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  1. #1
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    How high can your blood pressure get while going all out? Am I gonna die??

    Hello everybody, small interesting story and a few questions.

    Experienced some chest pain during training camp on Mallorca, and my dad convinced me to go see a doc.

    Went to a cardiology professor, which put me on the ergometer. Thought I was gonna show these whitecoats what I am capable of, but they called it quits at 325Watts, because my blood pressure was too high, according to their criteria.

    What's worse, surpassing 275 watts, my electrocardiogramm (ECG) featured an ST-depression of a whopping 4 mm, a sign that some cells in my heart aren't activated in a normal manner, often a sign of ischemia (diminished supply of oxygen to parts of the heart).

    The professor wanted me to have a scintigram taken to check my perfusion. In hospital they wanted to pre-examine me first, seeing as scintigrams are expensive. Then after the intern (trainee doc) has done all the bureaucratic boring work, a ms. cardiologist primadonna comes sailing in and gives me a tough lecture on my blood pressure which had exceeded 270mm Hg on the ergometer.

    I was stunned that this young doc brought up the possibility of suffering from a brain haemorrhage because of my 270mmHg blood pressure. I wanted to know if this could simply be a normal physiological adaptation process and nothing pathological.

    I received her interpretation which I think is hilariously funny, and really tells you how much emphasis many med students put on sports medicine, seeing as athletes per se are healthy, no?

    "Athletes are distinguished by their comparably lower blood pressure. Therefore as an athlete, you should have had a lower blood pressure." (This made a doctor-friend-of mine sigh, and recommend me a decent sports doc)

    Now, compared to some lazy, coach potato, I suspect my blood pressure is lower, when our power outputs are equal. But we are not talking about that. We are talking about how my blood pressure should be at my maximum power output which is considerably larger.

    I am still worrying about my ST-depression, which I have no explanation of. But I figured that it would be useful if somebody here had undergone similar tests and were willing to compare blood pressures with me. So.. what are your values during hard efforts?
    Last edited by StillStudent; 02-06-2005 at 10:59 AM.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: BikeKilla's Avatar
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    I'm not a doctor or a physiologist...

    Not a doc (though I spent some time in med school). I am a paramedic, and have taken thousands of BPs. We usuallly bring people to the ER who have a resting systolic above 190. You are correct that being an athlete, you should be able to have a comparartively high blood pressure. BPs are a very individual thing and I've seen people walking around 60/40 and other 220/140. I have to tell you, your comments smack of denial. Of course you want to be able to be healthy and strong. You're an athlete. You don't want to believe that you could be sick and/or something wrong with you.
    As important is your resting BP. Where is that? Any family history? There are plenty of people who have heart attacks in their 30's.
    My BP is normally around 120/80 to 110/70. When doing my stress EKG for the fire department, they had me going all out on the treadmill while continuously taking BPs. I'm not positive, but I remember that while going about 95 to 100% of my max cardio. (for me around195-205 BPM) I was in the 190-200 systolic range. Let me tell you 270 sys is VERY high. I'm pretty sure that that's when pepole start stroking out. (having strokes). I think around 300 is a guarnteed stroke. While your body could be different, and have adapted, there absolute ranges. Chest pain is nothing to screw around with. I highly recommend seeing a sport physiologist and doing some research on the net. But don't pass it off or ignore it. I leanred long ago that pain is your bodies warning system to cellular damage. It's teling you to stop because you are hurting yourself. Don't fock around, and don't keep going to docs 'til you hear the answer you want. Ask every nurse you come in contact with "Who is the best exercise doc you know?" You'll get a consensus and then go see him/her. Good luck, and just because you might not be able to race, doesn't mean you can't ride. Have fun and keep riding.

    Dan






    Quote Originally Posted by StillStudent
    Hello everybody, small interesting story and a few questions.

    Experienced some chest pain during training camp on Mallorca, and my dad convinced me to go see a doc.

    Went to a cardiology professor, which put me on the ergometer. Thought I was gonna show these whitecoats what I am capable of, but they called it quits at 325Watts, because my blood pressure was too high, according to their criteria.

    What's worse, surpassing 275 watts, my electrocardiogramm (ECG) featured an ST-depression of a whopping 4 mm, a sign that some cells in my heart aren't activated in a normal manner, often a sign of ischemia (diminished supply of oxygen to parts of the heart).

    The professor wanted me to have a scintigram taken to check my perfusion. In hospital they wanted to pre-examine me first, seeing as scintigrams are expensive. Then after the intern (trainee doc) has done all the bureaucratic boring work, a ms. cardiologist primadonna comes sailing in and gives me a tough lecture on my blood pressure which had exceeded 270mm Hg on the ergometer.

    I was stunned that this young doc brought up the possibility of suffering from a brain haemorrhage because of my 270mmHg blood pressure. I wanted to know if this could simply be a normal physiological adaptation process and nothing pathological.

    I received her interpretation which I think is hilariously funny, and really tells you how much emphasis many med students put on sports medicine, seeing as athletes per se are healthy, no?

    "Athletes are distinguished by their comparably lower blood pressure. Therefore as an athlete, you should have had a lower blood pressure." (This made a doctor-friend-of mine sigh, and recommend me a decent sports doc)

    Now, compared to some lazy, coach potato, I suspect my blood pressure is lower, when our power outputs are equal. But we are not talking about that. We are talking about how my blood pressure should be at my maximum power output which is considerably larger.

    I am still worrying about my ST-depression, which I have no explanation of. But I figured that it would be useful if somebody here had undergone similar tests and were willing to compare blood pressures with me. So.. what are your values during hard efforts?
    I'm as bad as the Worst. But, thank God, I'm also as good as the Best.

  3. #3
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    Hey thanks, BikeKilla.

    I think you are pushing me in the right direction there. Judging from the size of you bike, we could be about the same height (and shape), and if you also do a lot of training, our blood pressures should be about the same, right? But there sure is a huge difference between our blood pressures at max. Systolically, I am perfectly normotone, always measured in at 120/80. The funny thing is, chest pain occured at rest. (If we could just open my body like any stupid toaster to find the origin of the problem)

    You sense denial in my posting, and I suppose as a paramedic, you have experience enough to smell that pretty damn fast.

    Well, what can you say? I am 23, never doped, slim, never had severe diseases, always done endurance sports, and now this symptom and the ensuing test results smack in my face. Say no more- every profane word (that would be auto-censored here) would be an understatement anyway.

    And 3-4 years ago, there was a sponsored german rider who had a heart attack.. So I know that I shouldn't just pay attention to a doc who gives me the "right" answers, but I want to listen to the doc who actually is right. Off to see a sports medicine professor.

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