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Strange HRV question I was hoping someone could help me with

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
Okay, I have to admit that I am completely confused by some of the heart rate variability data that I've been collecting over the last couple of years and I was hoping that maybe someone else could explain what has been happening to me.

So, as far as my limited understanding goes it is supposed to be that your heart rate variability if trending downwards that is supposed to be a bad sign because it means your body is sick or fatigued but if it is trending upwards it is a sign of fitness.

So, this is where things get really strange. In the last two years as I have been becoming 'healthier' and have been able to move more in my daily life my heart rate variability has essentially free-falling and dropping lower than it ever has been before which according to the definition of how heart-rate variability works is the complete opposite of what is suppose to be going on while I am getting 'healthier'.

Anyway, I was hoping someone had some theories about why this is happening because I am at a complete loss. o_O
 

YippeeKi YOW !!

Senior Member
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16,047
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Second star to the right ...
In the last two years as I have been becoming 'healthier' and have been able to move more in my daily life my heart rate variability has essentially free-falling and dropping lower than it ever has been before which according to the definition of how heart-rate variability works is the complete opposite of what is suppose to be going on while I am getting 'healthier'
Anyway, I was hoping someone had some theories about why this is happening because I am at a complete loss. o_O
This is a completely amateur hypothesis, but is it possible that while you were at your nadir and struggling, your heart had to work harder to keep you more or less on keel, and now that you're getting healthier, it can decompress gradually and slow down its frantic attempts to keep you going?


How do you feel now that you're healthier? If you're feeling better and not suffering any unpleasant side effects from the slower heart rate, my instinct would be to keep a tight eye on it, but not to worry needlessly at this point.

Everyone is different, and we don;t all fit the accepted standards, either during this crappy little screw-worm of an illness, or in our recovery from it.
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
@Abrin

Yea, the HRV trend downward isn't good. But if it's still at a normal, healthy level, that's fine. What are you using to measure?

Do you know the RMSSD and HFnu values? Have you seen this free tool for HRV analysis? https://anslabtools.univ-st-etienne.fr/en/index.html

-----EDIT----

I forgot to say, are you measuring your nocturnal HRV? This is what I'd be interested in. If you feel good, then I bet your HRV when sleeping is in the normal range.
 
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Judee

Psalm 46:1-3
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4,500
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Great Lakes
heart-rate variability works is the complete opposite of what is suppose to be going on while I am getting 'healthier'.

I think you are giving the classic definition of this disease: exercise intolerance. Your monitor is just bearing this out. In this case what would be 'healthier' for most people is not for us.

Not sure if that is what you mean but that's the first thing that came to me as I read your post.
 

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
How do you feel now that you're healthier? If you're feeling better and not suffering any unpleasant side effects from the slower heart rate, my instinct would be to keep a tight eye on it, but not to worry needlessly at this point.

I have no complaints, for sure. It has been really nice in these last couple years not to be crashing all the time since tracking HRV has been helping me actually pace properly. Words can not describe how horrid I was previously when it came to pacing. (*laughs*)
 

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
@Abrin

Yea, the HRV trend downward isn't good. But if it's still at a normal, healthy level, that's fine. What are you using to measure?

Do you know the RMSSD and HFnu values? Have you seen this free tool for HRV analysis? https://anslabtools.univ-st-etienne.fr/en/index.html

-----EDIT----

I forgot to say, are you measuring your nocturnal HRV? This is what I'd be interested in. If you feel good, then I bet your HRV when sleeping is in the normal range.

I am using the Elite HRV app with the CorSense finger monitor. I know a little bit about RMSSD values but I have to admit that my eyes glaze completely over when it comes to understanding it. I tried previously downloading my raw data from the Elite HRV app and it was just all over my head.

I only take a morning HRV reading since the CorSense doesn't work continuously.
 

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
I think you are giving the classic definition of this disease: exercise intolerance. Your monitor is just bearing this out. In this case what would be 'healthier' for most people is not for us.

Not sure if that is what you mean but that's the first thing that came to me as I read your post.

It is more than possible. You'd think that nothing would surprise me with this disease anymore but I got to admit the strangeness of this one really threw me.
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
I am using the Elite HRV app with the CorSense finger monitor. I know a little bit about RMSSD values but I have to admit that my eyes glaze completely over when it comes to understanding it. I tried previously downloading my raw data from the Elite HRV app and it was just all over my head.

I only take a morning HRV reading since the CorSense doesn't work continuously.
Honestly, I think most people here would just be jealous of how well you feel. You should just take the gift and run w/ it.

If you really want more info on it, then you'll have to put forth some effort in getting something to monitor your HRV while you're sleeping. Like, as far as CFS is concerned, the important factor is your HRV while you're asleep, where parasympathetic activity has been shown to be much lower for CFS.
 

