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 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stroke!
Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stroke! Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:03 pm 

What a weekend I had. On Sunday, after an awesome Saturday 1 1/2 hour trail run, my left hand felt kind of numb. Then, a few hours later, I felt completely discombobulated and had my wife take me to the E.R. (something I've never done before, so you know it had to be bad).

My blood pressure was 196 / 103, UNHEARD of for someone my age (34) who exercises far above the norm, doesn't smoke, and generally eats well (most doctors generally agree a BP of 130 / 80 is the highest acceptable). After 2 nights in hospital and a miriad of tests, the neurologist hypothesized that I might have an a minor, minor, minor stroke, so small that the MRI didn't detect it, but *still*, WTF?!

Well, I have high blood pressure and didn't know it, so it might have triggered the stroke if I did indeed have one. Of course, I didn't know that I had high BP because - like a dummy - I figured that, "I'm an athlete; I'm in impeccable shape!". I suppose this is a warning to every runner out there: Just because you take incredibly good care of yourself, heredity might have you, well, by the balls, so to speak. High blood pressure runs in my family, and even though I am regularly 100 + miles/ months, those nasty genes run the real show. So don't skip a yearly doctor's visit, blah blah blah, end of lecture, but man, it knocked me out of nowhere and shook up my world a little bit.

Luckily, my doctor told me that as long as I run the next few week a little slower and monitor myself, exercise (and an incredibly restrictive diet) is the best thing for me.


Bricks
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Chicago
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:07 pm 

yikes!

glad to hear you're okay, but definitely take it easy. do you wear a heart rate monitor?

not to rub salt in the wounds, but i can account for the opposite perspective on the genetics factor. i used to be fat and sedentary and drink, ate garbage, etc, etc and had pretty good BP, Cholesteral and the like anyway. my doctor told me i was lucky i did have good genes. lately, now that i'm in the best shape of my life, my numbers have been off the charts, but i am overdue for a physical...


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:12 pm 

I do wear a heart rate monitor and am keeping it around 135-140 bpm (I usually train around 150-155 on my regular run days) and don't plan on running for more than 3 miles at a time until I see my doc on Friday and ask him his opinion regarding mileage, etc.

Wow, great genes! I'm envious of you, but hey, we live with the hand we're dealt, methinks, and try to make the best of it.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:38 pm 

Aigh, scary stuff! I hope you're okay. Have you had your blood pressure checked again since Sunday? Is it still scary high?

I really hope if turns out to be just a one-time flukey thing. I had a similar scare a year or so back-- I peed blood after a totally unremarkable training run. All kind of crazy tests later, they didn't find anything wrong with me, and it hasn't happened since. Hopefully your scare will quickly fade into memory too.

Your reminder to check blood pressure is well-taken. I can't remember the last time mine was checked. They measure it and mention the numbers, but I have no concept of what numbers are normal or abnormal, and the numbers are quickly forgotten. I guess I should go visit the doctor to get it checked (and my cholesterol while I'm at it).

I really hope you're feeling better quickly, and that this turns out to be nothing serious. Stay well!


Bricks
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Chicago
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:32 am 

man, until this conversation, i was always happy i never had to deal with black toe nails, much less strokes and peeing blood....

another thing to think about.... imagine how much scarier this scare it could have been if you weren't a runner! the numbers would have just been that much worse if you didn't have a healthy lifestyle...


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:40 am 

This whole thread motivated me to visit a pharmacy this morning and use one of those self-service blood pressure test machines. It was 137/87, which it said was "high normal", or basically the yellow zone. 140/90 is where mild high blood pressure begins, according to their chart.

So how to make it go down? The machine had a sign on the front saying "Did you know that exercise and a healthy diet can help lower your blood pressure?" Hello?!?! I get lots of exercise from near-daily runs, and at 5'11" and 142 pounds, I'm borderline underweight. I'm also a vegetarian and generally eat pretty healthy stuff. So I'm not sure what more I could do.


