PACs, PVCs, Tachycardia - possibly how to cure them
Most of you know me, I've been suffering from ectopic beats and sinus tachycardia for a couple of years now.
In my struggles to reduce the PACs and sinus tachycardia (PVCs have never been much of an issue in my case, even though some of my PACs feels like PVCs), it seems I have ignored how much of importance both stress, proper nutrition and exercise are.
First thing first, the stress. It's a bit strange, really. I've discovered that you don't necessarily have to feel stressed to be stressed. I had one week vacation now. And I didn't feel a single PAC. Not even before sleep, when they usually appear in large numbers. It seems, if you remove the underlying stress factor, they seem to go away, at least after some time.
Second, I know the last monts, my diet haven't been the best, with too many meals at McDonalds and unfortunately some chocolate now and then. It has caused some tachycardia events, and they tend to appear 30 minutes to one hour after eating. Some time ago, I stopped eating sugar and easy digestable carbs (like white bread) and the tachycardia events were gone. My heart rate got more stable, with less fluctuations. It seems the explaination is, when you eat sugar and white bread, your blood sugar levels increase, and the body responds by producing great amounts of insuline, which, again, makes the blood sugar levels drop. This is considered "dangerous" by the body, which responds by releasing adrenaline to increase blood sugar. And you get tachycardia.
Dark bread, carrots, white meat and fish is excellent. Trust me.
And make sure you get enough exercise. No need to go to the gym 5 times a week, it's obviously enough to go for a walk 30 minutes to 1 hour 3-5 times a week. Try to climb some hills, and/or jog a 2-300 meters now and then. It's a great stress remover.
I suggest that everyone who suffer from PACs/PVCs and other "light" arrhythmias give this some thought. It may actually work!
Good to read you are able to drop stress while on vacation... I don't think I had that ability, I'm retired now, so on "vacation" full time, more time to make doctor appointments :(
Our more progressive types in political offices are doing their best to prescribe diets for Americans, with the state of California leading the way. They are trying (or did they already succeed, forget, I don't live in that state) to make a McDonald Happy Meal illegal. They are also trying to make carrots or the like the standard side order for a "happy meal" (same rules would apply to other fast food chains) with "French Fries" being a special order. That noted, the USA attempt to establish government control over medical care has resulted in the Federal Government giving McDonalds a waver (I think time limit) from the latest requirement on employers.... Go figure.
Keep healthy, you will live a lot longer I'm sure, but happier? Not sure.
Hi, it was great to read your post.
To be honest, ive had quite a downhill experience with PVC's for 2 years now. I woke up one day, a night after drinking heavily, and felt my first PVC...then another...and then another...and then the next thing I knew i was having up tp 10000 PVC's a day, and still am.
I switched my life style around majorly at that moment.
Quit smoking, drinking, fast foods, up'td my workout routine, tried diffferent heart meds, natural meds, went on a stress free vacation numerous times, went from a Police Officer to working self employed from home, you name it! I did it! And I guess the big question still looms in the air...why do I still have these PVC's?
I went from a dozen ER visits, numerous holters, echo's, ekg's, tilt, ect..ect...to 3 different Cardiologists who all in the end thought I was half crazy, too nothing in this world that they could do to help! Well I can't just lay here, symptomatic like you would never beleive, and just let these things rule my life! So i was finally given a shot at one of the best EP's (from what people have said) in my city (Edmonton, Canada)...and was given not 1, but 2 ablations, which both were failures (and mixed complications after also..).
So have I let my life slide back to where it started from?, no....but I'm extremely upset, frustrated and angry that I feel like I gave up my entire life, dreams and ambition to overcome or at least reduce these PVC's and have failed misserably. I'm stuck in a hole and I'm not sure how to get out! At points in this journey I have had happy times, sometimes so happy that I have had 5 minutes without a PVC....ooooohh what It would feel to have 20 seconds without one. Ive beaten myself down so much that I feel despressed, my anxiety levels have raised, and I question a question that I would never ever have questioned before...if you get what I mean. I love my kids, my family more than anything, but what good am i if all I do is get beat up daily with these PVC's. I know that there are many people battling many hard obstacles in their life, and maybe I just need a little inspiration to keep going.
