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Old 09-07-08, 03:48 PM   #1
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50+ and BP meds revisited.

I'm off my meds.........and on to a different one yet to be named. I have been taking attenalol for a number of years to control my blood pressure. It has never been a perfect solution for a biker but I have been able to overcome the energy and desire problems by establishing a schedual and sticking more or less to it.

Attenalol (my nickname "sloth in a can") slows the heart rate and robs the body of energy. It is effective as a BP med though. Example 160/110 vs 110/70. You can live around it by refusing to not ride because you just don't feel like it. You can get back some of the energy later in the ride by working harder at warming up and by generally keeping as bike fit as possible...................untill you can't. (EDIT NOTE, IT APPEARS THAT THE DRUG HAS A CUMULATIVE EFFECT OVER TIME) This year, that seems to have happened to me. My energy is way down.......I hit the wall often on rides and the weight is creeping back up.

As I have a new doctor, a new conversation was in order. Her take........attenalol is contraindicated for people who intend to persue atheletics. OK, so now we start the side effects/benefits tradeoff tests again. Some BP meds can cause dizzyness, some symptoms similar to asthima, some muscle weakness. We will start something new next week and see what happens.

In the meantime, Im being withdrawn from my attenalol and boy, what a difference. I'm bouncing around the house like sodium on water. I can't sleep. Obviously, my blood pressure is up.....too up. But did I mention what it felt like to ride the bike..........weeeeeeee. I need to train myself back into shape, but I missed this feeling. I can see why people would skip their meds for performance on the bike. Now if I can just figure out a way to have the bike and live too.

Good communication with your doctor is a very desirable thing. Doing your homework and understanding what your getting is as much your job as theirs.
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Old 09-07-08, 04:20 PM   #2
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Is there a reason that you're on that bp med, as opposed to another? That one is indicated if you've had a MI or have heart failure. Have you tried others? Diovan?
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Old 09-07-08, 04:39 PM   #3
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Is there a reason that you're on that bp med, as opposed to another? That one is indicated if you've had a MI or have heart failure. Have you tried others? Diovan?
That one was chosen on the recomendation of a previous doctor for the sole purpose of BP control based on bad side effects from other medicines (specifically diauretics). At the time it seemed the way to go. After several years, it became a case of the "devil you know" rather than a change to unknown side effects. In hindsight, it would appear to have been a less than optimum choice.

edit: I must admit that for years it appeared to be working ok as long as the side effects could be worked around.
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Old 09-07-08, 04:45 PM   #4
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I was on Attenalol for a while. I had nothing in the way of energy.
My heart rate at rest was 31 bpm.
I had trouble doing anything.
I gave it up and now I Am Alive. 64 miles today and Feel Great.
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Old 09-07-08, 04:57 PM   #5
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I just got put on Attenalol. I don't notice any lack of energy. My doctor says that this is to be expected at the low dose I take.

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Old 09-07-08, 05:00 PM   #6
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I'm on Atenolol, Benicar, plus anti-depressant Lexapro, have been for years. Yes, I do have motivational issues with both cycling and everyday life.

On the plus side I have absolutely no trouble sleeping.
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Old 09-07-08, 05:44 PM   #7
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"Doing your homework and understanding what your getting is as much your job as theirs."

Absolutely correct! In fact I'd go so far as to say it's 'more' your business than theirs. They have kids to put through college - you've got a life to live. Besides exercise is shown in many cases to help reduce BP. Unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be you can't ignore the mainstream medical community because they can help. If they would only be more dilligent in doing an actual diagnosis and not just try to fit everyone into the 'medical trial population studies', 'bell curve mentality', 'I've got a pill to fix that mentality' and to lump us all into the average. Excuse my getting carried away but unfortunately in my experience and a couple of my Dr. friends have verified the strong tendency in their medical training to coroborate it. WE NEED to BE PROACTIVE with our health issues, doing, as you say, our own research and bring that information to the table. I've been (in the past - not now) on Atenolol and deadly statin drugs to my detriment and until I became more proactive I wasn't seeing improvement from their 'stock' pill recommendations. I felt I had to 'guide' them to make personal, applicable diagnosis for me as an individual. I'm now, thankfully, doing better and feeling much better and riding better! When in doubt go for better diet and more exercise and stress reduction to improve your health. You should be doing that as a matter of of course and do the other only rarely if imperative!
OK, I'm done.
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Old 09-07-08, 07:29 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=maddmaxx;7419682]
In the meantime, Im being withdrawn from my attenalol and boy, what a difference. I'm bouncing around the house like sodium on water. I can't sleep. Obviously, my blood pressure is up.....too up. But did I mention what it felt like to ride the bike..........weeeeeeee. I need to train myself back into shape, but I missed this feeling. I can see why people would skip their meds for performance on the bike. Now if I can just figure out a way to have the bike and live too.
QUOTE]

It never occured to me to think that hitting the wall and having major muscle weakness could be from my Avalide BP meds! I'd been through that with the statin drugs which left me limp and useless.

