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200bpm when exercising...worth going to the doctor?

I already know that I have a rapid heart rate, as determined by a Holter monitor.  The doctor tried a very low dose of timolol but the side effects (I fainted!) were intolerable.  So I just decided to live with it.

After losing my last job I let myself get in terrible shape.  I was told it was fine for me to exercise, so I went to the gym today and spent thirty minutes on the treadmill...walking on a light incline, with about 40% of the time spent jogging.  While I was jogging, my heart rate rose to 200bpm.

I felt pretty normal...well, normal for me exercising, which means I felt like ****, but it wasn't anything different.  I left the gym and went to work (new job), where I stand for 7-8 hours straight.  I'd say about 4-5 hours of that my heart rate hovered between 110 and 120.  I found myself acutely aware of my heart rate even after I stopped checking my pulse.  The palpitations were very noticeable and after a time I started to feel strange...a little lightheaded, anxious...I started coughing and felt some very mild chest pain.  I do have anxiety problems so I decided that these were anxiety-related symptoms rather than an event, although I did worry for a little while that I would have a syncopal episode.

I'm 26, 5' 2", and 180 pounds.  I'm pretty overweight and would like to get back in shape.  I don't have a doctor right now and am trying to decide if I should find one...but if I do, what should I say?  I don't want to go through all those tests again just to be told the same thing: "You have a rapid heart rate."

Is this something that would improve if I continued to exercise, or am I putting myself in danger?
3 Responses
187666 tn?1331173345
If you've become out of shape, I recommend you slow down a bit at the gym. 200 for for height, weight and age is just too fast. As you lose some weight, increase your stamina, your heart will tolerate more vigorous activity. As boring as it may be, walk on the treadmill and gradually work your way up from there. I know you'll probably feel like one of the old ladies at the gym plodding along (that would be me) but your health is more important. Please be careful, ask one of the trainers to plan a workout schedule for you.
770426 tn?1235061489
Ireneo brings up a very good point. Since you are not in shape and are starting a new exercise program, you should calculate your training heart rate and keep it in that zone until you become more fit.

You can Google 'training heart rate' to find a number of calculations, but here is what it would be if your resting heart rate (taken in the morning before you get out of bed) is 75 and you want to work out a beginner fitness level (50%):

Your maximum heart rate is calculated as: 220 - your age (220 - 26 = 194)
Your training heart rate is calculated as: Max Heart Rate - Rest. Heart Rate x Intensity + Rest. Heart Rate (194 - 75 x .5 + 75 = 134.5)

This means you should shoot for a maximum heart rate of about 130 - 135 for right now as you exercise. Hope this helps and good luck to you getting back in shape and taking some of that extra stress off your heart!
687614 tn?1244197979
Hi, I too am one that doesn't take much exercise to make my heart rate soar 170's or so, and I am on meds to keep it down.  I started walking on the treadmill at anywhere from .5-1 mph, no incline for 15 mins.  I was so out of shape/deconditioned from staying in bed for so long. I have been working at it since January and it is just now I can do 3-4 mph and my pulse is around 110 bpm for 30 mins.  And I am just starting on the inclines.  I have in the past few weeks added slow aerobics.  I am 40 and yes, I feel like little ole grandma to say the least.  As I have signed up for all the senior classes at the YMCA.  I try humor when I am in pool aerobics with 80-90 yr olds...it gets them laughing at least and makes their day.  I had to do a lot of sitting exercises to get my body more conditioned when I first started like sitting in a chair and doing repetitive arm and leg raises with 1-2 lb. weighs strapped to me.  My heart rate would be like yours while standing...if not a little more.  I was always tachycardic...now with exercise I am able to drop some of my heart meds because my pulse and BP have been going too low...as my doctor said it would. Just remember the important thing is that you go slow...even if you feel like you should be able to do more...eventually you will, don't rush it.  My doctor said to me "It took you 4 months to get unfit it will take three times as long to get back into shape."  I so I am assuming it will take a full year of tedious hard work for my heart to be fit again.  I do highly recommended that you work with a doctor...possibly have a stress test done to see where you stand fitness wise with your heart...also, like me you might need PT or a specialized trainer to get you aiming in the right path, both need a prescription from a doctor. Also a complete physical with some blood test could determine why your heart rate stays high all the time.  I know weight is a factor, but you don't seem grossly overweight. If you are going to do this on your own  I would say treadmill is the best bet...but a water aerobics class is even better...less strain on your body and your heart. If you feel anything abnormal while exercising than slow down...if you still are feeling off 3-4 hours later, then you need to to be seen by doctor as soon as you can.  I wish you best of luck in your endeavors to become in-shape and feeling better.
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