Hi there, could anyone suitable knowledgeable please advise me whether I should be concerned or take action as a result of the following:
I had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation 4 years ago and spent a night in hospital where my heart corrected itself, I was 36 years old. This was due to a combination of extreme emotional stress (I run my own company and often have problems chasing late payers!) and alcohol. I have had a couple of subsequent episodes following evenings involving considerable alcohol intake sometimes following very arduous alpine skiing or other strenuous exercise.
I had echo, stress test, a consultation with cardiologist and a follow-up EKG 2 years later and started annual ECGs in March 2009. No medication was required and I was told to not drink too much alcohol and to stop playing squash.
At the time I lost 50lbs and got to my correct weight however I have now returned to being too heavy and have noticed during certain types of exercise my heart behaves strangely.
When I cycle my heart behaves normally albeit the heart rate does rise to 175bpm on very steep uphill sections, according to my Polar Heart Rate Monitor. However when I run during circuit training my HR immediately (just during gentle jogging at warm-up) rises to 160bpm+ and sometimes briefly above 200bpm but then drops to a worrying 80bpm (without variation at all) for a couple of minutes (while running hard) before normalizing to a steady HR. Once warm during running my HR rises upto 180bpm steadily whilst sprinting. I feel fine when this happens and have no chest pain or dizziness during or after exercise. My resting HR on non-exercise days is around 46-53bpm.
The Polar HRM has a Fit Test function which apparently gives a score comparable to a VO2 Max test and the day after cycling and Circuit training my score is in the "Very Good" category.
I have noticed that the HR during exercise is greatly affected by alcohol use however I am very keen not to give up drinking alcohol unless absolutely necessary. The Fit Test function of the HRM confirms the negative effect of alcohol use following an evening out....
I would be grateful if you would please advise me whether I should be concerned by my heart's behavior and whether I should take any action.
I don't really want to consult my doctor if I can avoid it. My Polar HRM is not defective as I have bought another HRM of a different brand in order to check the results and the results are the same.
I have to do quite a lot of client entertaining and drinking alcohol, occasionally excessively, makes the job easier....
I have a weekend of kayaking, mountain biking and beer drinking coming up and would appreciate your advice!
Binge drinking is bad treatment for the body and mind. I am not a teetotaler, so don't read my comment as one from someone who doesn't appreciate a good drink now and then. It can be part of your problem... albeit I'm not sure what your problem is. Some of you problem may be driven by atrial flutter of fibrillation that comes in under stress, but passes when you settle back to simple physical activities.
My advice is drink less alcohol, drink more water.
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