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008 Prescription Drugs: Veteran Cyclists Nightmare

Prescription Drugs: Veteran Cyclists Nightmare

Ageing goes hand in hand with systemic diseases such as, diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, gout, arthritis, backache, cancer, neck disorders etc. The veteran cyclist is not immune from this scenario. In fact, there is little convincing, concrete evidence that exercise, for instance cycling, really can prevent systemic disorders. Yes, exercise makes you feel better and may improve the quality of your lifestyle. No, it does not influence genetic disorders. If your parents suffered from say premature heart disease, then there is a big chance that you also will fall prey to this systemic disorder. The old saying is, if you have to blame someone, then blame your parents or children!
Veteran cyclists also get sick. Your doctor may detect problems during a routine check up. Nine out of ten times some form of tablet is prescribed. Most tablets impact negatively on cycling. Here are a few examples for your information. Feel welcome to download the list. You will be given a pill, and then the side effects strike. Don't forget, a cyclist writes this, for cyclists and not by a sedentary doctor who ever exercises. You get the class of medication, then the side effects relevant to veteran cyclists and how these agents affect you. The list is compiled in a nonrandom fashion.

Diuretics. used to treat hypertension, gout, muscle ache, fatigue, low sodium and potassium,
Nsaids. Also known as anti-inflammotories used to treat aches and pains and overuse sports injuries, gastritis, heartburn, upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, bleeding ulcers, colon bleeding, abdominal pain in the epigastric region. The new cox-2 inhibitors seem to have a safer side-effect profile but are not as effective as ibuprofen. More pills are needed to still the discomfort in the joints, muscles and soft connective tissue around joints.
Statins. Also known as serum lipid-reducing agents. Used to treat elevated cholesterol. Highly effective in achieving this goal in most patients. Highly effective if combined with dieting and reduction of fatty foods. Muscle pain, cramps, general feeling of unwellness in the beginning, insomnia and constipation. Rabdomyolysis occurs rarely, but is deadly. If your muscles become sore, proceed slowly & persevere. Phone your doctor and get advice about this setback .the cramps will go away with time and if a 5-day schedule is considered. Side effects are common to all the statins on the market. The side-effect profile is about the same.

 Persevere if you can.

Blood presure pills. Many doctors usually combine ace-inhibitors, beta-blockers and diuretics to give maximum effect. Dizziness, low blood pressure or hypo tension, backache, sore throat, weakness, asthenia, swollen legs, heartburn, insomnia, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, headache and troublesome cough, especially in males.
Antibiotics. Used to treat infections. Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, thrush especially in females, sore tongue, rash, photosensitivity.

Aspirin. Widely prescribed to reduce risk of heart attacks and stroke in susceptible persons with risk factors, heartburn, constipation, rash, and allergy.

Arthritis pills. Constipation, rash, heartburn, stomach ulcers.
Iron preparations. Used to treat anemia. Upset stomach and severe constipation.

Cortisone. Thin skin, muscle weakness, osteopaenia, steroid induced-diabetes, vertebral fractures and mood changes.

Anti-acids. Used to treat acid related indigestion such as heartburn and dyspepsia.constipation.

Proton pump inhibitors. Used to treat heartburn and peptic ulcers. Constipation and insomnia.

Anti-gout preparations. Upset stomach, gastric disorders and diarrhea.

Anti-angina medications. Nifedipine. Flushing, extreme weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness and joint pain.

Cyclists worst enemies.

Abuse of nsaids
Performance enhancing agents such as epo and anabolic steroids
Certain ace-inhibitors to treat hypertension

Problem of pills: how they impact on cycling

Make you feel ill
Cause cramping before, during and after cycling
Enhanced fatigue, tiredness and weakness
Backache and joint pain
Electrolyte disorders
Muscle weakness
Weight gain (some pills)
Sore throat and pharyngitis, precipitate heartburn
Pain between the shoulders
Reduced performance, lethargy
Impotency, limp penis
Gastric disorders and constipation
Dry cough
Pain and paraesthesia in the legs
Swollen legs and ankles
Cause arthralgia

Tips for the serious cyclist.

Uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol lead to premature death. Medications are needed to enhance quality of life and to reduce life-threatening complications of systemic diseases. You can live longer. All pills have side effects .you have to work through them by trial and error. Eventually you will have to live with them. It is not easy. Change to another type of pill if the side-effect profile is too severe. All the above medications are going to impact on your cycling if you are serious about your sport. However, you will have to make sacrifices. Your aspirations must be rational. Try to live with your medications. Millions of persons in the United States have to take one or other medication for blood pressure or heart disorder. Try and enjoy your cycling and balance your medications. Don't give up, and remain motivated. Keep cycling as long as possible as it could be the most valuable investment you made. It is more valuable than an insurance policy! Last tip: never stop your pills abruptly.

References: Resources for additional reading in South Africa
S.A medicines formulary. 5th edition 2000.
Mimms December 2000.
Recommended websites: Search for your pills

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