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PLEASE HELP!!! Skipped Heart Beats
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PLEASE HELP!!! Skipped Heart Beats

Just to give you a little history I was diagnosed with anxiety 8 years ago.  I was on Paxil for a long time and went off of it when I became pregnant with my 2nd child.  6 months into the pregnancy I started having skipped beats which I had never felt before so it sent me into a complete panic.  I basically could not function because my anxiety was so high.  Even resting my heart was at 120BPM.  I could not eat or sleep and I lost 20 pounds in a matter of 3 weeks.  My OB had no choice but to put me on Zoloft.  At first it made my "skipped beats" worse and then they started to get better.  I still had a lot of anxiety wondering why this was happening and if it meant that I had some form of arrythmia that the doctors couldn't find.  Basically it ruined my pregnancy and the birth of my son (who is now 18 months).  

About 4 months after he was born I started getting them again but this time they would come like 3 or 4 in a row.  I have been to 3 family doctors, 2 cardiologists and all of them say the same thing, "You're too young, stop worrying about this, they are completely benign."  Well, that is easy for them to say!  For some strange reason I have had two 24 hour monitors, an ultra sound of my heart, as well as blood work and probably 10 EKG's and they never pick up anything.  Because of this they treat me like it is all in my head.  I would feel better if they could catch it on a monitor and then tell me that it is nothing.

I have let this completely ruin my life for the past 2 years.  I won't do anything that may trigger these episodes like exercise (I am about 50 lbs overweight)  I don't have anyone around me who is very supportive.  My mom claims that she always has these and she doesn' t worry about them which I cannot see how anyone has these and doesn't worry about them and my husband has been to every doctor appointment where they basically tell me that it's nothing and not to worry so he really has no sympathy.  

Lately I have had them every day, all day.  Sometimes it will be 3 or 4 in a row.  I get them a lot when I lay down at night or when I drink alcohol.  I noticed on a lot of these posts that a lot of you stop drinking because it can bring these horrible skipped beats.  I not an alcoholic but I am young and I have a lot of friends that like to go out for drinks after work.  Do I have to give it up completely?  Are there people that die from skipped heart beats?  I am terrified that it is going to send my heart into a deadly arrythmia and that I am going to die.  I have 2 beautiful children that need me and all I do is obsess about my heart.  I am constantly checking my pulse (to where my husband laughs at me)  These posts do make me feel a little better but I am always thinking about it and wondering when it will happen again.  I would imagine that it is some form of arrythmia since your heart is not really beating in a normal rhythm and sometimes when it is 3 or 4 in a row I feel like it is just going to stop.

Can anyone offer any advice?  I hate to be a victim here but I don't understand why I am so young and my life is being ruined by these.  I am convinced that one day I am just going to drop dead.  I know it's crazy but I can't help it.  I have heard that taking magnesium supplements can help.....has anyone had any luck with this?

Thank you so much for anyone who can respond and give me any advise.  It would be greatly appreciated.


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11 Comments Post a Comment
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189238_tn?1208730919
I was first diagnosed with missed beats during my first pregnancy, they are benign my doc  
said they are nothing to worry about. I usually only notice them when I'm at the gym taking my pulse, or when I'm under alot of stress. From experience the more aware you become of them the more anxious you can become. Have you tried rescue remedy for your anxiety.
regards Donna
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Avatar_f_tn
What is rescue remedy?
Thanks, Katie
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Avatar_n_tn
I know this is easier said than done but your mom is right, you should stop worrying about your skipped beats. As long as you have had all the necessary tests and they show that there is nothing structurally wrong with your heart, the skipped beats won't kill you. Granted, they are a terrible nuisance and it is very easy to become obsessed by them, which brings on anxiety, which in turn only makes them worse. Believe me, I am talking from experience. I have had these ectopic beats all my life, went through two pregnancies with them and nothing bad ever happened to me. Lately I have been going through a rough patch and have had kind of a flare up of these cardiac "hiccups", which last for weeks and even months on end without letting up. I had a complete cardiac workup, EKGs, Holter, thallium stress test and the word from my doctors was that I suffer from premature atrial contractions, or PACs, which according to them are benign and nothing to worry about because there is nothing inherently wrong with my heart. Difficult to do, I agree, when your ticker is doing all kinds of funny tricks in there. Have you tried relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga? They do help. I have also tried magnesium, 400 mg a day and it has helped; at least I was almost free of the palps for several weeks but now for some reason they are back. I will switch to CoQ10 which also helps, 100 mg a day taken with your fattiest meal.
BTW I have always shied away from medications like beta blockers and the like; they have side effects and they are certainly not a cure.
So try not to worry Kate and enjoy your kids. They grow up way too fast; I have grandchildren now and I feel that it happened while I wasn't looking!

