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Easily Winded

Old 09-12-19, 01:03 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
And she fired her GP. Not recommending a cardio workup was malpractice, and may have killed her.
I've not had a lot of luck with doctors. People on the forum always seem to swear by their doctors and I guess it's right to get checked out but I usually get told something like "you look good for your age" or one told me last year "well, you are 64". I wanted my heart checked out and the next thing was the insurance denied seeing a cardiologist. Months of that b.s. and I gave up as the symptoms subsided somewhat.

I guess I'm doing ok "for my age".
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Old 09-12-19, 01:57 PM
  #27  
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I am 68, live in Connecticut, and I've improved my conditioning greatly over the past five years by doing a lot of what's been suggested here, by keeping at it. I went from getting winded going up slight hills in my lowest gear to never getting winded even going up long steep hills and riding 150 miles a week.

On suggestion I would add is to get a basic, inexpensive cycling computer, one that records your speed and average speed, and for little more money, your cadence and heart rate. You will continue to feel crummy going up hills for quite a while, but you will be encouraged and motivated as you see your average speed steadily improve over the same course.

Once you are assured, probably by a doctor, that you have no limiting heart issues, a heart-rate monitor will be very helpful to your conditioning. My performance improved greatly when I started riding with a heart-rate monitor, because what it showed me most often was that my heart rate was considerably below my red-line maximum and that I could increase my pace without worrying about keeling over.

Anyhow, you deserve huge credit for wanting to do this.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:23 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I've not had a lot of luck with doctors. People on the forum always seem to swear by their doctors and I guess it's right to get checked out but I usually get told something like "you look good for your age" or one told me last year "well, you are 64". I wanted my heart checked out and the next thing was the insurance denied seeing a cardiologist. Months of that b.s. and I gave up as the symptoms subsided somewhat.

I guess I'm doing ok "for my age".
That sucks! It makes sense to get yourself checked out before there is a problem. Frankly, I think my doc OVER tests me.

Example: I am scheduled for an ultrasound of my carotid artery to see if I am more susceptible to strokes. Why? Because the doc asked if I had any family members who had had a stroke. My brother had, so the protocol is to order the test.

I told him that my brother was (1) morbidly obese (2) diabetic (3) got zero exercise and ate terribly and (4) was taking mega doses of vitamin K to improve his eyesight (it also causes blood clots), but even so, I guess it makes send to do the test.

Typically, you can get expanded testing if you present the right symptoms. If you want a colonoscopy, tell the doc you have seen blood in your stool (who hasn't at one time or another?), and almost all will order one. I suspect there are symptoms you can honestly present to your doc to trigger a better cardio workup.

You might want to consider a CT angiogram with contrast. Using groupons, you can get that for $150-$200. That will give you an indication of the status of your coronary arteries. I had one and it gave me some peace of mind.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:42 PM
  #29  
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If you're riding casually you might consider an ebike, It will build you up with assistance, you will be able to enjoy riding more and be less winded. You didn't say what type of bicycle you're riding. Some might say that you're cheating, but you can do what your body tells you that you can do. An ebike my be a great way to get into riding especially hills. I ride both, but the ebike helps you to recover faster and gain confidence. You might just use two or three levels of assist. Think about it.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:48 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Celticgirl View Post
Hi Folks,
I'm 62 and this is my second year riding casually. I ride two miles each way to the store and back two to three times a week. I live in an area that is fairly hilly, so it's uphill most of the way to the store.
I find myself stopping several times to catch my breath while riding up the long slight grade.
I have been trying to eat healthy, getting protein and vitamins, but don't seem to be improving.
I would welcome any suggestions, diet, supplements, training etc. Thanks
Try pacing yourself. If you are getting winded, it is because you are pushing yourself too hard. Climb the hill in the lowest gear and proceed much more slowly. The idea of having a practical goal (a shopping trip) is a good one, because it provides a motivation to ride. You could try to ride more often by replacing more of your car trips with bike trips.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:56 PM
  #31  
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[QUOTE=
Typically, you can get expanded testing if you present the right symptoms. If you want a colonoscopy, tell the doc you have seen blood in your stool (who hasn't at one time or another?), and almost all will order one. I suspect there are symptoms you can honestly present to your doc to trigger a better cardio workup.

