Heart feels like it skipping a beat, follow by loss of breath and dizzyness
I am a 28 year old male. 6' tall, 220 lbs. Non smoker, but I do chew tobacco. I also drink about a six pack of beer daily. Diagnosed with a heart murmur in childhood, and had hernia surgery 2 years ago.
For the last few months, I have been having these "skipped" heartbeats. It feels like my heart is stopping for a split second and then starting again with a sudden thud. When this happens, I lose my breath for a split second and then get dizzy for about 30 seconds. Sometimes my arms/legs fall asleep and go numb when I am sitting at my computer or laying down. I am also getting a bloody nose every day.
I have made a doctor's appointment for next week, but in the last few days these skipped beats have increased to about 20 per day and they appear to be getting stronger with each day.
Yesterday, I had 3 in a row while I was laying down trying to sleep which almost scared me into the ER, but then the skipped beats stopped for the rest of the night.
I have been doing some research and believe it may be PVC. I will be seeing the doctor next week, but don't want them to chalk it up to anxiety.
Any ideas/possible diagnoses would be appreciated so I can review them with the doctor.
Hi there. Well, first and foremost, don't let the term PVCs freak you out. We all have them. In fact, everyone has them at some point. A lot of people never feel them. My concern for you is that you are having other symptoms. There may be something going on with you that is causing them to happen, but in and of themselves, they are not to worry about. I would see a doctor to make sure your heart is structurally normal due to the fact that you used to (and may still) have a murmur. I am also concerned about your chewing tobacco and drinking that amount. Whenever most of us drink, we get a lot of PVCs. Your body may be trying to tell you something, what do you think???? Might be time to get a check up and cut back on the beer a bit. Good luck to you and we are here if you're scared.
Okay, I went to the doctor and they did an EKG, blood test/urine test. I haven't gotten the results back on the blood/urine, although they did tell me the EKG was fine.
Monday I am going in to be put on a 24 holter monitor. And then the following Tuesday I have a follow up appointment with the doctor.
The skipped beats seem to be staying pretty steady, and the fatigue is almost unbearable at certain times. This is totally ruining my quality of life. I can't do anything except focus on these skipped beats and tightness in my chest - it's almost like it has total control over my mind and I can't concentrate on anything else.
I will keep you posted and let everyone know how it goes.
Hi Jason, I also went to the cardiologist doctor yesterday for pvc's and the EKG was fine, they did not do the blood/urine test, I will go again for a 24 h holter on Thursday. The doctor told me to buy Magnesium 250 mil pills also and Omega 3 pills, he did not feel any pvc's on me but told me they were benign. the skipped beats come and go, sometimes I don't feel them for hours and then I would get some for maybe half an hour, I do not feel the fatigue but the tightness and pressure in my chest I do feel it sometimes.
The first time I got these pvc's (the 4th of July) I got really depressed and was always thinking about it but this forum made me realize that they were benign and the more I thought about them, the more they ruined my life so now I just don't pay attention to them and if I feel them I don't mind them.
Well I gotta go get ready for church, I'll pray for you tonight.
God bless you.
Hi, i'am kay. I to have alot of pvc's. I can really understand you freaking out over them, as the first time I expierenced them i did to! I'm like what the heck is going on with me. But as you i went and saw the doc. and he ran all the test including a stress test that came back ok. I had a 24hr. holter which said i had over 12,500 pvc's. You don't think that scared me. it did, anyway, I go to see a cardiologist specialist called an EP. on Sept.8th. I will keep in touch after the apt. and let you know what the doc finds out. By the way i also get weak ,not all the time though.Thank god it's an awful feeling, you're not alone. Write antime you're scared . I hope we can take you're mind off things even if it is only a brief time. care, don't worry it only makes it worse. hansonkay
I know they feel horrible. It takes a long time to come to terms and get used to them, for some people. I've had 31 years to do it and after a period where they are dormant, when they come back it is like starting all over again. Yes, Mg and Fish Oil are great!
Everyone is offering very good advice and comments!! I would like to add that part of your symptoms are due to the anxiety caused by feeling these things. When you feel the "skipped beat" you actually hold your breath for a second out of fear. The dizziness is often a result of the immediate adrenaline surge that accompanies the fear (completely uncontrollable biological response to fear) and the fatigue that follows is often the "downer" that accompanies such an adrenaline rush.
Have you ever been envigorated by something frightening or exciting? A roller coaster, stressful presentation or performance etc? After the excitement you crash...well, in many ways this is the same.
