1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Knitting Equals Pleasure, Despite ME/CFS
Jody Smith loves knitting. Again. She thought her days of knitting and purling were long over but ... she's back ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Yikes! trying to choose a heart rate monitor

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by November Girl, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

    Messages:
    305
    Likes:
    126
    Texas
    First - is this already discussed somewhere else? I've seen bits and pieces in places, but of course can't remember which threads.

    Do I need a chest strap in order to have the alarm function?

    Are some monitors strictly chest straps, without the watch part?

    Is there any real advantage to having downloadable data?

    Anything in particular that a monitor needs to have or shouldn't have?

    I do like the idea of a built in pedometer.


    Any help will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. FogLeg

    FogLeg

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    0
    Essex, UK
    Yes, ones without a chest strap will only know what your heart rate is when you put your fingers on the watch, which isn't so useful if you're planning to use it during daily activity to keep below a certain threshold. Also, if you want the alarm function, make sure you have one with configurable heartrate zones (a few don't) because obviously something set up for healthy people's heart rates won't be much use to us.

    Whilst they do sell chest straps by themselves, as far as I'm aware these are all to go with a watch, or to use with gym equipment which is able to read the heartrate signal.

    Downloadable data sounds kinda fun to easily look for patterns/trends, but I know I can't be bothered to wear the strap enough to justify spending lots to get that function. It's not especially comfortable, and if I don't do it up tight enough it just slips right down to my waist :-/

    I bought a Sigma PC-15 which is a fairly cheap model, but it has the configurable alarms, and I thought it looked a bit less goofy than some of the others :)

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. voner

    voner Senior Member

    Messages:
    237
    Likes:
    151
    November girl:

    first off -- I was as clueless as you, and after purchasing a couple items -- here is my experience.

    About six months ago I purchased a watch model where you have to put your finger on it. It is useless for exercise purposes. if you watch the exercise videos that Dan did, Nancy Klimas and Connie Sol both emphasize that you need a real-time heart monitor -- which I guess means that you need a chest strap/watch model.

    I recently purchased a refurbished Garmin FR60 from Ebay for $60 - which was the monetary limit for me . once you get it figured out -- it works very well for just monitoring your heart. And it has all those other gizmos where you can upload your data etc... Which I have not tried. however, it did take me a half an hour to an hour to figureout how to sync up the heart monitor to the chest strap (the manual said it would do it automatically, however it did not sync up automatically). The users manual (which I had to access online) was poorly written in my opinion.

    after having used mine for a week or so and noticed that I seem to have POTS, -- this made a real-time heart monitor with a strap purchase price well worth it. it kinda amazes me to see my heart rate trained so much when I go from lying down to sitting or more from lying down to standing, and seeing how high my heart rate is one I am standing and just doing pretty mundane activities. It was really enlightening to me, and I work with a physical therapist/exercise physiologist and it was really enlightening to him also. We are still trying to work out the meaning of some of the data -- it will take a couple/few weeks.

    I think I will eventually try to use the downloadable data for analysis and for evidence to show medical practitioners (that tended to dismiss this sort of thing)....

    I am curious if anybody bought a Polar model -- I notice you can purchase them reasonably priced on eBay. or if anybody bought any of the $30 models on Amazon that CORT referenced in his article on Dan's exercise videos....

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/cont...as-Begins-on-ME-CFS-Community-Center-moricoli

    I would love to hear from somebody who is experienced with this subject.

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes:
    1,611
    Florida
    just my 2 cents... The ones with the straps, etc all sound overly complicated especially for pwcs. I'm assuming these doctors are only talking about those who are mobile without significant dysautonomia because some of us don't have windows ...

    I just use a wrist one that you have to tap to test my bp and heart rate on occasion. I just used it to test myself for oi and pots. It worked great ..

    As far as exercise or getting my heart rate up, it happens so quickly upon rising that I'd never get anything done if I stayed within my window. I have oi and pots so my bp drops in 3 minutes and it.s a struggle to think for long after that. I live alone so it's up to me to get my own food, grocery shop, etc.

