Hi. Please help me out as I am very concerned at the moment.
I am a:
- 23 year old Asian male
- no family history of heart disease
-165 lbs, 5'11", BMI is 23.2, resting heart rate is 60, blood pressure is 138/86
- play 2 hours of soccer 3 times a week, lift weights twice a week
- no medication, multivitamin daily, fish oil daily, and protein shakes with 5 grams of creatine after exercise
- don't smoke and drink about 2 times a month
My symptoms are:
- occasional arrhythmia and palpitations for 3-4 years now, but recently they have become more often
- happens when I go to bed an hour after I play soccer (soccer at 10 PM, bed around 1 AM)
- characterized by extra beats, keeps me up for at least 30 mins
- sometimes extra beat will kick in every other normal beat
- very aware of it, feel like there's a pocket of air in my chest when it happens
- arrhythmia also happens after a night of heavy drinking or when not enough sleep
- hard and rapid heartbeat when I am nervous or anxious
- sometimes hard and very slow heartbeat (1 beat every 2 seconds) when I wake up from taking a nap
Cardiologist visit last week:
- normal EKG reading
- doctor detected murmurs and extra beats
- said it is possibly premature ventricular contraction, mitral valve prolapse, and mitral regurgitation
- said I need a stress test following the Bruce protocol and an echocardiogram to confirm and determine whether the condition was benign or required treatment
- because of the high deductible on my insurance, I have not gone back for those tests as I can get them done for much cheaper back in Bangkok, Thailand (including airfare)
My questions are:
1. Given that I am still able to engage in strenuous exercise without feeling pain or reduced tolerance, should I worry about my symptoms?
2. Are my symptoms serious enough that I should get these tests (stress and echo) done immediately?
3. What other possible conditions could it be?
I appreciate and thank you for your time and help in advance.
What does your cardiologist say about the need for the tests to be done right away? I don't think you are going to be at peace and really know what's going on until you have the tests. Anxiety about your condition is probably not helping your condition. I would have the tests done sooner rather than later. There are several kinds of arrythmias and some are more worrisome than others. Lack of sleep and alcohol will bring them on, as you have stated. You might want to take care of those 2 lifestyle changes at least until you get a diagnosis. In addition avoid caffeine and try to identify triggers for the irregular beats. Hope some of this helps. Good luck to you.
Only a doctor can give you the best medical advice. We are just patients like yourself so we can only give advice based on personal experience. That said, from what I have learned, the biggest indication of whether something is super serious is if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath or passing out. It does not sound as though you have those symptoms but rather the more run of the mill palpitations a lot of us get. The murmur and valve issues need to be checked for sure but if your doctor didn't urge you to go immediately then you are probably OK to wait. That said, you should ask the doctor the urgency in which he thinks you should go since he has your history. I wouldn't necessarily start overly stressing about this since like you said, you can tolerate exercise pretty well but don't let this go. And if it worries you then I would fore go the exercise until you have been checked out. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my question. Your help is greatly appreciated.
My doctor didn't say anything about the urgency of the tests. All he said is that he would like them to confirm whether I had mitral valve prolapse, and if I did, how severe it is. Even though I continue to exercise regularly, I am somewhat afraid and a little reluctant to push myself too hard, as this could worsen my condition. With that being said, I will probably get those tests done soon to bring clarity to my situation. I will keep you all posted on the results.
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