You might want to consider a CT angiogram with contrast. Using groupons, you can get that for $150-$200. That will give you an indication of the status of your coronary arteries. I had one and it gave me some peace of mind.[/QUOTE]

I've always had trouble with doctors ( with some exceptions ) just blowing me off and not taking me seriously. I had a great doc in the 1980s but he was old and is no longer with us. I had another great doc later who always listened and seemed to care but he got fed up with the HMO and quit.

This May I started with Medicare so we'll find out how that works out at some point.
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Old 09-13-19, 08:42 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I've not had a lot of luck with doctors. People on the forum always seem to swear by their doctors and I guess it's right to get checked out but I usually get told something like "you look good for your age" or one told me last year "well, you are 64". I wanted my heart checked out and the next thing was the insurance denied seeing a cardiologist. Months of that b.s. and I gave up as the symptoms subsided somewhat.

I guess I'm doing ok "for my age".
Yep. I've heard many stories about how doctors treat their patients. It would appear that those with very good insurance coverage will get very good medical treatment, while those with less insurance will get less treatment.

I saw the difference first hand between my dad and a co-worker's dad. My dad had fantastic insurance and had heart surgery a second time when he was 80. My co-worker's dad got the "that is to be expected at your age" treatment. My dad outlasted his dad by about 12 years.

I'm in the same boat as my co-worker's dad where the life insurance is better than the health insurance.
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Old 09-13-19, 03:53 PM
  #33  
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I am cyclist and long distance runner. Many years ago about 30 years old I had bad case of pleurisy and showed up in my doctors office with all the pain in the chest ect. He went about crazy asking questions was I short of breath get out the EKG machine in panic and start checking. I calmly told him that morning on my usual 8 mile run outside in the cold I managed 8 miles in 1 hour. I was not short of breath or particularly beat except pain in the chest and when moved. He said you actually ran 8 miles? I said yes and it was my usual amount but darn pain keeps me from getting in the longer 10-12 mile run I did on the weekends.

Well he listens to my chest...………...Oh Pleurisy I am pretty sure.
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Old 09-13-19, 08:46 PM
  #34  
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If you are short of breath with moderate exertion and aren't improving with changes in your diet and regular exercise, I agree with some of the others that a trip to your physician may be in order. Make sure there are no underlying problems that are limiting your progress. Everyone is different, but even with moderate exercise, you should notice some improvement over time.
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Old 09-14-19, 10:38 PM
  #35  
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I'd agree with the suggestions to see a doctor. Be specific about your fitness goals and symptoms. Not just a routine checkup, otherwise you'll get the treatment other folks described: "You seem okay for your age."

Assuming there are no health complications, the only way to get stronger, faster or whatever your fitness goals are is to push harder. There are all kinds of fitness plans and tutorials online. Check 'em out and take a methodical approach, suited to your age, current condition and goals.

Having been sedentary as you described, it's going to take longer to improve. And it will hurt at times. There's no way around that. Muscles will burn, including the sensation of the lungs burning -- that's mostly the intercostal muscles in the ribs and diaphragm working harder than they're accustomed to.

I was very fit as a young man, including bike racing. But I was sedentary for almost 15 years after a car wreck broke my neck and back. I walked with a cane until 2014. I did as much walking as I could, but even walking up to five miles a day didn't prepare me for riding a bike again.

When I resumed cycling in summer 2015 I had to stop about every 400 yards to catch my breath. It took weeks until I could ride 3 miles, mostly downhill, without stopping. Two months before I could ride 10 miles even with lots of rest breaks. The 20 mile round trip to downtown and back home was an all day event because I had to stop often to rest. My legs and chest were always burning.

After a year I could average 12-14 mph nonstop for 10 miles. The next year, 15 mph nonstop for 20 miles. Then 16 mph.

Last year I had some setbacks: hit by a car, breaking my shoulder and re-injuring my old neck injury. During X-rays and diagnostics they discovered I had thyroid cancer. So I lost some fitness over the second half of 2018, and the first half of this year. Recovery was slow. I spent a lot of time in physical therapy.

I started doing interval training late last year. That hurts. There's no way around it. To make significant improvements in strength and cardio conditioning, we must push beyond our comfort zone. But it's essential to approach it cautiously and be sure your physical condition is good enough to handle it.

For the past couple of weeks I've occasionally averaged 18 mph on some familiar 20-40 mile routes, usually with one brief rest break midway. Usually I'm closer to 16 mph. Depends on how much rest I've had, and the weather -- I don't handle Texas summer heat as well as I used to, so my fastest times are at night or when I start at dawn.

