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Rough Crash - HR Monitor be damned

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by SDSue, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    @Sushi - finally figured out why my monitor is stopping so frequently. I've had readings as low as 25 and as high as 194, which it seems to handle OK. But the sudden jumps and skipped beats, which I can feel, cause it to quit. I've been in a crash lately and it's quitting every time I get up or move suddenly.

    Any ideas? It's a chicken egg thing. Is my heart wacky cause I'm crashed, or am I crashed because my heart is wacky? Your experience please?
     
  2. Ruthie24

    Ruthie24 Senior Member

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    This sounds like what I'm going thru too. It's making me crazy. I think in my case I'm figuring out that maybe it's my BP being so low that it's not picking up my HR? Sometimes when the monitor isn't registering, I'm having a hard time finding my own pulse or it's pretty thready or irregular.

    The monitor seems to be fine if I'm lying still but even sitting up if I change positions it loses it. It was working fine before. I took it back to the place that changed my batteries today and they checked and both were good. Have you bought a new strap recently SDSue? I just did, but again, it was working fine for a couple weeks so don't think that's the problem.

    When you see the readings like 25 and 194, are they correlating with how you're feeling? Sometimes, my pulse is steady and not anywhere near the high numbers the monitor is reading, but I'm having other chest/GI symptoms so wonder if that's changing something somehow?

    Like you said, is it your heart being wacky causing the crash, or vice versa? Or is stuff really as wacky as the monitor is saying and my crash seems to indicate or is it just machine malfunction?
     
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  3. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    @Ruthie24 The extreme numbers are very much related to how I'm feeling.

    The lowest reading happened when I was definitely skipping beats, which usually shuts my monitor down.

    The high readings are when my heart is racing, I'm sweating, nauseous, and must lie down quickly. I try really hard to not let it get to that point, but it does happen quickly at times.

    It's frustrating, but I'm glad to know that my symptoms are correlated to something - makes me feel like I have some control. MIne is a Polar, not sure of model number. I'm overall quite happy with it.

    I'm hopeful that a real ME doctor will finally steer me in the right direction with the right specialists.
     
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  4. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    I agree-- the Borg scale that you mentioned is very useful, particularly if you are unable to undergo the 2-day CPET -- except Workwell recommends to stay *under* an RPE of 13.
     
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  5. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    Do you think it could be the battery needs changing or you might need a new chest strap -- they wear out quickly when you're wearing them all day. Finally, to get the best contact, you could try using gel rather than just water - try Spectra 360, available at Home Healthcare stores.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  6. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    I need to check both. Thanks for the heads up @waiting.
     
  7. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    I would highly recommend you get Staci's 2-day CPET. It's important for all the reasons other members have listed here. In general, it seems to take about a month to get back to your baseline functioning post-test, but the good news is I do not know of anyone who had done the test and then failed to get back to baseline.
     
  8. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    Mine goes nuts in the car -- readings all over the place, high and low. I've been assuming it's electrical interference.
     
  9. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    @SDSue @Ruthie24

    I have found that the batteries only last a few months--both in the chest strap and in the watch. But when my batteries go, at least in the watch, the display grays out and then just goes blank--I don't get erratic readings.

    Also when the electrodes lose contact I just lose the HR reading entirely, it doesn't get erratic. I do find that I need the chest strap to be fairly tight to maintain contact though.

    I don't get really erratic HR readings though unless I am in afib and then it does jump 30 - 50 points from second to second but the monitor seems to stay accurate even with that and when I go back into rhythm, it shows it immediately.

    So I don't really have any ideas what might be going on except that the monitors average every couple of beats and if you skip one or have a short period of tachy, that could give erroneous readings.

    Hope you figure this out.

    Sushi
     
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  10. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Yes, the car will do that!

    Sushi
     
  11. Ruthie24

    Ruthie24 Senior Member

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    I have both an Omron and a couple Polar monitors. My Omron definitely freaks out in the car but my Polar ones have been good about not doing that in the past. Recently however, every time I raise my left arm up to the top of the steering wheel it flips out (usually loses my HR) which makes no sense to me since it's reading from the chest strap, not my wrist so position shouldn't change it.

