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Heartbeat
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Heartbeat

I have a problem and I am hoping someone may have an answer. I am have been constantly aware of my heartbeat for the last 3 years. Every day all day I feel it beating and if I walk or exert myself I can feel it get faster. It also gets faster after certain meals.I did read digestion makes the heart beat faster but I dont know if that is true. I have had all the tests, thyroid, holter, stress test. Everything came back normal. I am told I have an elongated mitral valve and Trace Mitral reg. with NO evidence of Mitral Valve Prolapse. How Could I have reg. without having MVP? and would this cause these symptoms? Also on the stress test my heart got up to 180 in the first 2 minuts but the Cardiologist said that it was NOT an abnormal beat just that he didnt know why it was 180 after minimal exertion but he didnt seem too concerned so I don't know if I should be worried. Also I cant sleep on my side because I hear my heart beat in my ear when it is against the pillow is this normal?   Anyway I am just wondering if this is normal to feel you heartbeating all day long and if anyone knows how to not let it drive you crazy because it is starting to get on my nerves the more I feel it the more I start to focus on it and check my pulse to see how fast it is going. Thank You
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Jean,

I am sorry to hear about your discomfort. The sensation of being aware of your own heart beat is called   palpitations. I am not sure if this is suggestive of the presence of an abnormal rhythm disturbance or not. However, you report a normal holter monitor test, which suggests that you did not experience any rhythm disturbances during the holter monitor study.

The echocardiogram you had showed trace mitral regurgitation and an elongated mitral valve. This is not worrisome, because  over half of the population has trace mitral regurgitation. MVP is not the only cause of mitral regurgitation, thus many people have mitral regurgitation without MVP. The echocardiogram findings you describe are present in millions of people and your symptoms are unlikely related to them.

The rapid increase in your heart rate after exertion could be a sign of deconditioning. Participating in an exercise program is good way to condition your body. I don't think this early rise in heart rate is particularly worrisome.

Most people are not constantly aware of their heart beating. However if people focused on their heart beating many more would become aware of it. Nothing in the discription  of your medical evaluation sounds worrisome to me. I would recommend focusing more on the reassurance provided by your doctor and what I have provided.  If this doesn't help then discuss your symptoms with your doctor who may be able to provide other methods of distracting you from your pulse.  



Thanks for your question,


CCF-ME-KE
14 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Jean,

I too, for the past 2 years have also been aware of my heartbeat. This was about the time I aquired HypoThyroidism, which is what I believe is the cause for me.

Also there are times when minimal exertion causes a fast heartbeat for me, but not always. Kind of a day by day thing, like some kind of cycle my body is on. I also deal with skips and pauses which can be quite concerning.

I had all the tests, but nothing showed. Guess I'm ok.

If you wish to correspond with me, to help keep your sanity, or if anyone else that has the same problem, I'd love to hear from you guys...my email is ***@****.

Thanks,
Gary
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the info.Gary it's good to know I am not the only one :)  I had my thyroid tested also and it was normal.
I also forgot to mention I dont drink any caffiene,dont smoke and limit my sugar.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same thing, its driving me mad having trouble sleeping because I'm so aware of the beats. Your not on your own....I think that it's linked to anxiety. I've also been checked out all ok, but I'm even afraid to go gym and I used to live there!
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Avatar_n_tn
HI quany,

so how did it start for you? Do you have Hypothyroidism? Do you remember when it first started? I'm curious to hear your story.

Gary

***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I simply want to encourage you not to get stressed out by this.  I've suffered PAC's for many years and now have lone AFib.  It is my experience that the more stressed out you are about this the more you will experience them.  In fact stress is the number one culprit for much of this.  For example if I get stressed I am almost sure to get a bout of Afib or increase in PAC's.  After I went on vacation for a week, I didn't suffer a bout of Afib for over 60 days.  The problem may be your body is in fight-flight mode.

I'm not a doctor, but Time magazine has an interesting edition about the relationship of the mind to the body.  I'm not saying you have any mental disorder, but there may be stressors in your life that you may need to look at.  If there is nothing physically wrong, my suggestion is that you try and look at the behavioral side of things.

I know for me it meant cutting back on my schedule to get more rest and exercise.  I know I feel better when I can get at least 30 minutes of aerobics in each day, and also when I have one day that I can completely rest and do absolutely nothing.

Of course you should look at every possible physical cause, but don't neglect the mental side of things.

Doug

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Avatar_n_tn
I truly feel for you because I know what you are going through. I have read many of your post. I too was once over compulsed by my heart. After many test and being told my heart was fine I accepted it. I still have my moments but I have finally learned to tell my self to stop thinking about it because it only makes it worse. And strange enough I was lying in bed last night going to sleep and I started feeling my pulse in my ear against the pillow and I thought of you. Just try to redirect your thoughts. It takes a while but eventually it does get better. Happy thoughts to you! Danielle

P.s. I even had to stay off of this forum for a while so I would stop reading every one elses posts because when I did in my head I would create the same problem for myself. And now I can stroll through here and I do not do that. As a last resort you may want to think about Paxil ect. for the over compulsive think about your heart. It has helped me tremendouslly but if you can do without please do. More power to you!
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Avatar_m_tn
I too am afflicted with heartbeat awareness. This has been from the very moment I awoke from 3xCBAG, Aortic valve replacemrnt and aortic aneurysm repair surgery almost 3 years ago. Various meds did not help some even made it worse. I was told that I hear every heart beat because of the mechanical valve and the dacron aortic patch. I would also like to hear from anyone with a similar condition. For the first few months almost went crazy but after several tests and reassurances from the docs I have resigned myself to the condition. The less you think about it the better. I still must sleep with earhones and distractive music. If its severe with missbeats or PACs/PVCs then I take a sedative called Tranxene (7.5mg) and it usually puts me to sleep and lessens the heavy and missbeats. This also allows me to sleep on the side which I could not do for almost a year after surgery due to the greater awareness of the heartbeat. Glad to be a member of this group and appreciate any feedback
Chris
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a few "skipped heartbeats" and I know how you all feel about it. It makes me worry too much about my heart health. I learned that the current medications just to treat a few skipped heartbeats are actually more dangerous than the skipped beats alone - more peopel on medications died from heart attacks than those who were not treated for the same condition! That's why many doctors refuse to prescribe unless the symptoms are disabling.

