As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, I had never been athletic, and it was only a few years back when I started biking, running, then eventually triathlon. All these to be fit and hopefully to be healthier and stronger for my children. But are we healthy enough to face such rigorous training?
Let me share with you some not so good to know stories….
Two years ago, when I did my first 21k run at 13.1 Chicago , a young man died a few meters before the finish line. The heat was unexpected actually and was not projected by Accuweather. Race started with a yellow (meaning caution) flag due to the unbelievable morning warmth and was stopped with the red flag signal when I reached only half way. Runners were allowed to finish the course but we were encouraged to board the nearest bus to the finish line. I will never forget that race! The year after, another athlete left us early during the Cobra Ironman 2012. Several months ago, another casualty was a young runner in the PSE Bull Run. Weeks ago, a fellow triathlete, Reymond Cruz bid us good bye during the Tri United 1 race in Subic.
The recent incidences have convinced a number of tri athletes to have their executive check up done, prioritizing an appointment date with their physician before training and venturing into another race. My husband and I set an appointment to have our stress 2d echo test done at St. Luke’s Medical Center. The procedure starts with an ultrasound of ones heart to capture images of it while at rest. The patient is then asked to walk and run eventually on a treadmill until he has reached his maximum heart rate. Immediately then, another ultrasound is taken of the heart to compare the images taken previously and after it has been stressed. Dr. Sue Locnen, a cardiologist friend interpreted the results. Unluckily for me, I had been diagnosed with aortic regurgitation. What is aortic regurgitation? Well if you didn’t click the link for a more detailed explanation, this is the simplest explanation from Mayoclinic.com:
Aortic valve regurgitation — or aortic regurgitation — is a condition that occurs when your heart’s aortic valve doesn’t close tightly. Aortic valve regurgitation allows some of the blood that was just pumped out of your heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) to leak back into it.
The leakage of blood may prevent your heart from efficiently pumping blood out to the rest of your body. As a result, you may feel fatigued and short of breath.
Aortic valve regurgitation can develop suddenly or over decades. Aortic valve regurgitation has a variety of causes, ranging from congenital heart defects to complications of infectious illnesses. Once aortic valve regurgitation becomes severe, surgery is often required to repair or replace the aortic valve.
I never thought I would have a heart issue! Doctor Sue cleared me to continue with triathlon, but to be cautious and wear my heart monitor always. Now, I’ve started being watchful and not to go beyond my maximum heart rate (220 minus the age) in any sport activity. Sadly, all my races from now on will have to be “pasyal” (stroll) pace. As one of the coaches I know mentioned one time that one should “finish pretty”, I guess if I race considering my condition, I should have time to put on make up and “FINISH PRETTIER”! Ooops just kidding, don’t want to raise some eyebrows among the readers hehe! Oh well, as long as I can still do triathlon and finish in perfect health condition each time within the cut off, I’d be the happiest!
Later this year, I will be having another check up to know if my heart is beating and functioning just fine. So readers, invest please on a check up before anything else. Before you spend on another bike upgrade, invest on at least a stress 2D Echo.
Dr. Sue Locnen holds her clinic at the following hospitals:
- St. Lukes Medical Center, Bonifacio Global City – T TH F from 4 to 6 P.M.
- St. Lukes Medical Center, Quezon City – T TH F from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M.
- University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Hospital (UERM) – M W from 3 to 5 P.M.
Have a healthy and happy heart everyone! Cheers!