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hormones and heart?
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hormones and heart?

Can you tell me how or if high levels of the DHEA hormone can affect heart rate/rhythm?  My level was way out of range, and I was wondering this could be contributing to my heart problems.
Also, I have had consistent problems with low potassium.  I am seeing an endocrinologist who is telling me that there are some endocrine disorders that affect your potassium and your heart.  I know of hyperthyroidism being one of them.  I have to do a 24 hour urine collection.  What exactly do these measure?
Thanks for you time.
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Avatar_n_tn
tsc,

Thanks for the post.

I am not aware of any association between high levels of DHEA and changes in heart rate or rhythm -- but that does not mean that one doesn't exist.  Unfortunately, I can't check the medical literature over the weekend.  I'll take a look on Monday and post a comment if I find any match.

My guess is that the endocrinologist is measuring a 24-hour cortisol level.  A high level would indicate Cushing's disease, which is a disease that leads to diabetes, central obesity, skin discoloration on the abdomen, cataracts, hypertension, low potassium, among other things.  Ask the endocrinologist exactly what he/she is looking for -- there are many different types of 24-hour urine collections (protein, metanephrines, creatinine, etc.)

Good luck.


15 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to mention....
I was also told that my adrenal glands were going to be checked.  How do these glands affect the heart?
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Avatar_n_tn
Re:  Hormones
Can't specifically comment on your case however I can say that since having a hysterectomy and commencing HRT my palpitations have dramatically reduced and my body in general feels much more balanced.  My gynaecologist told me that a major symtom of menopause is heart palpitations and that she even had them herself in menopause.  This tells me that there must be a connection between hormones and palpitations.
I am still having palpitations having had them on & off since being 16 (I am now 46) but nothing on the scale I was having before HRT.
Best Wishes
Linda 123
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Doctor,
I've tried multiple times for the last 6 months to post a question and it hasn't let me, so if u wouldn't mind answering this that would be greatly apperciated.  I'm a 23 year old male med student who has been battling palpitations for past 6.5 months.  I don't drink, smoke, consume caffeine, chocolate, etc. and live a very healthy life.  I'm 5'7 135 (normal cholesterol, bp, and trig.) and was very athletic until i had palpitations last August while playing basketball.  It scared the heck out of me so i went to several cardiologists and had the whole series of tests.  I had a stress echo, 4 holters, ebct, signal average ekg and everything turned out fine except for some trivial regurg. and a slightly "elongated and bowing" anterior mitral valve leaflet (of which the cardio said was a normal variant).  My holters showed around 50 pvcs in 24 hours and about 6 couplets.  I also had like 100 pacs and 30 atrial pairs.  
My question is the following - i've been on this event recorder for the last month (2 lead king of hearts) and the other day i had this weird flutter in my chest that lasted around 10-15 seconds.  The result after transmitting it was a "brief burst of atrial fibrillation."  This totally took me by suprise, due to the fact that the chances of someone my age having afibb is 1 in 10,000.  I'm also familiar with the fact that once you have afibb the reoccurence rate of lone afibb is around 70%.  Does this brief burst qualify as having afibb and does it warrant taking aspirin and investigating this further?  Also, isn't afibb in a young man my age a sign of possibly some heart disease or other underlying problem?  Thank you so much for you time, and i appreciate the understanding - it's just been impossible to get through.  Take care and be well.
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Avatar_n_tn
if you sense the flutters, youre lucky since you'll be able to know if they are sustained...my son was diagnosed with lone afib at 17yo...he also has pac and pvcs but didnt realize it...he also is very athletic esp. with basketball....his was sustained and ended up treated with propafenone an antiarrythmic for 8mo....at this point he has been off the med and afib free for a year..he was never on aspirin or any other blood thinner...yes it can reoccur esp if youre prone to ectopic beats....staying off caffeine, alcohol etc  helps to reduce this....he also doesnt play basketball competatively for a year....i think with ectopics and increased stress from bb and dehydration set him up for this arrythmia...it is non llife threatening and treatable.....as a side note i had an episode of afib (never before) last month secondary to albuterol for asthma....i converted after 12 hrs with meds....and am on no meds at this time.............good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Dartmouth 03,

I'm sorry that you have been unable to post.  This site is sponsored by our readers and whomever we can convince to donate money.  The network carrier recently increased the fees, which has decreased the potential traffic and made it harder to post.

Whether or not that 10-15 second episode of afib counts as afib is a philosophical question.  I can certainly think of no way in which 10-15 seconds of afib could harm a healthy young man.  However, that burst may just be the tip of the iceberg for how much afib you actually have.  One of the other readers wrote that you were lucky that you could tell when you had afib -- but this reply assumes that you can feel all the afib.  We have reliable study information (author Richard Page) that many people feel only a portion of their afib.

