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Old 04-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #1
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pc77 HB User
Exclamation Possible Heart Problems

For the last 3 years, I've been having dizzy spells and possible heart
problems. I'm a 45 year old white male American heterosexual of mixed
Southern European ancestry. About 6' 1", 195 pounds, thin build.

About 3 years ago, I started having dizzy spells. They usually happen
when I'm standing or sitting straight up and I have to
stay in that position for more than 30 seconds or more. Went it got
bad, I could barely sit up on the ground and lean against the couch.
One night, it was so bad, my wife took me to the ER. They checked me
out, did an EKG and couldn't find anything wrong. The weirdest thing
was that after they wired me up, the alarm went off a couple times.
Asked the nurse, and he said my heartbeat was too low. They let me go
when they couldn't find anything.

Went to a cardiologist. They did EKG, ECG, stress test, tilt test,
halter monitor. Other than a minor anomaly, which I don't remember,
they couldn't find anything wrong. They couldn't see any heart damage
or problems.

Since I was a teenager, I haven't had the greatest sleep schedule. In
the past 10 years, I would sometimes go for 2 or more weeks on 5 hours
of sleep per night. While I could handle that in my teens or
twenties, now that I'm middle aged, I can't anymore. The cardiologist
admitted that exhaustion can sometimes tax the heart and result in
less beats, lower blood pressure and lightheadedness. However, he
felt that a better sleep schedule and more exercise should solve it.

I remember first having a dizzy spell about 20 years ago. I was at my
first programming job and I was standing talking to a co-worker. I
felt a little dizzy and reached for the side of a doorway to steady
myself. I wrote if off as being tired from a long day and not getting
enough sleep the night before.

Ever since I was a kid, people have commented on my cold hands. My
mom used to always say that I had cold hands and feet. Lately, my
hands and feet have seen colder. Sometimes they seem kind of numb or
hurt. Occasionally, I get weird pains in my legs and arms, sometimes
the muscles, sometimes the joints, sometimes the toes or fingertips.

My mom had MS for years and died at 70 of lymphoma. My dad is 81 and
had a minor stroke several years ago. He said has had a low pulse for
many years. For as long as I remember, he would fall asleep at the
drop of a hat.

Last spring, I started jogging again to get in better shape. I got
good enough to do 2 5Ks and a 10K. While the spells didn't go away,
they didn't happen as often. When it got cold and rainy in the fall,
I quit jogging. The spells got worse again. Occasionally they were
accompanied by chest pains. During the winter it got really bad.
Sometimes, I barely made it through the day and thought I would pass
out. Have had some pains in the heart and chest area.

Its gotten better since then but I'm not out of the woods. One thing
that made things better was one of those rice hull pillow that wraps
around and supports my head and neck better. It has helped me to both
fall asleep faster and sleep through the night.

The dizzy spells still occur. Sometimes I get chest or heart pains.
And pains in the limbs. Sometimes the feet, other times the groin,
elbows, hands. Sometimes I've had a burning sensation in my arms or
the back of my neck.

The last couple months I have been checking my pulse and blood
pressure at work during breaks. The pulse is usually in the 50s but
recently its moved up into the 60s. One day when I was feeling really
bad. I measured it and it was 43. Checked again and it was 45.

Under a lot of stress from work, family, friends, etc. Supressed a
lot of anger over the years. Sometimes when I lay, I can feel my
pulse like a wave through my body.

Any ideas?

Could this be a blockage in my arteries or veins leading to or from my
head?

My neck, head and shoulders are really stiff. Sometimes if feels
like my head is in a vise. I'm not sure but sometimes it feels
that blood is not or barely flowing to the sides of my skull. Could
I have a pinched nerve? Would a chiropractor help?

We moved to a rural property 3 years ago. We have our own well and
septic. Could there be something in the well water that is affecting
my heart? (Wouldn't explain why my wife and kids are fine.)

We are also now live a mile from I-80. Could the increased ozone in
the air do this?

Could this be temperature related? It seems to get worse in the
winter.

Could I be missing something in my diet? Or need a vitamen or
supplement?

About 3 years ago, I started drinking soy milk instead of cow milk and
cut down on dairy products because of IBS. The IBS has gotten better
but I wonder if I am missing something that is causing this problems.

Could my bad sleep habits have strained or damaged my heart?

Could I be suffering from heart damage?

If so, is there anyway to repair it?

Could this by hypertension or stress?

Male menopause?

I'm grapsing at straws?

 
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
pc77 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

Don't think I have sleep apnea but I guess I could check into it. What I have had in the past is just plain insomnia. Lying there for hours until I would finally fall asleep sometimes not until 3:30 or 4AM. Then I would fall into a real deep sleep cycle, which I learned your first cycle usually is. When I would have to wake up at 6:30 or 7AM I would be like a zombie and it would take forever to get coherent. That hasn't been the case though, the last couple months.

Wonder if I have more of a sleep disorder and maybe should be posting on such a thread. I asked my last cardiologist if maybe my screwy sleep schedule had confused my body's circadium rythyms. Maybe it thinks that my pulse should be low during the day due to my not getting enough sleep at night, getting to bed to late and sleeping late on weekends. Maybe it thinks its night time and is acting as such. He said it was possible but he didn't know for sure or have any idea how to find out.

Since my teens, my exercise schedule has been irratic. I would jog for several weeks or months then stop for the same. If I went to the doctor's or gave blood they would always say that my pulse was low, asked if I jogged and then dismiss it when I said yes.