Big hug.
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450439_tn?1249236838
Hi! You aren't alone...I too "suffer" from these episodes...I hate them, I have let them take over my life...instead of me controlling the situation,I let the situation control me!
I have had them since I was 13yrs old and they have gotten worse...but I have had 3 kids,and I'm still alive! And yes I do have a "drink" every now and then...I was going to stop "drinking" all together, and no I'm not an alcoholic but I decided that I wasn't going to quit living, I don't do it all the time, maybe once or twice a month and yes I know and understand that alcohol can sometimes aggravate the situation but I refuse to lie down and be a "prisoner" of my own body,life is to short,I feel everything can and should be done in moderation....enjoy your life!
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189238_tn?1208730919
rescue remedy is a bach flower remedy. Try googling it

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Avatar_f_tn
I can completely understand...I have random skipped beats/extra beats too, and my doctor has told me that they're completely benign, but I have the same worries about having a sudden arrhythmia and dropping dead!  I wouldn't do anything that might bring on the palps...exercise, walking up flights of stairs, you name it. It became so bad a few months ago that I started having panic attacks whenever I had the palpitations and now I'm going to counseling.  I want to get rid of the anxiety without meds but it is really hard...so when I feel worried I stop whatever I'm doing and I take time to just relax, focus on my breathing, and to reassure myself that I have a healthy heart and everything will be fine.  It's still a work in progress, but at last I'm beginning to feel optimistic about the future.  Is there anyone you could talk to about this, like a professional?

Remember, you are not alone in this!  Good luck!
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171267_tn?1199874189
Hi
I know exactly how you feel too. I have suffered from skipped beats for the past three years. I can go weeks without having them and then go weeks with radom skipped beats. They have always scared the **** out of me. Mine have some what changed in the last week and a half. Every day for the past ten days every time I get them I get 4-6 in a row. Two days ago I was lucky enough on the ward when our head cardiologist was visiting a patient. I pulled him aside I told him how distressed I had been for the past week due to all these runs of what I think are pvc's not pac's. I was having a run when he was there and he could feel them when he was checking my pulse. He told me he thinks mine are adrenaline produced and is organising another halter for me to wear just to find out if they are pvc's or pac's. He reassured me that although they are distressing they will not harm me. He told me to take magnesium and eat one banana a day. If they don't settle by the time the results of the halter come back he will put me on a low dose beta blocker. I must admit for the first time in a long time I am not fearing them as much. I have also been so scared of going into a fatal arrythmia or dropping dead. I also having two kids but my fear is not being here for my daughter who has a intellectual disability (she is 10 but functions as a 3 year old) as she is a child who will need 24/7 care for the rest of her life. For the past two days when I get a run of them I go for a quick walk no matter where I am and this seems to settle them and my anxiety.
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255722_tn?1333378910
We all know how scary this can be.  But, honestly, and I know you're going to HATE hearing this....you will be okay.  Alright, I know that you don't hate hearing that you'll be alright, but you're thinking, "THIS IS NOT ALL IN MY HEAD DARN IT!!"  (maybe not darn it, but the site won't allow the stronger version) :-)

Here's the thing, you already suffer from anxiety issues.  This is NOT a weakness, but a biological function of your system that causes increased amounts of adrenaline to rush through your body increasing blood pressure, heart rate and respiration (not to mention the nasty feelings of dread and terror).  Adrenaline is one of the #1 triggers of ectopic beats (out of rhythm beating of the heart) like PVC's and PAC's.  These beats, while scary and irregular, are NOT harmful and won't "turn into" a more serious arhythmia.  

One of the reasons that your doctor has not caught these beats on a monitor is because when you are under a doctor's supervision your mind begins to relax and let go of the need to control what's going on.  Subconciously you are releived to be putting the responsibility for this mess onto the doctor, and voila...your anxiety levels decrease and so does your adrenaline level thereby lowering the number of ectopics you experience.