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
If you really want more info on it, then you'll have to put forth some effort in getting something to monitor your HRV while you're sleeping. Like, as far as CFS is concerned, the important factor is your HRV while you're asleep, where parasympathetic activity has been shown to be much lower for CFS.

Unfortunately my very limited budget won't allow for me to be able to purchase anything (I am still way to unwell to ever be able to go back work) but I do very much appreciate the information about HRV and sleep. I had no idea!
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
I just posted this elsewhere, but I thought you might want to look into it. If you have low HRV, then it's possible you have Sympathetic dominance, as part of autonomic dysfunction.

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction aka Dysautonomia

1595269432168-png.38330




Here are symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction, specifically Sympathetic Dominance....

1595269520944-png.38331



These are my symptoms, very much showing low parasympathetic, high sympathetic autonomic dysfunction
  • Heart palpitations, especially in bed
  • Unable to relax
  • Waking up to urinate
  • Startles easily
  • Dry Eyes (not often)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased Heart Rate (near Tachycardia)
  • Digestive issues
  • Weakness (not often)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep apnea
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Claminess
  • Anxiety
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Brain fog
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet (but rare)
  • Waking mid of night, unable to go back to sleep

1595269611623-png.38332
 

junkcrap50

Senior Member
Messages
1,333
@Abrin

Yea, the HRV trend downward isn't good. But if it's still at a normal, healthy level, that's fine. What are you using to measure?

Do you know the RMSSD and HFnu values? Have you seen this free tool for HRV analysis? https://anslabtools.univ-st-etienne.fr/en/index.html
So you know how to interpret HHV stats and numbers? I've had a 24-hr Holter Monitor study where they measured my HRV. They said I have sympathetic dominance. I believe it to as I fit the symptoms. I've just now gotten more interested in my HRV and am relooking in to it. Here is my HRV summary table ( was a 26yo male at the time), but there are 2 other pages of graphs regarding HRV. I would appreciate any insights.


HRV Report - Page 1 - Cropped.jpg
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
@junkcrap50

I was dinged once today already for providing "clinical advice". So... below you will find relevant information pertaining to what you describe...

Here's a study from Jan 2020 - Reduced heart rate variability predicts fatigue severity in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis

It's good because it shows measurements that actually appear to correspond w/ level of fatigue.

It says .....

For time domain indices, vagal (parasympathetic) activity is the main contributor to pNN50 and RMSSD

Below is a graph. Your levels are on par w/ other CFS patients that reported significant fatigue. That level, compared to healthy controls that do not typically experience fatigue, shows a lower than avg level of parasympathetic activity.

Which obviously would point to sympathetic dominance. Which one could also say as Autonomic Dysfunction aka Dyautonomia.

1595290593285.png
 

junkcrap50

Senior Member
Messages
1,333

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
I learned a very important lesson today.

I thought that my HRV was going down as I was getting healthier because I was only looking at a snapshot of recent data.

After reading that great paper that @sometexan84 had linked to really drove home the fact that what I was perceiving seemed scientifically impossible. I couldn't be getting healthier if my heart rate was going down.

So after turning around this problem in my head today it occurred to me that I really needed to go back and look at the data from 365 days worth of data instead to look for patterns.

Whoops!

The answer is that while I was getting healthier overall, I am not getting healthier now. :/
 

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sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
Really?!?

I must admit that I am rather shocked to hear that. I am so sorry. :(
Yea. My symptoms overall have improved a bunch. But I still have autonomic dysfunction symptoms pointing to major sympathetic dominance, especially while sleeping.

My sleeping HRV numbers are still on par with that of CFS individuals. Numbers are improving. But slowly.
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
My symptoms seem to correspond well w/ the Vagus nerve infection hypothesis. Where I might have an infection in or around the Vagus nerve. Which would mean I will have strong autonomic dysfunction until that infection is mostly cleared. And I know that my infections are not all mostly cleared at this point.
 

sometexan84

Senior Member
Messages
1,235
I think it's important for me to describe another hypothesis that describes my overall recovery with persisting autonomic dysfunction.

I've been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (note that I'm fairly young and have always been very fit and healthy). So something weird is causing my apnea. EBV is actually commonly seen in OSA, as it dramatically increasing the size of lymphoid tissue, blocking the airways. And OSA increases sympathetic activity.

So another strong hypothesis for my particular condition, is that I won't be completely better until my EBV has diminished enough to clear up my airways. And once that happens, my OSA should be fixed, which would fix my autonomic dysfunction.

I've been on Valtrex to treat EBV for 3 months now. Based on my calculations, it could be another year before EBV titers return to normal. No clue how long it would take from now til then to get reduced throat inflammation.