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52 and getting sick regularly

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52 and getting sick regularly

Old 02-23-20, 01:58 AM
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52 and getting sick regularly

Every time I start to build kilometres or increase intensity I seem to end up getting sick. Head cold type symptoms with sinus congestion/pain. Hangs around for at least a week or two. Over the last 12 months I would have been crook 8 or 9 times, seems to just be rinse and repeat and is getting frustrating. Iíve been checked out by the docs and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary.
Appreciate any advice others might have, particularly about improving immune system function or any other tips to stay healthy and riding. Thanks
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Old 02-23-20, 02:27 AM
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If you are actually having actual sinus pain and tenderness, you may have a latent sinusitis that keeps rearing its head. Or some other slightly subclinical infection somewhere and the added stress of your workouts is just stressing your system. Also, always possible it could be allergies, I spose, though not sure how that relates to your riding.

I would be interested in what some films or a CT of your sinuses looks like. Have you ever seen an ENT? It might be worth considering, if the general docs don't find anything, yet, you are still experiencing symptoms. That's probably what I would do, were I in your shoes. Good luck!!!!
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Old 02-23-20, 02:33 AM
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I had a scan a couple of weeks ago, didn’t hear back from the Dr so assume nothing out of the ordinary. Thanks for the advice - think I will go see an ENT specialist.
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Old 02-23-20, 03:19 AM
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Same. I've had sinus and upper respiratory problems all my life but the past year or so have been the worst. It's kept me from riding in chilly weather this winter. Usually I don't mind but temperatures below 50F this year provoke sinus headaches.

And there's a definite correlation between sudden changes in barometric pressure and my sinus pain. I've tracked it for years and it's the single most consistent factor. If the barometer zips up or down quickly, it'll take a few days for my sinuses to feel normal again. Sometimes it even feels like a toothache or earache, but it's just sinus congestion.

I've been completely checked out too: X-rays, CT scans, MRI. Nothing unusual, I assume, since the docs never got back to me to report any apparent problems.

I'm assuming it's related to Hashimoto's, an auto-immune disorder I've had for years. It finally killed my thyroid and I had surgery in 2018 to remove the dead, calcified half. I'm taking the usual levothyroxine supplement now.

But Hashimoto's has a grab bag of seemingly unrelated problems, including occasional outbreaks of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, which I've been experiencing recently after a break for a couple of years without symptoms. And it seems to coincide with the chronic sinus inflammation and pain.

A couple of years ago I got an injection and oral course of prednisone, which helped. But my docs don't like to use that too often because it can cause other problems while solving one. I also have early onset osteopenia and they're worried about aggravating further bone loss. I also use fluticasone and albuterol most days, which probably isn't good for the bone density, but I need it to breathe.

I've resumed using oral diclofenac, a prescription NSAID that seems to help with the inflammation. It's a single small pill, once or twice a day, much easier and more effective than my former massive doses of ibuprofen.

And a couple of OTC supplements occasionally help a bit with sinus congestion: bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple that seems to have a targeted anti-inflammatory effect on the mucus membranes; and niacin, which causes capillary flushing and often releases mucus congestion.

And I take generic Zyrtec and Sudafed most days. I wish I didn't need the pseudo-ephedrine but it's the only consistently effective thing I've found for painful sinus congestion. Gotta watch the blood pressure with that stuff.

I have to avoid saline nasal washes most days. It'll actually get trapped in my sinuses and make the pain worse. I use the stuff only when my sinuses don't feel too congested, which sorta defeats the purpose of the stuff. I can use the saline nasal sprays, though.

Because of the auto-immune disorder I finally had to retire early (I'm 62 now, didn't expect to quit until I was much older and had a job I really enjoyed). I have some good days but it's so unpredictable I couldn't commit to any regularly scheduled job. So I do occasional odd jobs and work for understanding friends, along with social security. Didn't plan to go this route but sometimes ya gotta go with what life gives ya.

