Performance Boosting with Autonomic Dysreflexia
This page will hold data and evaluation of “boosting” experiments that I’m doing in order to get my heart and blood pressure to respond appropriately while climbing. See ramp wheeling tests to learn more about post exercise hypotension (EH) , and why this limits performance in most quadriplegics. First some background on what “boosting” is and why Doctors are trying to STOP this in sports. Basically put, Boosting is a way to increase Blood Pressure (BP) via a condition known as Autonomic_dysreflexia (AD).
Baseline BP for me in a normal resting state is 100/60 and heart rate between 50 and 60 beats per minute. When a pain stimulus is applied, a very fast response is seen. Believe it or not, in this example I was using electricity on my testicles while doing weights at home. Notice that in general, BP increases and HR decrease as the AD intensifies. If you think about this for a second, it makes sense. The volume of the blood will not change in this short time, so your heart must slow down.. or you’d die. This is playing with fire, take this warning seriously. A normal Baroflex response would show heart rate and blood pressure rise together but in quadriplegia, this EH is the limiting factor. Without higher pressure and heart rate, we simply can’t clear the acid from muscles fast enough.
The take home message here is that AD is not a proper/safe response for exercise, but it sure can help win medals.
Numbers in the 200’s even for a short time can cause strokes, retinal bleeding or even heart attacks. When sleeping deeply, I get an overly full bladder and
will get AD. Some nights I’ve seen my heart rate be as low as 35 for about ten minutes — very bad news, because this means my BP was very high and damage was done (limiting the ability of the arteries to deal with this over time).
So, the goal is to induce AD in a way that only gives a BP boost, but not so much that it lowers the HR. A lower HR will mean less circulation overall, and less energy being delivered to muscles. Worst sill, the blood must carry away waste products — ACID. “Feel the burn” is a common phrase in the gym, and most say this is from the Lactate (H+) building up in the muscle. Now… How to “trick” a quadriplegic body into a normal response to exercise? (Bring up the pressure, constrict the veins, increase circulation and respiration)
So, in the spirit of “shoot first, ask questions later”, we tried to get samples of acid levels on the ramp tests. Most quadriplegics will have a hard time getting acid levels much higher than 2.5 because we just can’t get enough speed and heart rates. We’ll need to take many, many finger pokes of blood over the summer to see just how my acid levels correlate to heart rate and time. See, Lactate Levels on the Ramp Spreadsheet.
This page will soon link into all my workout logs. Currently we are trying to get a better system to log all this data automatically. While a dedicated test subject, I am getting sick of paper and devices that can’t stream directly to my own gmail account. New techniques have proven to work much better than “zapping”. A term I use is, “Further to Fall”, referring to a way to mitigate OH (othostic hypotension) as well as EH. In order to maximize the AD spike (boost) just do what some coaches tell you not to do before a big game.
Please be safe, and remember that I have a small pharmacy and devices to measure with. You should not be messing with boosting if you have not discussed it at length with a specialist — and that Doctor should tell you “No”!
A good example of riding along the edge of what is safe. “don’t know you are in danger until it is too late”.