Weird Heart Beat Issue II

andrelaplume2November 11, 2008

Well, those of you who read my prior post know that I had a weird sensation of feeling my heartbeat at night after dinner in my recliner. They did an echo and blood work and had me wear a device to monitor my heart. All tests came back normal.

The problem went a way for a while and is now back and occurring during the day as well....though not as intense.

I notice it is usually coming on after eating so you folks who thought GURD and such may have been right. I tried eliminating cafine but that does not appear to be the issue. I am 15 - 20 pounds overweight so next I should probably loose a few pounds.

I am just confused as to why this suddenly happened. I do not bring stuff up or have heartburn. My doc said something could be inflamed and to take pepsid (2 after each meal in the evening for 2 weeks) I am starting that now.

I have a hard time believing something is inflamed since there is no pain.

My symptom is that I can feel my heart beat in the center of my chest at times, anywhere from in my throat down to my stomach. Its not necesarily beating fast (80 beats a minute) or skipping beats. It just feels like its beating hard. Its annoying and at times tiresome.

I will go back to the doc, but I thought I experiment with my diet a while first.

Does any of this sound anything like any of you ever experienced?

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When my reflux used to act up, I never had an acid sensation or anything that would point to what people think of heartburn. Mine heart just felt like strong pressure. Like it wss being inflated. It did hurt; I sort of thought I could have been having a heart attack. There was no burning or acid sensation whatsoever. I noticed if I got up and walked around, I would actually feel better.

Try eating smaller meals more often. And, try drinking and eating separately. Too much stuff in your stomach at once is not a good think. Fried and fatty foods were not my friend. Also try looser clothing -pressure on you stomach can make matters worse.

Sometimes reflux acts up around times of stress or for me when I'm not getting enough sleep. It also acts up when I skip meals.. so be careful not to do that.

Ok, and people are going to yell, but what helps me is drinking pickle juice when I feel an attack coming on. Yes, I know it is very acidy but reflux isn't always just caused by too much acid, but often an imbalance of acid. The pickle juice really works for me. I don't want to send anyone over the edge in pain, but maybe it's something you'd want to experiment with. Have you noticed acidy foods making matters worses? I personally never noticed a correlation and could eat salsa and stuff and be fine. Plus, over the counter antacids did nothing for me.

Here's a link with some ideas. Of course, we still don't know for sure what you have (and it could be something really serious) so be sure to follow your doctor's orders and check in with them if you have any problems. I personally have NO medical background so nothing I say should be taken too seriously.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Cures

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 5:39PM
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I have no burnig or pressure! Did you ever get these weird heart sensations?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 12:20PM
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I have a really high resting heart rate. Every now and then I notice or can feel it beating but it's not really all that odd of a sensation to me (maybe I'm just used to it). I have noticed my heart racing like a son of a ;;;;; when I throw up. I'm sure everyone's does in a way, but mine really seems extra strong especially the last few years since my reflux started. When I throw up all my focus seems to be on my heart beat, not my vomiting. (Sorry I know this is gross). I would guess that maybe something similar is happening in your case. The stuff is just not coming up all the way and out but is creating a racing heart/strong beat sensation.

Regarding my reflux... I really felt a difference when I got up versus just lying there. I would wake up in bed at night with bad chest and back pain... it felt like an elephant was trying to push it's way out of my chest cavity. The last thing I felt like doing was getting up. I was in serious -tears in my eyes pain- but if I got up, I would feel better. For some reason, eating bananas would help too. If you feel better when you are upright versus sitting and/or laying, it may very well point to reflux.

This reflux stuff isn't an exact science. It can present in so many different way. Most warn of over eating, but like I mentioned, mine acted up the worse when I skipped meals, so it doesn't always make the sense that you want it to. I would suggest working backwards to figure out what is wrong and keeping tract of what is going on when these attacks happen. When are symptoms worse? -- on Sunday nights when you dread going back to work, the day after you had a beer, after a fight with your girl friend, when you haven't gotten enough sleep, when you ate fast food, after you ate mint gum, when you do yard work, after watching depressing news stories, etc., etc... You need to try to work backwards.

