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Heart Palpitations (Abnormal Awareness)
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Heart Palpitations (Abnormal Awareness)

I am male 41 years of age, 6'2" 280 lbs. In good health and currently eating well and exercising along with my wife. No family history of heart issues other than some high blood pressure. My cholesterol was a little off and I was at one time considered pre-diabetic, so I have been taking Niacin for a few years and Red Rice Yeast Extract recently, but not really exercising or eating well (not horribly either) until an episode a month ago which I will discuss further down if you would be so kind to read this entire post. My doctor prescribed Prilosec at that time and I've lost nearly 10 lbs in the past month.

Last Friday I felt my heart go flip-flop while sitting at my desk at home after work, normal rhythm followed by adrenaline took over. I didn't feel well for a couple of hours, so I saw my doctor Monday and he scheduled me for a 30 days heart monitor in a couple weeks time. For the past 3 days, after exercising after my appointment on Monday, I have been experiencing an abnormal awareness of my heart during my waking hours since Wednesday morning. I told my doctor and I was supposed to see him today, but I ended up in the ER instead when I started feeling bad at work and got light headed, felt a warmth in my chest, and felt something bad could happen, so I went to the ER. EKG and blood work looked fine, and I was discharged after a few hours and I am now wearing a 24 hour monitor.

The palpitations started Wednesday after a Tuesday night where I felt an agitated electric feeling inside that was worse as I woke near midnight. I didn't sleep well and the next morning at work I could feel a fuzzy beating in my chest all day. I am able to lay down and sleep at night, feel well in the morning, but by about 9:30 am on Thursday and Friday the same thing - a distracting feeling of my heart beating fuzzily, until the episode I describe above. I am feeling them now as I type this. I stopped my Niacin and Prilosec Wednesday morning as I read that they could cause palpitations and am approaching 3 days without them (I notified my doctor)

I really haven't had any issues of note except for 5 months ago, due to issues my wife has with depression, she tried MJ and could feel intimate feelings for the first time in a long time, so I tried it and did that once a week after that on the weekend. In December I ended up in the ER with tachycardia from this (140 beats a minute). I felt terribly ashamed, but everything was fine and a few weeks later I tried a small puff and decided it wasn't for me after getting uncontrollable shivering. The next day I ended up in ER again after work as I felt some pain in my left side, got tachycardia (120 BPM), and tight chest/trouble breathing. After a stress test the next day I was given a clean bill of health.

I started to exercise again for the first time in about a year. The first time running after this episode, my heart went to 120 bpm for 2 hours. I figured it was due to THC in my tissue being burnt off or just plain bad health. After this I was able to work myself up to 30 minutes of fast walking with some running interspersed.

I don't know if exercise, medicine, latent THC after 40 days (it was supposedly very potent and smelly), anxiety, or an underlying problem is driving these palpitations, but I am both embarrassed and scared that I might have hurt myself permanently over something so stupid.

I would greatly appreciate any insight into my abnormal awareness of my heartbeat. I can't concentrate well at work and obviously anxiety is a factor.

4 Comments Post a Comment
Hi there,

Well Palpitations of flip flops as you describe them can be caused by many different things going on in your heart. Most commonly premature ventricular contractions (PVC) and premature atrial contractions (PAC) both of which are perfectly normal and benign and a structurally normal heart. Everyone gets these palpitations are one point or another or on a regular basis. They are just your heart contracting prematurely either originating in the atrium or ventricle. So what you are feeling is one "extra" beat fallowed by a slightly longer pause, and than another stronger beat. AGAIN, this is not dangerous and happens to everyone. Some people are aware of them like yourself, and others are not. That doesn't change their benign status at all.

The more you think about these palpitations the more you will stress about them. When I first started being aware of mine I drove myself insane thinking I am going to drop dead at any second which is simply not the case. I later realized I've had them since the age of 16 but at that point didn't differentiate them from any other "strong" heart beat.

It's good that you are following up with your cardiologist in order to investigate them. A holter is a standard test. If you really want to make sure your fine and put your head at ease you can also get an echo, and a stress test, but after that when the doctor tells you that you're fine just take his word on it and don't think about it anymore of you'll just stress yourself to the point of actually giving yourself heart problems haha.

As far as your exercising goes. I would recommend you take it ease at first, and keep your heart rate around 115-125 for the first month or two. That way you're doing safe heart healthy cardio, and than by that time you should have all your testing done and the doctor can tell you if you can push further or not. Hope this helps.
A HR of 140 would not be considered a high HR for a person your age if you are exercising, including walking up a moderate hill, or a couple flights of stairs, and not running in either case.

You say you are still at 280 pounds.  A slow reduction to 200 pounds would bring great improvements in hour health.  I go about 240 myself and am still tying, but not very hard, to drop at least 20 pounds.  I am 6' 6" (well maybe 5" as age is making me shrink).  

Do every thing in moderation, including weight loss and level of exercise, build up slowly and you'll get great results.

I just did a Nuclear Stress Test and Echocardiogram myself and will be wearing a 30 day monitor.   I suffer from Atrial Fibrillation and age.  For me the heart testing is an in depth follow up, I have a long history of heart problems and a long term cardiologist relationship.  My cardiologist didn't say anything to me about dropping 20 pounds, but I know that will help reduce my feeling of fatigue, the complaint that got me back on the "test bench".

Take care of yourself and your hear will take care of you.
Thanks for the support. I feel better today. Did some floor stretching this morning. Hadn't stretched in forever. I guess I need to take it more easy exercising...

My nuclear stress test looked fine back in early January. I am pretty sure that I am a head case at this point.

Weighed 275 this morning. I am going to try to get some weight off this frame and see what happens!

Best of luck to both of you with your issues.
Had a decent day. Sometimes I feel something and I get a cold feeling in my stomach and my heart rate picks up.. Finished my 24 hr monitor this afternoon, so I will turn it in Monday.

I am just not sure I can focus enough to work without freaking myself out. I didn't feel my heart beating as much today, but still some moments of ugh... here I go again.
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