Cycling up steep hills - feel as if I'm about to faint.

Hi.  New member. 76 years old PM fitted two years ago.

Cycling is my favourite exercise 2-3 times a week, 25 miles a ride.

After having the PM fitted I took a few months off. Since starting again I have noticed that when I get to steep hills, after a short time I get a lot of pain/aching in my quadriceps followed very quickly by a feeling as if my head is about to explode. Stops very quickly and normalises after I reduce the effort.

I have had the PM upper limit increased to 130 at the recent check up but the problem still persists. The tech will not increase it further without a recommendation from the cardiologist, although prior to the PM I could go at around 150 max in exercise with no issues.

I wonder if my problems are caused by my heart having trouble pumping enough blood to my main cycling muscles for hills at 130 max and robbing my head thus causing the dizziness.

Apologies for the amateurish non-medical terminology as I have never really taken any interest in health matters, as long as I was OK.


2 Comments

Probably just too low maxHR

by crustyg - 2023-09-30 18:30:47

Lots of docs have no real idea of what a sensible and safe maxHR should be for athletic seniors.  If you have any chest strap data showing maxHR before your PM it will help you charm your EP-doc into giving the order for a higher maxHR.

I have a pretty good relationship with the EP-techs who do all of my in-person follow ups (and who have to set/unset MRI-mode for my device) and part of that successful relationship is never asking them to make adjustments that haven't been sanctioned by my EP-doc.  Happily I can email my EP-doc and, so far, what I've asked for has been granted.  Maximum logic, plenty of charm and evidence, where possible, about what you want and why is the best approach.  Once you have the go-ahead, *then* get your device updated.  150BPM doesn't sound crazy, assuming your coronaries are clear and your heart muscle in good shape.

I know, all too well, the horrible sick feeling of big muscles being pushed 'into the red' by working hard without enough blood supply, and it takes a lot of the fun out of cycling.

Just make sure that you aren't also pushing yourself into an arrhythmia at the same time.  For me, cycling hard in a warm climate and letting myself get dehydrated is the risk factor for this.

Best wishes.

Avid Bike Rider

by Stache - 2023-10-01 23:02:24

I am 70 and ride 2 to 3 times a week from 20 to 40 miles each ride.  I had issues riding with my dual chamber pacer and had some major adjustments making it more sensitive  The manufacturer rep made my adjustments at the hospital as the techs were not as trained or skilled at his level.  I do have large chambers in my heart pumping large volumes of blood and this makes all the difference on the bike.

You know you're wired when...

Your pacemaker receives radio frequencies.

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