10/1 Heart Mystery

I swam yesterday morning as I usually do, and the training is going up a notch to prepare for a meet in Long Beach in December 5th weekend. I’m not a particularly fast swimmer , but I’m entering the meet to see how far I’ve come along and use it as a baseline to keep improving and training. The exercise is a crucial component to my health and recovery, so making the workout have a purpose only helps to keep the motivation up.

I was in the middle of the workout and noticed I just didn’t have the power I have had lately. I was winded on most of the lengths and laps and my breathing was a lot of effort, so I decided to check my pulse. Darn it, my heart was out of rhythm again! I decided to slow down and breathe easy instead of risking blacking out or something worse in the pool. I much prefer the lifeguards hanging around doing nothing than having to jump in to save someone…..especially me.

As I began to cool down I was a little disappointed, but I got to thinking about why I was out of rhythm again. It’s happened a few times since my hernia surgery in July. No structural problems with my heart, no clogs, no cholesterol. I remembered something I had done the night before…..I ate 6 chocolate chip cookies. Not the smartest thing in the world for anyone to do, but for me, it’s become downright nuts.

There are times when I wish I had a better understanding of the science in the body so I could explain this better. But I don’t so I muddle through it as best I can. My heart went back to regular a couple of hours after I got out of the pool and was fine the rest of the day. Then, swimming today completely confirmed that my tolerance for refined sugar is next to nothing. Today’s swim was powerful and all out. I swam with the fast folks in the fast lanes, and though I had a heck of a time keeping up, when it was over I hopped out of the pool and felt like my lungs were huge.

So I got to thinking about this. Why would my body so heavily react to refined sugar these days? My guess is that it is similar to alcohol. A college student who drinks every weekend is able to knock back a few beers without so much as a buzz. A person who has consumed no alcohol for 2 or 3 years would feel the effects of a single drink. A person whose body is full of sugar and caffeine needs an energy drink or several cups of coffee to keep going whereas a person who drinks no coffee generally has more energy throughout the day without coffee and in fact often reacts adversely to it.

Further, an alcoholic runs the risk of damaging the liver. So I guess my theory is I have a body that is telling me through the MS to stop consuming sugar. Now that I’ve drastically reduced it and the effects of the MS are slowing waning, my body has found a way to really let me know when I fall off the wagon……it messes with my heart.

Irregular heartbeats, especially A-fib, are generally caused by chemical imbalances in the body. Mine apparently sees the injection of refined sugar as a huge chemical imbalance and throws it out of sync.

Though I’m not a scientist, now I have to work to prove or disprove my hypothesis.