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explanation for tachycardia after eating


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does anyone know exactly why some of us get the harder beating or faster heart rate after eating? does this only happen to those with the low blood volume, or is that irrevelant? do any of you know of a good article that explains why this happens? was just wondering so i could explain it if anyone asks.......thanks


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Hey, Radha. This is one of the worst things I experience - it was actually one of my first questions when I came on here. Someone put up a link for me (wish I could find it), as there's a medical term for it - it happens because as the blood heads to your stomach to start digesting food, it naturally lessens in other parts of your body. The heart then compensates for the drop in BP.

I actually go into PVCs and arrythmias when I eat, more often than not these days. Really uncomfortable. A half-cup of coffee often helps greatly.

Hope this helps - if I can find that link, I'll put it up here.


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In my case, my blood pressure goes UP after eating and I also get tachycardia and ectopic beats. (These days the symptom is mild to non-existent for me.) I think either low or high bp can occur for this reason. In either case, the body rushes blood to the digestive organs after a meal, and this is greatly exaggerated in some/many POTS patients. Being hypovolemic makes this symptom even worse. It may be that I get the higher blood pressure b/c eating also causes the body to release additional adrenaline--even in normal bodies--but in hyperadrenergic bodies, this release is exaggerated.

This is why, I guess, increasing fluids and salt and eating smaller meals help ease the symptoms--as it helps normalize bp and blood volume in the rest of the body. Increasing salt and fluids, oddly, decreases my blood pressure when I am in this state, while it increases bp for other POTS patients. Also there must be a sugar link--I am presuming that eating simple carbs creates a blood sugar spike that sets off the adrenal release. I do best eating small, complex carb or protein meals when I get a flare-up of this problem, presumably b/c it keeps blood sugar lower.


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Indeed, I can testify that blood sugar spikes do indeed exacerbate POTS symptoms. I went on Atkins last year and found out just how MUCH relief I could get from staying away from simple sugars. I went off Atkins for the holiday season and indulged, but I found that the symptoms worsened almost immediately. It definitely makes a difference.

I dont' think the blood sugar spikes CAUSE it, but since the symptoms are roughly the same, it certainly does worsen it.

However, all of this takes place at the same time that the drop in blood sugar happens - about an hour after you eat, for the most part. If you're experiencing problems immediately after you eat, it's probably because the blood is routed to the stomach to help digest the food, which lowers your blood pressure. Normal body function but quite annoying to those with already low blood pressure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can find an excellent description of what happens after eating in the following article-


One of the authors is Dr. Horatio Kaufman, an autonomic specialist in NYC.

In order to read it, you'll need to read the MERCK Manual's agreement and sign it (online)--essentially, you need to let them know that you understand the information is "professional level", and also copyrighted. It is free to read the article, you just have to agree to the terms of the site.


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