It helps to have a goal. I'm not interested in racing again. But I enjoy group rides and I was tired of always lagging behind, slowing down the group, or just being dropped by faster groups that don't observe a no-drop policy. That was my incentive to push harder.

Mostly it makes the "slower" rides at 12-15 mph more enjoyable. I can carry on a normal conversation with other folks in casual group rides, instead of gasping for air.

And it's safer all around. I'm usually comfortable riding in traffic, since I started bike commuting in cities when I was 18. But it's not safe when we're exhausted, particularly riding at a walking pace on some streets. In general I've found it safer when I can average around 15 mph. This reduces the overtake speed with motor vehicles. We seem more predictable and drivers respond accordingly.

Best wishes. Keep at it and give it time.
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Old 09-15-19, 01:34 AM
  #36  
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Insufficient data. You would have to provide a whole lot more information about your health and fitness history than just your age. Which by no mean alone is enough to be considered significant or an excuse.

Start with the very basics: height, weight, fat %, pre existing heart or lung conditions, smoker/ex smoker. Fitness level. Any recent changes in lifestyle, job, or eating habits? And a very important one, how is your sleep?

Otherwise there could be a million reasons why your short of breadth including something as simple as a common cold.
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Old 09-15-19, 05:39 AM
  #37  
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Being 5 years older than you and male, my opinion my not be worth much. However, I too have lingering issues but with my knees. For the first 2-3 miles they ache. Once I am past that point, I'm fine and have ridden as much as 60 miles in a stretch, but usually my weekend trips are 30-40 miles. That said, it wouldn't take much during those first few miles to say the heck with it. I agree with those who say you need to push yourself more each day. I try to ride 15-20 miles daily and one long trip on the weekends. I am no athlete, in fact I had become pretty sedentary in recent years until deciding it was time to ride again. It had been 22 years since I rode a bicycle on a regular basis. The first couple of weeks were difficult, but now the days that I cannot ride, whether it's because of weather or conflicts, I really miss it. Keep pushing yourself and I think you'll see steady improvement.
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Old 09-15-19, 07:55 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Celticgirl View Post
Hi Folks,

I'm 62 and this is my second year riding casually. I ride two miles each way to the store and back two to three times a week. I live in an area that is fairly hilly, so it's uphill most of the way to the store.

I find myself stopping several times to catch my breath while riding up the long slight grade.

I have been trying to eat healthy, getting protein and vitamins, but don't seem to be improving.

I would welcome any suggestions, diet, supplements, training etc. Thanks

The most dangerous thing you can do is go back to the couch and not ride.


4-5 days a week without cardio stress is too many.


I had the exact same report as you at age 62. Exact. Now I am 69 and 35,000 miles later. My supplement is fried chicken whenever I want. I never eat more than half a meal before a ride or on a break while riding 20-40 miles in a day.
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Old 09-15-19, 08:11 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by ultrarider7 View Post
Being 5 years older than you and male, my opinion my not be worth much. However, I too have lingering issues but with my knees. For the first 2-3 miles they ache. Once I am past that point, I'm fine and have ridden as much as 60 miles in a stretch, but usually my weekend trips are 30-40 miles. That said, it wouldn't take much during those first few miles to say the heck with it. I agree with those who say you need to push yourself more each day. I try to ride 15-20 miles daily and one long trip on the weekends. I am no athlete, in fact I had become pretty sedentary in recent years until deciding it was time to ride again. It had been 22 years since I rode a bicycle on a regular basis. The first couple of weeks were difficult, but now the days that I cannot ride, whether it's because of weather or conflicts, I really miss it. Keep pushing yourself and I think you'll see steady improvement.
My knees the same. My sports medicine Doc is a biker. He says stretches and warm up. 2 miles is warm up. If I miss extra days between rides, my knees start out more fussy.

While holding down a couch and rising to visit the fridge for supplement (beer is the liquid staff of life, bread being the solid version) the joints become avascular. It takes time for vascular improvement, So I roughly massage my knees above and below the joints and also the muscles. After a ride. It assists a warm down. Foam rollers contribute toward joint and muscle happiness.
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Old 09-15-19, 09:47 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Pouhana View Post
My knees the same. My sports medicine Doc is a biker. He says stretches and warm up. 2 miles is warm up. If I miss extra days between rides, my knees start out more fussy.

