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Avatar universal

Excessive perspiration during exercise

I am a 58 yo male post CABG 3 1/2 years. I have been a very heavy exerciser for the last 35 doing mostly running and biking. Sometime in the summer after my Feb. surgery, I became aware of a tendency for my head and face to sweat while doing only moderate levels of exercise. I initially attributed it to one of my meds, Altace and Lipitor, but I have been on and off of these over the last three years and the tendency persists. This sweating occurs even in quite cold weather while running when sweating at all seems inappropriate.
   I am concerned about the heart connection since excessive sweating is often a sign of an MI. Stress tests 3 mo and 2 year post CABG show a small mostly irreversible perfusion defect in the antero apical area. Cardiologist is not worried since its so small. Could this be the cause of my sweating? Echos have been essentially normal. I would say that the sweating has not progressed markedly over the last three years, although it is no less annoying.
  I have also recently been diagnosed with exercise induced Afib which 25 mg of Toprol XL seems to be controlling. The Afib was not seriously impacting my exercise performance except I often had an erratic heartbeat afterwards. Sometimes the erratic HB would persist and an EKG confirmed fib. I am thinking I could be in and out of it often during exercise without knowing it. A friend that has Afib said that sweating about his head and face was his most noticable symptom. Could this have anything to do with my problem? The Toprol has not impacted the sweating.
25 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432
Hi Tom,

Could this be the cause of my sweating?

If you aren't having symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath it is very unlikely to be of cardiac origin.  If you are very worried about it, a stress test with imaging would answer the question.  From what you have written above, I do not think your sweating is from ischemia.

Could this have anything to do with my problem? (AF)
You could be having AF during exercise.  The easiest solution is to where a monitor when you are working out and check the time of sweating to see if it consistently correlates with the AF.

I hope this helps.  thanks for posting.
Avatar universal
I think for many people more seems better in many instances in life. Maybe in your case and those like you more may not always be better.I mean in the sense of overly zealous excercising...maybe doing it at a more moderate level would be a more heart healthly comprimise. Remember Jim Fixx the orginal runner... he dropped dead while running!!  So continue to take care of yourself and don't overdo it. I remain yours truly Gaspipe
Avatar universal
Thanks for you comments. I may have left the impression that I sweat heavily during intense exercise. This is not true. Running at any pace that you could call running and riding a bike at maybe 60% of max results in the heavy sweating. I have queried the cardio on numerous occasions whether I need to back off but he is in favor of me doing what I feel like.
Avatar universal
You make a good point, regarding moderation, however, Jim Fixx (hardly the original runner) died at age 57. His father (not a runner) died, of a heart attack, at age 43. It's also been stated that Jim Fixx, apparently ignored some symptoms or he might have had an even longer life!

Avatar universal
Hi I meant he was of the first advocates who wrote a book on the subject and advocated running for health purposes. I believe he also had bypass surgery.  Gaspipe
Avatar universal
Hi I meant he was of the first advocates who wrote a book on the subject and advocated running for health purposes. I believe he also had bypass surgery.Gaspipe
Avatar universal
Jim Fixx, was very overweight when he started running, so he may have already sown the seeds of cardiac failure . I think he continued to eat a high fat diet. In those days there was a belief that if you could run a marathon then you'd live for ever. About sweating, assuming that the heart is fine, I believe core temperature is what is important not how much you sweat. If you don't sweat enough and your body is not cooling so that core temperature is higher than it should be then that's not good either.
Avatar universal
Regarding Jim Fixx, I do not remember that he was as old as 57. I thought he was more like early 40's. I don't think he had bypass although I agree he was quite overweight when he started running.
   The theory that running a marathon made you virtually immune to dying of a heart attack was I believe presented by Dr. George Sheehan, another noted author on running. His idea was that the collaterals one develops through long term endurance exercise would protect you from death if you were to have an MI. In my case, it may have been true. I had an extensive network of collaterals such that my running performance was as good as ever even with a 97% blockage of the LAD. I never had any pain and the only reason it was discovered was the investigation of my complaint of shortness of breath in the first few blocks of running. I would never have had a clue that I had a problem if my exercise was confined to bike riding. I guess my first few miles were at a lower level giving the collaterals more time to dilate. The jury is out as to whether I actually needed CABG or not.
  Gaspipe, since my surgery I have queried maybe 8 cardiologists as to whether I should give up running/riding/racing. The opinion has been unanimous that I should keep it up although a few cautioned that I might want to be careful in racing. One often finds in a race that you take yourself beyond the prudent and the intensity could cause plaque assumed to be present to rupture and cause an MI. I think this same arguement could be used for any male over age 50.
Avatar universal
Yes, I remember when it was widely thought that if you ran 26 miles/week you'd never have a heart attack. Dr. Sheehan may have promoted that idea but I was thinking that it was coming from Dr. Ralph Paffenbarger.

Just a little information on the late Jim Fixx:

When Fixx took up running at 35, he weighed 214 pounds and smoked two packs a day. Ten years later, when the Complete Book of Running (which spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the best-seller list) was published, he was 60 pounds lighter and smoke-free. The book's strong, clear prose was an inspiration to millions. In his books and on television talk shows, he extolled how physical exercise had considerably increased the average human being's life expectancy.

Fixx died at the age of 52 of a massive heart attack, after his daily run, on Route 15 in Hardwick, Vermont. The autopsy revealed that cholesterol had blocked one coronary artery 95%, a second 85%, and a third 50%. Many who opposed his beliefs said this was proof running was harmful. However, it should be pointed out that Fixx came from a family where the men had poor health histories. His father suffered a heart attack at the age of 35 and died of one at 42. Given Fixx's unhealthy lifestyle until he took up running, many argued that running added many years to his life.

Avatar universal
I'll throw in another opinion. It may have been Dr. Ken Cooper the fitness guru who opined that marathoning=longevity. At least I'm sure he once thought that intense exercise was better than moderate for cardio health. I believe he has changed since then. RunnerTom: your case history is interesting to me. I used to run , started during the running boom, the Fixx era and then tapered off to nothing over the next 10 years. Anyway I started having exercise induced problems 4 years ago. My problem was initially diagnosed as afib too, but I believe that diag. was wrong. Now I have a slow heartbeat that develops after I stop and can continue for a few hours with symptoms. I'm trying to find an explanation of how exercise can cause this? DO you know of anything I can read about this?
Avatar universal
  Why do you doubt your Afib diagnosis? Besides myself, I know three other runners who have/had it and two other non-runners. Their symptoms were all different. Mine caused a moderately elevated erratic pulse (110 bpm) and mildly reduced exercise capacity. I noticed shortness of breath walking steps. My brother (also a runner 6 years younger) had a strong ventricular response where his HR would approach 230 bpm which made it pretty much impossible to continue. Another runner's was similar. Two non-runners has erratic high pulse but were in fib continuously and found it difficult to do daily duties. All have been confirmed by EKG.
   My totally layman's guess for your problem is that none of the atrial pulses are getting through the AV node, causing the ventricles to fall back on their base rate (don't know the actual term, but its what you get with branch bundle block). What happens in Afib is that the disorganized electrical activity is strong enough to cause the atria to contact (quiver) but may not be strong enough to get down through the AV node. To read about it, I would do some searching in the area of bundle block, Afib, AV node, etc in some heart related journals. I would start at:  http://www.ahajournals.org/search.dtl  You can get all the abstracts for free and many of the full articles. If you find one of great interest, they can be purchased for a fee.
Avatar universal
sorry make that 8 min pace not 7 - no way. I could barely do that when I was fit 25 years ago.
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