conditions. The HCM that runs in my family is sometimes symptomatic and sometimes not. You can read about it here.

    Adult heterozygotes are also at significant risk for heart disease, including sudden death before the 5th decade as a result of asystole. Males complain of exertional fatigue and may be unable to perform hard labor. They may complain of palpitations and extra-systoles, and sometimes feel faint or may actually collapse temporarily. Females become symptomatic most notably in the later stages of pregnancy during the 4th decade. Diuretics and beta-blockers may relieve these symptoms but many women discontinue them following delivery and often deny significant symptoms thereafter. Echocardiography in symptomatic adults usually reveals hypertrophy of ventricular walls, especially the left, without dilation and outflow obstruction.
    ...Adult carriers should be monitored by a cardiologist. Many will never develop clinical heart disease, but for those who have heart disease, appropriate medications for heart failure and implants for arrhythmias can be life-saving.
    ...Heterozygous adults may experience asystole and sudden death, or chronic low-grade heart failure unless appropriately treated. Arrhythmias and repeated syncopal episodes may benefit from pacemaker and defibrillator implantation. Importantly, the majority of adults never have cardiac symptoms and live otherwise healthy lives.
    Last edited by Darth Lefty; 01-16-14 at 08:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Are you sure that it is HOCM you're talking about? Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually almost or completely asymptomatic, that is why it is so insidious (often the first indication that the person has it is sudden death). If your father was physically unable to do any physical activity, that does not sound like HCM, it could be, for example, pulmonary valve stenosis.
    HOCM is one version of HCM, the O being for Obstructive. My father was actually diagnosed in 1980 at age 31 (I was wrong earlier), when he couldn't even go halfway up a flight of steps without stopping. But back then it was called IHSS or Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis. I believe HOCM is the newer term for the condition.

    I looked up IHSS and the first hit on Google is this article, which was published in 1964. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/...ha;29/5S4/IV-3
    Last edited by PatrickGSR94; 01-17-14 at 11:54 AM.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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