Two months ago I started biking again and lost 25 pounds very quickly and my BP dropped so much that I am now cutting the lowest dose in half. With further weght loss I was hoping to get off of them entirely.

However, there is a snag. I commute/ride about 10 miles a day and very sensibly worked up to that gradually. I haven't been able to get beyond the 10 mile a day barrier or be able to take on hills since the muscle weakness doesn't go away and they don't seem to be conditioning as I thought they would with gradual training.

I had to resort to Celebrex for both the arhtritic pain and the muscle pain but since it also has terrible side effects, I limit it to the extreme.

It's a catch 22 if you have such severe malaise or arthritic and muscle pain that you can't train any harder to get to the level where you can drop the meds entirely. I've looked at most of the meds side effects and there aren't any good alternatives that I can find.

I just keep biking the commute and enjoying it through gritted teeth and hope to break through the barrier.
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Old 09-07-08, 07:59 PM   #9
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Old 09-08-08, 02:46 AM   #10
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So Yen, do you assume all human bodies are exactly like yours and react just as you do to same? Thanks for hyjacking this thread for whatever reason. Now back to programming.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:20 AM   #11
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I remember when they upped my meds and my heart rate fell to the low 50's and I felt like a zombie. When I complained to the doctor about it he said they weren't really concerned about my heart rate. I asked if they would be concerned if it dropped to zero? Although you feel great off the medication your BP being back up is bad. I found that riding the bike routinely has helped my blood pressure tremendously. When I slack off in the winter it starts to go back up, so I've decided this year to not let that happen. Hopefully, with the new medication you'll have the energy to ride. It could make a big difference, it has with me.
With just the meds my pressure was reading around 149/85, and doctor was thinking about increasing the medication. With the meds and the bike it reads around 117/70.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:16 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Pardes;7421017]

It never occured to me to think that hitting the wall and having major muscle weakness could be from my Avalide BP meds!QUOTE]

Interesting post. I too am on Avalide, but after my 10-mile ride today and hitting the wall like you described I dont think I'll be taking it anymore. I know 10-miles is not much, even by my standards, but my ride this morning was terrible. I got weak and light headed with only 5-miles in, and I was sweating a lot, so by the time I got home I was completely wasted and still dizzy. All this in only 10-miles.

Four months ago 10-miles was nothing for me, and I guess thats what has me a bit perplexed. Its not like I'm a newbie rider. I'm 52 and been riding regularly for eight years, averaging about 2000 miles every year. For a long time my BP was relatively high, but I wasnt taking any meds for it. In a span of two years I went from 267 lbs down to 223 lbs and felt great. Never had any dizzyness or light headedness and could ride fast until two months ago, when the doc put me on Avalide. The perceptive decrease of my performance was not readily apparent. It was gradual, slowly over a period of time getting slower and slower, and tiring out easier since taking that drug. Use to, when I got tired on the bike, I'd just slow down a little and rest while riding. I'd still feel pretty good, then after a few minutes I'd be okay and ramp up my speed. I could do that for 50 miles.

But today I could'nt even ride 10-miles without bonking. Resting on the bike was now different. I stayed light headed and weak, and could feel it in my shoulders like a great fatigue. Eventually it got better and could make it home. It was strange because just two days ago, on the same 10-mile ride, I did pretty good. My speed was up, felt kinda strong, and only got a little light headed (from the med) but it was nothing like today. I googled 'Avalide' and some of the side effects of this drug is low BP when sweating (exercise) which will make you feel light headed along with weakness. My symptoms to a tee. They cautioned to drink plenty of fluids, and I did drink half a water bottle, but maybe it wasn't enough. I also didnt eat anything before I left, thinking that since it was only ten miles there wouldnt be a problem.