That your mother has these beats as well is significant.  This means that you have inherited a sensitivity to ectopic beats.  The entire world population experiences these beats, and sometimes people have thousands a day and never feel a single one of them.  Then there are those of us who are lucky enough to feel each and every one of the things and this causes us to worry, which increases adrenaline levels and decreases our ability to sleep both of which increase the number of ectopic beats which unfortunately continues to up the adrenaline etc.  Seeing a pattern here?

Many of us take SSRI's like Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft to help moderate our anxiety levels.  This is not because we are crazy or weak, but if we don't take these inhibitors then the natural adrenaline rush starts the cycle as soon as an ectopic comes along.  Basically the inhibitors help to "even" us out a bit.  

I also take Metoprolol as a beta blocker.  A very low dose takes care of me, but there are several out there who take higher doses than I.  These do not "cure" the ectopics, but they do make them less noticeable which, really is the goal we are striving for.  

We'll provide as much support as we can.  Please try to calm down as much as you can and ask us whatever you need to help you in that endeavor.

Take care,
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your kind words :)  You have no idea how much I needed this....to know that I am not alone.  I know that I should not do anything that would bring them on but I have received a lot of conflicting information regarding exercise.  Both of my cardiologists told me that maybe if I started to exercise they wouldn't be as bad.  I have done a lot of research and found that exercise can actually cause them.  I am overweight and would love to join the gym but I can just picture myself on the treadmill and I get some type of flutter or skipped beat and I would absolutely freak out in front of everyone.  They always say the key to a long life and a healthy heart is to exercise but how can we if this is what will happen?  I usually get the skipped beats while resting so I couldn't imagine getting them when my heart rate is elevated.  Then add the racing heart from the anxiety it would produce and my heart would probably explode!!!  

It just seems like a vicious cycle.  Not to mention that all of my friends are doing the medical weight loss with the phentermine and the B-12 shots and they look amazing.  I said to myself "I can do this!"  So I went and paid almost $300.00 to start the program.  I told the doctor about my heart issues and once again he looked at me like I was crazy and told me that if I was that worried to only take a half of a pill. For those of you who don't know Phentermine is a weight loss drug that increases your heart rate and can cause palpitations but has amazing results. It was part of the Phen-Fen combonation that was killing people but by itself it is known to be safe.  Of course because I am a freak and obsess about my heart 24/7 I took one pill and that was it for me.  I never went back and wasted my time and money.  My point is that I want to get back in shape and enjoy my life more and I want my children to be proud of me and for me to be healthy for them but due to my problems I am afraid to exercise and I turn to food to comfort myself.  

I am sorry to keep running on about my issues......I do want all of you who responded to know that it means so much to me and makes me feel much better to hear your stories.    It's amazing how much it helps to get support from who understands what I am going through.

Thank you again!

Katie
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Avatar_f_tn
I know exactly what your going thru. I was always very active, rode my horse everyday, walked a couple of miles on the tread mill or did excercise tapes. When I got slammed with these constant palps I tried to keep up with my routine. But even walking up a flight of stairs would cause me alot of pain and palpitations. I even asked my EP if I could go for some kind of PT to help me learn how to excercise again. He said there was no need, that I could do anything I want, my heart is "structurally sound".  I seems whenever I get my heart rate up the palps have a party in my chest.
What I do now is, I walk on the treadmill, slowly, I usually don't go over 2 mph. But I walk. I also don't walk everyday, I try to, but I don't beat myself up cause I missed a day. Sometimes I only walk for 10 minutes but try to do it. I know what it feels like to be afraid to excercise. I was afraid to go places where I might have to walk for any distance. Now I go, but I walk slowly. The other day when I was walking from my car to my hairdresser, she said she was watching me, and said It looked like I was enjoying my walk. I just take my time. The funny thing is when you are with other people who walk fast, and your walking slowly they will change there stride, It really is relaxing.
Don't try to do to much but keep moving, at your own speed. Maybe some day It will not feel so uncomfortable to get my heart rate up , but right now it does, so I have learned to go with the flow, and at the speed my body accepts.
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Avatar_n_tn
if your doctors say its okay  exercise then go for it. I've been going to a women's only gym and have so far lost 10lbs. I feel so much better even though I've been going through a whole lot of stress and suffering panic attacks the exercise is definately my saving grace.
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