I am sitting here in tears right now. I had a string of bad palps while opening my mail tonight. They kept coming one after another after another. I felt very weak after it happened and kind of breathless. Now my upper body and face feel weird.
I am 32 years old and in otherwise good health. I had a full cardiac work up two months ago--nuclear stress test, EKG, Holter and Echo. All were normal with some occasional PVC's.
How do I know I am not having a heart attack? At my age, health and weight (I am actually underweight) I know that it is unlikely. My family history is fairly unremarkable with only a grandfather with CAD (didn't have a MI until he was 60).
I have been doing so well for the past month or so since getting chiropractic treatments and feel like tonight's episode is a major setback.
I am ready to run to the ER but my husband doesn't think it is necessary so I popped a Xanax instead hoping for some relief. If I don't get it from the Xanax, then I am going to assume the symptoms are heart related and head to the ER despite what he thinks.
I am so sick of living like this. I am in fear of being alone and having another "episode." I also fear going places where I will be far from medical care (like on vacation) :(
You and I have the EXACT same story -- only I'm a little older at 39. Read some of my past posts -- I have the exact same issues as you do. I too have gone to the ER thinking something was horribly wrong. I has the same thing as you last night. Eating dinner peacefully and WHAM! It lasted about 15 minutes and I kept telling my husband I think I need to go to the ER. He kept saying it will be fine, it always is. I actually called a therapist today and am going to be making an apt to deal with the same questions you brought about. If you can, try taking a walk close to home. It will help get rid of some of the adrenaline that is running through your system form the fear. You're gonn abe OK!
Thank you, Carey. I just absolutely hate living like this. The first few months of this year were pure hell for me. I thought I found the answer in chiropractic care. My chiro told me my back was a complete mess ( I knew that already) and that pressure on certain nerves can cause palps. My palps actually started to get better after treatments but tonight's episode just makes me feel like the treatments have been done for nothing.
I feel so completely out of control when this happens and feel so dependent on others (which I hate because I'm such an independent person!).
I am starting to feel a little better so I think the Xanax is kicking in. I hate that I had to take one. I haven't had to do that in nearly 2 months.
I keep telling myself that I only weigh 118 lbs. and no women in my family have any heart problems with the exception of an aunt in her 50's who also suffers from these stupid palps.
I worry so much about going on vacation next month. One week at the Alabama shore and away from my doctors.
Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are going to be fine! These things tend to come and go. They probably aren't going to go away forever! Think of the good period you have had. You'll have more. You will also feel more palps sometime. After I've had a good long period of few to no palps, I seem to get shocked that they have reared there ugly heads again. :) It is only temporary and it is all right to be sick of them for a second or two. Then you've got to just go ahead and go on vacation or enjoy being alone. You are young with a structurally normal heart. These things aren't going to kill you, but they might make you mad or annoyed!
I just heard from my Dr. after wearing a 24 hour monitor. I have gone for months and most of years without them, these pacs and pvcs. When they show up it is scary if they come as several in a day or so. I did not know that anyone else felt as I do, afraid to travel as a result. I have even wished that my house was closer to the E.R. when I have had episodes. I would be willing to guess that you have some kind of ongoing stress that has not yet been resolved or that you feel is unavoidable. So you tell yourself that it cannot be the reason and that your body is too young to react that way. Hence you feel that your heart is letting you down. You should be able to handle this, you tell yourself. You need someone supportive and someone who helps you feel secure when you are going through this. Having this helps you to relax. If someone complains or tells you that it is all in your mind, you can feel trapped and the flight syndrome takes place and makes them worse.
My Dr. just reassured me medically that I am okay as far as he can tell. He said that none of these things are coming in runs. I had 398 of them in a 24 hour period and he said that actually only about half that many because of interference on the monitor because of electrical things around it and body movements. If the pvcs and pacs are not sustained and if the dr. does not see anything troublesome, then you are probably okay. Mine happen a lot at night, to the point that I had begun to dred bedtime. My heart rate gets up there and I wake up already in a panic sometimes. We have never figured out why this began. I can tell you that I am much older than you and have been through some real traumatic episodes lately that were unavoidable. I even had to delay grieving over my father's death as much as perhaps I needed because I was working and could not miss a beat. I had just spent three and a half years taking care of him night and day, so he became my baby at that point. I would not trade this experience but it did not come without heartache. This really is when these things picked up again. the other times were when I had a really unreasonable employer, but had to work. The other was when we were taking care of my mother in law. She has a dislike of in=laws and it became a battle of wills. Wow! It does usually point to something!
Perhaps this will reassure you. I have been having these pacs and pvs for about 31 years. My Dr. just reminded me that he has them, his wife has them and his children even have them. Everyone does. Some of us feel them and others don't. The good thing is that our heart is capable of taking up the beat in other areas if a single beat misfires and that IS a good thing. If you are not short of breath REALLY SHORT OF BREATH and not just momentarily scared, not nauseated and do not have chest pain that lasts, can carry on a conversation, etc. You are most likely okay. Find a friend that you can confide in to be there for you night and day until you are satisfied that you do not have anything to worry about. Mine was my neighbor as a backup to my husband. She lives only a few feet away from my house and has been wonderful. Pray and I will pray for you. The best will come. Sleep well tonight.
