Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Expert Forum
Irregular Heart Beat?
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Questions in the Peripheral Arterial Disease forum are answered by Dr. Lee Kirksey, associate professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Topics covered include abdominal aortic aneurysm , amputation, arteriovenous fistula, atherectomy, carotid artery surgery , cholesterol , claudication, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) , endovascular aortic stent graft (EVAR), stent placement , stroke prevention, varicose veins , and venous insufficiency .

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Irregular Heart Beat?

I have been a heavy smoker for about 6-7 years now, i am about to turn 25 years old.  About two years ago while playing floor hockey with friends (ive had virtually no cardio exercise since i started smoking)  I was pushing my body very hard, harder than the others were - and eventually i felt horrible, my vision was blurry and my heart was beating fast for a longer period than i had been used to when i was younger.   The blurred vision has also occured after jogging.  

In the past year or two i have also had increasing anxiety, i frenquently have chest discomfort, mild discomfort breathing and lately caffeine (sometimes just one sip) has been giving me bad anxiety.  

After I told this story to my family doctor he said i may have an irregular heart beat, What should I do?
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Hello Chris
Thats a very impressive story. First of all, it should frighten you enough to want to quit smoking. Your risk of heart attack, stroke and amputation are probably greater than 75% over your lifetime if you continue on this path.

With regards to the irregular heart beat a holter monitor is a portable cardiac device that one wears for 24-36 hrs to monitor your heart rate and any irregularity. It might be the first step to evaluate this process.

think about if this is how you want to live your life?
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It is definetly NOT how I want to live my life.  I have many questions.  If I do have an irregular heart beat, is it reversible?   if I quit smoking right now (as i am trying to do) can I live a normal, full life?  what can I do to strengthen my heart and reverse the damage smoking has done?  diet, exercise, etc.
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