868283 tn?1250946391

Fluctuating heartbeat and blood pressure

My name is Bryan and I am a 40 year old male. I don't know what category my question falls into and am hoping I am posting in the correct forum.
I smoked cigarettes from the age of 14 to 34 and from the ages of 23 to 40 I also chewed tobacco. So from the age of 34 to 40 I haven't smoked cigarettes. My consumption of chewing tobacco was a can a day of copenhagen. I started to experience a symptom similar to Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia where my blood pressure would go up to 160 or 170/80+ and heartbeat would go up to 155-165. I continued to chew tobacco for several days after first experiencing the rapid heartbeat and blood pressure and came to the conclusion that the tobacco was the contributor to these symptoms. The symptoms were a sudden onset.
This all began roughly 1 month 25 days ago. I completely quit chewing 1 month 20 days ago and haven't touched chewing tobacco since and never will again. I don't drink alchohol and am not a recreational drug user.
I was experiencing the rapid heartbeat 2 to 3 times that week that it started. I have only experienced the rapid heartbeat two times in this one month 20 day period that I have quit chewing.
  During one of the two times I experienced a rapid heartbeat in this last month since quitting I went to the emergency room and had a battery of blood tests done and x-rays. The x-rays showed some very light scarring in my lungs that my doctor attributed to a cold I may have had years ago. I also had an MRI from the neck down and my doctor suggested that there are no signs of a pheochromocytoma or any cancerous cysts etc...  I do have a cyst on my kidney however he said that was normal. Also, my doctor says the x-rays he took of my heart showed no signs of damage or thickening. I did have a blood panel checked the day I quit chewing and my cholesterol came back high at 242 and there was a red blood cell count(RBC) that also came back high. As a result I have also gone on a basically no cholesterol diet (less than <5 mg cholesterol per day) and started an exercise regime. I  have worked my way up to two miles per day which takes me roughly just under an hour to complete two miles.
I have a blood pressure monitor at home which has been calibrated and is showing correct values.
I took my blood pressure often this last year when I chewed and it was always elevated around 145/80 P 90