And, I still wouldn't totally rule out anxiety being the cause of your problem.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 2:41PM
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Andre.....did your doc say anything about checking out your aorta?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 8:01PM
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I can't remember if we've talked about a hiatal hernia before?
I think I have a sliding one. When I do things that increase my chest pressure, like laying down after eating, leaning over alot, etc., I think my stomach slips through my diaphragm opening and pushes on my heart. I wonder if you intermittently have a sliding hiatal hernia?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 8:03PM
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what would cause a hiatal hernia...what are other symptoms?

Aorta? She listened to my neck with the stethoscope, did blood work, gave me a holter montior for a day and did an echo...all came back clean.

It really seems to occur with eating....and lately it might do it whether I am laying down or not.

I have started taking a pepsid pill and will do so each day at dinner for 2 weeks...she thought something could have gotten inflamed and this may help. Funny, when I was axious and freaking out over this I was not eating as much and it was better. Unless there is a particular thing I am eating that is setting it off.

YOur stomach pushes your heart! That sounds dangerous!!!!

It only seems to do it after eating for me and ot necesarily while laying down anymore...though worse when laying. Usuall an hour or two after eating it goes for the most part.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:27AM
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Try these and see if they help:

1. Lose the extra 20 lbs.

2. Try sitting up after a heavy meal. Avoid all fried foods and chocolate.

3. Have your blood pressure monitored and if it is too high, get on meds to lower it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:40AM
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The extra 20 pound is the hardest part...but 10 should be somewhat easy. I just don't know why this started...I have gained the extra weight over the last 5 years or so but other than that nothing has changed. I looked up the hiateal hernia:

Hiatal Hernia Causes
Poor seated posture (such as slouching), Obesity, Frequent coughing, Straining with constipation , Frequent bending over or heavy lifting, Heredity, Smoking, Conngenital

Well, I do slouch at work. Am I obese? I would think not. I cough a bit...attribuatble to allergy. Nothing else applies.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
Chest pain or pressure, Heartburn, Difficulty swallowing, Coughing ,Belching, Hiccups, Pain, At times, a hiatal hernia causes chest pain or upper abdominal pain when the stomach becomes trapped above the diaphragm through the narrow esophageal hiatus, Other causes: Rarely, with a fixed hiatal hernia, the blood supply is cut off to the trapped portion of the stomach, causing great pain and serious illness. This is called a strangulated hiatal hernia, and it is a true medical emergency.
Hiatal hernia also causes symptoms of discomfort when it is associated with a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called GERD. This condition is characterized by upwelling of stomach acids and digestive enzymes into the esophagus through a weakened sphincter that is supposed to act as a one-way valve between the esophagus and stomach. Hiatal hernia is thought to contribute to the weakening of this sphincter muscle.
Although it is true that hiatal hernia or GERD can cause chest pain similar to angina (or heart pain) including chest pressure that can radiate to the arm or neck, do not assume that such pain is caused by the less serious condition of the two. When in doubt, it is safer to be seen by a doctor immediately in order to rule out more serious problems first.

Other than some burping I am not sure I really have those symptoms.