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:23 am 

Wow, Rickshaw - I know: That frustration of "What the hell else do I need to do? I run 200 miles/month!!" kicks you in the guts pretty hard.

I can suggest cutting back on salt as a first step. I know, as an athlete this sounds ridiculous, but I believe that is a smaller part of my problem. I consume SO MUCH sodium that I truly think it boosted my BP into the stratosphere. That plus the fact that high blood pressure runs in my family, so there's really nothing I can do about it except eat right and keep up the exercise.

Check online, Rickshaw, for high blood pressure diet do's and don'ts. It sounds as though yours is controllable through deleting some stuff that might not be so good for you and adding a few things that you might not get enough of without really knowing it. Potassium's a big one, and I know as runners we need to up our intake of that anyways. If you have insurance, you might want to go to your doctor and get a blood test to see what you need more/less of.

My BP's pretty level now: Around 130 over 65 for the past few days, volleying up and down oh-so-slightly.


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:33 am 

Rickshaw -

I know that I always tend to get nervous when my blood pressure is being taken, and that my being nervous results in my blood pressure going up. So I always focus on trying to calm myself when my blood pressure is being taken, and that seems to result in far healthier readings. Maybe you were just nervous this morning?

Also, since it was morning, had you had much coffee in the couple of hours beforehand? Remember a few weeks ago I started a thread talking about how much my blood pressure appeared to have been affected by caffiene. When I avoided coffee before my next blood pressure reading it had dropped from the 118/82 of a month earlier to 100/60.

You do know, however, that your maternal grandfather had high blood pressure, right? Salt-free saltines whenever we'd go to visit them. Yuck!


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:34 am 

That's some scary stuff, Rustyboy. I hope the news is nothing but good for you tomorrow!

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:07 am 

Rustyboy wrote:
My BP's pretty level now: Around 130 over 65 for the past few days, volleying up and down oh-so-slightly.


That's good news. Wow, that's a huge BP drop from what it was on Sunday. Would a mini-stroke create a BP spike like that? It definitely seems strange.

It's possible my BP reading this morning was effected by being nervous. My pulse was 90-something, whereas when I'm healthy, rested, and relaxed it's probably in the 50's or high 40's. I'm not sure how much difference that would make to the BP reading though. I hadn't had any coffee yet at the time of the measurement. I remember that I also checked my BP on this same machine about a year ago, and while I don't recall the exact reading, it was also in the yellow zone where today's reading was.


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:56 pm 

Thanks for the well-wishes everybody - Much appreciated!

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:16 pm 

And don't forget to make sure you stay hydrated. Your blood pressure is affected by your level of hydration. When you're dehydrated your blood is a bit thicker and requires greater pressure to circulate it. So...keep an eye on your pee and make sure it doesn't get any darker than pale yellow...clear is best.

Now...I know this is easier said than done. I, for one, have an issue with staying hydrated. That is, when I try to consume the recommended amount (about 2 liters/day) throughout the day (mostly at work) I find by late afternoon I'm going to the bathroom nearly every 30 minutes. This can sometimes make my 40 minute train commute home a bit challenging.

I'm glad to hear your doing okay Rustyboy.


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:09 pm 

I am definitely hydrating like a mofo. Actually, since last spring, I started really paying attention to my water intake, so keeping an eye on it now is just second nature.

Yeah, I hit the bathroom about 500 times/day, and tonight, it's raining in L.A. and I forgot to go before I left work and wound up sitting in traffic for an hour and a half having to go. Duuumb.

I can't thank everyone enough for their support.


Machforce1


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 9

Re: 34 year old runner here...who might have had a mini stro Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:13 am 

Rickshaw, those blood pressure machines found in the Wal-Marts and Walgreens or wherever are NOT very accurate at all. They have a very high error rate. So don't sweat it too much. :)

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