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PVCs/palpitations brought on with any physical activity!
I myself was just diagnosed last week with PVCs/ irregular heartbeats. I first noticed them from walking up 1 flight of stairs and I felt that famed fluttering and thud like feeling every couple of beats. Needless to say after about 15-20 seconds they seemed to subside and I tried to disregard the episode. I had previously had palpitations but normally it would be about one skipped beat a day and it would go away, I almost Routinley expected it for years, there was a few times where I had them in multiple successions but it was rare maybe 3-4 times in my adult life. I would also get a single skipped beat when I would workout lifting weights or especially running on the treadmill which would force me to stop and grab for my chest and lose all motivation to continue. With that said as of last week I ignored that first episode and went on with my business, 15 minutes later I walked back up the stairs and the same thing happened! This time lasting more than a minute, it threw me into pure panic, I ran to the bathroom and threw water on my face thinking I was surely dying of a heart attack. These thuds or off beats every few beats felt so bad I thought I was dying, enough said. Needless to say I ended up not doing any more physical activity that day, the next day I did the same until the afternoon when I decided to walk another flight of stairs. Oh boy was that a dumb idea, I set off the worst episode yet, pure panic. Ended up going to the ER, they did blood work, EKG, the works and all checked out normal. They gave me a Holter monitor for 48 hours and told me to make an appointment in 2 days (on Monday) with a cardiologist. So I called Monday and set an appointment for 1130 on Tuesday. I had only 2 episodes both which sucked during that time and the rest of the time I just layed low. Mine only seem to be brought on with exertion or physical activity of any kind, I mean even walking fast, standing up fast, or going up stairs. It stinks. Anyways fast forward to Tuesday. I got up early got out of my car and walked 10 feet slowly and I went into the worst of episodes yet! This one lasting several minutes, I threw myself into my car and drove to the ER. As you would expect, ekg and blood work normal, and no answers, the doctor was great and kept saying it could be panic or stress or anxiety, al which I have had throughout my 20’s but definitely not that bad as of late. Ended up going to the cardiologist and him telling me I had upper and lower extra or premature heartbeats/palpitations. And I was not to worry because it was benign and I only had a minuscule amount of them. Literally the worst thing I could hear at the time. I have a naturally low pulse, 36 bpm while I’m sleeping and 55 average awake. So I couldn’t get even a low dose of beta blockers. So basically it was just go learn to deal with them and think about getting back on Xanax or other anti anxiety medication. I went immediately to my personal doctor to get anxiety meds and explained what had happened and he was shocked that the cardiologist didn’t order a stress test or even a lipid panel for cholesterol. And he didn’t agree that the PVCs were brought on by anxiety only because I get them with physical activity. Im 28 years old, I’m 260 lbs but played collegiate football and I’m not obese, active in weight lifting a decent amount and still remain active in lifestyle, I do eat like shit but aside from that I should be healthy. They all tell me my heart sounds great and my blood work is good that they took at the ER both times. It’s almost debilitating to move fast at all because I’m terrified to get the terrible feeling of these intense PVCs! I’ve taken off work for the last week and have no idea how to cope with this, how does one ignore what feels like a heart attack every time they even walk fast. It’s crazy. Any input on how you guys cope would be greatly appreciated and/or anyone out there with similar PVCs bright on by activity or exertion please let me know!
NewPacer73, September 12, 2019 3:44pm EST
Do you have sleep apnea? I am wondering if you need to eliminate that possibility, especially with that low heart rate at night. Apnea affects the heart in my family and my experience.is that can exacerbate that low heart rate issue.
I would ask several questions from the cardiologist. Hopefully, you can pose these questions on the patient portal, so you don't have to do another office visit. First I would ask if you have "bradycardia" and if they are concerned about that low heart rate at night. That problem evolved in me having a pacemaker put in that regulates both low and high heart rates for a designated period of time. And that has stabilized my heart a lot. I let the technology do its thing. If I feel wierd, I call the pacemaker clinic, send them data from my monitor, give them time and date data and they look at what the pacemaker recorded. On the few times I've had to do that, I totally understood what was going on and it wasn't as serious as it felt.
That's a terrible feeling when your heart goes a little nuts and you know something is going on, yet ER and other tests are normal. I had a bunch of normal tests for awhile too and went through "it's just anxiety", but it was not. That low heart rate is a problem for my family too and we have had a final resolution with pacemakers.
The exercise thing is the second question I would pose on the portal to the cardiologist. They gave me a program to follow for that. You are a young person and athlete, so they might have more options with you. Somebody needs to give you guidance. I couldn't live with a "guessing game" exercise regimen. I do know that I've read on here that weight lifting has been highly discussed and there are a million viewpoints. Did you get a stress echo? All that helps figure out what your heart can tolerate.
