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Heart condition on the Camino

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Ed Aster

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
 
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2012
Please consult your cardiologist, not this bunch of Camino enthusiasts. I have Angina, a partial occlusion of the anterior artery and consequent hypertension. I walk a minimum 5 miles a day and 10 miles plus once or twice a week.
All the “experts” around here will tell you you’ll be fine. My cardiologist tells me to make sure I’ve got “repatriation of remains” insurance. She also tells me that exercise is good for my condition…

I’m not offering medical advice but A Fib is usually treated with a pacemaker not a rucksack
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Certainly don’t attempt anything on a Camino that you are not already doing at home, especially exercise over-exertion. The physiological, psychological, and emotional stresses of travel can wear on a perfectly healthy body, let alone one with a possibly unstable heart condition. There are parts of the Camino where getting you prompt medical assistance just won’t be possible Due to communication gaps and local resources.

Even if 100 pilgrims say to go for it and it worked for them and their condition, definitely follow the device of your personal cardiologists. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, just that you should be extremely careful of heading down this pass especially with A-fib.
 

Victor Auletta

New Member
Past OR future Camino
October 2017
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
So this couldn’t be more timely. My husband is going to be doing his first CF starting late in September. We visited his doctor after an uptick in his Afib and he told my husband not to be worried and not to let Afib ruin his journey. He said he won’t have a stroke because he takes a blood thinner. He said if his heart rate spikes to, say 130, take more Metroprolol. He actually said he could quadruple it (he only takes 12.5 mg now so not a huge amount). I would speak to your doctor. This is the reason we went to his. He also reminded us that we are in a modern country with a good health system. OH YES!! He also suggested a watch that takes your ECG. He got an Apple Watch and it tells him if his heart is in afib or normal sinus rhythm! He can even send results to his doctor if he wanted. My husband is 65 and he works out regularly. Go see your doctor. I think he will tell you to work up to it and go! Good luck!!
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances, April, 2016
Frances: SJPP to Ponferrada April & October, 2017
Le Puy 2018/19
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
All the advice given so far has been good and helpful. Above all, make sure you have a primary care physician and cardiologist who are paying attention and know what you are hoping to set out to do.
In 2019, a month after walking the LePuy I was diagnosed with AFib. A month after that I had coronary artery bypass surgery. The medical experts referred to the discovery of the blockage as, "an incidental find." In other words, I was beyond lucky/blessed/fortunate as I had no symptoms. I am also on medication for the AFib which, as you may have experienced, the meds can be a source fatigue and shortness of breath. It's always worth asking if there are other medicines that one can try that may not have such severe side effects.

As for me, I have had numerous consultations with my primary care physician and my cardiologist and recently underwent some tests in anticipation of walking the Norte in September. I have the additional good fortune of being married to a cardiac nurse. So I am being fairly scrutinized these days.

From one AFiber to another, do, please (if you haven't already), go through your paces with cardiac consultations and, as needed, tests.
Like Tincatanker, I have made sure my insurance includes "repatriation of remains," so as not to add more of a burden to my family.
By the way, the last bit of advice I received from my cardiologist was to be sure to try the Idiazabal cheese, though he made me promise to have a small piece.
Wishing you all the best.
 
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Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Please consult your cardiologist, not this bunch of Camino enthusiasts. I have Angina, a partial occlusion of the anterior artery and consequent hypertension. I walk a minimum 5 miles a day and 10 miles plus once or twice a week.
All the “experts” around here will tell you you’ll be fine. My cardiologist tells me to make sure I’ve got “repatriation of remains” insurance. She also tells me that exercise is good for my condition…

I’m not offering medical advice but A Fib is usually treated with a pacemaker not a rucksack
That " repatriation of remains" has me in stitches! Beats being left out for the vultures :) :) but then wouldn't that count as "giving back to the Camino"? :)

I was 83 0n 20 July. On 27th I was in hospital with stroke. Am slowly training up again and today am heading for Cheddar Gorge which is quite steep but reminds me of the approach from St J. Its a walk to town first, then bus to Cheddar and then walkies up the gorge and along the cliff walk back into Cheddar and perhaps some refreshment before bus back to Weston and home. Not far in miles perhaps but good for heart and mind and soul to start teamwork again as I WILL go a Camino after Easter next year!