I guess when your just fed up, been to the internet,doctors,specialists, to one side of the earth and came back to the same exact spot years later you start to question everything that just happened. What happened??? What will happen??? How can i get a grip on these PVC's??? ANY ADVICE, ANY JOURNEY"S YOU CAN SHARE, ANYTHING!! PLZ DO!!! .....in the end, How can I become the man I need to be and somewhere inside...am???
First, I assume you have ruled out structural heart disease during all the tests you have done.
Second: While PACs as far as I know almost always are triggered by excess adrenaline or stimulants, PVCs, as I understand, can sometimes be caused by something else. You don't say anything about where they origin, multiple spots or just one, which is info you easily can get from your cardiologist(s). Don't misunderstand, they can also easily be triggered by adrenaline, of course, and it can be a likely explaination.
When do your PVCs worsen? During rest (low heart rate) or during activity (high heart rate)?
To me, it seems your heart is very irritated from your anxiety and stress, and I really doubt that heavy drinking (the one day) caused any structural heart changes. It may seem you got one, got aware of it, and got more, and so on. Trust me when I'm saying: There are no more significant trigger for PACs and PVCs than worrying about them.
I think you need to learn methods to ignore your PVCs. Only by losing attention on them, you will make them go away more or less. And the process will be long. They will increase and decrease.
Are you on medications like beta blockers? If not, you can ask your doctor for a small dosage just to try. Anxiety meds can also be worth a try, but you need to ask a doctor these questions.
Try to think like this:
1. Have the PVCs caused me any harm except feeling annoying?
2. If they haven't - is it likely they will?
They will not. All they do is to be annoying. And I think they are more frequent and more annoying because you focus on them so much.
Even people with A-fib learn to live with it, after a couple of years. I think, with time, you will lose attention to them and they will reduce. But I think you could use some help in the process.
I echo what is_something_wrong says, I've experienced this both personally and through feedback in life and on the boards.
Kane, I've hit bottom with the PVCs myself. I know how you feel. See my profile pic? That's me and my son, and this was during one of my worst episodes of PVCs back in 2009. Looking at the pic would you ever know it?
My doctor's pat answer was always there's not much that can be done for benign PVCs. I totally get that. I understand it well. Then one day I had a talk with my doc that wasn't "clinical". I explained to him how these made me feel inside and how it was affecting my life. Wow, his reaction was immedaite and more urgent thant the PVCs! We addressed that as a seperate issue. It was a personal journey for sure. The PVCs still come and go. One thing I firmly beleive is that sadness/depression will make them worse. There's no doubt in my mind, and I've read study after study that supports it. It's a feedback loop. You can stop feedback loops though, just takes some a good strategy and you have to be persistent. Talk to your doctor.
Every few years, I suddenly have bouts of close to 5000 unifocal PVCs per day, and they are always accompanied by panic attacks. To tell the truth, I cannot be sure which is the chicken and which the egg here, but the end result is the same. My panic and anxiety grow worse at the same time I become more and more aware of the ectopic beats, which in their turn become more frequent.
So, I fool around for a couple of months, trying to will myself out of this state, and then finally take the prescription I was given years ago for just this situation. It's Zoloft, the SSRI my shrink and I have found to work the best for me.
Within a week, the panic begins to quiet down, and by three weeks--get this!--the sound of the pvcs, and my awareness of them, fades. And as that happens--who could have guessed--the actual frequency of the ectopic beats diminishes to virtually nothing. On the advice of my shrink, I stay on the Zoloft for a number of months. He likens it to giving a hyperactive car alarm a chance to cool off and get re-set.
If you're like many of us, including me, the thought of needing psych meds is distasteful. But I can assure you that there are situations with PVCs when this kind of medication is a blessing and it gives you your life back.