Be aware that your heart is not actually skipping a beat. It is experiencing an EXTRA beat!!! What happens is that your atria or ventricles beat a hair too early and your heart has to pause for a second to "refill" with blood. This is kind of a dumb analogy, but you know when you flush the toilet and then go to flush it again too soon and it has no flush power? Your heart, like the toilet, has to take a moment to refill with liquid in order to get a nice powerful "flush" :-) (Loved that analogy didn't you????)
PVC's, in and of themselves, are not harmful and are not harbingers of more dangerous arrhythmias. Continue with your testing and above all, try (and this is THE HARDEST PART) to find a way to relax a bit as you start to notice these things. It is the "best" treatment possible.
Great comments from everyone all I can do is back up Rita's comments about alcohol and PVC's. For me there is almost a direct correlation between alcohol and PVC's.
As an example, last Thursday night, I broke my drink rules had too much and ended up with a day off work with PVC's. Two beats miss - two beats miss - 8 beats miss .etc.
I've not had a drink since and have got back to regular beats again with today no PVC.
We are all different and I do like a drink so for me what works is the rule of three - never have more than three drinks in anyone day and then leave a gap of three days before the next drink. If I keep to this I can mostly avoid triggering PVC's from alcohol and still have a few drinks.
Try to find what works for you.
good luck dave
Thanks for all the replies. I did get the magnesium 250 and started taking it today. Tommorow I will locate some omega 3. :)
My holter monitor is now thursday instead of today, but oh well, that's just a couple days away. I've been doing some more reading in the meantime.
What is the main difference between arrhythmias and PVCs? They seem to have the same symptoms from what I've read, only one is benign and one requires surgery to fix. Could years of drinking given me arrhythmia as opposed to just PVCs?
Speaking of alcohol, when I drink I find that I relax more and the weird heartbeats go away (as opposed to increase) or maybe I just pay less attention to them. Sadly, I've been drinking pretty heavily lately because it's the only relief I can get from this...
I've also been paying more attention to when these skipped beats happen, but the only thing I've noticed so far is that they tend to happen *most* after I eat. And because of this I'm eating a lot less too and feeling hungry most of the time. Heh.
Hey, my holter monitor is also on Thrusday, please keep us posted and I'll do the same. About the alcohol thingy, I have only once gotten drunk when I was about 18 years old and never after that, I don't drink or smoke but I still got these awful pvc's but now I don't let them run/ruin my life, if I feel them I just don't pay attention to them. I guess I've been reading too much of RNRita.
hope this helps!
Okay, quick update. I did the 24 holter monitor and returned it this morning. Yesterday while I was wearing it, I only had a few weak skipped beats.
I did drink last night while wearing the monitor just so I could see if it really does decrease the skipped beats or it's just in my mind. I'll ask my doc next week. Getting drunk for science, heh it's what I gotta do. :)
Of course, now that today I am not wearing the monitor anymore, my heart feels like it skipping a beat twice an hour, I just had the strongest chain of skipped beats of my life about 30 minutes ago.
My follow up appointment with my doc is Tuesday, and they'll be going over my blood/urine results and my holter results.
Yeah I think your having regular harmless PVC's. I have pvc and its exactly as you describe, a pause in the heart beat, and then a thud. for some reason I have never noticed the "extra" beat, the pause and thud is all I notice. By "lose your breath" do you mean you get suddenly scared during a pvc? also, the dizzyness thing I dont have during PVC, I usually get dizzy when i get anxiety during pvc.
I used to have pvc every night during sleep and it was extremely noticeable, there was a night where I had the worst sleep for 2 days straight and I ended up having like 4 hours of sleep total for those 2 days because of the stupid annoying pvc, but after reading these forums and seeing the doctor (checked my ekg, ultrasound,multiple blood test and holter came back all normal) my pvc's per day went down dramatically and I have never had a pvc during sleep anymore. some days I have 0 pvcs at all.
I really thing Pvcs have something to do with anxiety and stress as well. Thats all I have to say, GL with your blood/urine and holter results.
Had my follow up appointment today. My blood test and urine test came back fine. So, they ruled out some stuff like magnesium levels and thyroid problems.
They still have to read my holter results this week and they are going to call me. Right now, the doc thinks it's job-related anxiety (I'm self employed and deal with clients 24/7 so I am technically stressed and anxious most of the time) but I'm not so sure I like this doctor. I've seen him a few times now, and I don't think he's too confident (he's really young, seems nervous, and doesn't really listen) and told me pencilin was bad? I had an infected wisdom tooth so I was taking penicilin when I saw him.
