Out of breath and fainting spells - out of shape or something else? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Question Out of breath and fainting spells - out of shape or something else?

My trainer has been working me really hard lately and I actually fainted after a lesson a couple of months ago. Since then she's been working me even harder and I nearly passed out again yesterday. We started out just walking and trotting and slowly increasing the length of time that I would trot without a break. Fast forward 6 months and now Iím trotting and cantering for nearly 25 minutes out of a 30 minute lesson.

I feel like I canít get enough air in my lungs and then I get stitches. Plus I noticed that since itís gotten colder, my lungs hurt more. When the lesson is finally over I walk around on a loose rein for about 5 to 10 minutes. Thatís when I noticed that I suddenly feel sick, light headed, and I canít seem to slow down my breath. Then I start to see spots.

My instructor always tells me that I shouldnít be out of breath. She has caught me holding my breath a few times, which I didnít realize I was doing. So I wonder if that has something to do with it? This is so frustrating and embarrassing. What makes it worse is that she is 63 and Iím 37! The woman can run circles around me and I just get dizzy watching her!

I recently had a complete physical for insurance purposes and got a score of 100 out of 100 so I consider myself pretty healthy. I sit at a desk all day but do work out in the evenings. My blood-pressure is on the low side of normal 98/55. Iíve had trouble with fainting spells when I lived in Colorado at 10,000 feet. I had a stress test back then and the cardiologist said that my heart does occasionally skip a beat but itís nothing to worry about (idiopathic tachycardia). My primary doctor said it was just altitude sickness and nothing to worry about. I live at a lower elevation now so that shouldnít be a problem.

Am I just out of shape? Or could it be something else? Iíve been working out harder and harder at home on my elliptical trainer. I also do different workout videos to keep it interesting. Sometimes I donít feel like doing a heavy workout so Iíll just go for a 45 minute brisk walk instead.

Any ideas?
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post #2 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 03:18 PM
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I have similar issues but I have what doctors have called exercise-induced asthma. Would something like this be possible?
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post #3 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 03:25 PM
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What does your daily diet consist of? How many calories are you eating? How long and how hard are you workouts when you workout at home (are you pushing your cardio to the maximum or are they relatively light workouts)? I know you mentioned some of the workouts you do but more information would be great.

I ask about your diet because it sounds to me like your blood glucose levels are low. When your blood glucose levels are low you become very susceptible to passing out. And if you're working out really hard and not getting enough calories everyday to replace the ones you've lost your body will start to eat itself and your blood glucose levels will drop dangerously low.

Oh, and regarding low blood sugar (glucose), did the physical you took test for hypoglycemia?

Or, as Amp said, there is always the potential of asthma. Thanks Amp, I didn't even think of that.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."

Last edited by tempest; 11-18-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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post #4 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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My fasting glucose was 77. Here is what I eat before I ride:

2 multigrain blueberry waffles with 1 tablespoon of almond butter. Once cup of green tea without sugar. Total calories: 270. Total sugar grams: about 12.

On my way to the lesson, I drink about 8 to 16 ounces of water.
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post #5 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 03:54 PM
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I don't know much about diets and how different things affect the body, so that's why my only thought was asthma. Either way, I know how frustrating loss of breath and dizziness can be and I hope you can figure out what's wrong and fix it!
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post #6 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 03:55 PM
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Think of an endurance rider who trots/lopes for hours on a 50 mile race. They aren't fainting. Or out of breath.

Something doesn't sound right. When you were in for your physical, did you mention this issue you were having?

I'd be digging a little deeper to find out what's going on.

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post #7 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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The physical was for insurance purposes so I tried to paint as positive of a picture as possible ;) but according to the bloodwork, measurements and vital signs I'm in excellent shape. I later mentioned the fainting issue to my primary care and she said that some people are just more prone to fainting.
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post #8 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 04:04 PM
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Drink plenty of water, eat a carb packed meal before you go and ride (like a few hrs before) and after. It's a work out, and holding your breath is never a good idea!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #9 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Sample weekly excercise routine:

Monday - 45 minute walk
Tuesday - 75 crunches, 40 leg lifts & 50 second plank
Wednesday - 35 minutes on elyptical trainer at setting 9
Thursday - 80 crunches, 40 leg lifts & 55 second plank plus 25 minutes on elyptical trainer at setting 5
Friday - 27 minute kettle bell work-out video
Saturday - 45 minute walk plus 25 minutes on elyptical at setting 5
Sunday - riding lesson
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post #10 of 35 Old 11-18-2013, 04:12 PM
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I'm another one with exercise-induced asthma. It does sound like a possibility but it would also affect your workouts. It also sounds like you could just be holding your breath.

Do you do any hard cardio? It looks like you have a good workout program going but I don't see anything that really gets your heart rate up and keeps it up.

EIA and just being out of shape can be difficult to tell apart. Coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose are also some symptoms of EIA.
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