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  1. #1
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    Training Zones and Blood Pressure Meds

    Say my max heart rate was 175. Then I am put on blood pressure pills - beta blockers - that are known to suppress heart rate. Now, my maximum heart rate (same course) is 150.

    In setting training zones (e.g., if I want to ride at 70-80% of my max), do I now use 175 or 150 as the maximum on which to base the percentage zones? On one hand, if my body is still pretty much the same except that my heart rate is artificially suppressed, it makes sense to continue using 175. On the other hand, if the max at which my cardiovascular system can be driven is 150, then perhaps cardiovascular work needs to be geared to that level.

    Has anyone ever seen authoritative commentary on which is the right view?

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    sch
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    Beta blockers have the advantage of being relatively cheap, otherwise they are a significant drag on athletic types who need high heart rates. I would query the MD who prescribed to see if an alternative BP pill might be substituted, one that might not affect the HR as much. As to the question, it is not discussed much but my intuition would be to go on the basis of 175 with the proviso that your topend of aerobic capacity will be somewhat reduced. Your conditioning will be better if you do. Steve

  3. #3
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Ranger
    Say my max heart rate was 175. Then I am put on blood pressure pills - beta blockers - that are known to suppress heart rate. Now, my maximum heart rate (same course) is 150.

    In setting training zones (e.g., if I want to ride at 70-80% of my max), do I now use 175 or 150 as the maximum on which to base the percentage zones? On one hand, if my body is still pretty much the same except that my heart rate is artificially suppressed, it makes sense to continue using 175. On the other hand, if the max at which my cardiovascular system can be driven is 150, then perhaps cardiovascular work needs to be geared to that level.

    Has anyone ever seen authoritative commentary on which is the right view?
    I'd difer this question to a more qualified source than an open public forum. Your health is too important for this to be answered (most likely) properly here. A physician with an emphasis on sports science will be able to help you better. Most GP docs, unfortunately, aren't very helpful in these matters.

    I have my Brother who also takes beta blockers set up on a pretty conservative training zone just to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately, he's not willing to up his time as I've recommended.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


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  4. #4
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    [otherwise they are a significant drag on athletic types who need high heart rates.]
    Then why are they banned by the Olympics?
    As suggested ealier, seek a Sports Dr. or a heart specialist. I had the experience of duing a stress test at our local hospital. They kept pushing me on the treadmill. When I asked why the test went way over the alloted time, the reply was, "We were trying to get your heart rate up to 135". I replied that I was on beta blockers and the max is 125. You have the information right in front of you. What morons.
    Last edited by edp773; 05-24-05 at 07:21 PM.

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    sch
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    They are banned because they also reduce the jitters which are your sympathetic nervous system revving up under stress. There are a lot of sports in the Olympics which make no demands on your cardiovascular system but are very stressful. Shooting and archery are obvious ones but even track and field events can benefit from the relative calming effect if it allows a better focus on your event. Non running track and field events don't require a whole lot of high cardiovascular output, just explosive controlled muscular exertion.
    Steve

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I am on Norvasc. No idea what the heck it is. But my HR goes through the roof when I ride up a big hill. See your Doc, it's his job to get you the best pill, and trying a few different pills seems to be part of the process of going on BP meds.

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    I agree with seeking medical advice on the matter, which is why I asked for authoritative commentary, and I have a stress test scheduled with my cardiologist in about a month. However, I was trying to find out as much as possible in advance. You would think there would be at least some information available but I haven't seen it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    This is the best advice I could find. Maybe you could post the question on forums like clevland clinic heart or providence.
    Beta Blockers - This medication is prescribed for high blood pressure, migraine headaches and heart rhythm irregularities. This drug lowers your blood pressure and heart rate at rest and during exercise. You cannot use heart rate as a measure of exercise intensity if you take this medication. You should use the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion to monitor the intensity of your workout. This scale is a rating of how hard you perceive your exercise to be. There is more information on this in the chapter on training methods.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    edp is probably on the right track. Keep in mind that beta blockers (and ACE inhibitors) are also prescribed to prevent heart attacks in high risk patients. So you might not be able to discontinue them safely. I imagine you have had a stress EKG. That should give you your true maximum heart rate. (Any other "maximum HR" is really just an estimate.) Your cardiologist or nurse should be able to explain your personal figures. It can be difficult to attain max HR when you are on beta blockers--I have difficulty every time I take a stress EKG.

    Another consideration--I fell on my bike last year and was seriously hurt. Afterward, I had to be hospitalized for two days because my HR and blood pressure were too low. My doctor theorized that this was due to my BP med (Tenormin or atenelol)--and that this could also have caused my fall.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    I am on an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril), and I have no limitation on my HR imposed by the med. It's generic, it's cheap ($5 per month co-pay), and it lowers my BP by -22 / -12. I am 44, and recently measured my HR at 192 per minute the other day (and yes, I almost puked my guts out)
    Peter Wang, LCI
    Houston, TX USA

  11. #11
    Dart Board velocity's Avatar
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    Please see your doctor.
    The heart is a terrible thing to waste.

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