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Has anyone else had a Ďtired heartí when backpacking?

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  • Has anyone else had a Ďtired heartí when backpacking?


    First off I went to the doctor an hour ago and got an ekg and my heart looked at and I am fine. They did blood tests too so they will be looked at later.

    But on 3 separate backpacking trips after the first day my heart felt what I can only say as tired. I have never had it running, bike riding or day hiking. And not every backpacking trip. It did not show up last year but the hike into the last set of leantos in the Sewards is easy.

    The latest was after hiking to Panther Gorge leanto on Friday, I woke up on Saturday and was hiking with a day pack toward the cross roads towards Grey and I felt like my heart was not strong. I just eased up on the pace and we got Grey peak and luckily it rained and we just went back to our dry leanto and relaxed. I hiked out the next day. I hiked at a nice steady talking pace and getting out only has like 500 or 600 feet in elevation so I did not test my ticker so to speak.

    I still felt a bit tired so I went to the doctor to double check.

    Maybe it is just the weight of the pack on my core muscles or something?

    Has anyone else had a Ďtired heart' when backpacking?


    Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
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  • #2
    I use an inhaler to hike now, but I do have to stop several times for a minute or two when I hike, Iíve had some discomfort in my chest, but it could be due to the way the pack hangs on your shoulders. May be your age catching up to you. Donít know how old you are, but it could be youíre doing too much. If your ekg is coming up good, you might want to ask your doctor to do an enzyme test that can identify a heart problem.
    Nothing like being in the woods.

    http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

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    • #3
      Ask your doc to check for a PFO. Reportedly present in 26% of all people, but goes mostly unnoticed. I had it and my cardiologist thinks it resulted in a mini-stroke I had in 2016 after a very hard workout on my mountain bike. He believes a blood clot passed through the hole and made its way where it should not have gone, normally filtered out in the lungs. It was corrected without open heart surgery, the surgeon used a probe through my ribs and sewed the defect together remotely. Regardless, a percentage of blood was being shunted away from it should have gone toward my lungs. Without the surgery a different cardiologist had me on a lifetime of powerful blood thinner medication, with the caution to never stray more than two hours from a medical facility due to risk of bleeding. Not my lifestyle as a wilderness guide and a marathon and Yukon canoe racer.

      A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a hole in the heart that didn't close the way it should after birth. During fetal development, a small flap-like opening ó the foramen ovale (foh-RAY-mun oh-VAY-lee) ó is normally present in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart(atria).
      Last edited by Nessmuk; 08-14-2019, 12:37 PM.
      "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nessmuk View Post
        26% of all people
        Holy unhappy holes Batman! That's alot of all people! I will be on the lookout for that one. Thanks!
        Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
        ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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        • #5
          You know, these mountains take a toll. When we did the trio of Redfield, Gray, and Skylight last week, I felt that my heart was racing a lot. I guess that might be the opposite of "tired" but without knowing your health background, I can only say that age, fitness level, the exertion (Panther Gorge--!) have to have an effect on one's body. You're smart to get things checked out. But were you hydrating? Were you eating to give yourself energy? It's been 5 days since I came back but I am still tired, still ravenous to eat, and a friend who went with me has vertigo that she saw the doctor for. Anyhow--this is all by way of saying, don't underestimate the strenuousness of hiking in the mountains. Unless you're 19, you have to expect wear and tear
          Jim

          "A full appreciation of mountains is not to be experienced by merely looking; that is why men climb." -Francis S. Smythe, British mountaineer

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          • #6
            Not related to anyone's specific condition, but Nessmuk's mention of the PFO brought me back to my earlier career. In the early 80s, I had an opportunity to work with the late Dr. Bill Rashkind, who developed catheter delivered devices for closure of PFOs and PDAs. It was an incredibly rewarding time, saving baby's lives, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of it.

            Many people do not know about the possibility of a PFO. The most common time when a clot can move through the PFO from the RA to the LA is during a "valsalva maneuver", which is the holding of breath and compressing the pulmonary cavity. This has the effect of reversing the BP in the chambers briefly, which encourages R to L flow. Some older people die of strokes after holding their breath while "pushing" on the toilet due to undiagnosed PFOs.

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            • #7
              Tachycardia? Afib?
              Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tcd View Post
                Not related to anyone's specific condition, but Nessmuk's mention of the PFO brought me back to my earlier career. In the early 80s, I had an opportunity to work with the late Dr. Bill Rashkind, who developed catheter delivered devices for closure of PFOs and PDAs.
                I have read about the catheter delivered devices, but my surgeon did not go that route with me. I had no device implanted, which can develop problems of its own. Instead his method was to enter my heart with a probe containing a needle and suture and literally stitched the loose flap to close the PFO hole. I do not believe that this is a common method performed by many other cardiologist surgeons, but it seems to have worked for me. I had only a 6 week recovery from the hole between two ribs where the probe was inserted. Soon after, I resumed a very active outdoor lifestyle, including many multi-day marathon canoe races (in the Yukon and elsewhere) and strenuous backcountry hiking in the Adirondacks.
                "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell

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                • #9
                  Bunchberry, have you tried dayhiking on all three days of a long weekend?
                  How did you feel on a third day after two long days of hiking?

                  Please keep in mind that in case of backpacking you are not getting as much rest due to a lot of efforts spent on backcountry chores.

