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Swimming & HOCM


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  • Swimming & HOCM

    Hello everyone, Diana from Oregon checking in. Long time since I posted. Doing well. Living life like the large and lovely lady that I am. Got a 32' long by 16' x 4 and 1\2' deep ' pool last year and been swimming daily. Losing weight and building muscle. Making better choices in the food area. Reducing stress and getting support for my eating disorder.

    I have checked in on you all from time to time, quietly admiring you all. You are all so brave. That is why I am here today. I need your combined wisdom and thoughts. I spent a considerable amount of time searching thru the history on the msg boards on swimming and HCM & HOCM and came to many conclusions.

    I see my doc next week. And will get a new echo. Last yr showed my septum growth had shrunk. Hopefully will be the same this year. He believed the med's with the weight loss were working. I had lost 25lbs then.

    Bottom line today, what do you all think about lap swimming in moderation? I love this form of exercise. It's the one thing I found that I stick with? Thanks for a place to share. And thanks for being here to come back to.

    P.S. I don't know all my numbers but I do know my heart med's Atenelol 50mg twice a day Diovan 80 mg 1once a day and also Triam/HCTZ 37.5/25

    Hope this helps. Needless to say I am doing well so far and am very thankful. And I am working hard to get my weight off to give my heart all the help it needs. My brain is fight it becaise of all the abuse I took as a child but it is getting the help it needs too. We are all working together to free Diana for health. Wow do I sound like a crackpot. Hey I am

  • #2
    Hey Diana,

    I think that swimming is good exercise for you, as long as you don't sprint and swim at a comfortable pace. However, you should make sure to never swim alone and be certain that there is someone there who could intervene in the event that you lost consciousness when swimming. My uncle drowned of what was likely an HCM related syncope when he was swimming alone in the ocean. He didn't know that he had HCM (and we can only guess from his autopsy report) but in any event, make sure you take proper precautions.

    Happy swimming.
    Daughter of Father with HCM
    Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
    Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
    ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
    Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


    • #3
      It is wonderful to hear from you again. I have to say that I am very proud of you!! I am sure making all these changes have not been easy but it sound like it is doing you so much good.

      I would have to say that generally swimming is good at your own pace. I would add that is in not a good idea for anyone with HCM to swim alone and the old wives tale about waiting 20 minutes after you eat to swim likely had its start from drowning from HCM - so wait a good long while after eating before jumping into the water.

      Keep up the hard work - for what its worth I am very very proud of you and your accomplishment!!

      Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
      YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

      Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
      lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
      Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
      Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
      Currently not obstructed
      Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


      • #4
        Hi, lap swimming is great. I swam up until one year before my transplant. The Dr's said it was great exercise and on those days when more short of breath don't over do. I am back swimming now and still follow that rule. Moderation and over exertion are the key words. Good for you on the weight loss and exercise.

        Diagnosed in 1977, Myectomy in 1981 @ Mayo Rochester
        ICD&Pacemaker 1996
        Heart transplant March 19, 2004 @ Mayo Rochester
        Mom of Kaye.


        • #5
          Hi Diana,

          It sure IS nice to hear from you again! You and I have emailed a couple of times in the past, and I've been wondering how you are doing. Thanks so much for posting and letting us know.

          As you know, I've been fighting the weight issue as well, and I think it's great that you have found your niche with swimming. Mine has been with cycling. I'd do more swimming actually, but I keep getting these horrendous visions of what I must look like half-naked in the water. Yikes! Forget Jaws... I'm the real reason why folks don't go into the water anymore. LOL.

          From what I have read, the myth about eating before going into the water is totally false for most folks... EXCEPT for us HCM'ers. Lisa is certainly correct in that regard. Eating puts a big strain on our hearts, and therefore for our little group... that old wive's tale about waiting 20 minutes before swimming actually rings true. We sure are an odd bunch, aren't we???

          I'm so happy to hear that you are doing well. Write me if you get a chance. I'll PM you with my email address. I'd love to catch up with you.

          Take care,

          "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


          • #6
            Dr Lever told me swimming was a good exercise (post myectomy) just be aware of you heart rate. He wants me to keep it under 128bpm. Not easy.
            Cleveland Myectomy Club
            August 31, 2004


            • #7
              Hi, Diana:

              Congratulations on doing so well with your swimming regime. My daughter loves swimming as well.

              Just yesterday we were at the hospital in Toronto to have my daughter's ICD interrogated, and the Dr. we saw gave us a print copy of "Recommendations for the Acceptability of Recreational (Noncompetitive) Sports Activities and Exercise in Patients with GCVDs". The article was published in Circulation June 8, 2004. It rates activities according to their intensity and indicates their suitability for people with HCM and other cardiac disorders.

              According to this report, lap swimming rates in the moderate activity range and scores a 5 on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being unadvisable, and 5 being probably permitted.

              My daughter Olivia has also been swimming since January, and it has been the best thing for her. She is on a swim team for kids with disabilities and their siblings, where everyone is encouraged to do their best within the limitations of their particular disability. Her coach is Vicki Keith, the marathon swimmer, so the coaching they receive is world class! Three of Olivia's team mates competed at the Nationals last month and came home with medals in two events. We have not allowed Olivia to compete, only to work out with the team, but being able to do something that she loves to do when so many other things have been taken away has been a literal God-send. Not only is she happier, but her check-ups since she began swimming have only gotten better and better.

