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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: What is happening with my heart?

 alger - Sun Nov 30, 2003 1:34 pm

Hi all,

I'm sorry if I posted this on the wrong board, I wasn't sure where this belonged. If you could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated. I hope that someone will read this message and be able to help diagnose what may be happening with me. I am currently unemployed and don't have health insurance at the moment, and would like to make some sense out of what I'm experiencing before I go to a doctor. I'm a 36 year old male with no history of heart problems, I'm vegan (strict vegetarian, no dairy or eggs), and am generally in pretty good health I think, except for what has been happening lately. I also haven't been getting much exercise during the past year, and I wonder if that has something to do with it.

Symptoms part 1:
I have always been in the habit of sleeping on my stomach during the night, and a month ago or so I noticed something odd when I would flip over onto my back when I first woke up in the morning. About every 7 or 8 heartbeats or so, I would feel an odd single 'pulse' (difficult to describe, actually) that seemed to eminate from my heart and which I could also feel in my head, that would bring with it momentary lightheadedness for a second. This would happen a few times and then stop. At first I didn't understand what I was feeling, and I kept sleeping on my stomach, but after experiencing this for the next few nights, followed by short "hot flashes" afterwards, I started to suspect that I might be having some sort of heart problem. I started to force myself to sleep on my back during the night and the symptoms lessened, although I did feel that odd "lightheaded pulse" a few times after I accidentally flipped onto my stomach during the night, and a couple of times while laying on my back.

Symptoms part 2:
During the next couple of weeks, I started paying closer attention to my heart during the day, and at times I thought I noticed an occasional out of place heartbeat, but I didn't know if it was because I was focusing too much on it and making myself nervous. I checked my heart rate and it was normal (72). But then I did start to notice that something else definitely wasn't right, and this is the part that is really concerning me now. Several times during the day, but more noticeably as night approached, unexpected sounds (like a sudden cough from my wife, an unexpected meow from the cat, or the upstairs neighbors banging around) would cause my heart (or something in that region) to feel as if it "jumped," it was like it was reacting to a scare. I don't think the heart rhythm actually changed though, but I'm not sure. As the days progressed, it seemed to get worse, and a couple of times for practically no reason (minor unexpected sounds) it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my skin, figuratively speaking. In the past, I would only get this sensation when really getting a good scare, now it is happening with any minor unexpected sound. It's most noticeable when the upstairs neighbors are walking around above me, making their floorboards/my ceiling creak unexpectedly, with each sharp crack of the ceiling I get a corresponding "jumpy" sensation in my chest.

I tried writing it off as just being jumpy and nervous because I was worrying that I might have a heart problem, but it seems to be happening more frequently now and at times of relaxation. Last night was the worst episode actually, and it is what is inspiring me to write now. Laying in bed, as the upstairs neighbors were walking around above me creaking the ceiling, with each creak it was like I was receiving uncomfortable jolts to the chest, it was almost unbearable. Imagine some of the scares you've had in your life that caused you to jump, and imagine about 30 of them in a row, this is what I was experiencing. It was absolutely terrifying. This was not accompanied by any pain or any other symptoms at the time. A short time later everything was quiet again and I fell asleep, only to waken 4 hours later to being similarly startled by sounds that the cat and wife were making.

Some additional background/symptoms that may or may not factor into this somehow:
We just got a cat about 8 months ago, and she started regularly sleeping on the bed a few months ago, and I think that I am allergic to her dander because I occasionally wheeze and get sinus congestion. I wonder if my body is reacting to being regularly bombarded with allergens, and if so, could that manifest itself in the symptoms I have described? Also, for the past couple of years I have had daily pain/pressure/pinching (which I usually attribute to gas, but who knows) right below my ribcage on my left side, which I have wanted to see a doctor about but kept putting off. And finally, during the day I otherwise feel pretty good (except for my heart occasionally jumping at sounds), but I notice that I don't feel as alert as I used to years ago, and at times feel sort of light-headed, particularly if I shake my head or bend over. I think that my lack of exercise is causing me some circulation problems, as I frequently get a vibrating/pulsing sensation in my left foot when I sit at the computer for extended periods of time, which seems to be alleviated when I get up and walk around.

Well, I'm sure that I have provided more info than anyone wanted to know, but I wanted to mention anything that could be relevant to what I'm experiencing. I have been putting off calling a doctor because I moved to a new state last year and still haven't found a family doctor, mostly because money is very tight and I don't have health insurance as I mentioned. Fortunately it has been quite a while since I had to see a doctor about anything. I don't know where to even begin in terms of finding the right kind of doctor for the kinds of symptoms I am having. Do I go to a doctor of internal medicine/general practitioner first, or do I go right for a heart specialist? Does what I'm describing even sound like a heart problem, or something else? Do my symptoms sound like classic symptoms of heart problems? Any advice would be appreciated. I have been searching for similar symptoms to mine on the net and have come up with nothing so far. Thank you so much in advance!
 vk6ahen - Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:45 pm

Hi algar,

I experiece similar symptoms as you have, also i feel this strong pulse originating from the heart to all the way up to the head when im quite and doing nothing.. I've been to cardiologist many a times, i had my ECG & stress test everything came back normal. but somehow i'm worried cause these things that i experience are pretty nagging and cant tolerate at times mostly while im on bed and struggling to go to sleep.
Adding to your symtpom experiences i also have problem while driving, when people honk or pass my vehicle by surprise these things really makes me feel that something happened in my heart. Anyways i just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
Hopefully we will find an explanation to our ordeal.

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