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- Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:03 pm
Hey, I am beginning to get concerned.
I have had an irregular heart rate and rhythm for almost a year, but lately it's getting aggrevated. It usually acts up after or during a hot bath, standing too long, stress, right when I awaken, or seemingly at random. When my heart acts up too much, I get light headed, dizzy, then get a ringing in my ears until I can't hear, and spots on my eyes till I can't see. I also occasionally get a numb feeling in my left arm, and my veins stand out.
This past Tuesday, after clocking my heart at over 120 beats per minute at a resting heart rate at 7:45 a.m., I finally passed out after standing for 1 hour at 8:45 a.m. When I came to, I was crazy hot and sweating, which is weird because I never sweat. I also had a stomach ache that felt almost exactly like cramps, but went away after a bit.
Then this morning, I woke up and checked my pulse, but it wasn't the normal "ba-bump! ba-bump!" that is normal. Instead, it was more like a swish-swish, swish-swish. It reminded me of a washing machine. All day, I've felt lightheaded and just weird. Any thoughts?
| John Kenyon, CNA
- Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:29 pm
Hello -- What you describe, for the most part, sounds like the usual combo platter of premature heartbeats we all have from time to time. These, in themselves, are not dangerous, nor are they at all unusual -- almost everyone has these as a relatively random occurrence, and for most people they actually occur more often when at rest than when active. However, you do describe some other symptoms and triggering mechanisms which may suggest something additional is going on, and this is probably worth a look. What specifically concerns me is the tendency to lightheadedness and even fainting, especially after standing for a prolonged period of time. This is suggestive of potural hypotension, often seen in combination with vasovagal syncope (fainting) and postural orthostatic tachycardia, all part of the same spectrum of autonomic nervous system misbehavior that can cause the symptoms you describe (without giving undue weight to the premature beats). For this reason I would suggest a cardiac workup with possible tilt-table test to see if you are especially vulnerable to vasovagal or orthotstatic problems. While these aren't exactly directly heart-related, the heart does get involved. There is also another, similar problem seen especially in women called neurocardiogenic syncope, which produces the same sorts of symptoms. All of these are imbalances of the autonomic nervous system which to an extent controls the heart's behavior as well as that of blood pressure regulating apparatus. While not in itself life-threatening, it can be an awful nuisance, can produce a great deal of anxiety, and in some people can actually result in injury due to falling during a faint. It also is medically manageable, which is nice.
I would request a cardiological workup including all the usual tests but especially the tilt table in your case. First, though, a simple resting EKG would be in order. If that shows up nothing, the rest of the workup can be done til the symptoms can be reproduced and a treatment plan set up. This is not a terribly big deal, but it is somethng best dealt with sooner than later, if only to avoid a blow to the head from falling.
I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us here as needed an especially if anything new happens or you think of anything else that may apply here. Good luck to you.