    The Polar has been really good and is usually really accurate so with new batteries and a new strap, it makes me think that maybe the problem isn't just mechanical failure, but actually is the equipment picking up abnormalities and my brain not wanting to accept it. Maybe I need a monitor for my brain next. LOL :rolleyes:
     
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  12. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    @Ruthie24, @SDSue
    If you are actually having erratic heartbeats rather than equipment malfunction, would it be advisable to ask your GP/cardio to do a 24-hr Holter test? I think that might pick up (possibly) treatable cardiac dysfunction.
     
  13. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    @SOC It's the first thing on my list of questions for my next INIM visit :) Thanks!
     
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  14. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    Well, crap. I've troubleshot to death on this Polar FT4 - to no avail. I get the "Check heart rate transmitter" message despite wetting the strap, changing batteries in both chest strap and monitor, etc. And the fine print states that when I changed the batteries myself, I voided the warrantee.

    Ugghh. Now what? Sending it off to a service center is an insurmountable (and expensive) task at the present.

    What other HR monitors are people using? I won't do another Polar as it stopped working less than 4 months after purchase.
     
  15. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    I hated my Polar, although other people seem to like it. I had trouble with it not reading consistently and running through batteries like mad, which since you're not supposed to replace them yourself is beyond inconvenient.

    I've been happy with my Omron. It seems to take my HR variability in stride, I don't have to use that nasty gel to maintain electrical contact with my skin, and I can change the batteries myself.
     
  16. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    Thanks @SOC . That echoes my experience with the Polar. Live and learn - I'm off to get an Omron. I hope it's better looking than the Polar lol.

    Edit: any particular model?
     
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  17. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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    Thank you @SDSue and @SOC for sharing this info on HR monitors.

    It will save me and others time and money when I'll need to get one.

    So sorry to hear about all the troubles you're going through @SDSue.
     
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  18. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    I think mine is no longer made. The Omron HR-100CN looks like it has the same critical (to me) functions -- continuous monitoring and high/low HR alarm. I do much better with the alarm because then I'm not depending on myself to look at the right time. The tendency to forget to look when I'm busy (and therefore more likely to be overdoing) is a big problem for me. The continuous monitoring and alarm mean I don't have to pay attention to it all the time, but I get a warning when I need to stop.

    Some tips: set the alarm to a level below your actual AT so you have time to stop and put your feet up before you go over your AT. Also, I have found (and I think others have too) that I can't function continuously just below my AT. Normal daily activities need to be well below that, as they are for healthy people. They don't spend their whole day near their anaerobic threshold, so I don't imagine we should either. For me, staying at about 80% of my AT when moving around is about right. That would be in the fitness/fat-burning range for a healthy person. That ought to be more than enough "exercise". ;)
     
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  19. SDSue

    SDSue Southeast

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    Thanks, @NK17 - these things that used to be little inconveniences (back when I was "normal") now feel like mountains to climb.

    Thanks, @SOC - good tips. Since going on Midodrine I've gotten cocky. Needless to say, I've crashed rather hard. Do you know if midodrine/florinef changes the AT?

    … and may I say how much I adore the price of the Omron compared to the Polars? :thumbsup:
     
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  20. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    No, I don't, but I wish I did. I asked Dr R, who told me to ask Connie. I asked Connie and she said to ask Dr R. So I guess they don't know, either. I'm also taking verapamil, which controls my HR, so I think that has to be complicating matters as well. I'm hoping to do another submaximal CPET while I'm on the Florinef and verapamil to see if that changes my AT or other data.

    For the time being I'm judging more by how fast my HR climbs than the HR itself. Since I trained myself what I can safely do routinely, I don't wear my HR monitor all the time. I only wear it when I'm doing non-routine activities because I don't know how my body will react to them. When my HR starts climbing rapidly, I stop. I'm hoping for a better measure now that I feel I can be more active, but that won't happen any sooner than Oct.

    Yes, a nice surprise when you can only pay for what you need and not for a bunch of features you don't. :thumbsup: The ONE thing I liked about the Polar that I don't get in my Omron is the total calories used. In the early days of my "treatment" (pre-AVs, and OI treatment), I discovered that there was a total daily calorie count that I had to stay below in order not to crash. That helped me plan my day. The problem was that I had to wear the darned thing ALL the time to get a legitimate calories used data. That was not particularly appealing, so although it was a helpful feature, I'm not devastated doing without it. ;)
     
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