I asked him about PVCs and he said PVCs can sometimes be more than benign, but then brushed it off.
Ah well. I'll just wait for the holter results I guess and go from there. Might have to seek a second opinion. Putting my insurance through the ringer here.
I'm new here. Everything that dolfnlur said is exactly what I was going to tell you.
Also I hear ya about the drinking part. Like Greendave said mine are worse
the day after I drink and also has gotten me up at 2am and 4am w/ major
heart racing. I have hardly any problems when I don't drink beer. I also find
a direct correlation between the heart racing and skipped beats and drinking
beer. Don't listen if you'/re being blown off for anxiety. You know your body
better than anyone else. When I first read your very first post, the first thing
that came to mind was you had a "palpitation". Palpitations are scary
and it's after them you can acquire anxiety becuase they are very scary and being scared (more adrenaline) makes the palpitations worse. Scared equals adrenaline, more adrenaline equals more scared , then your fear consumes you, the unknown
sets in, it's a cycle. I too feel much better when I drink, like you, either nothing
is happening with my heart or I'm just not paying attention. I feel better
when I'm drinking, no anxiety, no heart issues, it's the day after all hell
breaks loose. I can relate to Greendave, think he's onto something. I
experience the same thing. Even if they don't find anything maybe
your heart will settle down and you won't be so anxious. Try drinking lots of
water w/ the beer , that seems to help me me. Might have to do w/
being dehydrated after drinking. Did you have your potassium levels checked?
After drinking beer, try drinking water w/ baking soda (kind of a rehydration drink) in it before you
go to bed or upon waking. I know it will taste gross but if it helps
taste won't matter.
Remember the heart issues come first, second comes anxiety.
Stress can cause the heart to do funny things but you're doing all the right
things, tests, etc. . . . .as far as this doc who "in your gut" is not listening.
Well, your heart doesn't lie, neither does your gut, I would blow him
off and get a second opinion.
Even if they don't find anything wrong, you have the right to be taken serious.
Your fear is valid.
Hang in there.
My doctor called me today with my holter monitor results.
They did detect some PVCs, and he was also concerned that my heart rate jumped to 159 BPM at one point. I wasn't doing anything that day that should have caused such an elevated rate. The lowest rate the monitor recorded was 49 BPM. Besides the 159 BPM incident, he said overall it was pretty normal and stable so that gives me some hope.
Just catching up on where the threads have got to. You mentioned an infected wisdom tooth which interest me as I have had an infected tooth removed recently and have had far fewer PVCs - in fact far far fewer.
Is your infection cleared now and have you noticed any difference?
Hi Jason, my take on this is a little different, because my experience has been a little different from most people. Anyway, I am not a fan of the anxiety explanation. Here's why. Whenever I've had the symptoms you've described, the thump and dizzyness you describe, it always happened first and the anxiety followed, not the other way around. I've experienced anxiety. I know what that feels like. I do agree that arrhythmia can cause anxiety. However, with some of my episodes, I wasn't even aware my heart was arrhythmic before I got dizzy and/or passed out. So, I think you can determine for yourself how much of it is anxiety and how much is something just not normal with your heart. In my experience, when you worry about the heart and you don't get satisfactory answers, you just keep worrying and that isn't healthy. The jump to 159 out of the blue and the dizzyness you describe would concern me, and if I were you I would ask for an echocardiogram to check for any structural abnormalities of the heart. As far as alcohol goes, yeah, it's a tricky business. Some are affected by it more than others. A sixer a day...everyday...yeah, you're pushing it. I have read about cardiomyopathy caused by excessive alcohol usage (on the ever so reliable Internet) but I've got friends who drink even more than you and seem to be healthy,so go figure! Anyway, you're young and it's more likely than not that even if you have done some damage to your heart, it's minimal and can be treated. Or the alcohol may have nothing to do with it. I have never been a big drinker and I have cardiomyopathy due to the luck of the draw. What can I say, it's a **** shoot. Good luck! God bless!
Do you think magnesium supplements are good for people who aren't deficient in magnesium. I mean, I have VT and cardiomyopathy and my blood work shows normal mag levels. I'm still not sure if I should take supplements and if so, which kind of magnesium, there are so many different forms and I've read that some don't work as well as others. I intend to discuss this with my EP, but in the meantime, I'm just curious.
