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palpitations
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palpitations

I am a 32 year old female.  I have always had a history of palpitations since the age of 23.  These seemed to get a lot worse after the birth of my first child.  Anyways my question is what is considered occassional skipped beats?  I have read a lot of articles that say "occassional skipped beats is okay" and everyones heart skips and throws in extra beats.  

Yesterday I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with a skip and my heart continued to skip every 10 minutes or so for the rest of the day (although I was getting quite anxious with every skip I felt).  I have been for all cardiac testing and they say nothing is wrong with my heart but I question this as I don't consider palpitations every 10 minutes, all day, very occassional.  I am also on 20mg Paxil for my anxiety about my heart as well.  The palpitations feel like my heart actually stops for a second and I can feel it in my hands and head and then it feels like I am hit in the chest really hard.  Are other people palpitations so hard like this????

Thanks.
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Dear Jessica,

In view of the increased frequency and change in the nature of your palpitations, i would consider a further evaluation.  This might include an echocardiogram to rule out any change n the function of your heart after your pregnancy as well as an ECG and a holter to better characterize these symptoms.

32 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome and get palpitations(skipped beats) daily all day long. I can feel them in my chest too, kind of like someone is giving you a push. I also feel them in my throat and sometimes it even hurts a little. Mabe the Paxil is causing you to get more palps? Check to see if it is a side effect of it. Hope you feel better :)
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I can empathize. I am now 48 and mine started at about the same age as you when my kids were born. I was in England at the time and diagnosed with WPW which has since been discounted. I took Verapamil and Ativan for about 15 years until my doctor here decided it wasn't neccessary and I went through withdrawal systems for about 6 months. After that I had 5 of the best years of my life feeling, healthy, happy and fit.  However, one morning after I had come through a very stressful period I woke had chest pains went to the emergency room and the whole thing started again. Last year I went through about 6 months of the symptoms you describe including the hard heavy beats, I was at the stage where I could barely function although I was told "it is benign, don't worry". That's hard when you are breathless and dizzy all the time. I was driving my 8 month old grandson home after babysitting mainly because I was so exhausted I couldn't handle him and stopped at a stop light. A car ploughed into the back of my car. The baby was fine my boyfriend and I had neck and back injuries but my PVC's vanished. I mentioned this to my doctor who dismissed it a coincidence and told him the excrutiating back pain was much much easier to take than the PVC's but received no feedback. I wish the medical community would take this problem seriously and listen to their patients. they might come up with some kind of treatment or relief.  This was in July last year and although I now have them back they only occur when I wake up at night and very occassionally the odd one during the day but I know at some stage they will be back with a vengeance but hope against hope they won't. By the way I take klonopin when needed and this does help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Jessica,

In view of the increased frequency and change in the nature of your palpitations, i would consider a further evaluation.  This might include an echocardiogram to rule out any change n the function of your heart after your pregnancy as well as an ECG and a holter to better characterize these symptoms.

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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Jessica,

In view of the increased frequency and change in the nature of your palpitations, i would consider a further evaluation.  This might include an echocardiogram to rule out any change n the function of your heart after your pregnancy as well as an ECG and a holter to better characterize these symptoms.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have also suffered with palpatations for years.......
Had all the tests and they say everythings ok......
I get the skips and the spells of rapid heartbeat.....
had an echo last week ....Im 49 and found when I was
going thru menopause they were much worse ,
every so many minutes like you......I was on
hormone replacement for 3 years ...didnt really help
alot.....I have panic disorder , and I find It worse when
Im obsessing about it .....I started taking
Co enzyme Q 10 ,Calcium , magnesium , zinc and
L- Carnitine .....helped GREATLY !!!!
Dr. Weils books are wonderful ...the mainstream
medical community are not trained to know anything
about some of these things ......they only know
medications .....hormones also play a role I'm sure....
It is an awful feeling when your heart thumps like that....
Take care ............
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Avatar_n_tn
I've said it before and I'll say it again - try a banana a day, I don't know why, I don't know how, but it has reduced my PVCs for sure....
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Avatar_n_tn
I sincerely hope everyone with the serious medical problem of Premature Ventricular Contractions (pvc's)... or skipped heartbeats reads what I have to say...

