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Avatar universal

Palps...indigestion/anxiety or more serious?

Hi all,

This will probably be quite a long post so I can put as much detail as possible so please bear with me!

Back around August time I had really bad palpitations. I was eating spicy lamb and my heart just started racing (or so it felt)... so much so that I had to go outside and sit down in the cool air for a while. It was very scary as I've never had that sort of experience before. After that I had no problems, although every now and then I'd feel a skipped beat in my chest (maybe once a week if that).

Skipping forward a couple of months, I went on a holiday in early october and had a horrible flight back (I dont fly well!!)... I am a typically nervous person anyway and I felt very anxious before the flight.

I went straight back to work in a very busy and stressful period, coming back into the unusually cold british weather for october time, and started to feel very run down. The palpitations became a bit more noticable and more frequent (maybe 3 times a week).

I was sitting at my desk at work one day, feeling particularly tired, when I got a palpitation and felt a little dizzy. I was worried by this and went to the doctor. The doc did my blood pressure (normal) and checked the heart with her stethoscope (also normal). However, the anxiety I felt from that didn't wear off, and I went back to the doctor for a more thorough check up. At this point I also stopped playing football (usually on a Monday & Tuesday night - I thought being run down and cold all the time was one of the causes).

The doctor did the same blood pressure & stethoscope tests (again normal) and also took a blood test for possible thyroid problems. All came back negative. The doctor said I shouldn't worry about it as there's nothing wrong that she can find. Being 21 years old there's no heart disease. Having said that I am a smoker and drank a lot of caffeinated drinks. I therefore cut out the caffeine completely although I still smoke around 12 a day.

I started to feel slightly better, but went back to football one night... when I came home I got into bed and felt like my heart was racing. I checked my pulse and it was around 75-80. Normal resting rate is around 60bpm. I sat downstairs for a while and it eventually seemed to settle down so I went to bed and had a good nights sleep.

After that night, I still couldn't shake this feeling that something was wrong, and eventually went to A&E on a particularly bad day where I felt very sick, anxious, having palpitations and dizzy spells. They did an ECG which returned nothing (although that was probably because I didnt have palpitations at that time!). The cardiologist also did a thorough check with his stethoscope, asking me to hold my breath in certain positions.

He told me that he didn't find anything and that there was nothing to worry about. He explained that what I was feeling was probably just ectopic beats, very common and often caused by stress or anxiety.

That was back in late october. Since then I've gradually begun to feel better. A couple of weeks ago I went for a heavy night out (christmas work do!) and the next morning felt very hung over. However, I had to work. I had about 5-6 palpitations that day, which made me think it was alcohol-fulled (although I hardly ever drink), or indeed just due to tiredness and stress.

Since then, I've only had one night where I had a couple of palpitations, tried to sit myself down and relax, and they went away. I still get the odd beat here and there but it seems to be back to around once a week which was where I started.

Having said that, when I eat I seem to get this feeling (not a pain - just like a bubble or something) in my chest, on the left side around the heart area. I also feel the need to burp, as though that will relieve the pressure, but am unable to without having a sick burp... which sounds like GERD or acid reflux. I've always had digestive problems, especially when it comes to nervousness before a big day or something which causes diarrhea.

I havent been back to football since because I'm worried that the cold, tiredness and stress will cause me to sink back to the low of october.

The trouble is the doctors say it's nothing, when I know for a fact SOMETHING is happening. It sounds benign, but it's the matter of trying to get over it and start to believe its benign.

I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on this.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

6 Responses
Avatar universal

I have a very erratic heartbeat anytime I eat something spicy of get too full. It lasts anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes. My Doc thinks it is GERD which somehow stimulates my vagal nerve. It only happens within an hour of eating. I am currently on a 30 day holter monitor. I would suggest to your Dr. to let you wear one of these to capture your symptoms. The Doc told me so far mine ar benign. I am sure yours are too, but it would give you peace of mind to actually let them see what your heart does.

For now I sit calmly for an hour after eating, then go about my business. Once the hour is up I am home free. Weird...huh...
251395 tn?1434497886

I'm sorry that you're feeling so worried about this...After reading your history, there wasn't anything that struck me as worrisome. You mention a few things that can trigger these ectopic beats to occur. Smoking, alcohol, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep.

You also mentiond a long history of digestive problems...This is most likely what caused the sensation of "pressure" you experienced. Do you take any prescribed or over-the-counter meds for reflux?

I think that if you quit smoking (VERY IMPORTANT) not only does nicotine exacerbate ectopy in the heart, it can impact your health significantly and increases your risk for heart disease and heart attack.

You should get the recommended hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep boosts your immune system. Sleep also helps your nervous system as well as your cardiovascular system work properly. You should aim for about 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.

Reducing your stress level is also a key part to feeling better. Any amount of stress can wreak all kinds of havoc which in turn leaves you vulnerable to insighting the onset of ectopic beats.

I know that it can be frustrating to hear the Dr's tell you time and time again that, "nothing is wrong with your heart, it's a benign condition." I beleive that when and if you allow yourself to trust your Dr and believe what he/she is telling you, you will feel better.

Best of luck to you:)
Avatar universal
Thanks for the responses :)

I thought it might possibly have been angina, but the more I look into the symptoms, the more I just dont fall into one category or another.

I forgot to mention that the night I played football, I came home and had a cigarette, two cheese & onion sandwiches and a glass of coke and went to bed. Within 10 minutes my heart was racing.

This sounds typical to me of some kind of indigestion issue.

The last few days I've been back at work after the christmas break and felt much better. I had a caffienated cup of tea this morning which didn't appear to cause any adverse affects. I had one palpitation after lunch when I was getting out of the car but it wasnt severe at all and didn't occur again. My chest hasn't been feeling tight, although I will check again after dinner for possible reoccurance of this.

I'm starting to believe it was a vicious circle in which natural palpitations occured, I got some kind of bug which made me tired and a bit dizzy when I came back from holiday into the cold weather. This dizziness made me anxious that something was wrong, and this in turn led to more palpitations.

Now I'm trying to relax as much as possible, not let them worry me. It seems so far, fingers crossed, to be easing up a bit.
Avatar universal

I also have irregular heartbeats.  My drs and I think that it is as a result of chemo and radiation treatments.  I sought a cardiologist who ran a number of tests:  stress test, echocardiogram tests.  3 out of 4 tests came back normal.  Yet, I am quite concerned of the irregular heartbeat and chest pains.  My cardiologist is running a test to test my lung.  Perhaps that is a test that you can request as well.  Because my chest hurts, I never considered having my lungs checked.

Again, maybe this is something you want to check out as well.

Peace to you.
Avatar universal

Just wanted to let you know, i appreciate your concern.My father and grandfather have had heart probs,and my dad has tacicardia. I am now 45 and have unfortunately been employed over the years in jobs that involve lots of alcohol,including working 5 years for Her Majesty's Forces. I therefore love my booze(and hot spicy food too!). I have been to the doc and been told i have a strong heartbeat, but lately what was once a short bout of indigestion causing my heart to jump about can last for 24-48 hours!Most annoying,burps are violent and embarassing too!He is now going to refer me for a endoscopy(wish me luck) to see the cause-Let you know    Alimoz
Avatar universal
Try not to worry about this im just back from hill walking and it happened 5 time during my walk i have had this for 35 yrs since i was 20 dont let it ruin any great days in your life it did ruin some for me but belive me if its something serious you will know ill bet its not its air or a nerve some times its bad then it can go away for months its something got to do with food etc be strong and smile.
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