Possible dysautonomia after covid, Dr Dooms are saying to avoid weight training Possible dysautonomia after covid, Dr Dooms are saying to avoid weight training

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Thread: Possible dysautonomia after covid, Dr Dooms are saying to avoid weight training

  1. #1
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    Jan 2022
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    Question Possible dysautonomia after covid, Dr Dooms are saying to avoid weight training

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    Hi,

    I was strength training for some years and reached what was arguably the intermediate level, squatting, pressing, pull/chin-ups 3X a week, with the weekly deadlift and some rows.

    6 weeks ago I got covid (triple-vaxxed didn't seem to make a difference), was sick for two weeks, and since then have had a 'feeling' that I'm out of breath (even though I'm not; it's called dyspnea and it leads one to want to breath sometimes from the chest for relief), quite a bit of anxiety, insomnia and such, and two "long covid specialists" here in NYC have said that I have Dysautonomia from covid that may resolve itself, but I'm not to lift weights. I'm told if I push too hard I will get POTS and could become disabled from this.

    I'd already tried some light reps a few weeks ago, and then some calisthenics a couple of times in the last few weeks. Now I'm reduced to light cardio.

    I'm told if I need to take it very easy, wait 24-36 hours to observe for 'post-exertional malaise'. However, I always have a baseline of the above symptoms. I don't suddenly have symptoms then. I literally always have dyspnea, core anxiety, insomnia (with some night sweats), and a feeling of heart pounding even though resting bpm is 65, and blood pressure is good.

    I'm starting to become skeptical of medicine. Perhaps the long-covid doctors (one a pulmonologist) are a case of "a man with a hammer sees only nails" or "don't ask a cop if the neighborhood is safe."

    It's depressing that 6 weeks of not weight training could be just the start.

    Specific question: did anyone encounter the above scenario, of a "long covid" experience and being faced with decisions around how and when to start strength training again? If so, what did you do?

    If not, does anyone have any thoughts on this? The idea that weight training is bad due to covid's effects is baffling to me - I'm told something about the mitochondria being hosed causes anaerobic metabolism to become somehow broken, and the body to want more oxygen when it shouldn't, leading to hypoxia, among other things, and POTS can manifest.

    W.T.F.

  2. #2
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    I have not had an experience with "Long Covid" but I got covid last year and it put me on my ass for about 2 full weeks. I'm talking night sweats, total loss of appetite, inability to sleep, trouble breathing, and unbelievable lethargy. Both my parents got it as well and had a similar experience. They reported feeling the effects linger for quite a bit longer than I did but there was nothing as severe as you're describing (Aside from some disrupted sleep). I imagine that you should be able to ease back into the program with conservative weight and work back towards the level of strength that you had pre infection. If you're paying attention to your body and none of these other symptoms are manifesting or the ones that you do have aren't getting worse, then it's probably not hurting. Go with your gut, listen to your body, best of luck!

  3. #3
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    I have had issues breathing since having Covid in January. I just worked through it just thinking my lungs were a little beat up. I also went to the walk-in because I couldn’t breathe a couple weeks ago, they sent me to the er and basically they said it was just from Covid probably. Either way I just trained through it. I have no idea if any of my issues are actually from Covid, and was never told to take it easy from a doctor, so I can't really relate to your situation too much.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnsonville View Post
    I have had issues breathing since having Covid in January. I just worked through it just thinking my lungs were a little beat up. I also went to the walk-in because I couldn’t breathe a couple weeks ago, they sent me to the er and basically they said it was just from Covid probably. Either way I just trained through it. I have no idea if any of my issues are actually from Covid, and was never told to take it easy from a doctor, so I can't really relate to your situation too much.
    Yeah, it's now established that Covid can cause Dysautonomia, which is when the autonomic nervous system's signaling gets out of whack. It can affect the heart (and cause blood pressure issues and tachycardia), other organs like the kidneys or pancreas, but also breathing. Here's what I learned about the breathing issue that was applicable to me.

    The Dyspnea, according to what the doctor told me and which seems to be true in my case, is that there is no physical problem per se, as in lung damage from Covid, but instead there is the subjective experience that there isn't enough oxygen being taken in and the desire for another bigger breath ("air hunger"). Sometimes it manifests as frequent chest breaths and sighing. One solution are diaphragmatic breathing exercises that practice avoiding breathing into chest as well as breathing slowly. Breathing into the chest is bad as that leads to hypoxia.

    I was told by Dr. Doom that weight training with this issue can exacerbate the problem of Dysautonomia which can progress to POTS (which is far more debilitating). Dr. Doom suggested I start slow with cardio and work my way up to 40m of it without fallout (fallout = post-exertional malaise 24-36 hours later). He argues that the "air hunger" experienced during weight training is a sign of Dysautonomia because anaerobic exercise doesn't have an oxygen demand, and in fact the mitochondria aren't able to work properly due to some inflammation of the vascular system. Again there's the issue of hypoxia, caused by taking in more oxygen than necessary and further knocking the autonomic signaling out of whack.

    This latter part, I don't know whether it is true, but if it is then the argument is weight training can exacerbate the condition. Hence my original post.

    Was the breathing thing the only issue? I seem to have overcome much of that, although it still happens. Unable to overcome the night sweats, insomnia and other weirdness.

  5. #5
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    This is interesting to me because I probably had covid a few months ago (tested negative multiple times but was pretty damn sick) and my daughter *did* test positive around the same time. I've had a hell of a time getting back into training, between my recovery capacity being total shit and I also had some serious hypotension after squatting 245x5 my third workout back or so--being on the verge of passing out for 20 minutes. Anyway, I don't have any answers, but I have a couple questions, OP. Your doc says "anaerobic exercise doesn't have an oxygen demand." I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, there is a pretty big oxygen demand for a few minutes *after* the set. At least there was for me, when I was healthy. Second, you're going to have to explain the hypoxia thing to me. I understand that increased respiration due to "air hunger" can trigger a blood pressure drop in someone with dysautonomia... but hypoxia means you're not getting enough oxygen, right? That's not what's happening here unless I'm wildly misunderstanding it. Which I may be.

    Good luck. This sucks.

  6. #6
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    Seems like "fried ANS" is the new "fried CNS". OP, what diagnostic tests did your doctor perform?

  7. #7
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    Thank you, Shiva.

    Also, by what mechanism are they claiming Covid can cause dysautonomia and have they ever shown you anything that supports their claim?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00t View Post
    He argues that the "air hunger" experienced during weight training is a sign of Dysautonomia because anaerobic exercise doesn't have an oxygen demand, and in fact the mitochondria aren't able to work properly due to some inflammation of the vascular system.
    I bet your doctor cannot squat 135 for a set 2. You need to ask him what his definition of weightlifting is. To many doctors, weightlifting is what THEY do for “strength training,” and not what we do.

  9. #9
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    You have been told by doctors, ok. But have you tried it yourself? Do the doctors say that you will get POTS from a single set of squats?

  10. #10
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    Jul 2019
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    starting strength coach development program
    I got COVID Monday and fought it all week. Beat my ass on Tuesday and Wednesday and all I wanted yesterday was to sit my ass on the couch and watch TV. By today, I was achy as shit from not moving and decided to train.

    I deloaded everything to approximately 60% and proceeded. The squats and press felt like they might as well have been 4 metric tons.

    The deadlift, though… By the time I got done with the working set, I was invigorated, feeling good, and my heart thumping. It perked me right up and snapped me out of the feelings of malaise.

    The weights still felt heavy and I could tell there’s work to be done, but I’m not feeling like a lethargic, fatigued lump of shit. Thank you deadlifts…

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