              I know that plans are in the works to start similar programs at a couple of YMCAs in upper New York State (Oswego and ?), and for those of you in that area, you may want to look into it for your kids. You can find more information at penguinscanfly.ca

              Have a great day.



              • #8
                I am pro swimming all the way. It is the one activity I can do and not feel physically overwhelmed and overtaxed. For years my family has had a pool in the back yard. , since I was a child. It is exclusively mine for the past few years and I love it. My family has so many excuses as to why they have no time or the water is not the right temperature etc, etc. My gain all the way around. When it is real hot no one can function. I do , I am in the water. My oldest daughter teases me and says I will be the next Esther Williams. She shouts out are you doing synchronized swimming by yourself in there? My mom says I must be part fish. Can't be ... I love to fish and to eat them.

                Today we are going to my favorite beach in Little Compton, R.I. only 40 minutes away, drive there, you park the car , take your stuff out of the car , take about 30 steps, Get ready, put your stuff down, take another 30 steps and whalllaaa you are in the Atlantic Ocean. Whoopie, I love the water, no sand doons to climb, a true beach designed by God for disabled people.

                Swim ya later

                Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin


                • #9
                  By the way...

                  I just took a look at the publication Abby mentioned: Recommendations for physical activity and recreational sports participation for young patients with genetic cardiovascular disease. and found it to be very interesting and useful information for the HCM'er. I had not seen or heard of these guidelines prior to this. There's even a great chart which singles out HCM specifically and rates various exercise activities.

                  For anyone who would like to review these guidelines, the publication is available online here. Near the bottom of the page there is a link to download the publication in PDF format to save on your computer or print out if you wish.

                  Perhaps these guidelines could be stickied in the Recreation section?

                  Thanks for the tip, Abby!

                  "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


                  • #10
                    Hi Jim.

                    Thanks for posting the link for everyone. I only had the hard copy and was going six different directions this morning, so I had no time to search it out online and figure out how to post it. I plan to make copies to send to the kids' schools when classes start in a couple of weeks. I still haven't had a chance to read it through, but hopefully will be able to before bed tonight.

                    Take care.



                    • #11
                      As I was reading the article last night I kept having a sense of deja vu. A quick check of the News Releases and Media section of our message board found that Lisa had posted a partial reprint of the article when it came out last June. The topic heading is "Update on exercise".

                      Have a great day, everyone.



                      • #12
                        JIm had mentioned something that made me think of the weight issue with HCMers. I was told by none other than my gynocologist that just an extra 10 lbs. puts a substantial strain on the heart. I know that I have to lose at least 20 lbs. (30 is my goal) and have started downsizing my portions and eating right (more fruit and veggies). I am not doing this for appearance reasons, but for my heart. I remember 6 years ago I had lost 32 lbs. (this is when I was doing o.k. with HCM wiht no symptoms), but I felt SO good! I was like a different person...anyway, I had a cardiologist tell me once that swimming and walking were the best cardio exericise you could do.

                        P.S. Why is it that none of my doctors tell me I should lose the weight? My former cardiologist a few years back looked me straight in the eyes and said "Cynthia, you've got to lose the weight"...he was saying this for my own (HCM) good, but neither my current PCP or cardiologists ever say these words. If they did, maybe more people would take this more seriously
                        \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

                        Ralph Waldo Emerson


                        • #13
                          I think swimming is one of the best exercises you can do (followed by cycling and walking). The key with HCM is to not over-exert yourself. So if you start feeling tired or short of breath, just stop until you're ready to continue. You don't need to push yourself. In our case, the motto "no pain, no gain" should be ignored!

                          As for weight, yes it certainly doesn't make life easier for the heart. Maybe some doctors are a bit scared of suggesting that a patient may be overweight?

                          A good test is to check your body mass index (takes a bit of maths though!). The equation is weight (in kg) divided by the square of your height (in metres). So BMI=weight(kg)/(height(m)*height(m)).
                          If your BMI is under 20, you're underweight. If it's over 25, you're overweight. Over 30 and you're seriously overweight.


                          • #14
                            Diana-Thank you for posting your weight loss journey. It has given me hope for my future. I wish you continued sucess. Jim, I have also been following your weight loss struggles with interest. This is a subject that causes me a great deal of distress and anytime anyone has success I celebrate with them.

                            Wishing you Joy and Peace,
                            \"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.\"
                            Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


                            • #15

                              That's awful nice of you to say. Diana has found her niche with the swimming and I couldn't be happier for her. By all accounts, swimming appears to be the single best activity for HCM'ers. I myself have found my preferred weightloss activity in cycling, but it works the same. I think maybe the key is simply to find a safe activity that you really enjoy, and then just bang the h*ll out of it every chance you get. We HCM'ers have to work so much harder and longer to achieve the same results as everyone else, we better enjoy what we're doing.

                              "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."