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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-19-05, 08:45 AM   #1
BraveSpear
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Scared by visit to doctors office

Ok, not sure how I feel about this. I recently went to the doctor for a phyical and was informed that they found an "irregularity" in my heartbeat. It seems that the nerve sending impulses to the right side of my heart is slower than the impules going to the left side. They say this could be caused by a blockage. I'm going to have a stress-test next week while hooked up to the EKG for a more thorough analysis, but this scares the (****) out of me. I've always been overweight, but since I started commuting I've lost 80+ pounds and feel better than I have in years. Any doctors out there who can give me some reassurances that everything can be ok? Since finding this out, my stress level seems to have elevated to around my eyebrows..
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Old 08-19-05, 09:25 AM   #2
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I'm no doc. Just want to say I do know a few people who have irregular heartbeats ... and it's just that. They are irregular, and fine. Also, if your doc was comfortable setting the test for next week ... not head straight to the hospital or schedule next day right away ... then your doc isn't too concerned either. Take a deep breath. You are probably fine.

And if it is some blockage -- that isn't that hard to deal with and you'll be glad they caught it before it caused major damage.

Hang in there.
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Old 08-19-05, 09:29 AM   #3
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Nobody's going to be able to give you a better opinion than your own doctor, who has the advantage of having you and your test results right there in front of him.

Don't be scared to get a problem evaluated; be scared that you could have missed it and not known there was a problem until you dropped off your bike in the middle of the street!

They can do wonders these days. My best friend from college had his heart practically fall apart on him; he woke up one morning and couldn't even lift his arms. Torn tendons inside and wrecked valves, etc. They got out the scalpel, and he's doing fine and back to a normal life again with no restrictions (though that took almost a year).

That's not meant to scare you, it's just that he was in WAY the heck worse shape than you are, and he's fine since he let the doctors do their thing.
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Old 08-19-05, 09:33 AM   #4
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What they said.
My wife has always had an irregular heartbeat.
And unclogging arteries these days (if that's what it ends up being) is basically out patient surgery. And they are doing so many that surgeon's trained in open heart surgery are losing money! It's insane. The good thing is that if there is any kind of blockage you are finding it early and can be made like new again.
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Old 08-19-05, 11:44 AM   #5
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without having your EKG in front of me I'd guess that you have something called a "right bundle branch block", which is just as you described--something going on with the conduction system by which electrical impulses are transmitted to your ventricles.

A stress test is a good idea as RBBB can be caused by coronary artery disease. The prognosis is usually very good if there is no evidence for significant coronary disease. I suspect that if you ride a bicycle regularly without any symptoms of chest pressure, trouble breathing, lightheadedness that you will probably do fine on your stress test.

One of the symptoms that you should take seriously is fainting or severe lightheadedness/dizziness as it may indicate more significant problems with heart conduction.

good luck.
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Old 08-19-05, 11:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by breakaway01
without having your EKG in front of me I'd guess that you have something called a "right bundle branch block", which is just as you described--something going on with the conduction system by which electrical impulses are transmitted to your ventricles.

A stress test is a good idea as RBBB can be caused by coronary artery disease. The prognosis is usually very good if there is no evidence for significant coronary disease. I suspect that if you ride a bicycle regularly without any symptoms of chest pressure, trouble breathing, lightheadedness that you will probably do fine on your stress test.

One of the symptoms that you should take seriously is fainting or severe lightheadedness/dizziness as it may indicate more significant problems with heart conduction.

good luck.
Well, I do experience severe lightheadedness/dizziness when I stand up quickly. This is not an occasional thing, but occurs on a fairly regular basis. Only occurs when I stand up quickly, though. Now my stress level just elevated to above my head
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Old 08-19-05, 11:57 AM   #7
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The reason I am now again a commuter is because of a visit to the doctor. He did not prescribe a bicycle, but with high BP, drinking and smoking too much and a generally unhealthy lifestyle, the bicycle was my answer. I hope it is nothing and that you can continue to be healthy with your bike.
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Old 08-20-05, 05:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveSpear
Well, I do experience severe lightheadedness/dizziness when I stand up quickly. This is not an occasional thing, but occurs on a fairly regular basis.
The dizziness you feel when you stand up quickly is caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain. Inside your body you have several major arteries—the biggest one is called the aorta. When you are sitting down, the arteries and the blood vessels in your legs are bent in various positions. When you stand up, those major vessels become straight, kind of like a garden hose, and gravity takes a lot of blood towards your toes. Normally the body responds by pushing the blood through the circulatory system with more force (greater pressure) to overcome the effects of gravity. But if all factors that govern blood pressure are not "in sync" (and you’ve been sitting for a long while), the increase in blood pressure will not be fast enough and you will feel dizzy.