Guess I was wrong (again)
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Old 09-08-08, 12:36 PM   #13
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So Yen, do you assume all human bodies are exactly like yours and react just as you do to same? Thanks for hyjacking this thread for whatever reason. Now back to programming.
That's not what I meant. I don't take meds for anything.... my BP and HR are normally low, and I'm curious why I don't feel sluggish (or do it?) when they are the same as for those who do take meds and do complain about feeling sluggish. In no way do I think everyone else should feel the same as I do under any condition.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:50 PM   #14
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Yen, how low is low. And how do you know you don't feel sluggish or tired since you have nothing to compare it to. People that takes meds are comparing how they felt before the medication, as opposed to after they started taking the medication. BP medicine is constantly being tweeked for the individual. Any side effects such as sluggishness or being tired should be discussed with your doctor.. The medicine is suppose to help you, not destroy your quality of life. If your doctor ignores your complaints find a new doctor.
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Old 09-08-08, 01:00 PM   #15
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Yen, I suspect that your metabolism is right in line with your normal HR and BP so I would expect you to be and feel normal. Those of us on medication are surpressing HR and BP below that level that our bodies would like to have, leading to a feeling of something lost.

Hopefully, my next medication will lower my blood pressure without limiting my heart rate. There are other ways to do this...........enlarge the blood vessles, leading to lower pressure............reduce the blood volumn leading to lower pressure............knocking off the top few percentage points of the heart's "squeeze" during pumping, thus lowering blood pressure without changing the overall flow that much. I'll let you all know what and why in a few weeks.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:50 PM   #16
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It's funny - after my cancer surgery I started with a new primary care physician. My BP was alittle high but had, before the surgery always been around 120/80. My heart rate was around 60. The doctor insisted on putting me on BP meds cause my rate was now around 130/90. I protested but finally gave in. I was placed on Diovan and immediately felt the result. Yes my BP went back down to 120/80 (actually 110/70) but I couldn't move. I would try and ride a bike but just couldn't get warmed up. My legs felt absolutely dead. I noticed as well my heart rate was now around 80 and stayed there. I gave the meds and different doses a try for almost a year. During that period of time I basically stopped riding, gained 25 pounds, and felt horrible. I thought this stuff was suppose to be good for me??? Before the meds, I was feeling good and riding hard and well. Now nothing.

I finally told the doctor I would not take Diovan anymore. It obviously was meant for couch potatoes not someone with a active lifestyle. I did compromise and agree to take a water pill instead. That helped and generally my BP is controlled. So now the long, slow struggle to regain what I lost. I need to get my activity level back up and I need to get that weight off.

I learned my lesson. In my heart I knew I should not have started the BP med in the first place. I should have done more research and insisted of first trying to control my pressure my natural methods (like exercising more and losing alittle weight). I know drugs can be an easy fix, but when you are active, it's worth alittle sweat and effort to keep that way.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:01 PM   #17
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That's not what I meant. I don't take meds for anything.... my BP and HR are normally low, and I'm curious why I don't feel sluggish (or do it?) when they are the same as for those who do take meds and do complain about feeling sluggish. In no way do I think everyone else should feel the same as I do under any condition.
Yen I think everyone is different and it's what you are used to and have worked with. Know someone who posts here regularly who has very low BP and but a high heart rate and he's an absolute rabbit! (Hey Rick). There's no stopping him from riding for miles and miles.

Before taking the BO meds my BP was 130-135/90 and my heart rate resting was about 60. This is what my body was used to and could work very efficiently at that. I wasn't the fastest sprinter out there but could do centuries without training. I was an endurance machine. The BP meds lowered my BP but increased my heart rate. That worked against me in several way. Before my heart was a strong pumping machine and was the higher BP, I was circulating blood at a fast rate. Now I had low BP and a heart that was beating too fast and couldn't get the blood out to where it needed to be; no oxygen was getting to my legs.

I kindof think you have to have a ying to yang - low heart rate but higher BP or low BP higher heart rate. Folks like you I would think can tend to dizziness or fainting but if you have no problems, congrats. No BP meds are in your future (be thankful of that).
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Old 09-08-08, 03:17 PM   #18
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For years I have ridden at around 140 to 150 heart rate and treated my max as 165. After the bypass I was put on atenolol as a beta blocker and did not think about it until I started riding again. I could not get my HR above 130 and at that I was dead. No energy- breathing hard and going nowhere. It was as though I was riding at my max. Talked to the doctor and he agreed that atenolol was keeping the HR down but he did not want me to come off it. In fact he could not understand why anyone would want to get his HR up to higher levels till I pointed out Oxygen levels in the blood. Decided to try a different routine for the Beta Blocker and that was to take the BB the night before a ride instead of in the morning- and then to take one after the ride. At 3 months I did a road ride of 40 miles. Very hilly with a couple of 25% sections in it. If I knew how hard the ride was going to be -I would have trained for it.