Thanks for the reply, and everyone else who had a share in the forum. I know I didnt explain much about my PVC's in the first article, but from what I know they are Unifocal PVC's that origin from my RV...as for when they are triggered, there constantly going, so rest or none...low HR, high HR...there here all the time. The awareness of them is obviously there, but Ive tried multiple exercises just trying to not think of them and it never seems to work. The closest thing I get to freedom is when I work out, there not as easily to notice then..but I cant work out 24/7...lol.As medication, The first doc I seen thought I was crazy so he started me on Paxil, Clonazepam....which Im still on...I guess It helps with the anxiety a bit..Ive tried to ween myself off of them before but I get these insane Zap feelings, and insomnia added on my insomnia already. Ive tried multiple beta blockers, and all..even at low doses almost drop me to the floor. They seem to affect my blood pressure, which seems to be normal without them. Well I hope I can keep a straight mind today, and try to keep focus on the fact I will be ok. And I see that you (is something wrong) suffer from PAC's alot? I have never felt a PAC before, but feel like Ive been getting some possibly. It feels like a little flutter, from a different part of the heart...any ideas what this could be? Thanks
If you're not feeling MUCH calmer on Paxil, well, there's a medical maxim: If it's not working, it's either the wrong dose or the wrong drug. People who are anxious need calming meds. To get the best one for me, my shrink had to try at least four. Let me see: There was Celexa, which was very, very calming, so much so that I had trouble getting any work done. I gained significant weight on it, probably because I was half asleep most of the time. Then there was Lexapro, basically a new generation of Celexa, but it was different: it made me more twitchy--and it made chocolate taste like chalk to me. Definitely not the right one. Then there was Paxil, which made me really anxious, and the one that worked best was/is a smallish dose of Zoloft.
Clonazepam is a nice adjunct, I find. That and Lorazepam are particularly useful in getting you over the hump of the several weeks it will take for the SSRI to reach max effectiveness. And, by the way, it's always best to taper slowly--slowly--off any one of these to avoid the 'brain zaps' and other evil effects.
In your situation, I'd go back to my prescribing doc (in my case he's a psychiatrist with a special interest in pharmacology) and ask him for something more sedating, since you still feel pretty worked up. You shouldn't. There's effective stuff out there that will dial things down quite well without turning you into a zombie.
I think eating more fat has helped to calm down my pvc's,
as i'm one of those people who can eat as much sugar/carbs and not get fat.
I think my body doesn't change enough of the sugar into fat,
so when I don't supply my diet with fat I risk getting too low levels of fat inside my body and probably in and around the heart as well.
In my case, I feel like my body reacts much better to animal fats than the so called healthy vegetable oils.
I use duckfat (goosefat is good too).
It's better to learn to let go of the fear without having to be dependent on psychiatric drugs,
but for some people the psychiatric drugs are probably godsends.
Other Triggers for me are:
- too much protein
- too much carbs
- stomach gas
- sleeping on the belly (causes chronic tension in ribcage, which in turn causes increase in pvc's)
- inactivity (causes indigestion, which in turn: increase in pvc's)
I hate the pvcs. I have over 4,000 daily (recorded on a good day) and the only thing I can do when i am freaking out is play my guitar. Somehow holding the guitar close and strumming a good (rythm) I cant feel my heart messing up because of the vibration of the guitar. I know it sounds crazy, but maybe you can learn guitar. Too bad I cant play it 24/7! Believe me, on bad days my fingers are KILLING ME! :)
You can't differ a PAC from a PVC based on the sensation, if you're not extremely overfocused on your heart rhythm. Some people say PACs feel less bothersome, but I don't think mine does, as some of them tend to fall pretty close to the preceding beat, and (getting technical here) the atrial contraction appears when the valves between atrias and ventricles are shut, causing a nasty backfire of blood that is really uncomfortable.