Hope you found some peace of mind w/ all the tests. If not, I have
this recipe for you and greendave to drink after you drink beer.
1 qt H20
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 - 4 tbsp sugar
Mix this, have you by your bedside when you wake up after drinking
and it tastes sweet, drink it when you sit up.
It's a Rehydration drink, which helps w/ dehydration from hours
after drinking alcohol. It helps me, also what helped me w/ heart racing after
drinking was switching to a calcium channel blocker, I was on toprol XL,
NOT anymore, I take 180mg SR of verapamil 1 x a day and my heart
doesn't race all day anymore nor does it race when I drink.
Not a suggestion, just something that worked for me.
Those beta blockers can cause all kinds of strange things, especially
orthostatic hypotension (dizziness, lightheadedness, heart-racing) upon
standing or sitting from a laying position.
hope this helps.
btw, I'm not disputing your heart diagnosis'. this just helps me.
I might have a legitimate heart problem but don't know
until I see the cardiologist until the 23 of this month to find out.
Just thought these hints would be helpful. Just something that worked
for me, doesn't mean it works for everyone.
I know I said this before but put an ice cold wash cloth on your chest
area when you get heart racing spells, (helps w/ the adrenalin, autonomic
nervous system) also breathe through that paper bag, that gets my
heart rate down somewhat when I breathe through it.
thinking of you
a calcium channel blockers
if u must have a drink or 2 or 3 or 10
a good thing to try is activated charcoal tabs while u drink and it help with the toxic load on the body while drinking sensibly of course also as heartracer said drinking water in between helps as well..............alcohol like caffeine is just a trigger to those who are prone in the first place
As of now, I quit drinking to see if it would help ease some of the PVCs. After about 7 days with not a drop of alcohol in my system and I'm still getting the PVCs. There is no noticeable difference either way (they are still as persistant as before), so I don't think alcohol is my trigger.
I have to go back to the doc and they want to treat me for anxiety but I might request some more tests first. I really don't think this is anxiety.
Absolutely! My labs are always perfect, but I know when I need supplements. I am so in tuned with my body, which is not always a good thing, as we all can attest to. I take a Cal/Mg supplement. I just make sure it is a chelated one. I take 1-2 tabs a day. It will never hurt you. It is like taking a multi-vitamin, but concentrating on the one you really need. AND, like I said, I am also taking Fish Oil, 2000 units per day. I haven't had PVCs in weeks. Maybe one a day. I don't know if this is the reason, but I'm keeping it up anyway.
Had my final doc appointment. After numerous tests, they said my heart was structurally fine and the PVCs were most likely stress and/or alcohol related, so they refered me to a behavior specialist.
So, I met with the behavior specialist for a couple hours and she thinks I'm just depressed and suffer from social anxiety (Agoraphobia). She actually really impressed me with how much she was able to tell me about myself in those 2 hours before I even opened up to her.
They gave me prozac. So, I'll see how it goes from here.
Wow Jason! Sounds like eveything is okay. I had a holter test done about 5 years ago, but I dont remember the test. I am actually considering another one b/c I have been feeling fatigue and shortness of breath. One thing I have noticed is that when lying down my hear rate will be around 55bpm and up. I dont if that has something to do with it or if it is stress causing it.
Something you may want to consider after the Holter is an Event Monitor, also known as a King of Hearts monitor. It's different from the Holter in that it only has two leads and they usually give it to you for a couple of weeks instead of 24/48 hours. It comes with a little beeper like device that you activate whenever you're having an episode, and then you transmit the data to the docs via telephone line every day. You can take the leads off to shower, it's a pretty simple device.
I dipped skoal and quit several years ago and up until recently I'd have a cigar in the evening as well as maybe two beers daily. Other than that, I'm a healthy, relatively fit 43 year old male who has been working out 4-5 days a week my entire adult life. I'm sure ditching the chew and beet is not a welcome thought but you will find your PVC's and other heart irregularities will decrease if you eliminate those two items. Also, one thing I haven't seen mentioned here is caffeine and energy drinks. Those have a huge impact, even as little as one or two cups a day can affect you. Also, as some have mentioned here, the beer or caffeine may not affect you at the moment you take them, but they often do afterward and it can act cumulatively over time. (Trust me, I tried to rationalize for a while how those weren't affecting me).
I have been diagnosed with VT (Ventricular Tachycardia) which was written off as anxiety for years. In the past four months I have had three RF Ablations - none of which entirely succesful, and I'm on metroprolol. PVC's come and go with me but eliminating caffeine entirely (including diet soda, iced tea & chocolate), the daily cigar and beer have helped. In my case, the PVC's are usually a precursor to VT.