Are you starting to feel better? I know what you mean about traveling. I soooo much want to go to Florida in the next month and since I'm self employed as is my husband - we can. But my fear of being far from a hospital or on a plane is stopping me from going. I think this fear of pvc's turns into agoraphobia. I worry that I'm gonna get on the plane and they'll start. Are you driving to Alabama?
I am feeling a little better but when I start to feel them come on, I get so scared then have other symptoms too. Sometimes I get weird sensations in my chest and arms (not really pain). I get short of breath and my stomach is in knots. So it is very easy to convince myself I am having a heart attack. I go through the mental checklist of all the heart attack symptoms and besides sweating, I have them all.
But these "episodes" have been happening for nearly three years. When I am calm and more rational, I tell myself that if it were heart related, wouldn't I have had a heart attack by now? I don't know of anyone who was symptomatic for that long without having a heart attack (assuming the symptoms were caused by a heart problem).
I have had all the non-invasive tests I can get. I know the gold standard is a cardiac cath but that comes with risks and I doubt any Dr. would do one on me anyway.
I have had at least 5 EKG's this year alone, the nuclear stress test including a scan, and an echo. They all came back normal. I also wore a 24 hour Holter that showed infrequent PVC's. I saw an electrophysiologist ( a top one in the city) so I guess I need to take confidence in that I have done everything I can do.
I have been so hopeful that the chiropractic treatments were going to be a "cure." Since I have been feeling less palps, I assumed I would never have these horrible runs again that leave me in fear of going into V-Tach.
Carey--I am driving to AL next month (from Ohio). I am scared to death to be in an unfamiliar place without medical care nearby. I already decided to look up hospitals on our route before we leave. As crazy as it sounds, it gives me comfort.
This year has been stressful. My 7 year old cousin died from a heart problem (viral myocarditis). I also have been really ill this year.
Work has been horrible. My boss is worried he is going to get fired and while I don't think I will be fired, I worry what will happen to me once he's gone.
So I suppose it is possible this is stress related but I wasn't stressing when this happened tonight.....just opening junk mail!
I appreciate all your comments. It really does help alot.
Glad to hear your doing better. Its funny you thought about looking up hospitals -- I always look to make sure the hotel is near one where were staying! A few years ago when I was having a lot of trouble dealing with the skips and my husband wanted to go on vacation, I actually considered calling to see how much it would cost to charter an ambulance!! Ok, now I know you have to be laughing but its true. I didn't really do it but let me tell ya I thought long and hard about it!
Hi Carey, I know exactly what you are saying...Everytime I get excited about traveling I start with the skips, etc..then come the fears of needing the hospital..etc, I get so worried sometimes I cling to my husband like glue and I am always asking him to listen to my chest and tell me if my heart sounds okay??
I have been under continual stress with my daughter and her scizoaffective disorder and i am having alot of skippy beats, missed or extras ...whatever they are...I am not real familiar with all the terminology, I am at the point anymore i don't go anywhere hardly without someone with me...I keep my cell phone charged up and in the pocket of my shorts or capris all the time. I know all this sounds so paranoid...but I get such a fear when these things happen.
I read all the posts and try to deep breath relax all the suggestions.., but as soon as they strike WHAMMM... I go into fear mode....I too map out and make a list of all the hospitals how far from the hotel and the directions to them in case.. My husband flies all over...I have never. He wants to go to places... If I can't drive there I don't go...I know all this sounds crazy, but I am ashamed to say it is true.... I absolutely am NOT laughing about the chartered ambulance...I
am long retired since 2004, but sometimes I feel like getting a volunteer position at the hospital where I would maybe feel less anxious...
I HAVE ALSO BEEN GETTING PALPS AT DIFFERENT TIMES IT'S QUITE SCARRY. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU KEEP EVERYTHIN TO YOUSELF AS I TEND TO DO. IT USE TO BE ANYTHING I ATE THAT HAD MSG IN IT WOULD SET ME OFF SO I READ LABLES AND NEVER EAT AT A CHINESE RESTAURANT UNLESS THEY ASSURE ME THEY HAVE NOT US MSG.
BUT ALTELY IT CAN HAPPEN ANY TIME OR ANY WHERE IT;S QUITE FRIGHTENING.
lanakaye, I hope this post will give you some reassurance about feeling several PVC's per day:
There have been some studies where holter monitors have been put on a sample of the normal healthy population to count the number of PVCs per day. The results of one of these studies (and the others agree) showed that 4% of the population had greater than 500 pvcs in 24 hours and 2.7% had more than 1000. So you probably know plenty of people who have MANY many more PVC's than you do. It's just that THEY don't know it.
