After my previous posts on Vitamin D, there seem to be more and more articles, both saying that Vitamin D supplementation is necessary, and also that it can be linked to athletic performance. John Post has written about the impact on muscular performance. I also found a helpful, work-in-progress summary of the evidence for the benefits. In short, most people seem to show benefits from Vitamin D supplementation and there doesn’t seem to be any downside, as long as you don’t take too much.
Having been discharged and given the all clear by both the neurologist and cardiologist I went for a final visit to my GP. I think we’re back to what the A&E Dr said to me hours after my accident “Everyone’s allowed to faint once”. There’s nothing wrong with me and no obvious cause of my faint.
I may have been slightly dehydrated, though given the hassle of stopping for a comfort break on a short ride, I’m not really inclined to drink much more. I may have been slightly stressed, and I think that’s under control now. I had thought that paying more attention to my heart rate might be relevant but the first cardiologist I saw said not to worry, and my heart rate has been higher since my accident without ill effects so I think that’s a blind alley.
There may be something in monitoring resting heart rate. I have recently been checking mine with an optical sensor and it seems all over the place: the average is around 45bpm with a variation from 42bpm to 50bpm. The cardiologist told me that the 24hr ECG measured it at 39bpm which is lower than the optical sensor generally measure it. So room for further investigation!
One possible contributory factor to my resting heart rate being variable is that I still find it uncomfortable to sleep on my injured shoulder. The joint is taking far longer to get back to normal than the bone took to heal. It actually seemed to get significantly worse over Christmas so the GP referred me back to physiotherapy. I don’t yet have an appointment but it of course feels much better now I have a referral.
The GP also thought it worth getting an annual blood test which I will do. I also continue to take (non-prescribed) Vitamin D. The number of times I have been asked how much alcohol I consume has also made me try to drink less alcohol and I almost managed a “dry January” (from just after midnight on the first until the evening of the 31st).
Two months after my first visit to the cardiologist, I went back for a follow up visit. In the meantime I had been for an ECHO Cardiogram (Heart Ultrasound) and had also been fitted with a 24 hour ECG. The 24 hour ECG was another lesson in how the NHS doesn’t really consider the patient experience. I wasn’t warned in advance that I would have to come back to the hospital the following day to have it taken off, and when I did go back I was asked to take it off myself as the technician wasn’t around. I also wasn’t warned in advance that I couldn’t shower with it. I cycled back home with the ECG attached and made a point of cycling hard to take it back, into a headwind, as I wanted to make sure I pushed my heart as much as possible while wearing it.
When I returned to see the Cardiologist, I was disappointed to find that I was seeing a different Doctor as I had liked the first one. The nurse took my blood pressure while I was waiting. She told me I had the blood pressure of a teenager (120/70), which is presumably a good thing, perhaps unlike the blood pressure of a teenager’s parents.
The cardiologist basically said that I was absolutely fine. The ECHO Cardiogram showed a normal thickness heart wall. It was slightly thicker than average due to the amount of exercise I do, but well within the expected range. The 24 hour ECG also didn’t show any abnormalities. I asked if it would be worth having a treadmill test, but he thought that this wasn’t worth doing given how fit I was: he said the point of the test was to provoke symptoms but I was clearly pushing my heart without showing any symptoms. He thought the most likely cause of my faint was morning dehydration. He made the point that over an 8 hour sleep one would drink nothing, i.e. a lot less than over an 8 hour period awake, so having a single cup of tea in the morning wouldn’t really compensate.
So that’s it and I’m not really any wiser though at least I know that there is nothing definite wrong with me. Having read about some of the heart and brain problems that can manifest themselves in sport, I’m glad not to have any of them, though I think they usually show up well before the age of 50.