As many have said here, don't let them write it off to anxiety and a 24 hour Holter may not show the whole picture. Also, don't be mislead by an EKG. EKG's are great if you're in your particular arrythmia at the time you're doing the EKG but they're fairly useless if you're not. I could take an EKG at this very moment and it would say everything is normal. I have had multiple daily EKG's before and after my ablations and the EKG's were normal. If you go to a Primary Care physician and they give you an EKG and you don't happen to have palps at the moment, then it's not telling you much. Many arrythmias, especially in younger folks, are due to electrical imbalances in the heart and not to "plumbing" (damaged heart) issues. An EKG will tell you if you're in an arrythmia or if you have a damaged heart, but not if you have a healthy heart that has a electrical imbalance.
RN, thanks for your advice throughout this thread. Interesting exchange regading the supplements. On my hospital visits occasionally I'd be low on mag myself. One thing I have done is switched to gatorade when I work out, to keep up with the electrolytes. I have found that helps. Bionic, sorry to hear about your cardiomyopathy. Is it ARVD?
i have just been researching some symptoms of mine and stumbled across the connection betwee sleep apnea and heart palpitations or racing...thought i'd mention it to you because it seems a less-considered source of heart irregularities, and can trigger irregular heartbeat. it is an interruption of sleep that is easily treated so check it out in case this may be a hidden factor in addition to the stress, etc.
I agree with you. I was told anxiety and they kept telling me caffeinism, heart mass, and a little of everything. Kind of lost alot of faith in the NEW doctor. Anyway, I ended up having Lyme Disease and it causes symptoms as shes talking about. A titer does not work if they offer that test. You need the full Lyme panel and then it's a clinical diagnosis. You don't have to have a bite either or a rash. All of these doctor made up criteria are not always so. It is second only to HIV. Many Many people are very ill because the docs delay daignosis and treatment so then, they get many long term patients. Just a thought. They kept telling me I didn't have it. I would be dead if it weren't for Sally Jesse diagnosing her friend on television who also needed help.
I too have these skipped beats. I went to my cardiologist a little over a year ago with a fast heart beat, from what I read on the computer it was all anxiety and that is pretty much what the doctor told me. I also had to wear a holster for a week and it came back that I have this skipped beats. He gave me the medication topril to slow my heart rate down but them weened me off of it. To make a long story short, I started to feel better but about a month and a half ago I started feeling these beats even more. I went to my cardiologist the other day and explained to him what was happening again and he put me back on a monitor for two weeks and after the two weeks he wants me to start the topril again. I also have to go back for an echo and he is also sending me for blood work. I guess I will know more when I see him again in 6 weeks but in the mean time I very scared. I have two young kids and I don't want anything to happen to me. Can someone shed some light on this. Thanks.
Did the cardiologist say you have ectopics (pacs or pvcs) or are you having sinus pauses or some sort of block? In general if you have ectopics and your heart is healthy then there is nothing to be concerned over. Supposedly everyone gets them though I don't know that they get them everyday but most don't ever feel them. In general, unless you have heart disease, are experiencing more the 20,000 of them a day, they come in runs lasting longer than 30 seconds, or you are experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, or are passing out it is likely the most that they will do will give you the bp meds to try and regulate your beat. Then it is up to us to try and find and eliminate our triggers. Stomach issues is a big one, carbohydrates and gas forming foods and stress is the other big one so any stress or anxiety you have in your life if addressed should help the situation. Other than that it is a matter of trying to not let them run your life. Easier said than done sometimes but in general they are not a threat to the health of your heart so it is likely the doctor is running the tests just to be sure your heart is healthy. If you get a clean bill of health you should have nothing to worry about in being their for your kids.
That said, if you are having blocks or pauses that is another story and would be treated differently depending on the severity of your condition and how severe your symptoms are. The bottom line the base for treatment of heart issues mostly comes down to severity of symptoms and if they are disrupting your life. If you are able to function quite well despite the odd feelings there is likely nothing you need to do except try and keep yourself and your heart as healthy as possible. This all said, suspect you are experiencing run of the mill ectopics of some sort but do get back to us when you tests are complete and let us know what you find out and how you are doing. But hang in there. Your heart is very resilient and can keep on ticking through many issues so regardless I think your kids will have their mother no problem. Take care.
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