Heart Disease Expert Forum
what steps do I take to control palpitations
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding heart issues such as: Angina, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Bypass Surgery, Cardiomyopathy, Coronary Artery Disease, Defibrillator, Heart Attack, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Pacemaker, PAD, Stenosis, Stress Tests.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

what steps do I take to control palpitations

My question is: What steps can I take to control my palpitations?  I have a 12-year history of them on and off since I was 20.  I have seen 3 cardiologists during this time period and had all the tests, which were negative.  Of note, not one of my palpitations was ever "caught".  I have stopped drinking caffeine and do not drink soda.  I used to run 5 miles a day, but stopped in 2003 when these palpitations started up again.  I am going to begin slowly back to running actually today.  I eat well.  However, stress is a problem in my life.  It seems as I get older, I can't handle it as well.  So I know that needs to change.  I am trying to drink a glass of heart healthy OJ every morning and to eat more potassium-rich foods.  Do I need to take supplements and/or more magnesium?  As background info, I can have palpitations a few times a day or not one for a week or two.  I used to have one type of palpitation (the extra beat followed by a pause), but now I have two as of the last few months.  The new one I feel is like a very faint bump or click or bubble?  Almost like I need to cough.  I can't describe it.  I never notice a difference in my pulse like with the other "normal palpitation".  The old palpitation can be just one or I can have four in a row.  With the new one, it is only one, but I can have many throughout the day.  I have never had any symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, pain, or anything.  This problem is mainly annoying, but can be pretty alarming at times, which makes it all worse.  Thank you for your input.
Related Discussions
74076_tn?1189759432
Hello,

What steps can I take to control my palpitations?

You can tell from reading the forum this a very common concern. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to decrease the frequency of these events.  For normal people with normal labs, taking suppliments don't help either.  Controlling stess may help decrease the intensity of the extra beats if not decrease the number of extra beats.

If you have a normal echo, ekg, and history and physical, there shouldn't be any exercise limitations for you.  I would encourage you to stay working out and stay fit.  It is always harder to get back into once your stop -- it is even harder as we get older.

I hope this helps.
26 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I FEEL YOUR PAIN.MY HEART STARTS TO SKIP AND "BAM" I'M IN A FULL BLOWN ANXIETY ATTACK. BUT FOR ME WHEN THAT HAPPENS I GET CHEST PAIN,UPSET STOMACH.COLD HANDS AND FEET THE WHOLE 9 YARDS.AND I LOVE WHEN THEY SAY OH IT NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. I HOPE YOU CAN FIND SOME ANSWERS THAT WILL COMFORT YOU.I FEEL LIKE I'M IN LIVING HE** WHEN MINE ARE REALLY BAD.GOOD LUCK
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Just to let you know I am in the same boat too, I feel for you and all of us that suffer from palps....I think the Doctors need to expierience them for awhile to really know but it is true...they are harmless...I just found out I had a heart murmur too and don't know much about those so.......
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
That is the million dollar question!  If anyone of us could figure out how to control them, we would be rich! LOL.  I have had them for at least 10 years, regular palps, PAC's and was just seen in the emergency room for very bad PVC's on Saturday!  I have always been told not to worry about them - but when they hit, it sends my panic through the roof.  I just found this board, and think it is a wonderful place for information and support.  Good luck to all of us!
Blank
39623_tn?1265417041
I can relate.  I have thousands of PVC's everyday all day. Over the weekend I painted outside doors on my house.  It was very hot and humid out, they seemed to get worse.  I went in and took my blood pressure and it was 130/100.  I take two 12.5 hyazar, atenol and small dose of lasix.  I was worthless the rest of the day.  Does anyone else experience not this kind of weakness with your PVC's.  I am an admin asst. and work 40 hours a week, pretty sedetary life style but when I get home I am exhausted and hit the couch to tired to exercise.  I feel like I might have to go on disibility some day.  My quality of life just keeps on lessening.  Its so depressing.
Blank
39623_tn?1265417041
Does anyone else experience such fatique with your PVC's and has anyone had to go on disability for them.  I would appreciate your comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
When I have very frequent PVC's, like when I go into long runs of bigeminy I too feel exhausted. I've found that forcing myself to exercise even on the days when I feel like **** really does help in the long run. Other than that I think the only thing to do is find an understanding cardiologist who realizes that some people's palpitations can't just be ignored and together work on finding a medication that works for you. Here in Canada where I live they will also do abaltions for PVC's which are frequent and/or disruptive enough to warrant treatment with anti-arrythmics. I hope you find help for this annoying and disruptive problem.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I've just been recently "released" from seeing my cardiologist for palpitations and chest pain. I had all the cardio tests, including a holter monitor, and everything came back perfectly normal. He suggested that I try taking Fish Oil (yuck) or a combination vitamin of potassium/magnesium/zinc to help control the palpitations. I'm only 24 and my doc said my palpitations are benign and nothing to worry about.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
There are two ways to approach PAC's and PVC's.  
1.  Try to find the "cure".
2.  Live with them.