Since I have quit chewing and have began exercising my blood pressure is down to 112/67 Pulse 62 in the morning and at dinner it is around 124/71 pulse 86.
What concerns me is that I went in for a treadmill test and while on the treadmill at an incline and at a pretty god pace my blood pressure was 200/100+ and my pulse went up to 176.
I have been exercising at home on our Landice L8 treadmill which has a pulse indicator when you hold on to the handles with both hands and my pulse varies between 98 and 120 while walking at the treadmills speed of 2.7
My pulse constantly goes up and down and up and down between 98 and 120 while at that speed. If I lower the treadmill speed to 2.5 or 2.0 my pulse goes down between 90 and 110, but again there is that fluctuation, it goes up and down and up and down and never stays at one constant pulse.
I braved a speed of 3.0 for about 10 minutes and my pulse went up to 130 so I felt I may be overdoing it, got off and took my blood pressure and 4 minutes after getting off it was 159/84 Pulse 81. Is that a normal blood pressure for exercising? On the bright side my blood pressure monitor isn't showing the irregular heartbeat sign and usually doesn't. I have had about three occurences of the irregular heartbeat sign in the last two months. When I go to the cardiologist they don't seem to see any irregularities.
Is all of this normal or is my ANS (autonomic nervous system) really out of whack? Does everyones pulse do this? If this is unusual what is happening?
  The other symptom that I can't seem to get rid of is after being asleep all night and waking in the morning, while still in bed, I notice when I roll over to change positions that my heartrate increases significantly from a rested beat to rapid beats in succession. They are short bursts that last about 10 seconds where my heartrate goes up to over 110 and then just as fast as it went up about 10 seconds later it's back down to normal. I have taken my blood pressure in the morning while still in bed and my blood pressure is 104/49 Pulse 48
Is that to low? Is that good? Have I done any permanent damage or will all of this go away? Have any doctors seen anything like this before or know what going on?
My heartrate also goes wild when I take a shower. My pulse goes well over 100, probably more like 110 the whole time I am in the shower and until I get out. After getting out of the shower my heartrate takes about two to three minutes to slow down.
I have done the treadmill and will go on a holter monitor later this month. Since the holter is vague in my opinion, in that while it correctly monitors values, those values aren't linked to any specific activity :(( E.G. Riding bike now for 30 minutes. -- E.G. Taking shower now for 15 minutes. -- E.G. Sitting on couch now for 30 minutes)) how will the doctor know that my heartrate is correct for a specific action. Sure the holter can see my heartrate is 110, but should it be 110 if I am just rolling over in bed? No. (At least I really , really don't think it should be 110 for that)
So, how can the doctor be aware of my heartrate problem if he can't associate it with a specific action that he knows it (the heart) SHOULD be in a rested state, but is not? And how can he be aware of a blood pressure problem if my blood pressure rises to over 150-160/80+ while I am just resting or taking a shower?
What is a normal blood pressure while exercising? What are the average values for a healthy person as far as BP and Pulse?
I did have a rotten toth that I let go and let go and it started to get an odor so I had it pulled. I brush and floss everyday but as you can imagine my gums are in poor shape. My gums don't bleed however when I brush. I am wondering in I have blood poisoning from my rotten tooth? Would that have shown up in the blood panel? I have had some teeth replaced/post/crowns and when I rub my finger along my gumline and those three teeth there appears to be an unpleasant odor around them where the teeth eet the gums. Could there be some sort of poisoning from them? Again, I brush often(daily) and floss daily. I am aware of one root canal that needs to be done but I am unaware of any other teeth that are bad after having recent x-rays.
I appologise for so many questions and for the context being the nature it is, I am just asking as they come to mind and am very worried about having done any permanent damage before realising that I better take care of my health.
I take care of my Father and Mother both of whom have Parkinson's Disease and they rely on me 24 hours a day.
I need to be healthy and need to be able to ask my cardiologist the correct questions and have the correct test given to me so I can correct this.
Can someone please look beyond this wreckless rant to bring some calm to me, I am trying not to be worried but as much as I am trying I know subconsciously I am worried.
What questions should I ask my cardiologist and should I request any specific tests?
Many thanks and blessings for any help,
9 Responses
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Avatar universal
Hope everyone is well! Bottom line this thread tells us all that nicotine really screws with your heart rate. Maybe temporary or maybe permanent. We all just need to realize that and stop killing ourselves. I also chew tobacco and experience faster than normal heart rates and palpitations. Sigh......going today to get some nicotine gum to try and quit. Good luck everyone!
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Avatar universal
I also chew tobacco.  I've only done it for 3 months daily.  It was off and on for a while.  I'm an athlete and am in good shape for my age.  I am sixteen and am in many sports.  When I dip especially my heart rate definitely goes up to the point where my fingers shake.  Actually I'm dipping right now as I am typing this and I can definitely feel and see my fingers shake and my heart pound.  Anyway I didn't chew for a week when I was on vacation with my parents and my heart rate went back to normal.  I honestly think your heart rate issues are resulted in your athletic ability and not really that you quit.    I am a daily dipper but only actually go through a can maybe every 2-3 days.  I chew Skoal straight.
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868283 tn?1250946391
It turns out I had a carcinoid tumor. I had surgery in April 2010, 1 year later a small tumor has reappeared and I may have another surgery next month.

I'm still kicking!
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868283 tn?1250946391
Thanks Zach!

That's really cool of you.

I have been doing research and found information that suggests coQ10 and L-Carnitine are helpful.
I am including a link to the information I read regarding this.


Hopefully this helps anyone that experiences the same tachycardia and rapid heart rate while showering like I/We have and the other similar symptoms I listed in my original post.

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703870 tn?1273024642
Glad that we could help set your mind at ease. I don't exercise. I know I should, and used to a lot when I was younger. I'm still an active person though. I have a labor intensive career.