I am a 29 year old white male, my mother's side of the family has a history of heart disease, but no real early deaths or heart attacks.   My mother had her first heart attack around age 50, and three years ago had triple-bypass.   Why am I telling all of this???   Simple... the "anxiety" I suffer when I feel "heart-related" like symptoms is often probably due to the family history and my anxious disposition in general.

I began experiencing PVC's about two years ago.   They came on all at once - and man did it scare me!   Did the same ole' same ole'... EKG, blood workup, stress test, holter, even recently had thallium stress test... still NOTHING clinically wrong with my heart - I pray!

The cardiologist I see here in Oklahoma started me on a medication called Betapace.   It has worked WONDERS for me!   I have not suffered any side-effects, and the reduction is PVC's is great!   Sometimes, I can seem to go weeks at a time without having a single one, but every once in a blue moon, I'll feel a little one - but certainly nothing like before.   And absolutely no "runs" of skips or PVC's.  Only one at a time, and fairly rare!

I would hope that anyone experiencing the suffering and anxiety I went through may find a medication that can help them like Betapace has done for me!   No - I don't like taking medication either... but a QUALITY life is worth swallowing a small pill a couple of times a day for in my opinion!

And finally... I would suggest to everyone experiencing PVC's... definitely lose weight!   Drop the fat!   I weighed over 230lbs when I was having them often... then last summer I dropped about 50 pounds - felt great.   It's eating right, a little exercise, the right medication, and ensuring that their is nothing "significantly" wrong with your cardiac system is what makes you live a more quality lifestyle.

Best wishes to all - try what you think is right!

Maybe soon they will have a procedure or "cure-all" medication for these horrible symptoms.   God Bless!

Billy Griffin
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 43 years old and have had palps since my early 30's.  Usually just a single or maybe a couple in a row, and they are startling. I also had tests done years ago and came up normal.  Then one day about 4 years ago I started getting them non stop and it lasted for nearly 2 weeks.  I could feel every 4th to 5th beat skip and then the "thud."  Couldn't even sleep because of it and nearly going out of my mind from not only the anxiety but also just the plain old physical discomfort. Went to an internal med doctor who gave me Lopressor (metoprolol) 25 mg per day.  Felt better right away.  Palps didn't disolve over night, but the force was so much less that I couldn't hardly feel the sensation anymore.  Then in a few days I noticed the palps lessening in frequency and then finally going away.  Phew! Stayed on the med for about 3 years then finally decided to try and go off it.  Have been med free for about a year and reasonably palp free.  
Recently on a routine office visit I was told I have a heart murmur with systolic click.  This is a new development and I wonder if being on Lopressor could have contributed to that in some way???  Just did another echo a week ago and will find out results in a few days.  
Anyways, I was rambling on there a bit....just wanted to comment that you are not alone in your concern regarding palps.  They may be benign, but they are uncomfortable and hard to ignore. I hope you find some relief soon.
Doreen
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Avatar_n_tn
Billy ,

Not everyone who experiences PVCs needs to  lose weight
but I'm glad it helped you. My son  (age 25)  has exper-
ienced them but he doesn't let them bother him.  I definitely
think nervous or anxious people are more bothered by
them.  I'm more concerned  about the actual defect in my
heart than I am the PVCs.
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Avatar_n_tn
Billy - I'm glad Betapace helped you - it is a wonderful drug I've been taking for some time.  But it can have side effects - mine is profound fatigue.  I have to take an hour-long nap everyday, and I always feel like I'm dragging an elephant around.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi everyone,

This is the first time I have found this place online.  I have suffered from PVC's since about 18 yrs. old (now 47).  I have also had a few bouts of PAT's which scare me immensely!!!!  I have been to two cardiologists and recently had another stress test because the darn PVC's returned.

