Heart Rhythm Community
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4569680 tn?1359580401

Carbs and PVCs

Do carbs/breads/gluten affect your heart rhythm?  I have had EKG's, ECHO stress tests, ECHOs, halter monitors,   etc... done.  This past June I was so stressed out that somebody at work accidentally spooked me and I felt immense pressure in my chest, felt like I almost almost bearing down to BM.  The coworker said I turned bright red and when the pressure released, my heart began to race.  I went to the ER and then was referred to a cardiologist who preformed a 24 hour halter monitor and ECHO stress test, which concluded I was fine.  
In November I was getting over being sick and decided to run some errands.  I had not eaten at all that day (I'm a dummy I know), and when I returned home in the evening I experienced five consecutive PVC's in a row, skip, beat, skip, beat, skip, beat, etc...  I read that this is a dangerous rhythm, I felt fine however after the string of craziness.
Now when I returned home last night from work I ordered a six foot sub, a chocolate chip cookie, and a bag of chips.  An hour after eating my heart started to pound at about 110 BPM.  Shortly after the pounding heart rate began I was throwing multiple PVC's for about twenty minutes.  It was TERRIFYING.  
I guess what this comes down to, is I am nervous that I have heart disease or am dying.  The second question is more hopeful, but is there a chance that I carbs could be the culprit?  I have panic disorder and this is just not something I ever want to experience again.  The rhythm was so powerful it could have knocked me off my feet.  I just wonder if I need to be seen ASAP or if this is again something I should be ignoring?

6 Responses
1423357 tn?1511085442
This subject is near to my heart (intended pun!).  My answer is I don't know for sure.....BUT!

Let me explain:  About 2 years ago, I had a cardiac ablation for a lifelong problem with SVT,  The ablation was successful and I was free of SVT.  However prior to the ablation andafterwards, I experienced prolonged episodes of PVC's, which were clustered into hours-long episodes which would come and go for weeks at a time.  Whioe in the hospital for the ablation, a routine blood test revealed that I had a high fasting blood sugar level; around 160.  A followup visit with my physician, and I was labeled a Type 2 diabetic, and was given 3 months to pull it back to normal levels or go on medication (Metformin).  Never backing down from a challenge, I completely cut as many carbs from my life as I possibly could, adopting basically an Atkins dietary lifestyle.  Immediate I shed 20% of my body weight, and within those 90 days, literally stepped back from the brink.  But another interesting thing happened.  My PVC's vanished, never to return. I don't know if a near-carb-free lifestyle can be attributed to it or not.  I'm just presenting the facts.  I believe that carbohydrates are an unnatural food source for humans.  We were intended to eat meats, eggs, vegetables, nuts and berries. Carbs should be a rare, seasonal treat; things like honey, and fruits.  Instead we literally bathe ourselves in carbs.  take for instance a tall glass of natural orange juice.  How many oranges go into that glass; 6, 8, possibly more.  It's too much of a good thing.  I could go on and on.....  But my advice to you would be to try drastically reducing your carb intake, and adopt a new lifestyle.  It may take a while, but perhaps you'll experience the same phenomonon I did.  Today, I have a normal blood sugar level.  I will always be a Type 2 diabetic, but I can compensate with what I choose to consume.  Good luck!
1298588 tn?1330318981
For many people prone to heart abnormalities, diet is one of the most important factors in keeping the problem under control. Different people are affected by different foods, but certain foods have been officially identified as arrhythmia triggers. Along with caffeine and MSG, carbohydrates are at the top of the list. Some of my worst arrhythmia has been caused by overeating carbohydrates. Carbs, particularly when their effect is not mitigated by proteins and other nutrients, are processed very rapidly by the body, which causes a spike and a subsequent drop in blood sugar. And as low blood sugar is a leading cause of arrhythmia, overconsumption of carbohydrates can easily be linked to these problems. Don't cut out carbs altogether, because your body still needs them, and they can be consumed in a way that will make your heart happy. However, try altering your carb consumption in a few key ways.

- Choose whole grains over white/processed grains. Whole grains take a longer time for the body to digest, so they keep blood sugar much more stable.
-Balance your carb intake with other food groups, especially protein. If I eat a piece of toast by itself, I get dizzy a short while afterwards, and then intensely hungry. If I eat a piece of toast with peanut butter, I feel great. Proteins slow down the body's consumption of carbs in order to stabilise blood sugar. If you balance out your meals, you will notice a big difference not only in your heart rhythm, but in your energy levels and overall well-being.
-Finally, avoid carbs that are very high in sugars, or if you can't avoid them, have them in moderation. For instance, rather than a bag of chips and a cookie, choose one of the two. I know, it's hard to choose, but believe me, it will be worth it!
-It is even more important to be sure that you eat regularly. When you skip meals, your blood sugar drops even lower than it does following a carb-related crash, thus provoking your heart to act up. Think of your heart like a fussy child. If it's not being fed, it's going to let you know!

If you follow these tips and you find yourself still plagued by PVCs, try cutting out gluten. I've never tried this myself, but it has been suggested to me that I should. Gluten is known to cause arrhythmia in some people,and if you can't get yours under control through other dietary changes, you may just be one of them.

That being said, I really don't think that you were in any danger with the heart rhythm(s) you described. It sounds as if you have had many tests done to prove that your heart is healthy, so you can rest assured that the skipped beats are a result of stress and not an indication of heart disease. In a healthy heart, although it may not feel like it, PVCs are harmless. They are just scary, and it can be very difficult to go on with your day when they start up. However, I believe that by taking a few extra minutes out of that day to plan nutritious and balanced meals, you will find that they will bother you no more.

Best of luck and don't be scared: things will get better. :)
1423357 tn?1511085442
Google the paleolithic diet also referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, and this is the lifestyle I've adopted.  It's a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that our species consumed during the Paleolithic era, a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.  Unlike gothic_beauty, I drastically limit my intake of grains as well.  Instead I consume literally pounds and pounds of nuts; peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.  It's actually not that bad!  Good luck and I hope you can get rid of those PVC's!

1298588 tn?1330318981
That's interesting Tom ...

I am sort of a quasi-caveman myself. I do eat grains, but I try to limit my intake to some extent and to rely more heavily on proteins and vegetables to give me the nutrition I need. I have considered following the diet more closely, but I really do believe that moderate carbohydrate intake is more helpful than harmful for the average body. I tried severely cutting down on my carbs for a week or two awhile ago, and felt tired and listless. That being said, every body is different, and some bodies just don't do well with carbs. It's great that you have pinpointed carbohydrates as something your body doesn't like and adjusted your diet accordingly. If the OP finds that she continues to feel off colour, then maybe she is like you and would do well to limit her carb intake even further than I originally thought. Thanks for the info!
1423357 tn?1511085442
I would imagine that main difference between your physiology and mine is that I am a Type 2 diabetic, and must severly restrict my carb intake if I want to stay off medication.  I certainly wish I could include some rice and "regular" breads, I haven't had a potato or a plate of pasta in nearly 2 years.......Mmmm....
4569680 tn?1359580401
Thanks everyone for all your comments.  You are all so inspirational and caring.  I am feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while.  I can' tell all of you enough, thank you! Xoxo Lacey
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