    Fwiw. I became totally disabled with me/cfs in 1990. At that time, I had a 2 year old to raise by myself so I never stayed within my window and i'm not dead yet ... Lol .. Not that i'd recommend it but ...

    I can exercise while laying down tho and just take a break when I start to feel winded. I experimented with this for a few months and increased my reps and weights but it never helped my oi. I need to start doing this again tho. It can.t hurt to gently strenghthen our muscles, esp our lungs and heart.

    Tc .. X
     
  5. Morgaine

    Morgaine

    Messages:
    37
    Likes:
    12
    I have a Garmin FR60 too, & am very pleased with it. I got this model because of being able to download the data.

    I noticed fairly quickly too that I had POTS, & was able to show a print out of my 'poor man's tilt table test' to my doctor, who was happy to give me a diagnosis on the basis of that.

    Having data over a period of time to compare has been very useful too. I can see patterns & be sure of how long I went over my threshold for, or see that my average heart rate goes up for a couple of days after I've done too much. It also gives me evidence to show my doctor, or for disability claims.

    It was more expensive, but having that data has definitely made it worth it.
     
  6. Sallysblooms

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

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    332
    Southern USA
    I have had about four. Two without straps. I bought this new one that is really nice, small. Most are SO BULKY, I have looked for small ones and finally found one.

    I hoped the strapless ones would work for me but didn't. I need to look down and see what the rate is and not wait to put my fingers on it. The ones with straps are accurate. I have tested both with my blood pressure monitor.

    I don't need to download numbers, I know what all of the numbers are every day.

    I wear it all day with my id bracelet. It helps me with POTS.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes:
    1,611
    Florida
    Just out of curiosity .. Can those who are using the ones with straps not tell when their heart rate is up ? I can't tell if my bp is up or down but I can't miss my heart pounding or racing. If so, what does that mean ? Can you go up stairs without getting winded too ?

    My heart pounds quickly upon rising so that's why I can.t understand monitoring it so closely .. My alarm would never stop .. Lol .

    It.s funny. Sometimes pushing past the heart pounding feeling helps .. And sometimes laying down is required.

    Um, I thought the heart pounding right away was normal for me/cfs. Maybe, it.s only normal if you have oi all the time. I.m still learning about dysautonomia ..

    Tx .. X
     
  8. Sallysblooms

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

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    332
    Southern USA
    I can usually tell when my hr is up, but now that I am improving, I cannot tell the exact number of my heart rate. I can walk and stand more so I need the watch even MORE now. I just watered my african violets and I watched my watch as usual. Keeps me from getting ill from blood pooling as often.
     
  9. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,079
    Likes:
    989
    Oregon, USA
    Yes, I can tell when my heart is going somewhat faster but I can't tell how much faster it is going. I think I have learned to ignore my heart rate so much over the years that I just block it out and keep on going. Also, compared to the other type of tachycardia that I've had since I was 11 years old, a short circuit in my heart that makes my heart switch from 70-80 BPM to 180-190 BPM within the space of a single heart beat, then a heart rate of 120-140 BPM doesn't seem all that fast. (FYI, that other type of tachycardia was never disabling, never stopped me from exercise, work, etc).

    I posted someplace on the forums that it wasn't until I was testing my blood pressure while standing that I noticed that my heart rate can get as high as 150 BPM. And it happens very quickly, just while standing still long enough to take my blood pressure. So, while I knew my heart was going faster while standing, it was a surprise to me that it was going that fast. I did know that moving around was better than standing still (my heart rate is generally slower while walking that while standing still).

    What are these "stairs" that you speak of? ;) Seriously, I avoid stairs and always use the elevator. My house is single level for that very reason (we moved after I got sick -- one of the reasons was that although our old house was also single level there were seven steps at the front door to get into the house).