Time to loose weight and see what happens I guess. Still it bothers me that something in there can make me feel or make my heart beat harder....creepy!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Hi andre,
Do you have a high waist?
I think that's part of my problem. I just don't have enough space in my trunk for everything!
I'm going through a spell of having tons of PVCs. I just did a bunch of leaning over and lifting before all this started. I think some of us just easily get all our innards pushed up against our diaphragms sometimes, and it might lead to a hiatal hernia.
All the docs I've ever seen just don't seem to be interested in hital hernias, saying that they just aren't very common, and they don't really hurt anything.
I just find it interesting that whenever I do lifting and leaning over, I get these PVCs. That could also be reflux though too.
I think the lower part of our esophogus is very sensitive and if it gets a little irritated, our vagus nerve can get irritated, and give us these heart symptoms.
You mentioned cutting back on eating and not having the symptoms. I find that to be true too. So it might just be a volume-in-our-stomachs-pressing-on-our-diaphragm issue, or something like lessening the carbs we eat being easier on our stomachs and eshophaguses, in an acid/fermentation/gas issue.
I know these heart sensations are benign in me, because I've had alot of cardiac testing recently, but I'm here to tell you that they sure can set off a "red alert!" alarm. They send me into a panic.
Just shoot for the first 10 pounds. That might make a huge difference for you.
I don't know how old you are, but unfortunately, age can really change us, and we have these funky new symptoms crop up. They're no fun! Sometimes things happen for awhile, and then totally go away, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that your's goes away soon.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 6:14PM
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44. It all started in Oct. What are PVCs?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:24PM
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Andre....I've always assumed you were this correct?
PVC means "premature ventricular contraction". All the cells in our heart muscle beat in a certain rhythm. But sometimes, a cell or area decides to beat out of sync with the rest of the rhythm. If this happens in the ventricles, its called a PVC. Since the beat is early, and the heart doesn't have time to fully fill with blood, there is a slight pause after this beat, so the heart has time to really fill up with blood (actually, a little more blood than usual), and then it contracts and feels bigger than usual. (because if there's more blood in the ventricle, it has to contract harder to push it out).
A PAC is a premature atrial contraction. Those you don't usually feel as strongly as a PVC.
Sometimes our heart muscle is more sensitive, or irritable and is vulnerable to these PVC beats. Caffeine and things like cold medicines (things that are stimulants) can make the heart more irritable. Some other drugs can do the same thing.
Some of us just have more sensitive heart muscle than others. When I said earlier that this happens to me when my stomach presses on my heart is an example. My heart tends to push back (with an irregular beat) when my stomach pushes on it.
All my physical problems ALWAYS flare up in the Fall. I think our bodies go through changes in the Fall, in preparation for Winter, and we aren't real aware of it.
If this continues for you, and nothing ever shows up on tests, then its probably something that won't hurt you, and you will eventually adjust to it.
I began having these strange sensations about 15 years ago, and I have gotten fairly used to them.......or at least have figured out what I need to do to lessen them.
I do think there's something about heart issues that makes our brains freak out....even if they are benign.
I know my PVCs always freak me out, even when I know they won't hurt me.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:06AM
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Well, it seems food related. Looking back, I think this may have been coming on back in Oct. I freaked and stopped eating due to nerves which is likely what made it temporarily get better. All my heart/blood tests came back normal, I became less nervous and went back to eating the way I had been. (whether I was eating right or not, it was the way I was eating for years---of course I am older 44/male and have gained 20 pounds over 5 years (186 lbs)and maybe stuff is catching up to me).

Anyway, after my post last night I went down to catch up on some taped shows..Im am a night owl. My allergy drip was bad...I remember that too...its been bad for a month...guess anotheer allergist appt is in the making too. I ate a small soft pretzel and about 4 ounces of soda...cafinated! It immediately started doing it. I think it only last bit though. I have noticed that after dinner it always does it rather intensly for maybe an hour or so. Now I am noticing that it will do it again and again with everything I eat after dinner, though not as intense or lasting as long...perhaps the 'incident' is proportional to the amount of food I eat...not sure.

Anyway, after the pretzel, an hour later, I had a handfull of pistatios. After the nuts it got real intense! I had been taking a pepsid after dinner for 3/4 days---the doc had mentioned maybe something was inflamed and taking the pepsid for 2 weeks might help it heal. I remembered I had forgotten to take the pepsid last night at dinner time. (I really am not sure what the pesid will do for me since I have no burning or pain but if it makes something heal...what the heck)

It was late so went up to bed but first took a pepsid. I was a little burpy. An hour later it was still bothering me. I sat up and took a few deep breaths (who knows why---something to try). I could breath fine but on the exhale it felt like my breath was sort of jumping hurdles...sounds weid but I could breath out just was not a partial clog in my esophogus...I may be exagerting, but it was weird. I jumped up and took another pepsid (says you can take 2 in 24 hours) 15 minutes later I was alseep..not sure if the pepside worked, I found a better sleeping pisition or I just konked out!

I stopped at my doc on the way into work to touch base. They thought she could see me but it turned into me taking to the desk clerk and relaying info back an forth. They said to watch the diet, take the pepsid and if it gets no better they would schedule a stress test. I said 'wait, its seems to be food related'....not sure what a stress test will accomplish. The clerk said the doc did not think it was heart related anyway buy that was the next test. I said I will try what they said (diet / pepsid) but if it continues I am coming back in for a consulation before more heart tests. I guess I can not blame them, its hard when you are not talking directly to the doc and I had no appt. I forgot to mention the weird breath thing too which really made me mad!

So it will be a weekend of diet!

One last thing, I am still not clear, is anyone with this type of eating disorder NOT having pain or burning but having this, shall we say, more intense hearbeat issue, again not necesarily a faster or irregular beat, just a more intense one after eating?