I have taken Atenolol before (only 25 mg. per day).  I am now taking it again.  It does seem to help sometimes, but lately not as it was before.  Actually I tend to get bloated in my stomach and I feel that is one of the main reasons my heart skips.  The weight gain never helps because the heart seems to get irritated by any excess gas and pressure (I don't have enough room in that region).  I was also checked out for hiatal hernia which there is none.  Hormones do play a big part but my estrogen, etc. is normal now.  

I am an anxious person, but believe me I have never been more anxious than when my heart starts skipping.  It is a helpless feeling and I absolutely hate it.  It makes my upper stomach so darn tense and that just makes it continue.  I try to sit and read something, but every time it skips I'm tense.  I actually feel better standing, but it can still do it then.  I am NOT a caffeine drinker which they say can trigger it.

I feel for all of you out there who are troubled with this.  I feel there is always a reason for these things happening, physical or mental, and hopefully we will all get over this once and for all.

Take care and try not to worry about it.  I know it only makes it worse.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had trouble PVC's. It was caused by Gluten intolerance.
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Avatar_n_tn
What are the symptoms for gluten intolerance?????
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Avatar_n_tn
I feel like God has sent me a lifeline. I have been suffering from PVCs (I didn't have a name for them before) for about a year, a couple of months after the birth of my first child. I have been to the emergency room, worn a holter monitor and an event monitor (a 30-day thing)and was told everything is normal. Well, I don't feel like everything is normal. It's scary and makes me very anxious, which I think makes the PVCs even worse.

