"SIPE" - lung impairment for older swimmers?

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Don Wright
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Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:06 pm

"SIPE" - lung impairment for older swimmers?

Postby Don Wright » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:37 pm

As fellow members probably know from my occasional moans in posts am beginning to wonder if SIPE ("Stress Induced Pulmonary Edema") might be part of my problem - and also that of my wife. Will talk about her first - because I suspect she might have "a bit of fluid on the lungs" problem - SIPE?!

This article explains about SIPE, with reference to possibly older swimmers : -

http://www.outsideonline.com/1926956/ar ... rt-attacks

At nearly 73 and very fit, she cycles a couple of miles to a gym very early in the mornings (circa 04:30) when temperatures are currently just above freezing, uses the gym equipment - cross-trainer etc, then swims freestyle as hard as she can for about an hour - followed by a "Spin" class at the gym - then does a bit of shopping and cycles back home (every day of the week!). She developed a "grave-yard" cough about 2 months ago, and despite a course of anti-biotics (Erythromycin?) seems no better - she often coughs up yellowy catarrh and keeps trying to clear her throat - somehow she seems to get no better. Apart from this, she seems "fighting fit"! She is more than a bit reluctant to see a Doctor - but if she still has the same problem by my 80th b'day in 2 months time, I'll insist she sees the Doc, even if I have to "frog-march" her to the surgery!

OK, now it's my turn - I went to my Doc last Autumn worried about the swollen flesh above the top of my socks - he poked the swollen area with a finger and said "That's due to Oedema (fluid retention)!" - I see the Americans spell it without the leading letter "O"! Having had heart surgery in 2010 and fluid on the lungs during the early stage of convalescence - then subsequent "breathlessness" when I swim, and requiring frequent "pit-stops" (about 1 min in duration probably) during my swim sessions to recuperate. Am beginning to wonder if I have a SIPE style lung impairment (my hospital discharge papers did have a single medical word at the bottom implying some lung problem (Pneumothorax). Think it implied some air might be trapped in the chest cavity from the heart op, which would impair full lung expansion. (Re the oedema in the lower legs - my pharmacist daughter got me a supply of "soft top" socks, as used by diabetics etc, which stay up without slipping down, so I've got around that problem now - a pity I had to discard all my nice thick winter woolly socks that were too tight around the mid-calf area!)

"Fast forward" to current situation - hitherto have been unable to swim continuous freestyle for more than about 3x20m. I experimented at home - a town house with 2 flights of stairs linked by a 20 ft landing, going up/down some 8 times at a steady pace while breathing through a front snorkel - no problem, the narrow air tube didn't make my breathing difficult. Heartened by that, I determined to swim as far as I could (using the snorkel), and in as relaxed style as possible (using a slow "catch-up" arm action and negligible leg effort). I managed 4x20m, but could feel that my weak old arms were getting too tired to continue without a rest - so stopped my stop-watch and saw that it read 3' 18" (that's a really slow approx 50" for a just 20m length!) - however my breathing was not too laboured. So it looks as if fitness may be my big issue! The trouble is, that my statin medication may be increasing my CK enzyme level - which is associated with muscle wastage. Something that occurs anyway as one gets older! I wont give up, but try to extend my very slow freestyle multiple length count . The daft thing is, if I accept taking a "pit-stop" at the end of each length, then I can sprint a bit, and really hit the end wall, instead of just dribbling into it!

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