Ok really the last thing...if the stomach or something is touching the heart, I mean is that not really dangerous...sound life threatening!!!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:49AM
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OMG- How funny-- I almost posted this the other day but thought you may be sick of hearing from me. The absolutely worst food for me is pretzels. If you couple that with a coke, you're doomed! Although pretzels may be a better snack food, and I love them - they bother me so much I don't eat them anymore. I tell you what, if it happens again, seriously drink some pickle juice -- if it helps, you should feel it right away. I think the problem with the pretzels are something with the high starch content and being dry -granted yours were soft, but still. My dad has a corkscrew hiatal hernia which causes the Gerd (It gets so bad to the point where he needs Botox injections occasionally to be able to hold down any food). His worse food is rice. So, be careful of starches especially before bedtime. No dry crackers, etc.

If you can get your allergies under control, it may really help too. I thought I posted a link, but they (allergies and gerd) are very closely related for some people.

I notice that Tylenol actually helps me a little -- it seems to indirectly slow my heart rate down and keeps me calmer. You may want to see if that would help you. But don't do ibuprofen unless your doctor tells you too, that can make it worse. Do you notice the Pepcid actually helping any?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 11:36AM
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Yes Andre.....I can have the funky feeling in my chest witout ANY heartburn.
I remember asking you awhile back if you had a stress echo, but I think you said it was just an echo. I think the stress echo is really important in ruling out a heart problem. (Its not 100% reliable, but pretty darned reliable). It checks your heart after walking on a treadmill.
I doubt you have a heart problem though. This sounds so much like GI.
I have been through years of this funky feeling Andre, so I can totally relate.
And bread products seem to be really hard on me.
I think people can have different levels of wheat intolerance. You might be negative on a Celiac test, but that doesn't mean you tolerate wheat well.
And fizzy drinks are bad too.
You really need to get in the habit of not eating anything for about 4 hours before bed (or lying down).
When I say my stomach is pressing on my heart........its a gentle pressure.....but enough for my sensitive heart to push back (with a PVC).
The body is soooooo complex. There are so many interactions between so many things. Its possible you will never figure out what's going on.......but I think you're going in the right direction with changing how you eat.
Try not to think of it as a diet, but just a different way of eating. More protein and veggies and fruit, and less carbohydrates. Sometimes, if I've been very good avoiding certain things, I can then eat a little of them without the problems. Unfortunately......they're so good, I get back in the bad habit of eating too much of them again!
Good luck Andre, and keep us posted. Do you have insurance for a stress echo? I think you should definitely get that, to rule out a problem.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:36PM
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YEs, Insurance. Not sure if pepsid is helping.

Di you always have this. I never ad anything like this in my life...getting used to it is not something I look forward to.

What exactly do they do to you in a stress test...must you be shot up with dye or anything, how long does it take...when do you get the results...etc.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:29PM
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Well, my story is sort of complicated. I had a horrible case of influenza and pneumonia back in l995. Then I was on antibiotics for 2 months. I don't know if the antibiotics did me in, or it was the flu/pneumonia, but shortly after that, I developed fibromyalgia and also started going through menopause. I also developed irritable bowel syndrome, GERD and sleep apnea. Its hard to sort it all out, but something seems to cause all of this stuff in me.
Are you bowels acting the same? Do you suddenly feel extremely full after eating?
Are you on any other meds?
When my GI problems were their worst, I was put on a PPI (proton pump inhibitor). That helped the symptoms for awhile. Pepsid (an H2 blocker) does absolutely nothing for me, so you might ask your doc for a prescription for a PPI......oh wait....I think prilosec is otc now. You could buy that and try it.
Don't lose hope yet. This might just be a temporary thing you're going through.
There is a Ph.D. guy who was on the GERD forum for awhile who wrote a book on how carbohydrates cause alot of GI problems. He believes our systems aren't designed to eat all these carbs and they can't be digested quickly and they ferment, and that causes alot of gas/reflux, etc. So I think you'd do well to lower your carb consumption.