While holding down a couch and rising to visit the fridge for supplement (beer is the liquid staff of life, bread being the solid version) the joints become avascular. It takes time for vascular improvement, So I roughly massage my knees above and below the joints and also the muscles. After a ride. It assists a warm down. Foam rollers contribute toward joint and muscle happiness.
You can't regain what was lost but you can strengthen what you have left. My knees are the source of my disability, but rather than using age as a crutch, I went through rehab and increased my knee training.

The weight training program was hard at first so I stuck to machines (what they were designed for). After a time I've regained virtually all of my original mobility while relieving the pain 90% just through training alone. There are days and times I even forget I have knee problems. Don't give up yet.
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Old 09-15-19, 10:34 AM
  #41  
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Glad to hear from another former couch potato! It's been a blast getting back into biking. Stay in touch!
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Old 09-16-19, 11:07 AM
  #42  
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GO SEE A CARDIOLOGIST IF YOU THINK ITS NOT NORMAL.

Ride more.
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Old 09-16-19, 12:39 PM
  #43  
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First, see a good doctor and get checked out. At your age and with your history, this is an absolute necessity.

Then, assuming you are healthy, start walking every day, every season, in all weather except a blizzard. When you can walk the two miles up and back without being winded, increase the distance. When you get to five miles a day, then start the bike again—at one mile every day, then increase the distance.

Why such a slow approach? Because your body does not have the physical memory of being even moderately active, and building that at your age takes time. I'm 68, and I have been very active all my life. I have also had to come back from multiple major medical problems, so I know from experience that this takes time and has to be done gradually.

But first see a good doctor!
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Old 09-16-19, 12:50 PM
  #44  
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"Have you always had the problem, or is it a fairly recent development? I'd get yourself checked out by a doc to make sure everything is OK."

At age 70, I've been riding for 50+ years and, living near the Blue Ridge Parkway, have been a climber. Recently, I too have had to stop to catch my breath while riding up a long grade. I was shocked, what the hell is happening to me?

My GP performed an in-house EKG and detected some anomalies. The GP refereed me to a local cardiologist who ran a series of tests, and yes, I do have a modicum of blockage, but not enough for an invasive procedure.

The cardiologist suggested a trip to a pulmonologist. He found mild COPD from a slight case of emphysema. I was shocked, never smoked, never "inhaled", but did run long for 25+ years. Now I remember the articles in the 70's era Running magazines warning us marathoners to limit our training along the roadways. Breathing copious amounts of carbon monoxide every morning has had it's effect. The doc wrote me a script for albuterol which (just like Froome) has helped me regain my climbing ability.
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Old 09-16-19, 01:08 PM
  #45  
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Breathe more deeply?

It could be that two miles isn't enough to get really warmed up, especially if it's uphill to start with. The body takes time to get into the swing of it. One training strategy could be to start the ride at a speed you know can maintain without stopping - make 'not stopping' the goal, no matter how slowly you're going. And time yourself to the store. Once you've established that base 'non-stop' time, you can try to gradually bring the time down little by little. Could be fun!

On breathlessness specifically, when I feel out of breath, often at the start of a ride or on the first hill, I start breathing really deeply and in rhythm with my peddling, so I'm taking in as much air as I possibly can - even more than I need, or so it feels like to start with. But I find it helps in getting up the hills, and getting through that nasty shortness of breath feeling. Sort of like 'In, In, IN! Out, out, out', or whatever rhythm works for your peddling speed. Just make sure to REALLY fill your lungs on the last intake before exhaling, and do it all rhythmically - 2 in & 2 out, or 3 in & 3 out, or 4, or whatever. Makes a big difference I find. Most of us breathe very shallowly most of the day. It's surprising how much more air the lungs can actually hold if we fill them to capacity, and one of the best remedies for breathlessness is to take in more air... :-) It will also increase your lung capacity over time - a good thing. Just consciously taking in more air in a rhythmic and focussed manner could improve your performance a lot.

Just keep at it, and maybe look for opportunities to ride a bit more often. You'll get better. Muscles are just muscles, including the heart -and lungs up to a point. If you're not riding a lot, maybe look for some other aerobic activity on the off days - even just fast walking. Or go to the store 3 or 4 times a week instead of 2, or look for other rides to do on other days. Integrating the bike into your life is the best and most painless way to get better at it, and get more fit.
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Old 09-16-19, 01:33 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rickbyb View Post
"Have you always had the problem, or is it a fairly recent development? I'd get yourself checked out by a doc to make sure everything is OK."