Hang in there, and always check back on us when you need a bit of reading to ease the anxiety. I'll always be here.

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868283 tn?1250946391
You all have given me renewed hope in Woman/Mankind.

Thank you all SO MUCH for sharing your experiences with me and your encouragement. I really mean encouragement in the literal sense, you are all so brave. I'd like to update you all by letting you know that I have started close to a no cholesterol daily diet where the most cholesterol I have in any given day is less than 5 mg. You know, you have seen the FDA percentages on the foods we buy. Like canned/evaporated milk, the fat free type where it says on the can "<5 mg" meaning less than 5 mg...
I also have completely cut out caffiene, no alchohol, as little sugar as possible in the less than 1800 calories per day I intake and less than 10 grams of fat per day.I have also started on these little bottles of plant sterols called "Supershots" by the maker or under the brand name "Promise" which suggests it helps remove cholesterol.
One bottle a day since my cholesterol was 242 and my LDL was 170.
My red blood cell count(RBC) was also 5.89, my hemoglobin 17.8 and my hematocrit 51.0.
Since going on this diet and exercising everday on the treadmill(I started out slowly and gradually worked my way up to 2 miles per day, my blood count has gone back within limits, I have lost 14 pounds, my constant raise in my heartrate blasting into the 140-150-160's has just about stopped completely(2 times since dieting and working out in the last month and over a half) and my heartrate doesn't seem to be so wild any more(Don't get me wrong, it's not right yet!!!!), but it still feels erratic at times throughout the day. Like right now, just like dancingheart said above, I am going to check it with the blood pressure monitor to see if I am just thinking it is erratic or if it actually is.
Well, I just really want to thank those of you who have written so far and tell you all that what I am doing as far as exercise and dieting seems to at least be helping so far. Fat free and low/no cholesterol, relatively small amounts of fat, no caffiene/tobacco and low sugar seems to be lowering the incidences of my heart rate spikes and my blood pressure has DRASTICALLY been reduced along with those occurences of rapid beating in the shower and bending over to pick things up. I am still going to the cardiologist and having every/any test imaginable to find out all I can about just what my heart thinks it is trying to do!!!!
It may be a coincidence, but after two days of being on the plant sterols my heart rate and beat seem to be at more of a level pace.
I will share any other experiences with all of you and any methods that work to bring a steady beat and pressure.

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687614 tn?1244197979
   I too suffer from such irregular heart rhythms...My heartrate swings from 41-175 bpm constantly, and it seems that nothing causes it to happen.  My pulse and BP is much like yours when I exercise.  My heart races when I roll over in bed...I wake up all sweaty and a high heartrate 130-170's in the night.  Bending down to pick up something off the floor makes my BP soar and leaving me feeling like passing out.  I can have a high BP while resting 159/100 and a low one while up 90/55 or visa-versa.... same with the pulse.  Eating first thing in the morning sets off palpitations.  And I can forget about the hot or even a warm shower!  I usually start off warm and then slow my rate down by turning it to cold just before I get out.
   I have had so many tests done by multiple cardiologist...countless times, but they say my heart is strong and healthy.  They all say I have inappropriate sinus rhythm, with sinus tachycardia, and bouts of supraventricular tachycardia/paroxysmal atrial tachycardia.  I have a very, very, very sensitive atrial node...the slightest stress sets it off and I am a type A, high strung anxious personality type person.
   I do not smoke...never have.  I am active...exercise on my treadmill everyday (2.5-4 mph...no incline)...yoga and aerobics on alternating days.  I don't drink and haven't had a drink in over 16 years.  I stay away from all caffeine...and I am easy on the sugar.  I am not over weight in the least...I am mostly vegetarian. I take my multi-vitamins regularly.  I never could quite figure out how I got to suffer so bad with the heart stuff...when I don't abuse my body at all....hmmm....  Oh, and my teeth are perfect... so I don't think anything that you have or have not done causes the things your heart is doing.  You do need to work closely with a cardiologist that you can trust.  Don't forget anything... including telling him how you feel emotionally and the stressors in your life.... as anxiety has a lot to play...and certainly do not hesitate to go along with all the tests that he or see recommends...they will help calm your nerves to know exactly what is or is not going on....a strong heart can handle a lot...an echo and stress test will tell you just how strong your heart is. A holter monitor and event/loop monitor will help determine exactly when you feel these things and what the stressors on you and your heart are...and which part of the heart is starting those irregular rhythm problems (very important to know if it is atrial or ventricular.)   Those 4 tests where the most important tests that have helped me.
    I was put on Toprol XL 25 mg in am and 100 mg in pm. Hasn't fixed much and .5 mg of Klonopin taken 3 times a day and 100 mg of Zoloft...to slow me and my anxiety down...this has helped some....most of all I had to quit worrying about my heart and stop taking my BP and pulse multiple times over.  I had to learn to let it be whatever it wants to be (high low, and everything in between...whether it seems normal or not to me)...even if it is uncomfortable...this has smoothed things out a bit.  But a lot is easier said than done and each day seems a struggle to me.
   Hang in there, and keep us posted...you are not alone...
Helpful - 0
703870 tn?1273024642
Hey Bryan.

