Hey everyone. I have been reading PVC forums forever and finally decided to post. This is probably going to be lengthy so I apologize beforehand, however I know you will read every word because I am exactly like you, sitting in front of my computer chair at home, looking for any experience or tip that could help me reason out why PVCs occur.
I have been experiencing PVCs for 5 years, perhaps longer before I realized what they were. Here is a list of what I’ve gone through: (I am now 30 years old, male, exercise 5+ days per week, slightly over weight)
24 Hour Holter Monitor – showed PVCS, PACs, rare VTach – doctor said normal
Went to the ER – hooked to an EKG at the hospital having PVCS at the rate of 6-8 per minute. EKG ready normal.
Blood Work at Hospital – All levels in range
Thyroid Test – Thyroid range in normal zone
Electrolyte Test – Potatssium, Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium etc – all normal
Event Monitor – worn for 2 weeks last month, recorded many runs of pvcs, doctor saw them said no problem
Echocardiogram – done last week, full work up. Doctor called me and said you don’t even have come to your appointment today everything is normal.
THINGS I’VE DONE:
1. Eliminated all caffeine, haven’t had any in 3 years
2. More daily exercise (started that a long time ago)
3. Potassium supplements
4. Magnesium supplements
5. Iron supplements
8. Fish Oil
9. Eliminated all artificial sweeteners
10. Stay away from MSGs when I can
11. B50 Complex
12. Deep Breathing exercises
13. Beta Blocker
14. Anacids and anti gas medicines
15. Probably more stuff I’ll remember later
All of these things had various levels of effectiveness but nothing eliminated them completely.
Now let’s talk about anxiety. I have a history of it, general anxiety with panic attacks. Anxiety runs strong in my family. I recently found out my grandfather had two sisters that committed suicide over anxiety and depression. I have taken Paxil in the past but it caused pretty severe weight gain so I weaned off of it (very hard to do). I now take Zoloft 50 mg which seems to help. I have Xanax but take it sparingly, but it does work well when I was having runs of PVCs.
I sympathize deeply to anyone reading this – my heart goes out to you (no pun intended ). I would rather deal with being sick, a broken bone, or pretty much anything but PVCs. For us lucky ones that can feel them, it is a terrible feeling. The two quick beats and the agonizing pause terrified me. I believe this is a big part of the problem: The terror you feel when the happen, compounded with anxiety creates a vicious cycle. It’s the fear adrenaline cycle. Dr. Claire Weekes book “Hope and Help for your Nerves” is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who is having trouble with anxiety and pvcs. Peace of mind is a powerful tool and this book can certainly helped me understand exactly what’s going on. Anxiety can be defined as thinking that the worst possible thing is about to happen to you, and when your heart beats irregularly, you really do expect the worse. Anything that can help you understand how your nervous system / heart works will help take the mystery out of the symptoms and help you cope better.
Several doctors, when anything physical was ruled out, suggested I see a counselor. They told me to do deep breathing exercises and re-frame your thinking. I get the reframing your thinking part but it’s incredibly hard to do when it feels like your heart is going to skip out of your chest.
I think that having anxiety also manifests itself as health anxiety. This becomes the majority of the problem, the cycle of worrying you may have a fatal health problem, which in turn can cause PVCs, which makes you think……….and the cycle goes on.
I got the results of my echo on Monday (on which I was having PVCs during) and I think I finally convinced myself that PVCs are harmless and insignificant. Since then I’ve had maybe a handful all week. I’ve gone out and had a great time and have generally been much happier. I’m hoping and praying PVCs are in my past.
I’m not saying anxiety is the only cause of these but I think it does help amplify the symptoms and snowball out of control. I’ll be the first to tell you this is easier said than done, but I know you can get through it, because you are incredibly brave to dealing with these symptoms.
Lastly two things I continue to do that have helped is change my diet (low fat, more fresh vegetables, easy on the carbs) and I still take a magnesium supplement before bed. Since December 18th I have lost 12 pounds and feel a lot better. I think that goes back to the health anxiety, if you feel healthier you will have greater confidence is your overall health.
WOW! I LOVE your post!!!!! I too have major anxiety over these darn things. I am 52 now and felt my first PVC when I was 21. I know for a fact that I can actually make my heartbeat erratically by just thinking about it. I have had numerous holters and king of hearts monitor and every time I am told "completely normal".
Are you kidding me though??? You were getting 6 - 8 PVC's per minute at the hospital and they didn't flinch??? I hit the roof when I get 1 a minute or 1 a day!!!!! Could you actually feel it skipping that many times in a minute and they said it was nothing?????
Exactly! The only PVCs I have felt this week is when I was really thinking about them -- I was actually hesitant to post anything for fear of thinking a bout them too much but if my experience can help one person with this I'm all for it.
Yes I could feel every single skip when I was in the hospital. There was even a counter on the heart monitor that would tally how many PVCs I was having. The nurses were all pointing at the EKG machine while it was hooked to me commenting on the irregular beats.
After the ER doctor came back in and told me my heart functions were fine, he looked at my chart and noticed I had other tests done through my family doctor. He asked me what my family doctor said. I told him he said they were benign. The ER doctor's comment? "I'm telling you the same thing, maybe you should start believing us"
LOL Jeremy.......no matter how many times I am told that they are harmless I STILL think they are lying to me. I always say "how can something that feels so awful be not a bad thing". I have also been to anxiety counselling over these. They completely control my whole life!!!!!
I have been told that they are normal and what ISN'T normal is my reaction to them.
Well I tend to disagree about your reaction and whomever told you that does not live with them. It can be hard to wrap your head around them being harmless when they feel strong. So try to not beat yourself up about your fears. Just take some time to walk through them as best you can. With time you may find you are able to trust your heart and not let them bother you. Hang in there.
Great post! As someone who had been dealing with these things for decades I can say, although I've come to believe they are benign they still scare me. I think more than the PVC or PAC scare me the PSVT scares me more than anything. Not that it will kill me but that I won't be able to self convert and I'll have to go in for an adenosine push. That is something I've had to do many times and hate more than I can say. I've been considering an ablation for a long time but until I'm insured its a non issue. Now, why am I rambling on about all this? I have no idea! Guess I just wanted to say I'm another"heart case" that's been on here for years and I appreciate your post. :-)
Awesome post. From everyone! I am so happy I found this sight and am comforted everyday by coming here. I read my own stories over and over on here written by so many people. The anxiety. The gerd. The "benign" ...everything. yep these things are for the birds but this is our lot in life so I'm glad we found each other. May we all find peace and acceptance and get busy LIVING OUR LIVES!
You guys rock!
Great post, OP. Anyone with anxiety - get the Claire Weekes book mentioned. It's fantastic, a lifesaver. I have thousands a day at times, none if the doctors I have seen are concerned. I was in bigeminy and went to the ER a few months ago - cardiologist sent me home and said it was not a problem. These things are very, very scary but very common. If you can't find anything that works for the pvcs, try to resolve the anxiety.
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