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                  • Bunchberry
                    Bunchberry commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I had the same idea last night before I went to bed! I need to do more research meaning I need to do multiple day hikes in a row! Research sucks! lol !

                • #10
                  How about electrolytes?
                  My recent research indicates Iím far from replacing the sodium and other electrolytes I sweat out.
                  Iíve had two recent similar bouts of wondering why my heart wasnít keeping up on hikes that shouldnít push me. Iím 55, but have trained some for a few months. Ironically, the first incident was early into day two in the Sewards in July. The second time was Monday. Both days were hot (mid 80s) and humid and I was sweating a ton as I tend to do, especially carrying a pack in the mountains. But I was completely wiped out. I couldnít go on to Donaldson and Emmons after tenting by the Blueberry lean to! A month earlier on a chilly day I cruised Whiteface and Esther with energy to spare. What is happening?
                  Conclusion: Iím not replacing electrolytes at the level I sweat them out. Could this be happening to you too? I tend to put two Nuun electrolyte tablets in one liter of water, but primarily drink plain water from my hydration bladder. During hard exercise in hot weather we can lose 1,000-2,000 mg of sodium per hour. Two Nuun tablets provide 600 mg of sodium. Skratch Labs sport hydration powder provides 760 mg sodium per hour. On these days, I should only be drinking water with electrolytes and at a rate of close to 1.5 liters per hour.
                  Most trail snacks contribute sodium (1/4 cup GORP has 5-90 mg sodium, Kind Bars and ProMeal bars have 110-140 mg, and a 645 calorie Greenbelly Bar has 790 mg!). Iíve become a big fan of their bars while hiking.
                  Back at the tent at Seward I drank more electrolytes. The next day I drank 3 L of water with electrolytes and snacked well and motored up Seymour like a new man. I donít remember needing electrolytes so much, but they sure are helping me now.
                  I sure hope your issue is similarly simple. Best to you.





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                  • Bunchberry
                    Bunchberry commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think this may be it. I only drank 1.5 liters on the hike and finished the last .5 liter before diner. I was busy with camp chores and showing my son the stream and looking at rocks and stuff. I need to get me some nuun tablets. Can you get them in stores or just on the internet.

                  • gebby
                    gebby commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Bunchberry my local hiking store Mountain Man in Saratoga Springs carries Nuun tabs.

                • #11
                  Bunchberry If you think you had a "tired heart" while out hiking and are dissatisfied with your doctor's initial evaluation, go back and insist for more testing. A normal echocardiogram and a normal stress test might go a long way to make you feel more comfortable. I think everyone who spends a lot of times in the woods with physical activity, probably knows their body better than most people and should insist that their concerns are addressed. That said, I doubt it was your heart, especially since you don't notice it with other physical exercise as you mentioned. It was probably a combination of nutrition, hydration, sleep and electrolytes. Some have already mentioned that. I've added salt tablets to my regimen when I am out(Salt Stick), especially in winter and it seems to help with some of my issues.
                  Last edited by gebby; 08-16-2019, 04:08 PM.

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                  • #12
                    I recently had concerns about some heaviness I was feeling in my chest and spoke to my primary care physician ( a 46er so he gets it) who immediately ran the gamut of blood and EKG work which showed nothing acute but still referred me to a cardiologist. She did an initial exam and then scheduled a stress test. The ultrasound taken before and after the treadmill was really eye opening and it was very reassuring to see valves functioning correctly and overall the heart performing well and it was nice to know that the heart itself was not in peril. Well Worth it in my opinion if just to eliminate that fear.
                    Now the hypertension and elevated glucose levels, well that's another part of the problem, so I guess I am more likely to have a stroke than a heart attack, which isn't so comforting.
                    "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
                    Ed Viesturs

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                    • Yury
                      Yury commented
                      Editing a comment
                      ADKJack, your heart behaves differently after 5 minutes long stress test and after 5 hours long hike.
                      I am not sure whether such stress test can reveal all potential failure points.

                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Jnolan View Post
                    My recent research indicates I'm far from replacing the sodium and other electrolytes I sweat out.
                    Could you please share details of your research?
                    How often were you taking your blood samples during your hikes?
                    Could you please share results of these blood tests?

                    Without such data your interpretation may be not that accurate.

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                    • #14
                      2 months ago I was doing back squats and my side started to really hurt. The doctor sent me for some chest X-rays and I was amazed there were no broken ribs. He said it was a strained intercostal muscle. It is the muscle between your ribs.

                      So now onto my latest problem. I was laying in bed this morning and was bumming about the whole heart thing and I started to feel around my chest and realized that my two of my ribs hurt to the touch. The area is right over my heart.

                      Why did I not notice this before? I have no idea. I guess I just assumed if your chest hurt around your heart it was a heart problem. I am thinking either the old injury did not heal or this is a new one.





                      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
                      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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                      • gebby
                        gebby commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Bunchberry When you are at peak exertion, intercostal muscles come in to play as accessory muscles of respiration and if you've done some hard hiking after a recent intercostal injury, it's no surprise that you feel them hurting!

                    • #15
                      I was referring to online references from credible sources. As a biology teacher with a couple masters degrees, Iím quite critical about selecting sources.

                      I wasnít tested.
                      The link below isnít one I reviewed, but values are similar.
                      I think I included endurance, cramps, electrolytes and sodium in searches. Iím out and canít look further.

                      https://www.coach.ca/sodium-facts-for-athletes-p154692


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