Feeling dizzy is the body’s way of telling you to stop for a moment until the flow of blood to the brain can catch up with the sudden change in position. If there is too much delay in getting blood to your brain, you also could experience blurred vision, fuzzy thinking, weakness, and even an upset stomach. These symptoms tell you to sit back down (or lie down) so that more blood can flow to the brain. If you don’t heed these symptoms, your body could force you to faint, making you lie down whether you want to or not! In the future, I would recommend getting up slower—unless you just miss that feeling of being on a carnival ride.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by myates1980
The dizziness you feel when you stand up quickly is caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain. Inside your body you have several major arteries—the biggest one is called the aorta. When you are sitting down, the arteries and the blood vessels in your legs are bent in various positions. When you stand up, those major vessels become straight, kind of like a garden hose, and gravity takes a lot of blood towards your toes. Normally the body responds by pushing the blood through the circulatory system with more force (greater pressure) to overcome the effects of gravity. But if all factors that govern blood pressure are not "in sync" (and you’ve been sitting for a long while), the increase in blood pressure will not be fast enough and you will feel dizzy.

Feeling dizzy is the body’s way of telling you to stop for a moment until the flow of blood to the brain can catch up with the sudden change in position. If there is too much delay in getting blood to your brain, you also could experience blurred vision, fuzzy thinking, weakness, and even an upset stomach. These symptoms tell you to sit back down (or lie down) so that more blood can flow to the brain. If you don’t heed these symptoms, your body could force you to faint, making you lie down whether you want to or not! In the future, I would recommend getting up slower—unless you just miss that feeling of being on a carnival ride.

This has only started in the past few months, the dizziness when standing up.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:13 AM   #10
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Could just be low blood pressure. Or an electrolyte imbalance. Happens to me sometimes too. Try to forget about it (easier said than done, I know) until the test next week. Eyebrow-level stress is not good for anyone, regardless of physical condition.

Good luck BraveSpear.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Makoa
Could just be low blood pressure. Or an electrolyte imbalance. Happens to me sometimes too. Try to forget about it (easier said than done, I know) until the test next week. Eyebrow-level stress is not good for anyone, regardless of physical condition.

Good luck BraveSpear.
Well, I had bloodwork done last week and everything looked normal there. The stress test is on Thursday, so I'll find out what the doctor thinks then.
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Old 08-26-05, 06:12 AM   #12
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Good news! I went through the stress test last night and they found absolutely no anomalies. My heart was working the way it was supposed to at 85% load.

What a weight off my chest!
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Old 08-26-05, 06:17 AM   #13
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Way to go BraveSpear! What's next for you? More tests, or a clean bill of health? Time for a celebratory bike ride!
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Old 08-26-05, 07:24 AM   #14
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Way to go BraveSpear! What's next for you? More tests, or a clean bill of health? Time for a celebratory bike ride!
The doctor said if I experience more symptoms, come back in for asthma tests and/or pulmonary tests. Otherwise I am in good shape.
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Old 08-26-05, 08:09 AM   #15
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The doctor said if I experience more symptoms, come back in for asthma tests and/or pulmonary tests. Otherwise I am in good shape.
Glad to hear it. I've been watching.
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Old 08-26-05, 08:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Toddorado
The reason I am now again a commuter is because of a visit to the doctor. He did not prescribe a bicycle, but with high BP, drinking and smoking too much and a generally unhealthy lifestyle, the bicycle was my answer. I hope it is nothing and that you can continue to be healthy with your bike.
- echo that, and good for losing weight!

- quit smoking five months ago... i'm also working off lots of extra weight now...

- what i'd like to know is how in the h*ll all those chili dogs ended up around my waist!

:-)
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Old 08-26-05, 08:26 AM   #17
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I'm so glad for you! Thanks for the update!
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Old 08-26-05, 08:50 AM   #18
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I worried a bit about my heart etc since I've been sedentary for so long before taking up biking again, then I ended up on the wrong road going the wrong route and had to sprint through an underpass that's for cars only, with a car dogging my heels. Made it, now I don't worry!
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Old 08-26-05, 11:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by linux_author
- what i'd like to know is how in the h*ll all those chili dogs ended up around my waist!

:-)
man... I don't ever want to ride behind you. Instead, I'll take the front position after a day of eating bean and cheese burritos
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