Anyway: Beta blockers work for some people, but they tend to slow the heart rate, making PVCs more likely. If you are really bothered by them, and they affect your life quality greatly (as seems to be the case for you), you could ask your cardiologist to try more aggressive medications (antiarrhythmics) but you should know those drugs can have somewhat strong side effects. It's something you need to discuss with a cardiologist, not a general practitioner.
It's great they origin from the RV, and it's great they lessen with exercise. It's almost a hallmark sign that they are benign, if your heart is structurally OK.
Your cure for the PVCs is most likely cognitive therapy. You can learn methods of "self-hypnosis" to draw the attention away from your heart. I'm sure hiccups are more bothersome than a PVC based on bodily sensations. But PVCs origin from the heart, the most important of our organs, and they will, of course, be connected to anxiety, no one want our heart to fail. The key is accepting their benign nature, and try not to give them so much attention. Then they are more likely to decrease too.
So you'd think eating a healthy diet might help the little buggers diminish, but it seems to work opposite for me. I normally do eat a varied, healthy diet anyway, but when I get motivated to eat REALLY healthy, and cut out bad carbs completely, increase greens, etc. all I do is palpitate. Then when I reach for the chocolate, my drug of choice, or other chocolate coated treats, nothing happens, even though I think they might. I don't get it.
kane3, the frustration you feel is very relatable and indicative of all that I feel with these life changing annoyances, BUT I think in the end, accepting this PVC reality may diminish the anxiety. I am trying (between my freak out episodes) to learn to accept reality. Fighting it with "why me" and " how crappy that this is changing me" etc. results in nothing but added confusion and continued misery. So I lay there and just watch them happen and try to teach my brain not to react as I feel them. You teach your brian not to react by choosing not to have ANY thoughts about the pvc as it happens, just as you don't have a thought if you burp, or hiccup, you just let it happen. This of course is very difficult to practice, but it cab be a way out of the misery. Take care.
I've nothing helpful to add really - i'm the one freaking out in another thread! LOL! However, after reading this thread i can really see how emotion is linked up with these pvc's and pac's.
I'm kind of ok with them. i don't know exactly what i have but i'm ok with them......been told that they are normal (the ones that were captured on a monitor - although have had worse not captured). With me it's the latest 'tachycardia' that is the worry....i feel so out of control with that one - feels much more dangerous than pvc's/pac's - at least they are short lived, even if frequent.
Anyway, just wanted to say that emotion really does seem to play a part in these symptoms and may be key to sorting them out ......as well as following a low sugar diet.
I'm also freaking out on another thread, but I still hope I can help over here!! Hahah!
I'm also 25 (female) and I have about as many PVC's as you do. They are constant, and it's really frustrating that they don't go away.
I'm so sorry to see that they've had such an effect on your life!! You mentioned that you were symptomatic? What other symptoms do you have that are bothering you?? When I first started having them last year, I freaked. It was all I talked about at work, all I thought about at night. I thought I was going to keel over any minute. But I've gotten pretty good at just occupying myself. For one, I DO NOT stop to intentionally feel my own heart. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid, but I try. Sometimes I wake up at night with my had under my chest, feel a beat, and whip my hand from my heart so I don't feel it anymore. Otherwise, I just freak the heck out and it doesn't help anything!
I'm actually in nursing school, and when students are listening to hearts, I let them listen to mine so they get to hear 'abnormal beats,' but I will NOT listen to it myself. There's just no reason when it bothers me so much.
And kudos to you for changing your diet. I teater in trying to eat healthier and cut out caffeine and alcohol, but I've really struggled having any success. I will cut them out for a few weeks at a time, check my heart, still have the skipped beats just as frequently, so I hardly see the point! But really, I need to do that. Starting tomorrow this time. I swear. :)
I'm curious if any of your PVC's or PAC's have led to a-flutter? A few weeks ago I had an ablation for a-fib and it looks like I've traded it for a-flutter. It always comes on after I've had a few hrs of a few PVC/PAC's
hey nj001 it sounds like you and me have had very similar cases of freak outs because of our pvc's! I still have alot of problems with holding my hand on my chest and the taking time and freezing it at that moment to pay attention to my heart to see if its still beating and so on. I guess I have better days than some. Let me know how everything goes along with you and your pvc episodes, and congrats on nursing school!