One major change I had to make was getting more rest, especially sleep. For decades I got by on 3-5 hours sleep a night, and sometimes could work two or three days in a row without sleeping. Not anymore. If I miss one night, or don't make up for it with naps, I'm shot for the next few days. And then the various oddball symptoms from Hashimoto's flare up again.

Same with avoiding stress. The past year I finally had to cut off some longtime acquaintances who had some good qualities but too often managed to turn every conversation toward their favorite hot button arguments and paranoid conspiracy theories. I cut 'em off in real life and online. None of us is gonna solve the world's problems by aggravating each other.
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Old 02-23-20, 06:51 AM
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I used to get sick a lot too, including regularly hitting the max number of days out back when I was a kid in school. At 51 years old I'm just getting back into cycling but I've been running very regularly for the last 12 years (I've only missed 5 days of running in about 7 years). I very rarely get sick now. With the running if I do too much intensity while simultaneously trying to increase volume I will get sick. I've taken to doing just about all my runs at easy pace (e.g., never exceeding 144 HR with a max of 180) if I'm building mileage. This has allowed me to completely avoid getting sick. Once I've got the volume up and have settled into it I can add intensity back in without impacting my health.
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Old 02-23-20, 07:14 AM
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Your overall health includes many factors. Diet and exercise are absolutely key, but so is rest, recovery, sleep patterns, stress, or environmental factors.

www.nutritionfacts.org is a good resource on diet.

Here is a link that talks about a lot of different factors and will at least give you food for thought and reason to further research.

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Old 02-23-20, 07:50 AM
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Diet: meat and dairy don't digest properly/fully and contribute significantly to auto-immune disorders and cancer.

Hydration: water is necessary to flush/cleanse everything.

Minerals: should come from diet, but.... May need additions/supplements.

When I feel something coming on, I look to diet and homeopathy: "Cold Snap", Oscillococcinum, and essential oils (tea tree, and eucalyptus).

A nutritionist is your most important doctor. Cornell University's website is good/best information.
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Old 02-23-20, 08:02 AM
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If you think about it, the harder we go, the harder we breathe, the more air (and whatever is floating around in it) we take in. So if you have allergies, or a sinus problem (I seem to have both), the more likely you are to show symptoms after exertion. It would look odd but you could try riding with a surgical mask, to filter the air somewhat, and see if the symptoms are as bad. You probably wouldn't want to ride with one regularly, but might help see if it's a sinus/allergy reaction.
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Old 02-23-20, 10:08 AM
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I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the internet...

The first and only thing that came to mind (in my limited capacity) was that these were happening only after a ride. I would check my pre-ride routine just in case you may be repeating some sort of cross-contamination behavior before each ride? I don't know, that's weird.
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Old 02-23-20, 08:45 PM
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Thanks all, a few things to think about and a few things to try.
Reflecting on diet, I do eat white bread, too much probably. I have never had any problems with it but will cut it down/out (with sugar) to see if that helps. I was under the impression that meat in moderation was ok as a part of a healthy diet, hadn’t seen that it’s inflammatory so I will do some more research.
If anyone can recommend a cycling face mask that doesn’t restrict breathing I would appreciate it.
Thanks again.
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Old 02-24-20, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Murf58 View Post
Thanks all, a few things to think about and a few things to try.
Reflecting on diet, I do eat white bread, too much probably. I have never had any problems with it but will cut it down/out (with sugar) to see if that helps. I was under the impression that meat in moderation was ok as a part of a healthy diet, hadnít seen that itís inflammatory so I will do some more research.
If anyone can recommend a cycling face mask that doesnít restrict breathing I would appreciate it.
Thanks again.
One of the best anti inflammatory things you can do is to let your body have at least 12 hours every day without a single calorie of any kind. It lets your body go into a clean up mode. Concerning the role of sugar, it isn't just sugar but foods high on a glycemic scale that acts just like sugar as far as insulin is concerned. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself as much as you can and be pro active in your health.

