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Saw the cardiologist about worst ever palps


hilfgirl33
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He did give me an EKG in the office, but of course my heart was just fine (92 bpm, not too shabby!!) in sinus rhythm. I told him I was very concerned as it felt different than anything I had ever felt before but he told me it is quite common. He told me my autonomic nervous system is out of whack and can cause all kinds of palpitations and strong tremors.

I really like this doctor but I am thinking I'll get a 2nd opinion.

He also prescribed 10 mg Paxil, has anyone tried this. I tried Celexa before and had some stomach side effects but no real noticeable difference, but of course I was taking really lose dose of that too.

Just thought I'd give you my update! THanks for your replies re this!

Elaine

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Hi Elaine, glad you checked in with the doc. I sure can understand why you might want a second opinion though! Nina :)

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Heart palps are the worst. My cardio says the same thing ... don't worry about them, it's part of POTS. Easy for him to say. Trying to re-program our brain after so much conditioning is a challange. But I am working hard at it.

Have you read up on Magnesium supplements? I know my cardio is a big fan of them. I've been taking up to 800 mg a day (in 3-4 doses) and it makes a world of difference in the frequency of my irregular beats.

I know there is a book called "The Miracle of Magnesium" by Dean. (It was recommended to me, I haven't read the book.)

There is lots on the web like:

http://my.webmd.com/content/article/29/172...e_&_Top_Stories

http://www.mgwater.com/listc.shtml

http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showa...text/magnesium/

Good luck,

EM

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You can try for a second opinion, but chances are that you will get the same response. They are very "normal" for POTS patients and there is little to nothing that can be done about them. Actually, my wife's Mayo doctors stated that alot of the stuff she experiencing with her heart occurs in "normal" people as well, but she could notice it more because of her condition and her smaller frame. There were about 3 or 4 types feelings my wife described and the Mayo cardiologist knew exactly what each of them were. Some medications can help to ease a few of these symptoms, but they can't be eliminated (at least in my wife's case).

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Hi, Elaine. Just wanted to let you know that you're definitely not alone with those horrible palpitations. I have frequent ectopic beats, too - a separate issue from my ocassional out-of-the-blood sinus tachycardia and "hair trigger" response to exercise. I've had all the basic cardiac tests, and my heart is structually normal. I know it's scary, but if your heart is structually normal, these odd beats really are of no concern. If it makes you feel any better, I just ran the Motorola Marathon in Austin, TX a few weeks ago and I'm still here! And I went through a period this summer where I was getting irregular beats every day for hours on end, sometimes several per minute.

If you don't want to go the beta blocker route yet (they are sometimes only mildly successful in supressing these extra beats and they can cause some negative side effects), I would second EarthMother's suggestion about trying a magnesium supplement. My cardiologist also suggested this. It noticed a mild improvement, but should note my dose is very low - only 250mg/day.

Also, the gentlemen who posted above me about his wife is right - virtually everyone gets ectopic beats from time to time. Unfortunately, some of us just seem to feel every darn one of them, whereas others will go the entire life with never having any of those odd sensations!

Best of luck to you. Try not to worry - that only makes 'em worse! :-)

RunnerGirl

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I too continue to have premature beats when my autonomic nervous system is being stressed by standing. That really freaks my "octreotide" doctor. What is really more strange is that I have a pacemaker. The cardiologist tells me that what I am actually experiencing is one strong, one weak, then one strong beat. While it may be easy for people to say that "everyone has them", I think that no one has them like we POTS people do when we are standing. While we may be more sensitive to them, nonetheless the fact that they are occurring when we are stressing our autonomic nervous system makes it a little different animal. Also, when I have them, I feel bad...know that I have to sit or lie down.

By the way, one trick that seems to help somewhat although not that much is when standing to cross your ankles.

Magnesium is good for heart rhythm as well.

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Goldicedance,

You're right - it seems PACs and PVCs are more problemmatic for some people, and I'm sure they are terrible for someone with full blown POTS. In my own situation, I tend to feel the irregular beats LESS when I'm standing or exercising (though I certainly do get them from time to time during my runs) but MORE when I'm actually sitting or resting quietly and my heart rate is quite low (50-60 bmp). It's very unnerving to be quietly reading a book and feel these odd sensations. I get several variants - sometimes it's just a brief 'hollowness" in my chest/throat area - and I almost have the sensation that I need to cough. These will come as frequently as every few beats at times, but I've learned to live with them. The scarier variety is when I feel a run of them - and I get this fluttering sensation - it usually stops within a few seconds, but these terrify me. I know I'm either getting multiple ectopics or a brief run of atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter, or perhaps even AFIB. These rapid-fire episodes thankfully occur less frequently than the ectopics.

