Friday, January 8, 2016

The Week's Happenings and Thoughts on Atrial Fibrillation

I haven't been up to much this week so there hasn't been a real reason for me to post. But to round up the fun bits of the week:

1: My office has been pooling money for the Illinois Lottery. The lotto pot is up to something ridiculous like $675 million...I'm sure you can tell I really care about this (since I'm so in-the-know), but I've put in some money regardless. Everyone's buying tickets, and it's time to heighten our odds with more tickets as a group! It's fun to have a chance at it, and even more fun to talk about how, if we won, suddenly everyone on our floor would retire on their 2-point-whatever million. I dunno though...I'm not that old, I think I'd get bored being at home all day by myself...and god knows I need the job experience in case I run out of my winnings!

In the last few days though, I've learned that there's a greater chance of a vending machine falling on you and killing you than there is of winning the lottery...but it's fun to dream sometimes! ;)

My greater concern is how the state is gonna pay it! For a while they weren't paying winnings over like $500 because the state is so broke...but apparently $675 mil is okay? I don't actually understand the lottery, so if anyone feels inclined to explain it to me in the comments I'd appreciate it! (I'm too lazy for google, apparently.)

What about you? Would you quit your job and retire if you won a few million in the lottery?

2: I finally decided to start training for The Hustle Up the Hancock. Post coming soon, I promise! It will be in my weekly workout post, but I had some free time this (Friday) afternoon and decided to hop up 20 or so floors of stairs. It took me 4 minutes, and I looked liked this at the end:
That smile is a lie.
Dear sweet Jesus, I hope it gets easier. At least like the first 20-40 floors. It actually reminds me of when I started running and I thought my lungs were bleeding. This is a whole different kind of challenge, people! I'll probably be taking 1 or 2 days out of each week to climb the 20 floors of my office building, and then kicking both the stairs and frequency up to 3-4 times a week in February.

Not daunting at all...

3: I convinced my mom to try yoga! The preface to this is that she has had two A-fib (atrial fibrillation) episodes in the last few years. It's a condition where the "electrial" system of your heart starts sending random signals which make the heart beat erratically: Either too fast, to slow, irregularly, or a combination of them all. Irregular heart beats can be very uncomfortable, but the danger when you're in an A-fib is that blood can pool in the atria (top chambers) of the heart and cause clotting and strokes.

So I started doing some reading, and in the end I strongly recommended yoga to my mom because, simply put, it's good for your cardiovascular system. It can help strengthen the heart as well as the body, but it's low impact as well. Though I've maintained a poor, erratic practice over the last year, I'm aiming to get better and am really excited to join my mom for a few classes each week. There's a studio in my hometown that has a great reputation and is really convenient for my mom (and their pricing is great), so it'll be fun to check out some of their classes.

4: Some thoughts on A-Fib

While I was doing my research about how to help manage A-Fib, I stumbled upon this blog post written by a cardiac electrophysiologist (who is also an athlete) which compares different risk factors for A-Fib. Here are the odd ratios that were observed in the studies he looked at:

The risk of A-Fib is higher for heavy exercisers than it is for those who are sedentary, and only moderately lower than those with sleep apnea. The paragraph following this clip states that the risk for heavy exercisers vs mild-moderate exercisers is FIVE times greater. FIVE TIMES!

This really made me think. A-Fib clearly runs in my family (both my grandpa and mom have it), and I was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat when I was 18 (during my freshman year of college when I was getting too little sleep and drinking too many energy drinks). Given these factors, I'm guessing the odds that I will develop A-Fib are quite high. That said...I really enjoy working out. I like cardio and lifting, and I can only imagine that my quality of life (read: happiness) would decrease without it.

At this point I'm more curious than cautionary though. This study referenced hours of "heavy sport activity" in their study, but does not qualify what this means. Is it strictly related to hours per week, or does the average heart rate during activity factor in as well? Does it pertain more to some activities more than others (such as running versus lifting)? Both will raise your heart rate, but running is generally more sustained than lifting sets. If I go for an easy run five times a week is my risk the same as running "hard" a few times a week, and running easy the rest of the time?

Basically - as you can probably see - this has raised many questions for me. I like exercising and I like challenging myself...but will this have adverse effects later in my life?

It looks like it's time to do more reading ;) And speaking of that...!

One Last Thing

Before I hit "publish" on this bad boy, I wanted to point out that I'm adding something new to my posts. Since I started manically absorbing the Dresden Files and Kinsey Millhone novels, I've wanted to post that I'm reading them and never got around to it. So from now on I'll have a "Currently Reading" section at the very end of every post. When I finish books, I'll also post a blurb with my opinion of whatever it was. I've also added a link to my Goodreads account below in case you're interested in following me there!


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Currently Reading:
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey (audiobook)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

You can find me here on Goodreads!

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