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How to use heart monitor to judge activity?

Discussion in 'Problems Standing: Orthostatic Intolerance; POTS' started by Ocean, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    My heart rate and blood pressure monitors arrived. I really like both, they were very easy to use. I thought it was going to be more complicated. I got a Polar h.r. watch and a Omron b.p. monitor. If anyone wants reccomendations, I can look up the exact models I bought. Thanks to all those who gave me recommendations.

    I tried a quick at-home tilt table test but didn't do the laying down for a long period in advance first, so I will have to repeat it later. Plus I only stood 10 minutes so I may try it again standing longer, it felt uncomfortable just standing still even for the 10 minutes.

    So my question: Using the heart rate monitor for activity, how does that work? How do you calculate how high it's okay for your heart rate to go? I saw some formulas that said 60% of 220 or 200 minus your age. Does that sound right? Mine goes up so high so fast when I do anything. If those formulas are right then I go over mine by just standing up.
  2. Artstu

    Artstu Senior Member

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    220 minus your age is a rough way used to calculate your maximum heart-rate, I'm a fast beater so it doesn't really work for me. my max is about 20 beats higher than the figure that sum gives.

    Once you have set your maximum H/R you can then use it in %, I don't set any limits on how high I go, but I believe some people limit their effort to below 60%, perhaps even as low as 50%. I have to walk very briskly to get above 60% myself, I'd just put it on and see what sort of figures you get pottering about.
  3. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    But if you don't use that formula, then how did you figure out what your max was? Thank you.

    I surpassed my max using that formula (220-age x .6) just by standing up. That seems like it's not a good thing. Especially now that I hear you actually have to work at reaching yours. But then your max is not based on that formula, so I guess I"m comparing apples and oranges.
  4. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Glad you got the monitors. I don't need my heart rate monitor much now, but for a long time, I wore it all day. I would keep track of the numbers and when they got to certain numbers I would sit, before I fell/fainted. This helped me so I never had to get hurt. I always kept my w.chair nearby so sit fast. Of course, for a while, I was unable to stand at all. But after I could, the hr watch helped me know to sit before it was too late.

    It helped me to not overdo as I got better. Everyone has different numbers that mean you better sit.

    With the blood pressure monitor, I kept track when my autonomic system failed and as I improved I still take it. My bp used to be SO HIGH. Now it is normal. Still goes high and a bit low, but usually normal. Healing my nerves has helped that as well as my POTS (Autonomic Neuropathy/Dysautonomia).

    I am so glad you have these tools. They are a big help in not overdoing it and staying safe.:D
  5. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Sally, how did you determine when/at what number your heart rate was getting too high?

    My blood pressure is the opposite of yours, mine is usually pretty low. Glad yours is normal now :D

    I'm glad I got these too and hope to try the at-home tilt table test for real soon now that I have the tools.
  6. Artstu

    Artstu Senior Member

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    I used to max my heart-rate several times a week on a steep hill on my walks (It was 200 bpm aged 40) so I've based my current max on that minus 1 beat per year, that seems about right, I've tried a few maximum runs on the exercise bike and I seem to be in the right ball-park.

    I wouldn't recommend trying a max test though, you need to be well trained to do such a thing, I've been working on my fitness for years with this illness so am relatively fit for short periods, if I didn't have the illness I'd be very fit.
  7. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    But even back then how did you know your max was 200. Sorry if I'm sounding dense. I just have no idea about how this works other than that formula I read about. Thank you!
  8. Artstu

    Artstu Senior Member

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    On the last hill on a two hour walk I walked as fast as I could up the steep hill and would hold my heart-rate at 200 for several minutes, it was flat out and wouldn't beat any faster. My resting rate is/was 50ish.
  9. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    PWME commonly have an AT between 100 and 130, I believe, and that is the number we should not exceed if we want to avoid crashing. You might be able to get a better estimate from some of the papers by the folks at the Pacific Fatigue Lab. The way to find your own AT is to get tested. PFL can do the test, of course. The exercise physiologist that Dr Klimas uses does a very easy test which doesn't require you to work to max. I also got an AT test years ago at Hunter-Hopkins.

