ok i have seen some posts and some answers concerning pvc i think its called and i am in the same boat i get a bit of a hard thud the slowly my heart starts beating normally, scares the crap outta me, ive have ekg's, holter, stress echo, all which have come back normal but i cant shake the feeling that something is being missed when they say all is normal, mom and dad both have/had heart disease mom passed at 41 of massive heart attack, am i a worry wart and just having axiety or are thee thuds something to worry about
Thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s passing and your dad’s heart disease. I can understand why you are concerned about your symptoms and also your own risk of having similar problems to your parents.
Starting with the good news, you have been thoroughly assessed and so far all of your tests have come back normal. The EKG provides a ‘snapshot’ of your hearts electrical activity whereas the Holter provides recordings over 24-48 hours. The stress echo will have ruled out any problems with the strength of your heart and valve function. I’m happy to hear that these were all normal as it puts you at a low risk of having any major heart problems in the near future.
Genetics are certainly important and the DNA we inherit from our parents does influence our own risk of having similar problems in the future. However it’s also important to consider other risk factors for heart disease including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and kidney disease. Differences in how you’re living your life compared to your parents are important for determining your risk of heart problems.
So what are these PVC’s? A skipped heart beat can be caused by electrical signals being fired outside of the hearts normal control centers. These are called PVC’s or ‘premature ventricular complexes/contractions. Instead of electrical signals flowing smoothly down the major control center ‘highway’ there is an extra signal from another area of the heart that causes the heart to beat out of time. These are very common and if they are not associated with other medical problems or changes in the strength or size of the heart, they’re usually nothing to worry about. PVC’s can be pesky and can lead to symptoms including shortness of breath, a feeling of butterflies, or even a sensation of being kicked or a thud from inside the chest (as you describe).
It sounds like you have had appropriate investigations and this should reduce some of your anxiety. If you ever wanted to see someone who specializes in the electricity of the heart, the person to seek out is an ‘electrophysiologist’ but I don’t think that is indicated right now.
Given your concern about your mom's heart attack, the best thing you can do to reduce your future risk of heart attack is to reduce any of the risk factors I mentioned earlier, including smoking, managing your weight, and checking that your blood pressure and blood sugar are controlled. Daily exercise lasting 30-60 minutes is also important along with a diet rich in fish, fruit, and vegetables and low in saturated fats, salt, and take-out.
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