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talkhealth forums • Elevated heart rate days after exertion
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Elevated heart rate days after exertion

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:16 pm
by Valentijn
After turning blue one night, I got a pulse oximeter and have begun monitoring my pulse and oxygen, and trying to use it as a guide for how active I can be.

Basically I noticed that after exertion, my heart rate would be elevated (which is normal), but then it would stay elevated for hours, sometimes days. So after taking a bath, for example, my heart rate would hit 150 or higher. After resting a bit it would get down to 115 or so, but then stay at 115 for hours. And then I'd constantly be at around 95 for a day or two afterward, which is unbelievably exhausting.

Sometimes my heart rate tries to go back down during these episodes, even making it down to 80 or 85, but then my oxygen saturation also drops to the upper 80's, and my heart rate quickly climbs again until my oxygen saturation is back to normal. This elevated heart rate continues even when I have been resting for hours (usually with my feet up due to orthostatic intolerance) or when I'm laying down. It's basically impossible to sleep when it's staying at 95, which just makes me feel even worse.

I can avoid it with extremely careful pacing for baths and such, and I feel a lot better if I use my heart rate to pace. Basically I'm "safe" to do intense things like a bath or walk upstairs if my heart rate is low enough, but if I try to do anything when it's still elevated from doing something earlier in the day, or in the past day or two, it'll go too high and stay too high.

But I still have no idea what's going on, or how to avoid or mitigate these episodes when I can't avoid over-exertion. Any idea what physiological process is causing this prolonged elevation in heart rate and/or drop in oxygen saturation after exertion? Or what I can do to take care of it?

Re: Elevated heart rate days after exertion

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:29 pm
by Jessica Bavinton
I would suggest you discuss this episode, and any oxygen or pulse monitoring with your doctor - these are tools that require professional and individual interpretation.

Re: Elevated heart rate days after exertion

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:34 pm
by Valentijn
I don't have access to an ME doctor. I went to a CBT/GET clinic for about a year (I live elsewhere in Europe, not the UK), and they only treat patients for a year there, then send us back to our GPs for management.

My GP is supportive, but has no idea what is going on either. Lungs were checked out recently and are in great shape, and my heart then also checked out as completely normal.

Is there some other specialist which might be able to help me with my prolonged increase in heart rate and decrease in oxygen saturation following exertion, since it doesn't seem to be something that involves my lungs, and the cardiologist (and you, as a physiotherapist CFS expert) have no idea what's going on?