I am sooooo glad to find that I am not alone. Trying to explain to my husband is no help since he has no clue as to what I am experiencing. Thanks for all your shared experiences!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
It really is  a help to have this forum. i have had these darn things-though mine are PACs, since i was in my early 20's and am now 35. Being i have had them so long you think that i would finally figure out that they are not dangerous and get used to it. But i havn't. They still scare me, everytime they happen i just want to go crawl under a rock, it disrupts my life. I hate them.
But as i was saying, it helps having this forum because on the days that i have them really bad-5 or 6 a minute, i can come in here and read the posts and know that i am not alone- and remind myself-yet again- that the are not dangerous, just INCREADIBLY IRRITATING! (and scary)
Okay, then. Best wishes to all.
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Avatar_n_tn
Gosh I had no idea that so many other people suffer from these things. I had never heard of PVC's until I started having them 20 years ago...I agree with the person that said they are aggravated by stomach problems, I've had that same experience. I have been taking Inderal 40 mg twice a day for 16 or so years and it helps but, it prevents me from taking anthing for a cold or congestion being that it is a beta blocker. But, that's ok cause if it helps those pesdy PVC's than I had rather have a cold. I really wonder what causes these things. I've had a holter monitor, EEG's, EKG's, etc...all find nothing wrong. How could your heart beat be irregular and nothing be wrong?..but, it does help me feel so much better to know that I'm not alone..I also have panic disorder which must have something to do with all this...I don't take medications for that however, just cause I thought I could do better without it..Thanks so much to all of you for your comments, it really helps someone that is going through this and scared and confused..
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had PVC's since I was pregnant with my 2nd son 14 years ago.  I have been through everything metioned here, and I have finally just learned to live with them.  Still hate them, but have tried to live life not obsessing about them.   When I get a run of them that are scary I cough deeply a few times it stops them.  I also go outside and walk them off.  Alot of them are caused by adrenalin, relesed from my anxiety.  If I walk up a sweat, they go away.
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Avatar_n_tn
A banana a day WILL help a lot. PVC's can be aggravated (and caused) by low potassium- which a banana fixes nicely. Good tip PJ.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been suffering from PVC's for over 15 yrs. I too, have had EKG's EEG's, holter monitors, stress tests, echo cadiograms, but all have come back normal.
One morning a year ago, I woke up because I was having like 10 or so a minute. I went to the ER and was told there was nothing wrong. They put me on a holter, and recorded my 10 or so "skips" per minute for 24 hours. They still said nothing was wrong.
Sometimes I will go months without hardly any, then they will start up again, (like now). Glad to know I'm not the only person that feels like this. No matter what the Dr's say, its hard to just ignore them.
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Avatar_n_tn
I wonder if having a baby or miscarriage as I had can trigger the pac's or pvc's.  I am 40 yrs. old and never had a heart problem until after my miscarriage-two months later I had my first fluttering feeling in the upper chest and was diagnosed with a healthy heart(echo) but the holtor monbitor said I had a few pac's.  Also I had alot of twitching in my muscles all over my body, my mother suggested to eat alot of bananas, and I did(three per day) and the twitching went away, and the pac's are minimal.  It takes a couple of weeks for the bananas to help. p.;s.-I read recently in a mag. article that bananas can actually lower your blood pressure instead of meds.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had palpitations since I was 27 years old and I am now 53years old. I am in the throes of menopause and have had so many scares. My heart racing out of control and also my blood pressure. My doctor has taken tests and I will know what the results are June 5th. If anyone is going through menopause, please share your experiences.
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Avatar_n_tn
i wonder about the hormone factor also.  I had a hysterectomy abotu a year ago.  Have been on and off primarine (which makes me really cranky)
Any info on hormones and pvc i would also appreciate,
(i am 35)
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Avatar_n_tn
i wonder about the hormone factor also.  I had a hysterectomy abotu a year ago.  Have been on and off primarine (which makes me really cranky)
Any info on hormones and pvc i would also appreciate,
(i am 35)
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Avatar_n_tn
I started having palpitations when I was around 24 years old (I'm 28 now). I have also had, and still have, chest pain around my heart, which has led me to go to the doctors both in Sweden and here. I've had EKG's performed as well as I have had an echo cardiogram + I once carried a monitor around for 30 days. All the tests has come out negative. I don't have a lot of palpitations (I eat a lot of banana *smile*), but it's always scary when I do. What worries me more is the chest pain. I've had them more recently, and one episode lasted for 25 minutes. My pulse does not increase as I have chest pain and I do not sweat. I feel the chest pain more when I take deep breaths. The doctors tells me that I am fine, but I'm wondering what the chest pain is all about. My dad has had 3 heart attacks and one bypass surgery. He had his first heart attack before the age of 50, so I do worry about the genetics. However, he lived a rather sedentary life and ate an unhealthy diet + smoked + drank a lot of coffee. My cholesterol is not high and I have low blood pressure. So I have tried to find other reasons as to why I have chest pains. I have found 3 other possibly reasons and they are:
1. Anxiety
2. Acid Reflux
3. Inflammation of the chest wall muscles