    My AT is 125. I'm largely housebound, but not bedbound. If I back-calculated, I can work at 75% of (220-age). I can exceed 60% of (220-age) sitting upright. :eek: Unlike Artstu, it is very easy for me to get up to 125bpm just pottering around the house. I'm somewhere in the 90's just sitting. The test also showed that I can do 3 minutes of mild activity (like unloading the dishwasher) before I reach my AT. My activity goal is to get to the point where Artstu is -- where it takes a lot more effort to raise my heart rate than it does now.

    Ocean, my minimally-informed guess is that your condition is somewhat similar to mine. If you decide not to get the testing done, you could try something like 75% of (220-age) as the number not to exceed. If that crashes you, take it down 5bpm and see how that works, and so on. My personal preference is to get the test done so I know what my limits are, rather than experiment through multiple crashes. The test at Dr Klimas' office was very easy with no crash afterward. The testing to max that I did at Hunter-Hopkins years ago did crash me, however, so you might want to ask for AT testing without max testing, if you do get tested.
    ahimsa likes this.
  10. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    That formula is for "healthy" people--not for us whose anaerobic threshold is usually much lower. I have not had mine tested but have used a heart monitor for a long time and discovered that I really have to keep my heart rate below 100 in order to avoid payback.

    I have a quite low resting heart rate (about 58) so that gives me more room "to play" than it might if I had a higher resting heart rate. Getting tested is of course best, but if that is impractical, just keep a log of how high it goes in different activities and try to match that with whether you get PEME later (often the next day).

    If I go for a walk, for instance, and I see that my heart rate is going over a hundred, I stop, let it go back down, and then continue at a slower pace.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi
    ahimsa likes this.
  11. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    I got test done. I was suppose to keep it under 115, no longer than 5min. My resting HR when I woke up was 92. The testing lady told me it was ok to use the 60% formula (for me that was 109) which I was using before I was tested.
    Brushing Teeth: 112. Shower and getting ready 140.

    When I got in treatment (imunovir+equillibrant), my resting at wake up is 77 goes up during day but not as high as before.
    ahimsa likes this.
  12. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I also have heard that PWME tend to have a much lower threshold than healthy people.

    And given what I know about my own condition, and how seriously ill you seem to be right now, it would not surprise me in the least if even tiny things put you over your "safe zone". I know that some people can get so bad that even just existing quietly will do that.

    I'm another one who tends to feel much better if I keep it under 100. ...But tend to go up to 126 just by standing up. So I don't right now, when I can help it (though I do still walk to the bathroom and back, etc.).

    Sorry about the low blood pressure. I felt much better when mine came up even a little. I can stay sitting for a minute now, if I keep my legs crossed or to the side, and can stand for a tiny bit if I keep my legs in motion (which looks pretty crazy, I'm sure, when I'm trying to rinse after brushing my teeth :D). I found my BP monitor helpful, even just in that it gave me (finally!) a numerical and objective reason for why I felt so particularly crappy sometimes. Hope the monitors are helpful for you too.
    ahimsa likes this.
  13. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Artsu, OK, I see. My resting seems to be about 80 (when I was lying down). Thank you.

    Thanks SOC. I would be nice to have the testing too. It seems for the exercise tests the specialists do including Pacific Labs, I'd have to pay out of pocket and the cost is so high. I suppose if I see a specialist and they insist on the test as part of their standard workup, I'd have to do it and pay for it but if there's a way I can do it elsewhere and have it covered I'd much rather that. Is the test anything like an exercise stress test that you could have done through a cardiology department, say at a local hospital? Here's a link http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003878.htm
    I can get that test covered (I think.)

    Sushi, Yeah I'm curious to see how I'll do when I go for a walk. But my resting is much higher than yours so I definitely have to exceed 100. I get 115 or so just standing up from a sitting position. I'll wear it during different activities and keep track. Thanks for the idea.

    Inester, yours seems similar to mine. I imagine you'd have to raise your rate about 100 just to do a few things, like you said showering for example.

    Sparrow, how did you get your blood pressure up? What symptoms does the low cause? Do you remember how low yours was? I'm just wondering if I should discuss it with my doctor. They do always mention it's low but never have suggested to do anything about it or that it could be causing symptoms.

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