Before deciding whether or not to take an aspirin, I would want to review a long holter -- say 2-4 weeks, to determine if that brief afib was an aberration, or actually happens alot more than you think or perceive.  If it does happen alot more, than aspirin in an otherwise healthy young person makes sense.

Afib does not imply severe structural heart disease in a young person.  Many young people have "lone afib", which is associated with a fairly benign prognosis.  Check out www.acc.org for the latest recommendations regarding afib.

Hope that helps.


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Avatar_n_tn
thank you so much for your reply.  so would you recommend that i ask my cardiologist to have me on a holter monitor for 2-4 weeks, to see if i'm in afibb more frequently?  i just wasn't sure if that was your direction.  thanks again.  
best,
alex
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Avatar_n_tn
I just want to comment on what I read at one point about DHEA and increased heart rate...
Actually I was not able to find an article that directly realated to the matter when I was looking for it at one point for someone else, however, I found an article that talkes about increased DHEA and increased level of anxiety. Since condition is very rare there is very little literature about it. Anyway here is an article and you can look it up if you want. Jabobs, AR. Late-Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: A treatable cause of Anxiety. Biol Psychiatry 1999;46:856-859.
I hope it is any help to someone.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Im 35 I had afib about 4 years ago, then they stopped my medication because they said I wasn't having any more re-occurances.. however, in the last 3 months, I have been waking up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and chest pain, sweating... and It feels like throughout the day my heart goes in and out of afib.. sometimes it feels like my heart is jumping out of my chest...its pretty scary. Cardio says not to worry.. but how can you not? getting a halter this week for 24 hours.. who knows... anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Alex,

A prolonged holter would make sense, but will be inconvenient for you.  It is certainly worth discussion.

Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I guess I am what you call perimenopausual, as I am in my thirties and I am wondering if this has anything to do with the many pvc's I have daily.  My friend suggested progesterone cream which actually did seem to help a bit, but now I am just absolutely confused what is causing the skips?  

Thanks

Lori

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Avatar_n_tn
I have had what has been called Tachycardia and most lately Afib for 20 years now. I have noticed that when I eat a lot of carbs the palpitations start as well as before my period every month. Am I just nuts that these seem to have a link to the palpitations? When they start my heart races and it feels like my breath is taken away and I have to relax and control my breathing and most time they go away as quickly as they came on. I take Lanoxin daily and extra the week before my period now. If this is hormone related will it quit at menopause?  Is it life threatening?

So glad to know that I am not the only one that has this problem. Thanks for posting!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 44 year old female in pretty good condition.  I think there is a strong link between the heart and our hormones AND carbs.  My PVCs resurfaced (after being dormant for many years)when I was 42.  I had just finished eating a very large vegetarian meal made of mostly carbs.  I got up from the dinner table to scrape my plate when WHAM! my heart started to jump around hard.  I tried to stay calm -- but really, how can you! -- but the PVCs wouldn't go away.  15 min later, PVCs still very active, my hubby called 911.  EMS came to the house.  By that time I was in an anxiety attack (sweating, shaking, blood pressure high).  They ran an EKG -- saw nothing.  Told me I had an anxiety attack (no kidding) and to check in with my regular doctor (which I did and was referred to a cardiologist for various tests -- benign).  I get a racing heart also which typically comes after I eat a large carbohydrate meal (doesn't happen when meal is mainly protein).  Haven't had the racing heart in awhile; just PVCs every day in and out all day long.  Hormonely speaking, I know my body is changing.  When women speak of palpitations during their "changes", are they speaking of PVCs or a racing heart?  Thanks everyone for your input!

Beth
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Beth,
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Yes, when women speak thereoff, that's the "changes" of hormones during pre-menopause and menopause. It gives them the palps, pvc's, pac's and flutters and it drives them crazy; I know that from all these posts here I've read these past two years...and the only way is to just accept them and go through it.
I know, I'm in the middle of it, sweatin' it out.....
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Stay well,    bye - ***Ianna*** -
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your input.  My dilemma is I cannot differentiate between PVCs/racing heart as a symptom from pre-meno or as a symptom from just my every day heart acting up.

Other than having the sweats (which I don't -- yet anyway!), should I assume that these PVCs/racing heart episodes are really just hormonal?  I thought they were associated with the hot flashes and I don't have hot flashes at all.  Could I really be "changing" at 44 years old? Thank you again for sharing your experience!

Beth
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