The stress echo I had went like this: You go in, and they put you on a heart monitor, and then you get on a treadmill, and they slowly increase the speed and incline, until you reach your target heartrate. Then you immediately lay down and they do an echocardiogram on your heart. It doesn't hurt at all. If they want you to have a nuclear med stress echo, then you will have to have a contrast medium injected into your vein.......but most stress echoes are the first type I talked about.
It shows if all your heart muscle and valves are working right.
what kind of doctor are you seeing? Once they rule out a heart problem (which I'm sure they will), then I would suggest seeing a good gastroenterologist.
I think for some of us, as we age, our parts just don't work as well, and we can't abuse them like we used to. I know that my GI tract does fine, until I start eating too much, and then it starts to fail. You might be able to take care of this problem, just by changing your eating habits.
I know how hard that can be! I've struggled with it my whole life.
Its much better for me than it used to be, but I think that's because my hormones finally settled down.
Men have hormones too, and sometimes they get wacky.
I actually think my strange chest sensations are a combination of my GERD and my IBS.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:02PM
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My family doctor is an internist. I ate slower and smaller portions and made sure I did not lay down after eating this weekend. The heart thing was only a 1 on a scale of 1-5 where it had been a 3-5 the prior days. Still I felt it a little here and there...though I am overly sensitive to it now.

I'll keep this diet thing up until I loose some weight and see if it gets better or worse. I guess after that its the stress test and maybe other tests...who knows...

its very disturbing....

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 9:26AM
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I can really relate today Andre.......Since last week, I'm having irregular beats all the time. The only other symptom I'm having is unbelievable amounts of burping! I have no idea where all that air comes from! I burp so much, it wears me out! I do remember burping this much years ago, and being on a PPI helped it alot.......but now I can't take them.
I'm wondering if my palpitations are from the antidepressant I'm on, or all the leaning over I did before this started, or hormones, or what, but its really scary! I called and made an appointment for the doc tomorrow.
It definitely worsens after I matter what I eat. I guess we're twins. haha
Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 11:52AM
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not much burping on my the med you are on and see what the side effects are...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:17PM
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I have been reading your posts with interest Andre and Catherinet. I don't have the heavy heart beats you speak of but I sure have GERD and a hiatus hernia. My GERD was really bad and I had a scope done and it showed 2 ulsers and the Gerd and a hernia. If I bend over too tightly I get the worst stomache pains and have ended up at the ER getting shots to stop the spasms.

To shorten this, if you google GERD or Acid Reflux you will get a list of DO's and DON'Ts. I followed these to the letter and now the ulsers have healded I don't burp, have heart burn, etc. I eliminated the foods they suggested so it is more than just taking pepsid or is altering your lifestyle. I can live quite well without eg. lemon pie vs having an acid reflux attack.

Like Catherinet said if you are faithful and get the tissues healed, you can have a treat of some of your NO NO foods. Acid Reflux can be going on in your stomache without any symptoms but it should not be ignored. You have only one esophagus and it can't be fixed or replaced!

Andre you are worrying too much and that doesn't help. You will feel better but it is not a fast process.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 11:20PM
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Well, I took the pepsid at dinner for two weeks. Symptoms were gone untl the last 2 days of the 2 weeks when they slightly returned. Now, off the pepsid, the sympoms are back, after dinner or before bed...not as bad but back. I guess I should get back to the doc and find out what is screwed up in there and how to heal it. Again, no burping or burning...just the odd sensation of feeling my heart (or something) beating or quivering just below my rib cage...for the most part. Sometimes it feels fast though my pulse is always around 72.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:29AM
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My heart is going crazy. I have palpitations 24/7. My internist said not to worry......but I think I'll let my cardiologist tell me that too, before I quit worrying.
One thing I was thinking about Andre.......and I had this for a long time......was it felt like my colon might have too sharp a turn in it after the transverse colon becomes the descending colon, and it felt like gas bubbles were turning that narrow corner all the time........creating sort of a bubbling/quivering feeling. Our transverse colons are sort of up under our stomachs.
I also had what felt like buzzing in that area. I have IBS and my entire GI tract keeps me wondering!! For a long time, it felt like I had a little animal living in there.
I don't think you've ever tried a PPI have you? Those settled down my symptoms much more than Pepsid.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 8:14PM
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no PPI...not sure what it is...its very annoying and I am toying between experimenting with diet and just going back to the doc.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 11:03AM
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Pepcid is an H2 blocker. Drugs like Prilosec, Aciphex, Nexium, Protonix are Proton Pump Inhibitors. You can buy Prilosec over the counter now.......why don't you try some of that?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 6:23PM
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Well, was back to the doc today. After 60 days its a little better I guess. She gave me a script for a prilosec type drug to try....

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 11:26AM
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