Personally,I am not as concerned about meat as the quality of meats, or rather the lack of quality meats that the food industry provides, and the frequency in which we consume meats. I don't eat meat but once or twice a week and more tuna and salmon and wild game than anything else. I never eat pork or any kind of processed meats or processed foods at all for that matter. Try a month without anything that comes from a box or is processed in any way. During that month cut out all dairy and eggs as well and just see how it goes. Do some experimentation by cutting out anything that you think could be bad.

I think too many times we all just accept certain things as that's the way it is because we are getting older, when in reality it doesn't have to be that way.

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Old 02-24-20, 10:11 AM
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Moved to Pills and Ills.
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Old 02-24-20, 11:27 AM
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My doctor 20 years ago told me to read "The Omega DIet" and follow. Life changing. Didn't break the cycle of sinuses leading to throat infection every 18 months or so and the next antibiotic routine. Two inhalants helped that a lot, one a steroid, the other an antihistamine. Very expensive however. Then I started going to a nurse with a long string of letter after her name (still not sure what she is actually called). After my first physical with her, she suggested a "liver cleansing" using natural medicines. It would be a mini chemotherapy. I did the routine. (Two horse pills every day for 90 days. $25/bottle of each.) The middle 6 weeks were a minor hell but it was life changing. Didn't fix everything but I know a health now that I don't remember as a kid. I still use those expensive inhalents but each little bottle now lasts me far longer. I often go 5 days between partial squirts, not a full squirt plus each nostril every single night.

My advice? Keep you eyes and ears out for someone who can suggest lifestyle changes that address the reason your body is struggling, not the next fix when things go wrong. I am a solid believer that incorporating a better balance of Omega 3s to Omega 6s in my diet was huge. The liver cleansing addressed the chemicals my body had absorbed over years working with fiberglass resin and acetone building boats. (It was common knowledge among us laminators that acetone carried the dissolved chemicals through our skin and into our livers, causing life long issues. We all knew former workers with those issues. While in the middle of my cleansing, I got to be reminded of how I felt on those nightmare days when my respirator filters would expire mid big fiberglass layup. Full exposure to styrene gas. When a filter dies, you do not notice the change, just the headache and spaciness after.)

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Old 02-24-20, 12:31 PM
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Make sure you get your annual flu shots.
If you haven't, get caught up with the DPT vaccine (every decade, but there was a lapse when it was only given as DT)
Pneumovax is only recommended for 65+, but there could be conditions when those recommendations would change.

Look at your exposure source. Work exposure can be problematic, and something that you may not be able to control.

Children/Grandkids? If they aren't living with you, then just let people know that you don't want to see them if they are sick.

Be cognisant of your hands, and anything that may touch your eyes and mouth. WASH, especially after going places where exposure may exist.
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Old 03-03-20, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Murf58 View Post
Thanks all, a few things to think about and a few things to try. Reflecting on diet ...
Found I had a few too many bouts with colds and whatnot, some years back, along with skin that was dry and not healing as rapidly (for minor cuts and scrapes). Doubled-down on the veggies and occasional fruits, dramatically boosting my intake and going wide-ranging as possible. Ate a good amount of a range of veg/fruit, daily, even then, but at quite a bit more with this change. Within a few months, I had none of these little skin issues (dryness and whatnot), and the incidence and severity of minor illnesses (colds, etc) dropped to almost nothing for the next few years. As best as I could tell, at the time, this was the only major thing I changed during that time period (same cleaning around the house, same hygiene protocols, same laundering, same foods [otherwise], same exercise and sleep patterns). I'm assuming the boosted micronutrients involved altered my body's immune response and improved skin health. Anecdotal, but ...

Can't say that it'd have much effect on sinusitis or other such related ailments. But it's hard to say it could hurt. Perhaps worth a shot, if you haven't done so already.
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