Also about your fear of Vtach. Even if you did have it the chances of it causing any problems are very slim. Another study was published a few months ago in which they looked at 625 people all free of heart disease as judged by a detailed work up (echo etc). In the 24 hours of recording 3.4% of people had non sustained v tach on that particular day. so just imagine how many more people must have it....but just didn't have it on the day of the study. The average length of the vtach was13 beats. This incuded people aged 15-30 years so it's not just old people.
They also found that 8.8% of people had copulets (2 pvcs in a row) on the day of the study.
I hope this reassures you. I know how horrible it is though when you feel every single one. It's hard to believe at the time that it is normal. I had 1786 pvcs a day and felt every single one as a flip/flopping/sinking/fluttering in my chest and neck. Sheer hell!!
There is another study that should reassure you in which they followed 70 men with very frequent and complex pvcs. They had an average of 500 PVCs per hour....yes PER HOUR!. After 7 years they found that their survival was greater than that expected in a normal populatopn.
Reading your story is like telling mine. I too get so scared, aftraid to travel, etc. My family doc has been telling me for years this is nothing to worry about. And like you I always wonder if they are missing something. So finally my doc said "if you hear it from a cardiologist will you believe it?" so I've had an event moniter for a month now and went to the cardiologist last Monday. She assured me that millions of people have these episodes and I have to stop being scared. How do you just stop being scared?! Its like my body goes into instant panic mode. I've taken tenormin for 18 years. She upped the dose of that and put me on xanax and zoloft. Panic disorder runs in my family and my sister was agorophoic for a few years. Seems like PVC's/PAC's run hand in hand with panic attacks.....
That's just it....those of us who suffer from these terrible episodes really do think it's caused by heart disease and it's being missed by the doctors. There is such a thing has female pattern CAD and it can be hard to detect.
I realize my risk factors are low because of my age, weight, normal lipids and limited family history but it still worries me and I am entitled to be concerned about it.
The episode I had yesterday was horrifying. I had multiple palps in a row with no normal beats in between. I thought I was dying. I was scared to death it was turning into V-tach.
Please don't diminish other people's concerns over palpitations. Regardless if they are benign or not, they are still terrifying to the sufferer. I feel badly for those on this board who really do have CAD but that does not mean those of us who do not(or at least are told we do not) don't have the right to commiserate about our fears of these stupid palps.
Sweetheart, heart attacks are NOT caused by arrhythmias! Blocked coronary arteries cause heart attacks. *Palps* do not cause heart attacks. One can get multiple arrhythmias from having a heart attack but multiple arrhythmias do not cause them. I don't remember you mentioning that you have actually had chest pain, but that is pretty common with coronary artery disease and your EKG's and stress test and nuke test would've shown changes suggesting coronary artery disease. So, RELAX, and enjoy your life.
To all who are afraid to go on planes........I think that most, if not ALL, planes now carry portable defibrillator's. So that would make a plane a safer place to be than walking down your street! Of course, you and I know that you really are NEVER gonna need to be defibrillated, but it might put your mind at ease and be able to travel. Travel is one of life's great joys, I think anyway, so all of you go ahead and look up travelocity and make some plans. Distraction is one of the very BEST coping methods. It really works!
I understand heart attacks are not caused by arrhythmias but arrythmias can sometimes be an indicator of underlying disease.
I do get weird chest pains frequently but I also have a bad back and have been told it's referred pain. It's just hard to convince yourself of that when you get alot of symptoms at the same time (chest pain, weird arm pain/numbness, shortness of breath --I have asthma, palpitations, dizziness, etc.). I think the only heart attack symptom I have not experienced is sweating for no apparent reason.
I am starting to think I have some food allergies/intolerances that are leading to my problems because I start feeling poorly after eating sometimes.
I agree with you re: distraction. I have mild OCD and that is one of the methods that helps OCD sufferers.
I can so relate to you...when i eat right I think oh the palps will go away now and then BAM they are back and i get sooo depressed afterward...I hate living in fear also...and i have two young children and i'm afraid when my heart goes all weird for a minute it will go into V-tach and my babies would be left alone...sometimes i don't want to go on vacation because i don't think hospitals are as good as the my hometown's hospital...or sometimes i wish i lived near a hospital so i can get there quickly when my heart goes out of rhythm....my family and friends don't understand they just think it's anxiety...i feel so alone in this it's so depressing
Hi!! Please somebody reassure me that what I am having will go away!! It's been almost 2 weeks that I've been having this SKIP BEATS!! It really worries me a lot. I had echo and stress test done and my cardio MD told me the result were VERY GOOD that I need not worry. He told me that THIS will eventually go away and he prescribed TOPROL ER 25mg once a day until my next appointment with him in 3 months!!
I have been taking this meds for a week now and I am having some side effects like dizziness and fatigue. To top it all my heart still keeps having arrythmia endlessly that I am getting so tired of it!!
Will this ever stop? Should I call my cardiologist and stop taking TOPROL as this is making me dizzy?
I am only 38 years old and weighs 136lbs and non-smoker and non-drinker. I guess the only thing that would be a predispoing factor to my having this arrythmia is that my Dad died at the age of 54 from heart attack..
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