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Riding with AFib

Old 06-24-18, 08:37 PM
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Bmach
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Riding with AFib

I was just been diagnosed with AFib, cardiologist say go ahead a ride but to cut back on my mileage. He thinks that my cycling might have caused it.

I want to ride but with my schedule most of my rides are solo. Not sure I feel good about riding alone so my question is, what is it like riding with AFib? What should I expect.
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Old 06-24-18, 09:24 PM
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I'm sure every case is different, but.... I was diagnosed with afib a bit over 2 years ago. Knew something was wrong when I was getting very out of breathe on slight hills. I was diagnosed with asthma and as a precaution it was recommended to do a stress test. I did and went into afib during it. I have a low resting heart rate but was given a med to keep it even lower as the cardiologist felt better to have it low and hopefully keep it from spiking. Was also prescribed a med to keep the rhythm in sync. Things unfortunately got worse (HR would spike to 190s on the slightest incline) in just a few months. I spoke with an electrocardioligist about having an ablation. During the visit I had an ekg done and I went into a-flutter. December, a year and a half ago I had an ablation for both and am currently back to something resembling my old self. To answer your question, I did ride solo with it. I bought a heart rate monitor to keep tabs on it, which kind of helped me know when to back off - confirm might be a better word, I could physically tell. So I would recommend that. I know some people can be on meds and control it for the most part. Others, like me get progressively worse and need to do something about it (quality of life issue). Was also, and still am, on a baby aspirin a day to reduce chances of having a stroke. There are also apps that allow someone to track you, so that might be something to look into. Bottom line is I think its generally okay but important to monitor yourself. Hopes this somehow helps.
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Old 06-25-18, 05:48 AM
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Read "The Haywire Heart"
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Old 06-25-18, 09:46 AM
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To technical for my liking.
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Old 06-25-18, 01:08 PM
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Just diagnosed two weeks ago when it started and am still in it. Was told no biking at workout pace, no hockey and no chain saws... Mostly due to the blood thinners. My commute is 16.6 miles and the homeward trip has about 400 feet of climbing in the last 4 miles on gravel. So that's out. Three weeks until I can get in to see a cardiologist and hopefully get back to biking at full speed again. Or whatever the new full speed will be. Had to postpone a week long solo bikepacking trip already.
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Old 06-26-18, 12:25 AM
  #6  
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I've had continuous A-fib for 4 years now, I've never felt any symptoms. I've just started seeing a new cardiology and electrophysiology specialist, A-fib is one of his specialties. Haven't gotten any feedback from him yet, it was my first visit, the said he cycles a lot too, but didn't say a word about me cutting back. My previous cardiologist and my family MD have said I have a heart of a healthy 30 year old and they haven't suggested I cutback on my riding even when I asked. As I understand it, A-fib is not a fatal condition in it's self, no one has died from A-fib (non professional advice). A-fib can cause blood clotting and a stroke which if it ends up in your brain is often fatal or leaves you with serious brain damage. I've kept riding since my first diagnosis, 60 miles two or three days every week for the last 4 years with no problems. My new MD put me on a Beta Blocker, a ACE inhibitor to slow my heart rate and a blood thinner to prevent strokes. The first week they seriously slowed me down and made some of my big hills long, painful suffer fests, I think they still slow me a little but I'm feeling much better now. I have cut back my rides from 60 to 50 miles this month and I try to ride a little easier. I read the haywire heart too, I didn't find it very helpful, but it did have some important information. If your library has it, it's worth reading.

I just got back from a 49 mile ride an hour ago. I rode 6,000 miles last year, I always ride alone on very quiet back country roads, A-fib hasn't slowed me down or cut my mileage, till I started the meds. Everyone's experience with it will differ so you'll have to decide yourself how to proceed.

Last edited by John00; 06-26-18 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 06-26-18, 09:45 PM
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Thanks for the responses.
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Old 07-05-18, 01:44 PM
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Mine, they ended up calling "idiopathic." Meaning after test after blood draw and test after test after blood draw after blood draw, they never could figure it out.
I used to shoot competitively; bowling pins, three gun, free pistol, service pistol, silhouette, skeet & trap.. so I reloaded my own ammunition. We initially thought it was chemical exposure, so I started wearing a respirator and nitrile gloves, problem seemed to abate. Then one day I pulled the used tire wagon in by myself (worked in a tire store, we sold used tires off an old haywagon parked out front).. and lo and behold, I was in arrhythmia when I was done. Stress test, nuclear stress test, more stress testing.. still found nothing.

So I spent a couple years on lanoxin. Been off the med for 15 years now, no problems with arrhythmia, but in the meantime I did have a couple of stents put in..

Just last December released from Plavix daily.
Also started a new diet, went keto.
Lost 50 lbs so far.
Dr told me last month to add cardio.. I said "over and above my strength training?" "Yep."
So I dug the bike back out.. and remembered why I had put it away to begin with.. hardtails are hell on your backside when you are a Clydesdale.. Bought a couple vintage fs Cannondales.

It's a long road.
But the rewards are many.

Keep on your Dr. Find a cardiologist if you need to.
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Old 07-06-18, 12:32 AM
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Interesting topic, and I'd suggest that AF is too potentially variable condition for any 'one size fits all' solution. Some folk can be in AF for years and years on end and still function normally, whilst others suffer more and can be at higher risk.

