Hi there projapoti! First of all, many thanks for taking the time out to answer my questions, your responses have definitely put me more at ease (like all my visits to my cardiologist!
). I guess anxiety boils down over time (hopefully!) and I just have to go through the motions of suffering through it. Let me address some of your comments and questions in turn:
(1) I have none of the symptoms you mentioned which could spell trouble. The only thing of concern is that my total cholestorol level is slightly above what is considered "permissible" in today's modern medicine. The ratio is fine though. What is causing the total to be slightly higher is my triglycerides (inherited), which is quite some ways above the "permissible" limit, while my LDL and HDL numbers are good
(2) I'll do a little research on atrial fib when I have the time. I'd really like to know more about conditions such as these so I appear educated when I speak to the cardiologist and can probe them with intelligent questions. After all, they already charge you an arm and a leg, so may as well make full use of your time with them
. I've gathered that one avenue for treatment of these ectopic beats is the use of a beta blocker, but this drug has had very mixed results for many people. I was previously on one, and a low dose of 20mg twice daily really made me feel depressed, fatigues and tired - that's the reason I got off those! Ironically, they were initially prescribed to deal with my complaints of a fast pulse (and I recall that my pulse then was only in the region of the high 80s!)
(3) How often do you have to experience these skipped beats before it becomes serious? Mine comes and goes, and I seem to notice (I think) that it comes more often if I'm anxious, edgy or panicky. But when you are experiencing these physical symptoms, they are *difficult* to ignore! Sometimes I can get about 3 a minute, then go for hours without one. Also, exercise seems to keep the skipped beats at bay, so that's a motivation for me to exercise more nowadays
. I know discomfort varies from individual to individual, I've read that someone here in the forums has had more than 20,000 of these incidents in a day! But I seem to be uncomfortable when experiencing a "relatively low" number of these skipped beats. Also, do these beats disappear just as mysteriously as they appear? Mine only started about a week ago, and have persisted till today. I hope they can disappear!
(4) As for the benzos, my previous doctor thought that they (Xanax and Valium), in combination with the beta blocker will handle both my anxiety and hypertension, a "kill two birds with one stone" approach, if you will. He kept mentioning that he had a patient who was on Valium for over 20 years and this single drug happened to control his hypertension very well! But as I've mentioned before, this combination was really getting me down, and yet he refused to change it. I then made a unilateral decision to go off them, but I guess I tapered them off too quickly, which could have led to my current predicament. The Valium wasn't too bad - I only had one sleepless night, while the Xanax withdrawal results are apparent for all to see from my postings!
But I'd really like to avoid going back on them if possible. Believe me, the temptation to go back to the beta blocker has been so great during these past 6 weeks, but thankfully I've been able to hold it off!
(5) As you've mentioned, I will *try* to stop taking my pulse so "regularly". In fact, I would imagine that in the absence of other symptoms, I shouldn't be taking my pulse at all! I really appreciate you reminding me of this. I promise I will slap myself (hard!) if I do it *consciously* from now on
Thanks again for taking the time for reading and replying!