I did notice that some of the women in this forum mentioned something about hormones and pregnancies, and I wonder if change of hormones was the reason for me to start having heart palpitations in the first place. I don't have any children, but I was pregnant when I was 24 years old, and since then my hormones have been a little out of wack.
Anyway, just thought I'd tell you my symptoms, maybe someone has similiar symptoms, and if so, do tell me about it.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm very interested in hearing other peoples pvc's related to pregnancy or hormones. I just had my 3rd child (unexpectedly!) at age 40 and started suffering pvcs the day after he was born when I was still in the hospital. I had had them a couple months before I deliverd the baby when I was extremely nervous about my mothers health. At that time I was 7 months pregnant, so my ob doctor had me see a cardiologist. They did an ekg and echo and said I had a healthy heart and as soon as I got that news the palps went away. Then the day after I delivered the baby, they started up and I've had them for the past 8 months. I wore a holter monitor and was told it was benign pvcs, not to worry since my echo had shown I had a healthy heart. But I can't help but to wonder (worry), did something change and hurt my heart during childbirth. I had a really tense delivery, cord was wrapped around baby's neck twice and had to push him out in 6-1/2 minutes. I pushed so hard I almost fainted and I wonder if I could have damaged my heart. ANYWAY, I wonder if there is some link to hormone's and this condition for some people. I'm on atenolol and it really helps but I just want this to go away all together! I also was having a rapid heart beat and I wonder if that is caused by the anxiety of worrying about the palpitations. How do you ever relax and get this to go away, it seems like a vicious cycle! I'm sorry for everyone else suffering with this, but it's nice to have a place to share and to know you're not alone.
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Avatar_n_tn
Mary, please see my postings under "Pat or something else" for websites showing recent research into tachy and hormones.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the pvc's alot and on and off for years. I noticed that eating too much, especially fatty foods and late at night has a definite effect making them worse. How many times have we all felt the thud followed by that burp? lately, I've felt my tummy gurgle first then a pvc follows! Proof that gas can cause em as well as lying down one one side rather than the other. They are much eased with my Lopressor tablets which are once a day and only 6 bucks a month! My only problem is being an anxious person, they would thud for hrs on end day after day..then disappear for years.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have suffered with skipped beats,thuds,flips,fluttering. Haven't gone one day without them for the past 6 years.Some days it will happen only once or twice in a 24 hour period,other days,like today, I have it every few seconds all day long...I wonder if it happens while I'm asleep also..Wore holter monitor the other day for 24 hours.....I find out the results on Friday..Very anxious about the out-come.Already had e.k.g....they told me it was pacs...whatever they are. They took 5 tubes of blood..Heart enzymes all normal,potassium,mag. all normal,thyroid is normal...everything checked out o.k..I had no idea so many people have the same thing.I'm glad I'm not alone.I would like to know the difference between pacs and pvcs...can anyone tell me please..Is one worse than the other.I notice everyone else has pvs...I think thats why I'm so worried about the out-come of my holter monitor results.I have also noticed if I ay on my left side my heart really starts skipping. (or whatever it's doing) I was also told I have mvp....dr. said it was nothing...any help would be greatly appreciated...thank you  . Sherry
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Avatar_n_tn
PVCs are apparently more common than PACs which is why most people on this forum complain about them more than PACs.  PACs are generated in the atrial tissues and PVCs from the ventricles.   Although both types of ectopic beat are benign in the normal heart, I have read that PACs are "safer" than PACs.  This is because a run of PACs has the small possibility of degenerating into atrial fibrillation, whereas a run of PVCs has the remote possibility of turning into ventricular fibrillation (obviously much more dangerous). In my case, I mainly suffer from PACs and the odd PVC ....they feel exactly the same to me.  I also get runs of PACs, which my Cardio calls "salvos" of PACs. Your Holter monitor will tell you if you are having PVCs, PACs or both.  The Dr can differentiate them by their electrical signals. Hope this has helped,
Penny
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Avatar_n_tn
Oops, sorry for the mistake... the above should say...I have read that PACs are "safer" than PVCs.
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Avatar_n_tn
At age 26 I had my very first anxiety attack. I went quickly to the clinic close to my work and the doctor said I should have an ultrasound done on my heart to rule out any heart problems even though she thought it was just anxiety related.  This threw me for a loop.  I was so terrified, I thought "what could me wrong with my heart."  I ended up in the hospital with a severe anxiety attack.  At the time I thought I was having a heart attack. I had every test imaginable done and everything came back negative.  At that time I really didn't notice any skipped beats even though the holter monitor picked up 9 that day.  But since then I have a heightened awareness of my heart beating.  I would check my pulse constantly keeping my fingers on my carotid artery on my neck. Big mistake!!!! Now I am so aware of my heart beating, I notice skipped beats all the time(every few minutes or so).  I know worrying about them only makes them worse.   A few months ago I was feeling quite dizzy that I went to my doctor.  Again he said anxiety.  But while I was worrying about my dizziness the palpitations went away for a few months. What I'm trying to say is the more we worry about them the more frequently they come.  I know it's hard not to worry since the symptoms are so awful but fear will only make them worse.  I read this in a book the other day "do not live life with fear but live it with faith"  Have faith and God bless each and every one of you.
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