Heart rate spikes?

Crane Posts: 9
edited November 2012 in Road general
New guy here struggling with blood pressure. Doctors are useless so I'm opting to find help online!

I'm 24 male. 6'1 and ~68kg. Currently riding around 100miles a week on the commute but used to ride ~250miles. I have got no idea what the hell has happened to my health but it's causing havoc on the bike. I cannot ride anywhere without my heart rate going to ~150bpm when I'm riding on the flat at ~20mph!

Has anyone else got any experience with random increased blood pressure and how to solve it? I've tried cutting out certain food types without much luck.

Thanks in advance.


  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Are you sure that it's not your normal HR? If your peak is 200 then I don't really see the issue. Effort = increased HR.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Hi Grill,

    No, it's not. It used to hover between 120-130 at that effort in the past.

    I have noticed a change in my health off the bike too. Slightly anxious, lots of random sweating and quite a lot of acid reflux. Never experienced these things before and cannot quite understand why it is happening :(
  • Keep going back to the doctor and request a blood test, see a different doctor if you have to.
    4 years ago, I had to see 3 different doctors 7 times over a 3 week period before they did anything. Turns out I did have something wrong with me that eventually needed an operation.

    Don't take no for an answer if you know something is wrong with you.
    Only you know your body!
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Sounds to me like anxiety. Any big life changes recently? Something must be different since you stopped riding 250 miles a week. Keep in mind that emotional strain can manifest itself physically.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Gabbo
    Gabbo Posts: 864
    Crane wrote:
    Hi Grill,

    No, it's not. It used to hover between 120-130 at that effort in the past.

    I have noticed a change in my health off the bike too. Slightly anxious, lots of random sweating and quite a lot of acid reflux. Never experienced these things before and cannot quite understand why it is happening :(

    When cycling, do you feel more fatigue than before?

    Your symptoms are very much compatible with someone who suffers from anxiety/depression. But don't take that for granted - get a 2nd opinion as good health is always a priority.
  • Thanks for your responses; Really appreciated.

    It's a little weird talking about this stuff on a cycling forum so I apologise in advance to those that don't want to hear this ****.

    Anxiety has been thrown upon me before by numerous people. I just don't quite understand it though. Sure, I had quite a tough time as a teenager but I feel more relaxed than I have ever been. I know that there is something wrong with me and unfortunately, this has likely turned into a vicious circle.

    Gabbo - Yes, I do feel more fatigue. I did the Alpe D'Huez Etape last year and felt fantastic. There is no way that I could do that again in my current state. In addition to the miles I used to run and play numerous other sports; Climbing/basketball etc. Lactic acid seems to occur quicker. Does this relate to the high bp?

    Grill - Not really to be honest. It started when I was in my first year at University but I'm a confident, independent chap ... I'm not happy with my job but then who is these days? :)

    Thanks Nutter - I've got a few days off soon so I'll check in to see a new doctor. I hope your health is good now.
  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    Lots of things it could be, but it might be worth asking for a blood test. When I had an unusually high pulse rate when exercising it seems to have been down to anaemia, though there are probably lots of more likely things it could be - and to cycle 100 miles/week if you were anaemic would be impressive!

    There can be issues with healthcare professionals getting used to typical levels of un/fitness - so it can be easy for them to assume that you're in the peak of health if you can ride 100 miles/week, even if you're actually feeling pretty rough by your standards.
  • Hi notnot. I cannot stress how difficult it is to cycle the ~16 total miles to work each day. The reason I continue is because I don't want to give up. Sometimes I feel like I am having a heart attack whenever I go up a decent hill. Obviously I do not know what a heart attack feels like but you get my drift. Perhaps I should stop for a while.

    Anyway, isn't anaemia rare in men? Assuming that you are a male....
  • MartinB2444
    MartinB2444 Posts: 266
    edited September 2012
    I think you're talking about heart rate spikes rather than BP spikes aren't you? If you're getting acid reflux and out of puff more easily than normal for you then the most likely cause is anaemia (caused by bleeding from an inflammed gullet secondary to reflux). If breathlessness isn't really a problem, just a fast heart beat an overactive thyroid is a possibility esp in conjunction with feeling of anxiety and sweating. Excessive shortness of breath is due to cardiac causes, respiratory problems or anaemia. A detailed history of the problem should give some pointers. Physical examination may give more clues. A full blood count would be the first line of investigation along with thyroid function tests. If not anaemia or hyperthyroidism then a chest x-ray, lung function checks and possibly an echocardiogram.

    You shouldn't have to battle with your doctor, they aren't normally out to dismiss symptoms. Doctors these days like to know about their patients ideas concerns and expectations so don't feel it is out of place to explain these.

    With anxiety physical symptoms tend to be worse when you are resting esp palpitations and hyperventilation (often giving a feeling of being unable to take a deep enough breath).

  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    Crane wrote:
    Anyway, isn't anaemia rare in men? Assuming that you are a male....

    Less common in men, but not unheard of (I'm a man). I imagine there are plenty of more likely causes - but if you see your GP they'll be able to check for a number of possible causes. Hope you get it sorted :)
  • Thanks a bunch guys.

    Yes Martin, heart rate spikes - Sorry. I've just been so focused on blood pressure recently for some reason. Breathlessness is quite a chronic problem when exercising at the moment.

    Unfortunately, albeit 4/5 years back, I had to battle with my doctor to refer me to a specialist. It took 5 visits to my doctor to finally agree. This had led to my family thinking that I am a hypochondriac! Ha! What should I say to the receptionist on the phone? Will a blurt of "I've been experiencing chronic tiredness and difficulty breathing when exercising. I'd like to see a doctor to discuss some bloods" suffice?