Buen Camino

Samarkand.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Nothing beats the advice from your cardiologist, so please don’t follow any advice here about your health even with the best intentions and mostly what you want to hear Only you and your cardiologist can make that decision :) with said in my caminos I have met folks with all sorts of health conditions and walking faster then I could :)

all the best
zzotte
 

Scott Fraser

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018
Le Puy - SJPdP 2019
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
You might consider looking into getting a Kardia mobile EKG device which will let you see if your rhythm is normal or there are signs of Afib. It's used with a mobile phone app that lets you send the EKG to your doctor by email for a their review, or for a fee, you can have Kardia arrange for a cardiologist to advise you based on the EKG you submit. It might take some of the worry out of Camino walking and warn you when it's time to seek medical advice while in Spain.
 

BigT

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2020)
Personally, I have used the Kardia device for about 5 years and pay the $99 per year for unlimited machine reading of EKGs and found that to be quite adequate.
Seeing your cardiologist is a great idea, and that doctor endorsing you taking added dose/s of metoprolol is a good instant treatment plan, and one I used until undergoing a successful ablation 3 months before our Camino.
The single best recommendation I would consider is to carry a day pack and send your larger backpack ahead. Less physical stress and potentially less AFib.
We were all 70-ish and walked stages of 8-12 miles most days, one 15 mile day.
We discussed ahead of time what to do in case of a health issue or a death so that we would all have a full understanding, and we each had a list of the others' medications and a short medical history on paper and in email, with only initials.
And we all had medical issues, but took our time and spread out our climbs.
Burn Camino.
 
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ELHS220

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2015, 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
Norte - (2019)
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
I was diagnosed with AFIB (and also SVT) last spring. No shortness of breath though. I am 74. MD put me on FLECAINIDE (100 mg/2x) in May and I haven’t had a single beat issue since. Depending upon your individual circumstance, it may or may not be appropriate for you. You might mention it to your doctor.
 

stinmd

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
This forum is the wrong place to get advice on your personal medical condition. Please consult your doctor.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have done 3 Caminos 2xCF and Camino Portuguese in 2017 18 19, I have developed a heart condition A Fib with palpitations and shortness of breath. I am walking 4-5 times a week 4-5 km a day and feel good doing so. I want back on the Camino but would like to hear from others who have dealt with this. I have no problem getting back into shape I just need to know how others have been successful with this health challenge. I am 73 years old
Please consult your cardiologist, not this bunch of Camino enthusiasts.
I am no physician or even play one on TV but the ONLY person you should be asking is your cardiologist. If you do not like his opinion then get another cardiologist opinion. One thing I learned after being a pharmaceutical representative is how little I know about medicine and how fascinating it is. I was an "expert" on the drug class and morbidity of whatever drug I was representing. I spent hours talking and working with Cardiologists, Endocrinologists, Rheumatologists and Gastroenterologists. One thing that they taught me and what made me, (in my humble opinion) a good rep was that no matter how exact morbidities, symptoms and lifestyles were similar each person is different and so many factors come into play to make a specific course of action to manage a chronic condition like yours. Honestly nothing good can come from talking to a fellow pilgrim about such a serious condition as yours that can be successfully treated by a dedicated, experienced and well trained specialist. Please speak to your doctor.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I was diagnosed with AFIB (and also SVT) last spring. No shortness of breath though. I am 74. MD put me on FLECAINIDE (100 mg/2x) in May and I haven’t had a single beat issue since. Depending upon your individual circumstance, it may or may not be appropriate for you. You might mention it to your doctor.
It is great that this course of treatment and drug regimen works for you. But this is exactly the reason that no one should be recommending a drug that works for them. Flecainide is a very potent drug that must be monitored closely and should only be given to patients with severe arrhythmias. In fact in some cases it can lead to a worsening of symptoms if not given to a really specific patient population. I bet there are at least 35 different drugs that are used for the 4 different classes of this disease state. There are also lots of other drugs that are used on and off label that would supplement this list. Thank goodness that you have a drug that has helped you. Someone with the same diagnosis as you may have a completely different reaction and outcome. This is not a headache or a cold. Please leave this to the medical professionals. The moderators should close this thread.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
I am going to do exactly that. The OP, has I hope received plenty of well meant, supportive or at least kindly (non-medical) advice.

One comfort that can be taken by anyone reading this thread is that there are a remarkable number of us who manage or overcome disease and disability and get to walk Camino. With a little bit of help from the medical professions...
 
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