    I don't think I'm quite as limited as you are, and also have a larger range of heart rate (it goes down into the 70s or even 60s when I'm resting), but I also had trouble wearing one of the heart monitors even around the house (let alone outside). E.g., I set the alarm for 115 BPM, which I thought was on the high end, and wore it around the house for a few hours. I was hoping it would be a way to tell me when to rest. But, as you said, the alarm was going off all the time, pretty much any time I got up to do something (walk to kitchen, go to bathroom, or anything at all).

    I used it a few times, just to get an idea of what types of things caused my heart to go faster, but could not manage to wear it more regularly. That alarm is extremely annoying. I can't imagine trying to wear it outside of the house.

    I haven't had much luck with pushing but I'm glad it works for you sometimes. What helps me most is a few minutes activity (e.g., doing dishes) interspersed with a few minutes rest. So, instead of trying to finish a task completely, I break it into small bits. The other thing that helps me even more is sitting down as much as possible while doing any type of task. (Resting in a recliner with my feet up in between tasks is taken as a given!) I have a chair in every room - a bar stool in the kitchen that I can slide around from sink to counter, a chair in front of the bathroom sink/mirror, a seat in the shower, and so on. I don't know how much this will help folks with POTS but it's very helpful for me (primary problem is NMH).

    I do think the heart rate increase (not sure if that's what you mean by pounding) is usually due to some type of OI. But maybe there are other reasons for it as well.

    I hope this helps... sorry if it is too much of a tangent from the original post!
     
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Messages:
    6,690
    Likes:
    10,125
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    There's a pretty sensible theory that we can't handle it when our heart rates go above a certain threshold (60% of max). Something to do with the way our muscles are dysfunctional and can't get enough energy to keep up with the demands, and triggering a PEM crash as a result.

    I can tell the difference between 80 and 140 bpm, but I need to be able to tell the difference between 100 and 120, since one's relatively safe and the other means I need to slow it down. I haven't gotten more in tune with how fast my heart rate is, but I have a better idea of how fast I can walk, and for how long, before it'll go out of bounds.

    Stairs really suck. Taking a break halfway up them can help, waiting til you catch your breath, etc.
     
  11. Sallysblooms

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

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    332
    Southern USA
    I can tell between 100, 105 and 120 very easily. My hr watch is a very important tool to keep me feeling good. Had no impact on my CFS but does for my POTS.
     
  12. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

    Messages:
    305
    Likes:
    126
    Texas
    Thanks everyone! A kind friend is giving me one with a chest strap, so I'll try that one.
     
  13. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes:
    564
    Scotland
    I bought a HRM with chest strap years ago and never got around to using it. I've now fished it out. The watch part doesn't work, presumably a dead battery. I've got the chest strap on to see if it's comfortable but so far it really isn't, I feel horribly constricted. Bear in mind that I'm the woman who started that thread about wearing ultra-stretchy maternity sleep bras - I really don't like feeling constricted around my ribs. I also have dermographism (very poetic name, it means "skin writing") which means that I get chafing or even welts quite easily from having something rubbing against my skin.

    What are my options? I'm thinking about those wrist blood pressure monitors, especially since my standard blood pressure monitor seems to be too big now that I've lost weight (4'11, went from 141lb to 102lb - deliberately, don't worry) and was always rather awkward to use. I'm eyeing up this wrist blood pressure/heart rate monitor, which is cheap, well-reviewed and one of the smallest I've been able to find. It says it goes down to a wrist of 13.5cm, and mine is 13cm so hopefully I'd manage. What are the pros and cons of wearing these? Are they uncomfortable or heavy? Is it useful to be keeping an eye on blood pressure as well as heart rate? I haven't yet been assessed for OI but my guess is that I have it in some form.