    I think I had some blood tests done a few years back and everything came back negative. This leads me to a question for you Martin as you seem quite knowledgable in this area. If my results are on the 'you are fine' boundary, will the doctor just assume that everything is okay or will they tailor it to the individual? I ask because I went to a nutritionist recently and he took some vitD samples. They were really low and yet the doctor deems them as normal.....

    Thanks, notnot - I'll try and get some more info on here first but I'll let you know if I get a breakthrough.
  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    You can just ask the receptionist for a doctor's appointment - no need to explain your symptoms until you see the doctor. Lab tests should be viewed in the context of the wider clinical picture - for example, if you have persistent symptoms that shout out Condition X but a screening test comes back negative, a doctor may choose to investigate further (screening tests can give a small number of false negatives). Likewise, if you test for lots of things you may get some abnormal readings which aren't anything to worry about (e.g. a fair number of people go through life quite happily with lower blood pressure than usual, and will never know about this until they get it tested). Hopefully, though, it will be easy to find the cause of the problem!

    Vitamin D is perhaps an unusual case - there's genuine debate about what level people should aim for (which may differ from what's 'normal' - especially for people who work inside during the UK winter, it's pretty common for levels to be on the low side) and health services in different countries use different standards as to what is normal.
  • i have a similar problem riding with high h/r and hills it goes through the roof it took doctors six months to send me to a specialist for him to confirm i had reflux but with no heartburn it was blocking my airway and still is they say once blocked it could take six months to get clear again hope this helps.
  • Not sure what the problem is here. I ride about the same amount as the op and my heart rate would be around 150 bpm while doing the sorts of speeds mentioned - in fact it most probably be a bit higher. Surely this is normal, your heart rate will increase when you're putting in that sort of effort. It takes a good deal more training than 100 miles per week to get a super low heart rate - on that point though, 150BPM is only zone 3 for me so I wouldn't even count that as high.
  • Thanks notnot/rusedy.

    Hey lander. That's fine but you have to understand that it is different for everyone. You have to remember that I didn't use to feel like this and nothing has changed in my life/diet etc. If you are feeling fit and healthy riding at that speed with that bpm, that's fine. I am not - I feel like I am going to have a heart attack and I have never been fitter! That's weird, no?

    It's off the bike too. I used to have a resting hr around 45 bpm. That has changed to a staggering 75-80, which is quite a difference.

    I'll book a doctors appointment and let you know the outcome.

    Thanks again for all your help :)
  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    Crane - no need to post if you don't want to, but hope you've got things sorted out now?
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    The hr is one side but i,ve read a lot about this and it seems the higher resting rate would be more of a concern if its gone up that high and as others have said,dont take no for an answer and get back to your gp.
    good luck.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • joe.90
    joe.90 Posts: 171
    Hello mate,

    I thought I'd reply to this topic as i feel I should share my story with you, to perhaps ease your mind. I also suffer from this exact thing, from time to time.

    I'm 5,11. 68 kg and I'd say a fit guy...unfortunately I had suffered from anxiety/depression, and after relentlessly chasing up doctors got confirmed this with a diagnosis.

    I know that perhaps you consciously may not feel extremely stressed etc, but don't write it off as a serious possibility. The mind is an incredible thing and through experience can do weird weird things to your body. It's a vicious circle because the more you notice your raised HR, the more anxious you will get about, and it will raise further.

    Some days I would go out on my bike and feel terrible! No energy, high HR, high exercising and resting HR, beating harder than usual etc, and my mind would be all over the place. I've had EKG's, holter monitors, blood tests blah blah...

    personally what i found helped the most is to ditch any heart rate monitors, go out and ride your ass off! Regardless of how you used to ride, how tired you feel, aim for max HR! Enjoy yourself with no over analysis of your body...Do this a for a week or so.

    As you say it is weird to be discussing this on a cycling forum, but please do not fear too much about this and just try to relax, no more over thinking! Over thinking will kill us all one day :-)

  • jagx400
    jagx400 Posts: 132
    Sounds like some of the symptoms I had. I was tired couldn't be bothered and no way could I have pedalled very far. It turned out I had an under-active thyroid. A blood test some pills and I am back to normal. Hope you get it sorted
  • Crane
    Crane Posts: 9

    Never went to the docs in the end. Figured I'd try and fix my body first before taking that route. I get a lot of (daily) headaches and lower back pain so I'm trying to correct these issues first. Perhaps they are related. Perhaps not.

    I'm still not feeling any better. What I do know is that it is not solely exercise related. My resting HR is around 40 when I am sitting, however, naturally or not, this jumps to 70 something when I am upright. I get a little out of breathe running up the stairs too. It's a weird feeling.

    I think what Joe says makes a lot of sense. I've had this problem for sometime now, which is seemingly creating a vicious circle. I have minor scoliosis and I think this is causing the right of my body to cease up, creating pressure on nerves/blood vessels..... I'm going with this point of view until anyone else suggests otherwise - Yoga and stretching is the next step! I will keep you updated :)
  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    Evening. No-one can make you see the doctor, but for what it's worth I really think it'd be worth your while to go for a check-up. The symptoms you've been having could indicate a problem that does need treatment. It would be a good idea for you to visit the doctor to make sure it's nothing serious - and then you can be confident in cracking on with the healthy lifestyle (exercise/yoga/stretching etc. are all good things).

    Would a threat to list the serious things these symptoms could (but probably don't) indicate motivate you to make an appointment? :)