From what I read, my best suggestion is that we get plenty of omega-3 acids which is proven to be very effective at reducing fatal heart attacks due to arrhythmia. It is also believed to prevent arrhythmia significantly according to animal studies. High intake of omega-3 oils (fish oil, flaxseed, salmon, tuna) protected dogs from induced arrhythmia while high intake of soybean oil failed to protect the dogs from fatal heart attacks. Omega-3 oil works by stabilizing heartbeats and surpressing excitible cells that can trigger ventricular fibrillation or other arrhythmia. Clearly, we need to have better ratio of omega-3 and omega-9 in our diet.

We also need to be sure we get plenty of calcium, magnesium and potassium in our diet as they are crucial for our heartbeats. Of course, sodium is part of it but in America, our diet is full of sodium and we need to reduce it. It's all about having balance of minerals and vitamins in our diet.

Please note that a change in diet does not bring immediate relief. I think it takes a month for the body to get benefits from omega-3 and better nutrition.

Hawthorne berries sound very promising but the problem is I haven't find CONTROLLED studies evaulating the effectiveness of berries compared to placebos.

Exercise may help. I read that vigorous exercise can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation by 5 times than those who don't exercise vigoursuly *BUT* the risk of all KINDS of mortality is reduced signficantly. It's better to exercise moderately than to sit and do nothing. Lack of exercise will only increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

-jeff
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Avatar_n_tn
Beginning to realize how widespread is this condition. Would like to share my story. Used to be athlete until having child in my late 30's. Resting heart rate has always been high, around 80, and with low blood pressure. Began feeling this pounding in my chest, in my 40's, when I would lay down, heart rate around 120. Problem increased until it really scared me. Doc said "it's nothing." But I did not believe it. Through experimentation, discovered pounding heart is ecsaserbated by staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, dehydration, and unrealistic expectations about how much I can physically do in a day. This physiology, behavior, way of thinking, and heart conditon, all run in my family. Both my mom and a younger brother have had operations to re-regulate their heart beats. Learned to control mine, but not cure, by getting enough rest, inproved eating habits, drinking plenty of water, and last but not least, for immediate results that really work, talking to my heart, telling it everything is going to be okay and it should beat normally.

While the pounding was strongest when I would lay down to go to sleep at night, in the morning I would have gripping in my stomach area so intense that my back ached, severe diarrhia, and I could not think clearly. No amount of self-talk worked on my stomach. Sounds like panic attacks doesn't it? My Naturopath prescribed Peppermint Oil caps. Best kind are the most expensive brands, available through practitioners, and at Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, etc. Unbelievable how this has helped me. It has helped stop an ever increasing vicious cycle that could have ruined my life.

During exercise, heart pounding is not a problem. I think a regular exercise program, as well a yoga and meditation would further help me a lot, and possibly stop the problem altogether. Additionally, I have been out of integrity money, and have a lot of debt which is troublesome in many ways. Combine that with a business, a mortgage, being a single mom...well you get the picture. I have a lot of clean up to do, and it is going to take some time.

I think our bodies are so smart. They can give us so much of the imformation we need to get well in every way. If we just listen. It can be painful facing the truth. However, the price of avoiding it is much higher.

About my mom, her heart did not stop racing for 2-3 days, and her operation to re-regulate her heart rate was emergency. Her doctor told her that when her heart was rapid and irregular, it was not adequately pumping the blood, and was pooling in one of the chambers. Her heart was wearing out, and the blood could  clot in her heart. She might have died.

Do not take this condition lightly. Even if your doctor does. Change your life, and have the operation if you have to. But do not let it go on and on for years. The danger of an ongoing, long-term rapid and irregular heart beat is real!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for sharing your story Did you ever find out exactly what the condition or heart problem is? Were your problems coming from your stomach or was it more of an anxiety thing?
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Avatar_n_tn
I'd suggest going on a low glycemic diet and seeing if that would help. I suffered from anxiety(not heart problems)for the longest time and thought I was having heart problems. Now that I know to stay away from carbs that raise my blood sugar levels, I'm sooooo much calmer and my heart hardly ever seems to race unless I eat something that will raise my blood sugar levels. Sugar Busters is a diet that is considered a low glycemic diet.I think Susan Summers is too but I'm only familiar with the Sugar Busteres one.
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Avatar_n_tn
I recently posted comments in this forum that may interest Jean.
I'm also under the category of being too aware of my heartbeat (it goes back a long long way) and now overly concerned about my blood pressure. I'm starting to think that maybe I should go to the Anxiety forum instead, because I know that anxiety has exacerbated my situation, and there is in many cases a mind-body connection Just wanted to see how you're doing and if your condition has improved at all. I am going to a seminar called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to see if it helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been aware of my heartbeat for the past 35 years! I have finally gotten to the point where I am ignoring it... I have PVC's and occasional PSVT, and have worried since I was a little kid. Some people are just more aware than others. My wife says she never senses her heart beat. Learn to live with it, ignore it and get on with life! Good luck!
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