At age 70, I've been riding for 50+ years and, living near the Blue Ridge Parkway, have been a climber. Recently, I too have had to stop to catch my breath while riding up a long grade. I was shocked, what the hell is happening to me?

My GP performed an in-house EKG and detected some anomalies. The GP refereed me to a local cardiologist who ran a series of tests, and yes, I do have a modicum of blockage, but not enough for an invasive procedure.

The cardiologist suggested a trip to a pulmonologist. He found mild COPD from a slight case of emphysema. I was shocked, never smoked, never "inhaled", but did run long for 25+ years. Now I remember the articles in the 70's era Running magazines warning us marathoners to limit our training along the roadways. Breathing copious amounts of carbon monoxide every morning has had it's effect. The doc wrote me a script for albuterol which (just like Froome) has helped me regain my climbing ability.
I'm glad you found a solution and didn't just accept "You're 70. What do you expect?" as an answer.
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Old 09-16-19, 03:03 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by rickbyb View Post
"Have you always had the problem, or is it a fairly recent development? I'd get yourself checked out by a doc to make sure everything is OK."

At age 70, I've been riding for 50+ years and, living near the Blue Ridge Parkway, have been a climber. Recently, I too have had to stop to catch my breath while riding up a long grade. I was shocked, what the hell is happening to me?

My GP performed an in-house EKG and detected some anomalies. The GP refereed me to a local cardiologist who ran a series of tests, and yes, I do have a modicum of blockage, but not enough for an invasive procedure.

The cardiologist suggested a trip to a pulmonologist. He found mild COPD from a slight case of emphysema. I was shocked, never smoked, never "inhaled", but did run long for 25+ years. Now I remember the articles in the 70's era Running magazines warning us marathoners to limit our training along the roadways. Breathing copious amounts of carbon monoxide every morning has had it's effect. The doc wrote me a script for albuterol which (just like Froome) has helped me regain my climbing ability.
Jeez ... scary that someone with your background would develop COPD. I had grew up with asthma, and had pneumonia at 17. So far so good.
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Old 09-16-19, 04:00 PM
  #48  
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I'd see your cardiologist first. I was having similar symptoms while trail running and after my PCP detected a mild murmur during a routine exam, I had a stress echo with a cardiologist. The test revealed a lower-than-normal ejection fraction rate. It's not serious enough to effect my cardio activities, and there's no treatment, but it provides me with situational awareness when I'm pushing too hard on the bike.
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Old 09-16-19, 05:11 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Jeez ... scary that someone with your background would develop COPD. I had grew up with asthma, and had pneumonia at 17. So far so good.
One of them told me I have COPD, too. I took Trelegy for a while but I didn't like it. It helped some but now I use Albutirol when I feel like I need it. I was told I have asthma years ago. Doctor schmoctor.
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Old 09-16-19, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rickbyb View Post
"Have you always had the problem, or is it a fairly recent development? I'd get yourself checked out by a doc to make sure everything is OK."

At age 70, I've been riding for 50+ years and, living near the Blue Ridge Parkway, have been a climber. Recently, I too have had to stop to catch my breath while riding up a long grade. I was shocked, what the hell is happening to me?

My GP performed an in-house EKG and detected some anomalies. The GP refereed me to a local cardiologist who ran a series of tests, and yes, I do have a modicum of blockage, but not enough for an invasive procedure.

The cardiologist suggested a trip to a pulmonologist. He found mild COPD from a slight case of emphysema. I was shocked, never smoked, never "inhaled", but did run long for 25+ years. Now I remember the articles in the 70's era Running magazines warning us marathoners to limit our training along the roadways. Breathing copious amounts of carbon monoxide every morning has had it's effect. The doc wrote me a script for albuterol which (just like Froome) has helped me regain my climbing ability.
It turns out that folks who have been endurance athletes for a long time usually have high calcium scores, meaning that an exam will find maybe 50% blockage of coronary arteries, which isn't enough to restrict blood flow. Happily, we have extra capacity. Long term monitoring has found that there doesn't seem to be any danger from these high calcium scores, as these deposits are very solid. I was shocked when I saw my score, but have been reassured. Just passing it along.
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