You and I have some very similar symptoms relating to heart health anxiety. Obviously you are very concerned about your heart and its ability to perform.

A hot shower is sometimes very hard for me to endure because of the high heart rate. This often occurs if I'm late or something and hop in the shower from only a few minutes from waking up in the morning. I also smoked cigarettes from age 14 to 31, and chewed kodiak from age 18-31 as well as a supplement of nicotine If I couldn't smoke, or if I wanted to take a break from smoking because having difficulty breathing. I'm been nicotine free for 110+ days now, cold turkey.  I was getting really upset with my heart beating very strange, skipping beats, beating hard in the evenings after dinner trying to relax, etc.  I still have episodes even after quiting nicotine, but I do not experience the long bouts of tachycardia that I noticed more often with abusing nicotine quite often. The cigarettes and smokeless tobacco really put me in a vicious cycle. Since I would put a large quanity of smokeless in, I would get much more nicotine if I were just to smoke 1 cigarette. Then when going back to smoking, I would smoke almost 2 packs in one day, until it calmed down to about 1 pack a day. Nicotine is really crappy, and more crappier if you like caffeine/soda/coffee. I guess your body can metabolize twice the amout of caffeine when there is nicotine present in your body at the same time.  Knowning this really helped me quit both caffeine and nicotine.  I have though, howerever, introduced small amounts of caffeine once or twice weekly back into my diet, just to help my bouts of fatigue.

As far as rolling over in bed and noticing your heart begining to race for 10 seconds and then calm back down again, I do notice the same thing. It also happens when I have a long stretch, that is the worst.  I have noticed then less frequently though since I've been nicotine free for 110+ days or so.  However, I do still drink alcohol quite frequently. I do not drink at home, but I do go out 3-4 times a week to the local pub and drink excessively sometimes. Hangovers really kick my butt when it comes to heart health anxiety. My heart pounds all day, sometimes skips. I'm on the couch for at least 8-10 hours the next day trying to recover.  Hope this helps ease your mind.  Zach
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450439 tn?1249233238
I understand your fears and your concerns....we all do...don't worry about your "ranting"...it's easy to do, especially like you said, when questions come to mind, I do the same...but I wish I could be of more help to you...but when thing I can say is...document, document whenever you feel something and right it down, even if it's as soon as you wake up in the morning, keep a note pad at your bedside...that's what I was advised to do....I feel like I should be on "Mystery Diagnosis"...lol...but I understand, mine has been happening since I was 13yrs old....as I've gotten older, it's gotten worse, I too WANT to exercise but to scared to....there's this extra 20lbs I'd LOVE to take off...
I'd have your cardiologist check your thyroid, do a BMP, checking all your blood levels, ask about the Parkinsons, ask about Orthostatic Hypertension....
I'm not sure what else....wish I could be of more help.....sorry
Many Blessings....and Happy Easter!
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