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What causes fluctuations in pulse rate while exercising in an elderly woman?

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Posted on Sat, 14 May 2016
Question: I have a rather slow resting heart rate, 54 bmp on waking. I am 53 years old, female in good health. I started to use a treadmill 3 months ago and my heart recovery rate is around 55 over 2 minutes. However, I have noticed that, when running, my pulse rate can drop suddenly from, say, 148 to 120 then go back up again during the same speed/incline. Also, when I slow down quickly, my pulse rate goes up slightly before it comes down, although it comes down steadily and quickly after that. I'm concerned because occasionally, in times of stress, I do feel slight palpitations. Is my heart responding to exercise normally or should it not vary as I describe?
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Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (14 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
I would explain as follows:

Detailed Answer:
Hello!

Welcome on HCM!

I carefully passed through your question and would explain that your symptoms don't seem to be related to any cardiac disorder. They are just physiological changes during physical activity.

You should know that during physical activity a big amount of adrenaline is produced and released into the blood through the activation of sympathetic nervous system. At the same time our body begins to metabolize it. The balance, and the amount of adrenaline acting to the heart muscles, determines its rate of beating.

But these fluctuations happen in every normal person.

This happens during emotional stress and anxiety too.

Nevertheless, as you refer to have palpitations time after time, I would recommend performing a routine check up including:

- a resting ECG
- a cardiac ultrasound
- some blood lab tests (complete blood count, thyroid hormone levels, blood electrolytes).

An ambulatory 24-48 hours ECG monitoring would examine better your heart rhythm trends during the day and exclude possible cardiac arrhythmia.

Hope you will find this answer helpful!

Kind regards,

Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Ilir Sharka

Cardiologist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 8371 Questions

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What causes fluctuations in pulse rate while exercising in an elderly woman?

Brief Answer: I would explain as follows: Detailed Answer: Hello! Welcome on HCM! I carefully passed through your question and would explain that your symptoms don't seem to be related to any cardiac disorder. They are just physiological changes during physical activity. You should know that during physical activity a big amount of adrenaline is produced and released into the blood through the activation of sympathetic nervous system. At the same time our body begins to metabolize it. The balance, and the amount of adrenaline acting to the heart muscles, determines its rate of beating. But these fluctuations happen in every normal person. This happens during emotional stress and anxiety too. Nevertheless, as you refer to have palpitations time after time, I would recommend performing a routine check up including: - a resting ECG - a cardiac ultrasound - some blood lab tests (complete blood count, thyroid hormone levels, blood electrolytes). An ambulatory 24-48 hours ECG monitoring would examine better your heart rhythm trends during the day and exclude possible cardiac arrhythmia. Hope you will find this answer helpful! Kind regards, Dr. Iliri