Lindatx, i know a few of my pvc's have led (next beat after) to something, maybe a-flutter or a pac, but i have so many pvcs thats it hard to really catch it at that moment. How did your ablation go? And the telling the difference varies from person to person who have pvc's or pacs. I know that alot of people dont feel the difference, like myself, but im sure if you gave enough attention to your heart you may be able to catch or feel a pac. Although i'd advise you not to pay attention, because that, at least for me leads me to go crazy after awhile!
OMG Kane! I read your posts and your life is EXACTLY what mine WAS. I was 23 when I started getting flips and flutters and freak out. I went to a cardio and he just basically said "normal heart" quit your smoking and drinking and they will stop. Well 5 years later I was pregnant and they got really bad and went on a holter. They caught something with v-tach and had me in the hospital when my kid was 6 months old. I have scared myself to death ever since this even though I have gone thru 2 cardiac abalations and they still can't find anything to fix! Go figure that one! I am 49 now (by the way I live in Calgary, Alberta)......and I am still kicking along. I take Prozac now because I became SO obsessed with this heart thing I couldn't even live anymore. I totally took over my life! I am feeling better now but I still freak out daily when I feel these skips and flutters. Don't let them take over your life. I did and it basically ruinned mine for 20 plus years! I am still here (god knows how) but I am still ticking and have been given a clean bill of health with my heart....I know these are AWFUL though! My dream would be to one day not think about my heart once and just move on with things.
Well im very happy and glad to hear that after the years of putting up with all your flutters that you are still here! That makes me feel good for myself and for you also. I have heard alot of stories about how intense and horrible the heart arrythmias can get when your pregnant, I couldnt imagine going through that, so props to you and all the ladies who put of with that to bring our future into this world. I know right now sitting here and typing this, (just after watching the Oilers lose to the Flames..lol) Im having such horrible runs of pvc's. And i think ive notice that eating bbq chips doesnt mix well with my heart functions. It seems like everytime i munch on a snack it goes from 1 pvc every other beat to a pvc,pvc,pvc, beat,pvc,beat,pvc...ect! Oh how i miss just having junk food nights. I think I only ate 7 or 8 chips! Well Im glad to have heard your struggle and success and to be here tonight to share your story like the many others ive heard and the many people who just keep giving me confidence and advice to be strong and take each day at a time and enjoy life to its fullest.
So Carrie, did you quite smoking and drinking when your dr. told you to?
I find it funny that he told you they'd go away. My cardiologist told me to quite caffeine and alcohol, else they could become worse later in life. He never claimed they'd go away, but said he hoped that would slow them down a little bit.
Oh yeah, believe you me, unless my dr. tells me it's a huge risk to become preggars I will not let some skipped beats interfere with having kids in the next few years! Even if I've got to be hooked up to a halter for 9 months!
And Kane3, I think chips are like little plates of salt. They just cannot be good for the 'ol ticker!! Maybe try making your own, with less fat an no salt. Season them with something else, like lemon juice. :)
I don't control my svt, wish I could. I am on no drugs, valsalva doesn't work. If they don't convert on their own I go to the hospital for a shot of adenosine which stops it every time. Sorry to hear you are having the a flutter. Hope it's just part of your healing process. My fingers are crossed for you. Hang in there!
A-flutter (and PSVT) can be triggered by a PAC, but it's not the PAC that is the cause. Arrhythmias require a re-entry pathway to maintain. In the setting of so-called PSVT (AV reentry tachycardia) this pathway is either a dual channel through the AV node, or an extra pathway in the setting of WPW syndrome. With a-flutter, this pathway is within the atrium, usually the right atrium.