    In terms of activity, I'm pretty much housebound, spend most of the day in bed, and don't have to climb stairs unless I am leaving my flat (which is about once a month at present). My activities are lying in bed to rest, read, use the computer or watch TV on the computer; sitting up to use the computer; spending a certain amount of time quilting, either sitting at my sewing desk or reclining on the sofa; and doing a bit of cooking from time to time (standing). I am careful to pace myself with the sewing, I wear a stopwatch around my neck and pause to stretch my hands, and I think I'd cope pretty well with stopping to check my vitals at intervals. The most exhausting thing I do is washing my hair, but of course you can't use any of these things in the shower, and the time when I need to decide whether I'm up to showering or not is beforehand, not during the shower. Actually, tell you what my most risky activity probably is, and that's talking on the phone. It's reduced now that I don't have a headset any longer (can't hold the phone for long), but I do tend to pace around the flat and generally get mroe lively when I'm chatting to a friend. I'd just have to make a habit of checking the thing. And possibly I should get a new headset for the phone!

    What about fingertip pulse oximeters, are they any good? Is there anything else which is easy and convenient to use?

    What are the advantages of assessing BP as well as HR? I'm going to try measuring both for a bit and see what sort of results I get.
     
  14. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Messages:
    6,690
    Likes:
    10,125
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    A wrist monitor will be less accurate for both BP and Heart Rate. An arm BP cuff will be accurate for BP, and gives a sampling of your heart rate at the same time.

    The wrist BP monitor you're linking at is just a BP monitor. It has to be inflated to give readings, so it's really just replacing an arm cuff, and is not a proper heart rate monitor.

    A proper heart rate monitor with chest strap is mostly useful if you want to monitor heart quick changes, such as how it changes when you stand up or "exercise". You'd probably need one for seeing if you have POTS.

    If you've never ever used your current monitor, the battery might just be blocked, not dead. They're usually packaged with a little plastic strip between the battery and the contacts, so it doesn't run down prior to being sold.
     
  15. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes:
    564
    Scotland
    I find the upper arm cuff awkward to use, both in terms of removing clothing and general faff to get it set up. My current BP monitor is probably too big for me now that I've lost weight, and it's difficult to get it on the right part of the arm. It's not something I could use comfortably throughout the day. A wrist one looks far more convenient in that respect.

    As for wearing a band across my chest, I've been trying that old one for a while today and had to give up because it was uncomfortable. I *really* don't like constriction in that area.

    I think I did try out that HRM ages ago, and it was working then. It was second-hand, so my guess is simply that the battery died.
     
  16. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes:
    564
    Scotland
    I'm deliberately wearing sleeveless tops and checking my BP/HR with the BPM as often as I can. My heart rate doesn't seem to be a major sign for me, at least not on its own, whereas my BP does seem to be more variable. I tried the test where you stand up for as long as you can and keep testing your BP/HR, and nothing that dramatic happened. It was a good day, I was partly supported by resting my leg against the side of the bed, and I won't have been that still as I was swaying a bit and kept on moving my arms slightly to jot down the result on the computer. However, today I am feeling cruddier, and have just found that my BP shot up and my HR shot down in a reading take just now. For reference, I've been sitting up at the laptop for a while, I'm a bit cold, I'm feeling a bit nauseous and lightheaded, the underband of my stretchy bra is feeling constrictive, and I had breakfast 2.5 hours ago but haven't had lunch yet. Add this to the overexertion yesterday (walking to a restaurant for a nice Valentine's lunch), and eating food that was probably too high in fat and spices for me over the last couple of days, and I'm guessing that it's overexertion and/or digestive upset. It was 113/63, 73bpm earlier this morning, which incidentally is reasonably high for me, I tend more towards 90/55 when I'm not taking my electrolyte drink. Just now it was 167/103, 51bpm. Any helpful interpretations of this? ETA: And then it went zooming back down to 105/68, 75bpm after lunch - although that was the second reading; the first time I got "Error" which I've been told comes up when your pulse pressure is too low to find.

    In terms of BPMs, the upper arm one remains inconvenient. I've realised that I wouldn't want to wear a wrist one constantly, between the weight and the possibility of chafing, but it would at least be much easier to slip on and off. The British Blood Pressure Association are very firm that you should only ever use the ones on their list, as none of the others have been clinically validated and may not be accurate. Considering that if I'm looking for a wrist monitor in a small size within a certain budget, I'm pretty limited, do you think that they're right?
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page