The latter is preferable, because the "cure" is elusive.

As the old saying goes:
1)  Stay away from caffiene
2)  Reduce stress
3)  Get adequate sleep.
4)  Eat healthy
5)  Exercise
6)  Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.

These may reduce frequency but will not eliminate them completely.

The biggest factor is psychological
1)  Don't let them control your life because THEY ARE NOT
LIFE THREATENING.
2)  Learn to ignore them.  I say "learn" because this takes time.  Some do better than others.  One thing is that you stopped exercising because of them.  I did the same thing to my fault.  I should have just worked through them right from the beginning. I'd have been just fine, because I actually did get to the point where I ignored them.

I actually don't have them much anymore.  They tend to go in waves.  But as a fellow sufferer I understand your dilemna.  But LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THEM will be far less frustrating than trying to find a "cure."  

Don't get stressed about your stress, and don't get stressed because of "skipped beats" which becomes a vicious circle.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you everyone for your comments and advice.  It looks as though I have let these evil palpitations control my life, which is bad.  I will definitely try to ignore them as best I can and begin working out again (was supposed to tonight, but I too tired, worked late).  I'm happy to know that I am not alone with this and that there are people out there who know how I feel.  I have known all along that they are not life threatening, but sometimes when a bad spell happens it can really freak me out and cause me to forget their harmlessness, which of course makes everything worse.  I need to develop some type of protocol to help me get through them when they occur.  I do hope getting back to running will help them diminish even further like after I quit drinking coffee.  Thanks again.

By the way, I am so happy I found this forum, it rocks!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I was told by a naturopath friend of mine that some people experience an adrenaline rush while having episodes of pvc's. That is why they are so exhausting. You might try working on strengthening your adrenals. Licorice root is good or there are some combination formulas available at your local health store.Hope you feel better.
Blank
84483_tn?1289941537
licorice is dangerous when used in excess and can cause high blood pressure , heart failure and a host of other health problems, consult your doctor and get approval with a recommended amount before using such a remedy, i know a lady that had a stroke and died from high blood pressure caused by excessive licorice use. BE CAREFUL USING HERBAL REMEDIES without your doctors approval.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My comment is I wonder if I am better off doing some physical exercise like jog in place, stationary bike, go for a brisk walk while the tachy or palpitations are going on rather than sitting on the sofa wondering if I should go to the ER. As for the body, it seems like since the heart is pounding or racing it would good for it to exercise therefore direct the blood to the moving parts.  
My worst enemies are work stress and way too much exercise all in one day.  Or the combination of the two. Its the xanax that stops the palpatations for me but I don't like the idea of the substance being habit forming and I read in an earlier post, could cause heart irregularities! One doctor friend recommended taking it before bedtime because my palps only happen in the middle of the night - waking me up from sleep, which makes me wonder if sleep hormones as well as stress hormones are involved.





Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Xanaxmick - I'm on Xanax - have been for one year.  I have to take it because I have SEVERE panic attacks that were triggered by starting to have heart palps (PVCs).  I'm one of those people who has let PVCs control my life, though I'm trying to "un-do" that now.  If I were you, I'd go to the doc and have a full cardiac workup (I did that and was told nothing was wrong with me other than PVCs and very slight mitral valve prolapse).  It could help to reassure you that your heart is fine.  Then you can get on with trying to deal with the PVCs without letting them control your life.  I take .25 mg of Xanax 3 times a day but want to get off eventually.  My psychiatrist told me as long as you don't abuse it or keep increasing the doses, it is OK for people with severe anxiety like me to be on Xanax.  I've also taken it in the past on an as-needed basis with no problems.

You mentioned you read a post about Xanax causing heart irregularities - can you tell me what it said?  I can't find the post and am really curious now!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I too have PVC's and thanks to my Doc and this board I am doing all right with them.  