These are problems for a lot of arrhythmia patients, so you are not alone. I ask a lot of questions on the patient portal because it documents the advice and most doctors are very careful how they respond. I am lucky in that my cardiologist herself answers my questions in less than a day..
Echocardiograms and stress tests are key ones for anyone with chronic cardiac issues. You need to be monitored if you feel that something is wrong. I have certainly learned the hard way that I needed to be a better advocate for myself a long time ago and could've prevented situations that came with years of arrythmias.
Hang in there. You will get to a solution if you are a persistent patient who doesn't settle until you are comfortable with "it'll be okay". If you have a Mended Hearts group in your area, go to a meeting and find a local patient with similar issues to learn how they handled them. That was also huge in my recovery.
Keep us posted with how you are doing. Get in there and get their undivided attention until you fully understand what's going on with your heart. I'm glad you are monitoring your data too. I'd send that in as an attachment when you ask questions on the patient portal. People live with arrythmias everyday and do well. What you seem to be needing is more information on your particular issues until you get what is going on.
Mcqui185, September 13, 2019 9:42am EST
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, as for the sleep apnea I haven’t looked into it but I don’t believe I have it. I never had any complaints of snoring or stopage of breaths during my sleep but I will bring that question up too my cardiologist. As for the low pulse during sleep I was told not to worry about it and that it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a young healthy guy. I’m going to get a second opinion from an electrophysiologist this coming week. I was not too satisfied with my cardiologist, I figured he would order a stress test or echo just to make sure everything was okay. Thank you for all of the advice I’m going to look Into all of this and I’m not just going to accept the fact that this came out of nowhere and affects me so bad that I just have to learn to live with it. There’s got to be some sort of explanation, and I find it strange it only happens when I move around or elevate my heart even in the slightest.
diane04, September 13, 2019 10:19am EST
I am glad that you are going for a second opinion. I was thought to be going through menopause. However, I had complete heart block and needed a pacemaker. I was my own advocate in that I insisted that something was wrong and it wasn't just menopause. A mobile cardiac monitor caught the problem the first night I wore it. My heart was actually pausing consistently throughout night and day no matter what I was doing. I had the feelings that you are describing and also felt dizzy like I was going to faint at times. Sometimes things would go black and all I would see is white dots in the blackness. The symptoms weren't always exactly the same. Sometimes it felt like my heart was being squeezed, other times it felt like something very heavy was on my chest. Don't give up on this puzzle. If you are persistant, you will get answers! Good luck! I will keep my fingers crossed!
jjrenn, September 17, 2019 1:10pm EST
Yes a second opinion is great. Did your cardiologist suggest adding potassium whether through fruit (pear) or sports drink?
BoomBoomTam, September 22, 2019 1:47pm EST
Push for the ECHO stress test, especially since your palpitations are coming during activity. Knowing that your heart sounds fine and that your blood work is A-OK is comforting, but the ultrasound will really show what's going on in there while you're exercising.
I woudn't say what's happening is entirely anxiety related, but the more it happens, the more worried about it you will feel and it can become a vicious cycle. I've gone through the holter montior and the ECHO stress test and have gotten the news that my heart is perfectly fine, but I'm still very nervous about what's going on in there at times and these anxious thoughts usually set me up for PVCs. It's hard, especially since you don't know yet if your heart is in good shape and you already have anxiety issues, but try your best to stay calm (easier said than done!).
Due to running, I also have a low heart rate (resting rate is usally around 45-50), but my worst episodes usually come at night and not at all during exercise. Still, I'll be curious to learn what your doctor says about the relation (if any) of the PVCs to a slow pulse.
Best of luck and keep pushing for the care you need!
lozadaaj, October 14, 2019 1:53am EST
I can identify with your symptoms -- thank you so much for sharing! My first irregular heartbeat episodes started several months ago, and at first I ignored it. However, they have gotten so frequently and I get chest pains, so I pushed for quite a few tests to get to the bottom of it. I highly recommend you speak with your doctors about echocardiogram, stress test, CAT scan, blood work, ultrasounds, and anything else that may help you get some answers. After my tests, I was first put on beta blockers, but they lowered my heart rate too much and affected my breathing. So now I am on an anti-arrhythmia medication and I will see my cardiologist next month to see if progress continues. I'm tracking my heart rate at night with my watch, and will share the results with the doctor. I hope you get the answers and support you need. Feel free to write and I will share what I'm encountering on my end.