Slice of Chaotic Life

The daily life of a celibate middle-aged man.

Archive for July, 2014

Slow and steadily slower

Posted by Itlandm on July 12, 2014

I have experimented with the dosage of the beta blocker I received after I was briefly hospitalized earlier this summer with a fairly severe arrhythmia. I was asked to start with 1 tablet of 25 mg metoprolol (depot) per day, which is well below the usual therapeutic dosage of 4 up to 8 tablets. Then again almost everything in my life is a counter-indicator for betablockers, except only for the occasional arrhythmia (imagine the skip-a-beat part of drinking ungodly amounts of coffee, then multiply the chaos with 20)  and also occasional tachycardia (racing heart). Blood pressure is nice, blood vessels are wide open and relaxed, and resting heart rate is … slow. Slooooow.

I started reacting three years ago when I found resting heart rate was below 60, which is considered abnormal if you are not exercising. Not necessarily dangerous, but definitely weird. And I have not been exercising since I was in grade school, and finally got into my thick head that I was born with exercise asthma and running or jumping caused me to gasp for breath for a long time.  Unsurprisingly, most of the asthmatics I know tend to be on the chubby side (and up) and are prone to high blood pressure and high heart rates. After all, even people who don’t exercise will have spent their younger years horsing around, but people like me could never do that.  So if my heart rate had been above 80, I would have reluctantly accepted it. This was just weird.

Over the next year, it continued to slide to 55, where it stayed for a good while. Then further down to 50. Which was creepy, but I survived. Now?  Just over 40. I am not sure if my body is ridiculously slow in flushing metoprolol out of my system (I reduced the dose to half and then waited 24 hours, no difference) or whether this is my new permanent resting heart rate after the arrhythmia episode. In fact, I am not even sure if it came after that episode or before it (and maybe even caused it).  What I know is that it is patently absurd that I should have the resting pulse of a national level athlete when all I do is walk. (Admittedly I do walk typically 2-3 hours a day during work days, a little less on weekends, but it is still walking.)

So if I keep living, will my pulse be 35? 30? 25? I am pretty sure there are limits to how slowly a heart can beat and still do its job. But for now, it works fine when I don’t get one of my rare attacks. Weeks go by and I am not weak or dizzy or easily tired. It seems perfectly natural. But it is not. I am not 100% sure something is wrong, but I am 100% sure something is weird.

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