I'm just recently back on track after medication and a couple of cardioversions corrected quite severe AF, and during the worst of it I struggled to walk across a room without being out of breath and exhausted, let alone ride a bike!

I'd hope that anyone in AF would seek their cardiologist's advice on what to do or not do. The experience of one person won't necessarily match that of another.
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Old 07-10-18, 10:32 AM
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My cyclist doctor had Afib. He had an ablation. A year later, he's doing hard rides in the mountains. No meds. He was a good candidate and of course had the best ablation doc in the state.

Uh . . . yes, people have died from Afib. It can cause clotting inside the atrium and bammo, things just got serious. Good primer here: https://www.everydayhealth.com/colum...have-a-stroke/
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Old 07-15-18, 07:52 PM
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Had an ablation with Dr. Andrea Natale about 12 years ago. Was in 24/7 AFib prior and on meds. Cured the AFib and normal sinus rhythm ever since. Only med I am on now is one adult aspirin daily.. Natale is world renown. Absolutely no limitations on activities. I am 78yo now, bicycle, swim, walk, do resistance exercises.
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Old 10-05-18, 09:24 PM
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Absent other complicating factors, there is no reason not to get your problem fixed. Great improvements have been made over that last 10 years and risks of not getting ablation surgery are far greater than getting it done. I had surgery in February, zero complications, 2-3 months for my HR to settle in, and it's like I never had a problem. No more HR regulating drugs, no more blood thinner, no more wondering if I'd wake up dead.
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Old 10-08-18, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
I was just been diagnosed with AFib, cardiologist say go ahead a ride but to cut back on my mileage. He thinks that my cycling might have caused it.

I want to ride but with my schedule most of my rides are solo. Not sure I feel good about riding alone so my question is, what is it like riding with AFib? What should I expect.
interested in your riding habits since your doc thinks that that may have caused it
thanks
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Old 10-08-18, 08:36 PM
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I still ride as hard as before but I have cut the mileage in half. I go back to the cardiologist in 6 weeks will talk with him more about it then.
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Old 10-08-18, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
interested in your riding habits since your doc thinks that that may have caused it
thanks
There are studies that show endurance cycling increases the risk of Afib in men ... I think by a factor of 3-5.

Curiously, the same is not true for women. I've seen a summary of the studies, and they all have different definitions of an "endurance athlete."
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Old 10-09-18, 07:59 AM
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how many miles would be considered as endurance cycling?

Bmach how many miles were you riding?
thanks
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Old 10-09-18, 10:47 PM
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I was up to over 550 monthly.
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Old 10-11-18, 07:58 AM
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yikes, I'm hitting over that every month now
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Old 10-13-18, 06:54 PM
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On a happy note, my endurance cyclist doctor got Afib, had an ablation a couple years ago. He just got back from a sea-to-sea tour of the Pyrenees, climbing all the major passes. He did great. He's over 60. OTOH, his doctor wants him to gain weight. He's very, very thin, but he climbs very well.
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Old 11-16-18, 03:04 PM
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Keeps on ticking

I have periods of AFib, 20% of beats outside of AFib are ectopic, undiagnosed low HR( 46BPM went as low as 37 once), dizzy spells and on Asprin. I just tootle around on my hybrid at 8-10 MPH for 90 mins each day. I do not get out of breath or chest pains it is just my bum and neck that ache like fury after the ride.
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Old 11-17-18, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by nios2 View Post
I have periods of AFib, 20% of beats outside of AFib are ectopic, undiagnosed low HR( 46BPM went as low as 37 once), dizzy spells and on Asprin. I just tootle around on my hybrid at 8-10 MPH for 90 mins each day. I do not get out of breath or chest pains it is just my bum and neck that ache like fury after the ride.
Good for you! Perfect. With that amount of butt experience, the right saddle for you will fix the butt issue. For the neck pain, see this thread: Riding Position Discovery
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Old 11-17-18, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for the link to the riding posture thread; The S shape back/neck is exactly my problem and now I know I can work on it.
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Old 11-20-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by nios2 View Post
Thanks for the link to the riding posture thread; The S shape back/neck is exactly my problem and now I know I can work on it.
Good. Might fix the saddle pain too, since you'll be loading your pelvis differently.
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Old 11-25-18, 07:28 AM
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Great dialog on A-Fib. I was diagnosed about 5 yrs back with Afib. At first it didn't seem to bother me too much since I was only irregular 10% of the time. But gradually my irregularity has built up to 50-80% or so. I think what kills me is the beta blockers the doctor has me on. It seems like I have no endurance any more. After about 2 hours riding I am totally sapped. Age could be playing a factor as well as I am mid 50s so I just accept that I can't ride as fast and as long as I used to. 40-50 miles at 15mph will just have to do. At least I am exercising and getting outdoors.

I did recently have an ablation so hopefully I will notice a difference when the heart fully cures.
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Old 11-25-18, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 2metalhips View Post
Read "The Haywire Heart"
Excellent book.

I have seven coronary stents, all due to Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) brought on by diabetes.

It is not the same as aFib, but it nevertheless requires some care while riding.

I donít let my HR get stay above 160 for too long.

For peace of mind I have the RoadId app which notifies my wife if I have stopped cycling. I also have the series 4 Apple watch with EKG capabilities and fall monitor.

I feel better when I know someone is electronically tracking me.

Good luck to you. Let your cardiologist become your new best friend.

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