I'm fascinated (as well as very sorry, of course) that you continue to have rhythm distrubances even with a pace-maker. I confess I'm quite ignornant of this aspect of cardiology. I thought the pace-maker would enforce a nice, regular sinus rhythm. I didn't realize you could still have ectopics with one. Did you have an ablation of your sinus node?

Curious, if you don't mind my prying -

RunnerGirl

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I too have the irregular beats and always remember that one of my docs said, don't sit home and have a heart attack because you think it is just POTS. But you can't go running to the ER every time either so I think learning what is normal for your body takes a long time and even then it is hard to be 100% certain. I wish we could have an at home test when these frightening episodes occur. Wouldn't that be great to KNOW whether you need medical attention or not instead of guessing?

BTW to Runnergirl, amazing that you are able to run a marathon! I live near Austin. Are you from TX?

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Hi, Geneva! Yes, I consider myself quite fortunate to still have good exercise tolerance. I haven't been officially diagnosed, but I am in a protocol at the NIH for pseudopheochromocytoma - another form of dysautonomia, from what I'm able to gather! I have symptoms that seem to overlap with both pseudopheo (very labile blood pressure, for example) and POTS and Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST). My symptoms are mild compared to many others - but I still have bad days when my HR will just go haywire with little or no exertion. I think I tolerate this better than some because 1) my blood pressure doesn't seem to plummet the ways others do - in fact, I have a hypersensitive response to stress and it will actually soar at times; and 2) I am frankly used to having my heart rate at 180 from all the running! (The fact that on bad days it will hit this level from climbing a little flight of stairs is frustrating, but it doesn't wipe me out the way it would someone who is not used running for hours with a HR this high.) Does that make any sense?!

Anyway, I actually live outside of Washington, DC. I went to Austin just to run the race! It was my first time to Austin and I had a wonderful time! The weather was spectular for running (sunny, cool, and dry) and the people were so friendly and supportive. I hope to be back next year!

I sympathize with your concerns over the irregular beats and what your doctor says truly resonates with me. Honestly, it took me SEVERAL trips to the ER to convince myself that what I was feeling wasn't life threatening. It actually got to the point where I'd walk in and say, "Hey, it's me again, I know I'm not dying and NO, this isn't a panic attack - but hey, can someone just hook me up to an EKG because my heart's doing something funky again!" Going in with this attitude helped a lot!

Here's to palp free days ahead for all of us!

RunnerGirl

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It is comforting, very comforting, for me to know that others have this nagging, disturbing symptom. I have been to the ER too with irregular heartbeats on 2 occasions in the past five years. I now just accept it when it happens, even if prolonged. My cardiologist also tells me it is nothing to be concerned about, and VERY common, especially in women. My cardiologist thinks I do have episodes of atrial tachycardia, based on my description, but he said it is more bothersome than anything, since it lasts short periods and doesn't make me faint.

Runnergirl--where are you outside of DC? Just curious, since I am also "outside" of DC--Berlin, MD (near Ocean City, MD).

Katherine

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Hi, Katherine! Well, we're neighbors, of sorts! I live in Crofton, MD - about 15 minutes inland from Annapolis. I never know whether to say I live outside of DC or Baltimore! I guess since I spend more time in DC (and went to graduate school there), I feel a bit 'closer' to it. (Just got back from running the St. Patrick's Day 10K there, actually!)

I'm sorry to hear you also suffer from these irregular beats - but, yes, I agree it's comforting to know others have them and manage to live with them. I've researched heart rhythm irregularities extensively (and have also seen three separate cardiologists since my problems started). It's taken me a long while to get to a place psychologically where I can accept what I've been told all along - that, while uncomfortable and frightening, these things are BENIGN! I've also realized just how common they are. I finally confided to a woman in my gym that I was struggling with these problems - only to find out she had been through a similar experience about five years earlier. She even had an EP study, just to ease her mind.

I know some doctors will deny a connection, but I'm convinced these irregular beats have something to do with hormonal fluctations/status. I don't think it's coincidence that these tend to be more prevalent in women. My cardiologist also says many of her patients with palpitations are young, otherwise healthy women in their late 20s/early 30s who suddenly feel these odd sensations. I have to believe its somehow related to changes our bodies undergo as we age.

RunnerGirl

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Runnergirl

Yes, I totally agree with you that there must be a hormonal fluctuation connection. Perhaps someday it will be understood. Every cardiologist I have ever talked to or seen has told me the same thing--this is very common in young women, who are generally otherwise healthy.

It is hard to believe that something that feels rather dramatic is actually benign, but yes, I too have learned to live with it.

Yes, I know where Crofton is. I also went to grad school in the DC area--College Park.

Katherine

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