My past jogging, being out of shape and the past sleep schedule, I'm sure has had an affect. But I can't understand it now, affecting me 24/7/365.

I just switched jobs and have a new PPO. I'll follow your advice and make an appointment with them. But if anyone has a clue, I'd surely appreciate it.

 
Old 04-29-2005, 01:11 PM   #3
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Karen712 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

pc77
I'm glad to hear your story...not glad that you have the story to tell, but glad to hear there is someone else. Reading your post was like talking to my husband. He has all of the same symptoms. Some times his dizzieness actually turns into a complete black out though (usually lasting 15-20 seconds). He just collapses where ever he is and doesn't remember it afterwards. He had one of these black outs while driving even and wrecked into the car in front of him. He has the same sleep patterns as you and everything. He is an athlete and has always had a low pulse rate. These symptoms started after he became less active in sports about 6 years ago. That is also when his stress started increasing since he was working two jobs going to college and we had just had our first child. He has also had every test you can think of EEG, EKG, MRI, nerve test, blood test, etc... The doctors still haven't found anything wrong with him. My husband also has the tingling in his arms and legs. As far as all of these symptoms goes the closest thing we have found to all of his symptoms is Arrythmias. You might want to look into that and ask your doctor if that is a possibility.
Hope all goes well! Thanks, Karen

 
Old 05-02-2005, 12:42 PM   #4
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Posts: 7
pc77 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

Thanks for all the info. This is a great site. Wish we were meeting for more positive circumstances.

I'll check into arrythmias as well as bradycardia.

One other note. My mother-in-law said her husband had some of the same symptoms. He went to the doctor and they eventually found that he had a slipped disk. Don't know exact diagnosis but some problem with back that was pinching a nerve or something. They did some operation or therapy and that seemed to fix it.

Used to do squats holding dumbbell behind my neck - no pad. A couple times it hurt afterwards. Wonder if I pinched a nerve or disk or something. My father-in-law is a mechanic and said he had lifted transmission into place by himself and had probably done some back damage in the past.

Will finally make an appointment this week and get things rolling again. We'll post any new findings or info.

Also, my wife is now thinking its sleep apnea as she says I keep my mouth closed at night and sometimes snore and wake her up. Will bring that up with doctor.

Will think of and pray for all that are similarily affected.

 
Old 05-02-2005, 08:41 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: texas
Posts: 151
tomh HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

I sure don't have any definitive dx for you, but have a few thoughts.

It sounds like poor cirulation. Your circulation seems to improve when you exercise. Does your sleep improve when you exercise?

I would dig into the combination of lack of circulation and lack of sleep. I'm not sure which came first, but lack of sleep can compound any other ailment.

Hope you find some answers.
__________________
Tom

 
Old 05-03-2005, 12:22 AM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 21
TinaBeena HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

PC77,

By all means...have your heart checked out entirely! If you have all the routine tests done and they still do not find anything, you may want to check out adrenal fatigue. I have all of your symptoms...and more. Cortisol is what helps you wake up in the am and keeps you alert, and helps you go to sleep at a decent hour in the pm. Your adrenals keep everything functioning properly.

Just trying to throw something else in here just incase. I am new to the boards and started with checking out hypoglycemia, fatigue, low BP, etc... and have since decided to be checked for adrenal insufficiency. From what I understand, if you catch adrenal fatigue early enough, you may be able to correct it with supplements and a change in diet.

Tina

 
Old 07-21-2005, 04:16 PM   #7
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Posts: 7
pc77 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen712
pc77
I'm glad to hear your story...not glad that you have the story to tell, but glad to hear there is someone else. Reading your post was like talking to my husband. He has all of the same symptoms. Some times his dizzieness actually turns into a complete black out though (usually lasting 15-20 seconds). He just collapses where ever he is and doesn't remember it afterwards. He had one of these black outs while driving even and wrecked into the car in front of him. He has the same sleep patterns as you and everything. He is an athlete and has always had a low pulse rate. These symptoms started after he became less active in sports about 6 years ago. That is also when his stress started increasing since he was working two jobs going to college and we had just had our first child. He has also had every test you can think of EEG, EKG, MRI, nerve test, blood test, etc... The doctors still haven't found anything wrong with him. My husband also has the tingling in his arms and legs. As far as all of these symptoms goes the closest thing we have found to all of his symptoms is Arrythmias. You might want to look into that and ask your doctor if that is a possibility.
Hope all goes well! Thanks, Karen
Karen,

A couple months ago, my health care changed and I went to a new doctor. He thought it could be due to depression and stress. He had me try an anti-depressant called Effexor XR, one 75 mg pill in the mornings. It's really been a godsend. I feel much better. Living is no longer a struggle.

Not totally out of the woods but I do feel much better. Started working out - treadmill, stationary bike and moderate weight on machines. Getting on more regular sleep schedule as well.

You might have your boyfriend look into that.

 
Old 07-28-2005, 01:31 PM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 280
NathanF41 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

I don't know how long ago these posts started, and I'm not a doctor, but if all tests continue to turn out well, and if Effexor solves the problem, you may be suffering from anxiety. Many, if not all of those symptoms are symptoms of anxiety disorders...including the slow heart rate at times. Effexor is an AD often prescribed for people with anxiety. I'm not saying it's what you have, but judging by what I read, if all other tests keep turning up normal, and if effexor works, I wouldn't rule this out.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 08:09 AM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
pc77 HB User
Re: Possible Heart Problems

Been on Effexor for about a year now. Feel a lot better. Also been trying to get 8 hours sleep each night, going to bed at a regular time. Those two seem to make the difference.

 
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