Some of us are born with extra pathways. In some cases, changes in the heart causes them.
A PAC is the trigger because it appears early, before some parts of the heart are fully recharged, allowing the impulse to conduct through the extra pathway, by the time it has, other parts of the heart are recharged, and so on.
So many similarities between us all. Does give some relief but the pvcs still are very frightening, to say the least, for me. What can aggravate mine are, or have been from several happenings. I used to swim but when I got into water up to my neck, the pvcs would happen, at times. I used to ride a motorcycle and the wind pressure, at times, would trigger the pvcs. Bending, twisting, sitting in a leaning forward position, deep breaths, straining and other aggravants can trigger these nasty pvcs. But not every time do these body moves create pvcs. They can get frequent and very intense and they can calm for a while. Thank you all for responding to these posts. They are so much help in trying to deal with something I thought I was THE ONLY ONE who suffers with these, especially after years of testing, EP Study, blood work and many holter monitor tests. Thanks to you all and I hope we can whip this problem with medical technology break throughs.
it is amazing to me how many people suffer from these and how clueless the medical community is about stopping them.there should just be a pill you can take every day to make yourheart beat normally and THATS IT!!! Plus i dont know about any of you, but none of my family or friends suffer from palpitations, so i hate to bring them up.whenever im aound people i just have to smile and pretend my heart is not flopping around.i ask people to repeat themselves because i just cant focus on what theyre sayingover my stupid heart.and not to mention the sneaky pulse check when it looks like im just standing with my hands clasped haha!ridiculous right!
the best medicine for me is this forum.i am not alone, and others have it worse than i do, so i need to just suck it up.thats what i tell myself.even with probably 10000 palps a day, my daughter still needs picked up, and dinner needs cooked, etc.etc.thank you to everyone who comments, you help me live a normal life.and one day ill find a cure on here!!!
Wow, i guess i am the youngest here. I was diagonsed with Psvc last year, and i am 16 this year. I am a male btw. The sad thing is, i am not even allowed to exercise, and the palpitations just come suddenly, I am always worried whether when would the palpitations come, and stuff like that. Sigh.. My life is being ruined. And whenever i fill in medical forms for some kind of school organised trips, I have to fill in under the heart disease, "Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia" and people would come and ask. "What? You have a heart problem?". I feel that i am so left out, so abnormal.
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia is treatable with ablation, you know. It seems you are really bothered by it, so you should ask your doctor to refer you to an electrophysiologist for an EP study and ablation.
What they do, is to burn or freeze the pathway that causes your condition. It's painless and usually low risk. Ask your doctor or your parents. If you want to discuss this further I would recommend starting a new thread/post for it.
If your heart has been checked out completely, and no organic reason can be found for the ectopic beats, remember " We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and rulers of wickedness in high places." Mark
I just recently began noticing my PVC's my doctor put me on alprazolam for short term anxiety and Paroxetine for a long term fix. Both of these meds made memuch more anxoius and made me feel very drugged. After a few days I stopeed everything and I feel much better. The anxitey is still there but I am better able to control with out meds.
It's worth noting that (a) certain SSRI antidepressants are more calming for some people than others, and (b) that to get the true effect of any antidepressants of this class, a whole, entire two to four weeks of use is needed.
Before that time has passed, patients will mostly be aware of side effects, which are likely to be either anxiety or sleepiness, and patients will have no idea how things would have turned out with an actual trial of the medication. Your doctor should have told you about this, and furthermore, he/she should have been in close touch with you during this period of time.
If the side effects are too bothersome, the doc can not only change the medication, but could also cut the dose in half or even smaller amounts to let your body kind of 'sneak up' to the full dose.
But good luck to you if you are doing well without meds. If for some reason you need to give them another try, bear in mind the suggestions I just made.
Are you a communist? Why on earth are you so stupid to think making a Happy Meal illegal is helpful!? It is scary how people's minds work? It is scary that stupid people can convince other stupid people to do these things in the name of caring... For God's sake please wake up.
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