PAC's are starting to run my life and i'm so scared, like many others with the issue. I'm 26 years old and was told 2 years ago i have PAC. Sometimes the only thing that would make me feel better (mentally) was to read posts like these. Usually i have anywhere between 3 to 10 palpitations daily, which is fine. Then about every 5 to 6 months i have a spell of PACs going non stop for days at a time. Recently, i have been having them closer together, instead of 5 to 6 months, now its sometimes a month apart, or even less, like 2 weeks apart. Typically, i have been able to eventually sleep on them, but the last 2 nites have been unbearable. I was almost asleep last nite when a PAC fit happened, and occurred all nite. I have barely slept in the last few days, so naturally i am anxious for nite to come. And i am fully aware that many sufferers and doctors have assured me and you that PACs are normal and nothing to fret about. But when one starts losing sleep from it, as well as losing enjoyment getting up daily, its kind of hard to cope. I take Toprol xl 50mg daily, broken into two parts of the day. I haven't had caffeine in years, rarely ever eat chocolate, and do not drink alcohol. Nothing seems to trigger these episodes that i've came across. Sometimes i can be happy as a horse and in mid conversation, and bam! I am thinking about going back to the cardiologist for help, or reassurance. But the palps at nite have been unbearable. I don't see how anyone could sleep or try to get rest while having these all nite long. I'm lucky now that i don't have a real job (i'm babysitting and drawing unemployment currently, but that can't go in forever. I will have to get a real job soon, which worries me because of my issues)
Why are you taking Toprol? From what I understand ectopics have more of a tendency to jump in during slower heart rates. It is possible after a long day you relax enough when you get home that your heart is slowing to a point that the ectopics are jumping in. I have heard from some that BP meds help but for others it seemed to make it worse I think due to the slower rate. Stressing about them will definitely bring them on more. When you say you have them close together how close? From what I understand having somewhere close to 20,000 is when it becomes alarming but lower amounts than that are not necessarily treated. The other thing I might question is if you are having any extra gas lately. Stomach issues can also cause the ectopics to act up a bit more. In any event, if these symptoms are unbearable then I would just make an appointment with the doctor to make sure everything is still good with the overall health of your heart and to see what they have to say. I truly am sorry you are struggling with these. The best advice I can give is to try to find some determination to not let these odd beats bring you down. Unfortunately in life there are some things we just can't control and our bodies don't always work right. So just keep working at finding ways to cope and work through them bothering you. Maybe change your sleep position or sleep a little elevated. Try different things to see if something will give you some relief and by all means really do try to deal with any stress might be cropping up when you feel the pacs. Hopefully with some time you will at least get to a point where you simply don't notice all the craziness going on. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
As michelle says, it is difficult to control the frequency of these odd little beats, but we CAN control our anxiety about them.
For that we see the right doctor. Although cardiologists see a lot of patients with anxiety over their condition, these specialists are not really trained in handling anxiety or panic.
If your insurance permits, make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist (better IMHO because they can prescribe meds) who specializes in anxiety.
If you cannot afford such a doc right now, then buy a cheap little paperback called 'Hope and Help For Your Nerves,' by Claire Weekes. There are mental exercises which can help somewhat with this kind of problem, though in the long haul, a therapist will get the job done faster.
Thanks for you comments. I am actually on toprol to "control" my rhythm, which my rhythm has been fine, so i too have also wondered if the meds were making it more bothersome..what's funny is i was the one that suggested to the doctor that i be put on it, (that was before they told me i had PACs) and last time i went to the doctor i asked if i should be taken off of the meds, and they said no. I'm from a really small town and we barely have a hospital and lot of times they are a joke. i have to travel about an hour away to any actual cardiologists. Im sometimes fine with the palps and can get through them w/out any anxiety,then other times they make me panic. Another reason i feel the toprol may not be for me anymore. When i say they are close, sometimes, like the other nite, i'm thinking sometimes i would have maybe 10 or so palps in a minute for hours. I don't think they have ever reached 20,000 in a 24 hour period though. I do have stomach problems. A few years ago i had one bowel movement a day, and then when i got put on Nexium for unbearable heartburn, my routine has been different ever since. Usually when i wake up i have anywhere from 3 to 6 bowel movements every single day in a 3 hour period, so recently i got switched to dexilant, thinking it may make me go to the bathroom less, but i have noticed no changes. But yes, i do have stomach problems, and its also frustrating. I also try different positions at nite to sleep, and it doesn't seem to matter.
I forgot to mention and this is very important. Do Not Stop taking your Toprol except by doctors orders. Basically I don't think you can go cold turkey from bp meds you have to wean yourself off. That said, my cardiologist said the bp meds don't really stop the ectopics but it might make the symptoms better. Are the pacs the only rhythm issue you are dealing with? I might suggest trying to see if you can get your heart rate up and see if that helps them go away for a bit. I know this can maybe cause problems if you are going to bed since the adrenaline from the exercise might keep you up but maybe try exercising bit in the early evening and see if it helps a bit. Hopefully when you get your stomach issues straightened out the pacs will calm down as well.
Thanks again michelle. As far as i know, the PAC is the only rhythm problem i've had. I know that when i'm walking and or up and moving about, they don't seem to bother me as much, though i still have them a bit. I actually just got home and i walked this evening and i didnt bother me once, but as soon as i have sat down here in the last 10 minutes i have already had 4 palps just sitting here typing. About 5 years ago i did have an ablation procedure for a separate problem. My heart would go out of sync/beat and speed up to 220 beats per minute and stop usually about a few minutes. So, one nite, the episode never stopped so i went to the er, which eventually that nite lead me on the path to have the ablation done a few months after to correct it. That problem has never resurfaced either, thank God.
Thank you for your advice. I was prescribed Vistrol, i think is how you spell it, about a year and a half ago for my anxiety. I am honestly not sure if any type of anxiety meds can help me, but the vistrol definitely makes me sleepy within a few hours of taking it, and does calm me down. I dont think it's helping me though to calm down from PAC spells. However, the other nite when i was having a really bad PAC fit, i had taken one and was hoping it would knock me out, but i still was awake through the panic i had created for myself, or from the PAC fit. Like i said, my PAC spells are nothing new, but the frequency of having them more often are creating a new anxiety, which today, i have noticed, i have been able to control the anxiety a little better while having them.
It's just odd, the whole ordeal, in general. Like i said i was having these PAC fits about every 5 or 6 months, or thats what it seemed like, and my heart would go crazy for a 3 to 5 day period. But i've already had my PAC spell about a month ago for a few days, and then they stopped. Here i am about a month later and they have came back. I don't know if this makes any sense, but about every April or so i notice these PAC fits. If the palps don't stop within a couple of more days, i am going to have to go back to the doctor. It definitely depresses me, and i'm a fairly happy go lucky person. Loving life, laughing, etc. The last few days events have just made me feel like a different person and i feel like i'm stuck in a rut.
I know what you are feeling. It can be tough dealing with the ectopics. For me they are distracting and annoying more than anything but what I have found in life the only way your happiness can be robbed is if you let it be robbed. That is not to say that we run around all giddy happy about having the ectopics but rather we make a personal choice to choose to be happy despite having them. You may never find a fool proof way to control the ectopics but you do have control over whether or not you let them drag you down. I might suggest when you are having a bad time with them to maybe sit and watch a funny movie, find a friend who lifts your spirit or simply put on some music that raises your mood. Fight the good fight as they say and choose to not let these crazy beats run your life. Stay strong my friend.
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