One uphill and I decided to go for it and see how high the HR would get. I knew the Ambulance was at the top of the hill and I got the HR up to 165. It hurt but I went and stood by the ambulance and waited for the HR to go down. Took a long time but it did eventually get back to 100 and I carried on the ride. Got to the end and took aspirin and the BB and did not attempt to go home till the HR got sensible. If I remember rightly- It took 3 drinks and a couple of Hot dogs. I was starving.

Talked to the doctor and he agreed to take me off the BB's- but gradually. Took a year to get off them and no effects came about.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:05 PM   #19
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Wino - what you describe has me thinking: are you coming down with a flu? Such a sharp drop-off sounds like maybe more than a meds issue...
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Old 09-08-08, 05:26 PM   #20
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I have been using Diovan for several years, along with a diuretic (HCTZ).

I have reduced my Diovan in 1/2, along with the HCTZ.

To be honest, I have never felt a reduction in energy that I was aware of. I am now considering discontinuing them to see if maybe I have a lower energy than I naturally have. Wow, that would be amazing as I exercise about 3 hours per day right now on about 6 hours of sleep - maybe 6 hours per day is possible?
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Old 09-08-08, 06:05 PM   #21
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I've been taking water pill (HCTZ) for about 6 yrs now. Small dosage (I think it's 12.5 mg/day). I'm not aware of any bad effects on my cycling, but then again I started riding 3 yrs after I started the BP med, so I really have nothing to compare it with.

So my question is -- since I've seen some comments in this thread about the water pills -- is the pill in some way messing up my cycling?
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Old 09-08-08, 06:21 PM   #22
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I've been taking water pill (HCTZ) for about 6 yrs now. Small dosage (I think it's 12.5 mg/day). I'm not aware of any bad effects on my cycling, but then again I started riding 3 yrs after I started the BP med, so I really have nothing to compare it with.

So my question is -- since I've seen some comments in this thread about the water pills -- is the pill in some way messing up my cycling?
Well, I do have all the portapotties and bathroom stops mapped out pretty well along my ride routes!
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Old 09-08-08, 06:24 PM   #23
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Yen, I suspect that your metabolism is right in line with your normal HR and BP so I would expect you to be and feel normal. Those of us on medication are surpressing HR and BP below that level that our bodies would like to have, leading to a feeling of something lost.

Hopefully, my next medication will lower my blood pressure without limiting my heart rate. There are other ways to do this...........enlarge the blood vessles, leading to lower pressure............reduce the blood volumn leading to lower pressure............knocking off the top few percentage points of the heart's "squeeze" during pumping, thus lowering blood pressure without changing the overall flow that much. I'll let you all know what and why in a few weeks.
'maxx: Your analysis sounds reasonable. I was only curious.

I hope you'll be able to get dialed in on a good remedy for you very soon.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:25 PM   #24
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Well, I do have all the portapotties and bathroom stops mapped out pretty well along my ride routes!
Never thought about it, but I guess I do too.

But what I meant was any other effects, like lethargy, similar to the other meds mentioned in this thread? As far as I can tell, it's not been a problem.

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Old 09-08-08, 06:29 PM   #25
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Yen I think everyone is different and it's what you are used to and have worked with. Know someone who posts here regularly who has very low BP and but a high heart rate and he's an absolute rabbit! (Hey Rick). There's no stopping him from riding for miles and miles.

Before taking the BO meds my BP was 130-135/90 and my heart rate resting was about 60. This is what my body was used to and could work very efficiently at that. I wasn't the fastest sprinter out there but could do centuries without training. I was an endurance machine. The BP meds lowered my BP but increased my heart rate. That worked against me in several way. Before my heart was a strong pumping machine and was the higher BP, I was circulating blood at a fast rate. Now I had low BP and a heart that was beating too fast and couldn't get the blood out to where it needed to be; no oxygen was getting to my legs.

I kindof think you have to have a ying to yang - low heart rate but higher BP or low BP higher heart rate. Folks like you I would think can tend to dizziness or fainting but if you have no problems, congrats. No BP meds are in your future (be thankful of that).
Thank you. No problems that I know of, tho' my brother told me there's a possible correlation between low HR and a-fib in later years. That fits my dad's profile to a T -- at 88 he had low BP, low HR, the blood work of a 40-year-old, active/vital/mentally sharp..... and a-fib. Go figure.
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