Someone eles was talking about fish oil on this thread.  I have been taking fish oil gels now for a couple months.   They have help my PVC's alot.  I use to have 300 to 400 a day now I  only a couple.  Plus they are good for your Cholesterol.  

Make sure you get a good brand name and take them with meals.  If you don't you will be tasting fish for a few hours :(
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I think upbeat63 from Canada mentioned it if you don't mind reading thru her comments. Also I read the entire Rx insert from the drug company and I think it was mentioned there. Will get back to you later with that info. I also read that nobody knows if the stress causes the palpitations or the palpitations cause the stress. This is true. Sometimes I get woken by the PVC's and other times I wake up first and go into arrythmia. Ugh!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Heartbeatskipper, I am sure you can see from the number of replies that you are not alone. I have had a struggle for a year and a half learning to live with the palps. Turns out I have esophagitis as well, and that can make you feel pretty bad as well. But I have learned to live with this. No caffeine, minimal alcohol and exercise have all helped. Reading this board once in a while helps. I had a good cry for about a long time first time I read the messages here. Nice to know you are not alone.

Bottom line is you just have to decide that you are going to beat this nonsense and not let the palps get you down.

Because they sure will.

Good luck,

Art S.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hello, It's upbeat63, currently living and working in the U.S, but I am from Canada, eh. Don't know which health system is better, sure pay more here, but don't have to wait as long! And curious as to why ablations are recommended in Canada for PVCs and not here, "unless the PVCs are soooo bad", then they burn em. I didn't think mine could get much worse at 24,000+/day.

Anyhow to answer a previous post, yes, one of the many, many, many, "possible" side-effects of xanax are palpitations, but xanax could also cause anxiety!!!. Go figure.

I've taken xanax quite effectively for many years on and off, for severe panic attacks. But which came first the palpitations or the anxiety. It's been so long ago I can't remember. But for 22 years I've been with one or the other and mostly both!

I've taken larger doses of xanax (.50 3/day) when the panic was really bad, and smaller doses (.25 1/day) and I've taken it "as needed" sometimes .12 mg is all that I require to ward off the anxiety for a few days. The person who wrote "as long as you take it as prescribed and not in increasing amounts" (under dr. supervision) is correct. The one thing I know about xanax is, for me, it works best for anxiety. I got bounced around from one anti-depressant to another and I wasn't depressed. Well, maybe I was bummed about the palpitations, but I certainly was more anxious.

And as for a cure, I guess if there was one we'd have heard about it by now. As a frequent PVC club member I have to repeat the words of my fellow club members, of whom there are many-- sadly, "as best you can, try to live with them". I had almost a five year break (still had them, didn't notice them) to bam, back with a vengence. So I'm waiting for them to go back to sleep and in the mean time trying not to lose to much of my very good life. And there was another post about to much work in the hot weather, yes I paid dearly for that. Laid patio pavers in the sun and during the whole time didn't sense any PVCs, until I finished and rested. Bang, bang, bang. I was miserable for two days. So don't over-exert yourself, but get out there and do stuff! And for all it's worth keep smiling. I think the PVCs hate that.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I like all of you on this site have also been advised I have PVC's and not to worry.  One year ago I was in the hospital and after three days the Dr finally ordered a stress echo - Heart rate jumped up very quickly - Toprol XL 25mg was given and after nuclear stress tests, echos, blood work, thyroid tests - I am happy to report they are all normal.  Still on the Toprol for past year - ignoring the PVC's - problem is I don't like to take meds - possible I will have to be on this forever??? I believe this is stress related for me - 911 dispatcher - so perhaps having a medication that blocks some of the adrenaline to my heart is not such a bad thing.  Anyone else on beta blockers for a long period of time with all tests being completely normal??

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have been have had palps,flutters,skips etc in the past just here and there not too often.I had tests all normal,was told anxiety/stress.I have also passed out,fainted 5 times in 11 years not sure if it was related to palps or not because I wasnt having palps at the time,but after the dizziness would start before id pass out my would feel like it dropped.I have started having skips,quivers,irregular rythm for the past 2 weesk now almost every night when laying in bed.The only things I have done is stopped all caffiene and cut way back on smoking,and sugar......this seems to have helped some.I would like to know others things I could do though seems I dont get very far with doctors
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I posted this message in another thread, but it applies here too. I'm a 54 year old smoking woman who rarely drinks.  I have always taken great care of myself and am very healthy, but do have an anxiety disorder which I believe is the source of my cardiac ectopy (PVCs).  I recently wore a 24 hour Holter monitor and the results were as follows: 6,466 ventricular ectopics with 1,446 in trigeminy and 218 runs of bigeminy which totaled 842 beats.  I have had documented couplets (two together) in the past. My ejection fraction is 64% and I had a negative stress treadmill test which was stopped because I reached 100% of my predicted HR.  I did have ectopy during recovery from exercise, but they consider it to be benign.  I have taken beta blockers, but they slowed my heart rate down to the low 40s and I had to stop exercising because my HR wouldn't go high enough to get the needed oxygen to my brain and muscles.  I quit the meds and am back to running 4 to 5 miles, weight training, and kayaking.  The feeing of frequent ectopy is very scary at times, but I've learned to live with it.  Several very good cardiologists tell me that my condition is benign and I have little choice but to believe them.  I think that it's the adrenalin dumping from anxiety that triggers the PVCs and from what I read, many many other people have the same problem to one degree or another.  The number of PVCs changes drastically over time, based on what's going on in my life.  I sometimes take very small doses of Xanax when it gets so bad it feels like the ectopy is taking my breath away, but no drugs otherwise.  I guess that you've been told to stay away from caffeine and any other stimulants---they make it much worse in most of us. I've been living with this for over 20 years and my heart's still pumping along.  I think that the best thing is to try as much as possible to not worry about it unless you develop new symptoms that you should bring to the attention of your doctor.  Exercising will keep your heart strong and can actually prevent many of the problems that we all worry about, so don't quit it!!!  Besides, aerobic exercise a great way to deal with stress.  Stay well!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
HI Everyone,
It has been a rough week, My screen name is joyfulheart and I do have a joyful heart, but this joy has been a bit tested this week. I too have had palps since I was in my late 20's I a now 41, I am in good shape, watch what I eat, no caffine, alcohol or lots of sugar. Two cardios have told me nothing wrong with my heart(that's a blessing) but as you all know when the palps flare up it is a struggle not to imagine something is wrong. I haven't met one person in person that experience this, so finding this site is incredible to me. I had surgery 10 days ago(something unrelated) and have recovered well from it, but due to lack of activity during recovery the palps are going nuts. I talked with a nurse today from Cardio's office and she said inactivity will encourage them, as activity over rides them, sort of speak. Has anyone found this to be true? I am going for a long walk later and will test it out. I have had probably 100 a day. Some months I have none, sometimes I get them around my cylce. I still think it is part hormonal, but what about the guys? Anyway I need encouragement and I would like to encourage you all too.
Blessings....
a joyfulheart is good medicine
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I strongly believe that physical activity can lessen the sensation of PVCs if not reduce the frequency. I have found time and time again, that doing some sort of activity not only distracts me from thinking about them, I think they are less frequent too. It's when I stop and rest that they come back full force. I guess I'll have to be the energizer bunny and just keep going and going and going. Hang in there joyfulheart, I'm upbeat and I've had PVCs for 22 years. Still ticking, just a little more than usual. ps. If I over-do-it with the physical activity, it seems to make things worse, so don't over-exert. And like someone else said on this thread--get plenty of rest.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I too had an echo stress test which revealed my heart rate went to 170 in just 6 minutes. BUT echo was normal.  I am on atenelol (beta blocker) and when I come off of it the heart rate goes back up again.  I also hate taking meds, but have found that if I take something for panic or stress when it is happening istead of on a regular basis I am fine.  Ativan is what I take when I get panicked about the tacchycardia.  It is the same thing as valium but works faster.  It calms me right down.  I have had all of the regular tests.  ECG, EKG, heart monitors, blood tests.  All normal. My cardiologist says come people just produce more adreneline than others and that is why I am on the beta blocker.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Upbeat63. I have found the same to be true, as far as activity. Oddly enough though, when I get the palps, shortly after I have light burning in my eyes, as well as my upper back is very tight. I get tired more often too when I get the palps steadily. I have had weeks and months where they are gone, and then mysteriously come back. I am going to the Cardio tomm, to see if there are any new tests that I do not know about. I am not worried to live with the palps, as much as I really just want to know the cause, and with prayer I hope to find out soon.
God bless You all
joyfulheart
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, anxiety was started.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
Blank
Request an Appointment
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank