I finally got a job with health insurance, so I decided to head to a doctor to get a checkup. I havent had one in quite a while, so I thought it would be a good idea.
Well, when he listens to my heartbeat he asks "Have you always had the heart murmur?" I was taken a bit by surprise - I didnt know anything about it.
Im 27 years old,6', 222lbs, about 10 - 12% bodyfat. I watch my diet like a freak, and have been on a heavy weight training program for the past two years. My blood pressure was normal and my pulse a flat 60. I dont drink or smoke, although I live with my girlfriend who is a smoker. Ive experimented with some recreational drug use in the past, but I stayed away from stimulants altogether.
I dont have any symptoms at all, I remember getting dizzy at the gym a couple times(over a year ago), but that was after some particularly heavy lifting and I wasnt breathing properly.
He said the murmur was loud, but that he wasnt concerned because my heart beats loud as well. The Dr. said that it was possibly from weight training, that I just have a strong heart with a benign murmur. That the strong heart beat makes the murmur sound louder because the heart is contracting harder with each beat.
I have to go in next week for an ECHO, and Im really freaked out about it. What could be wrong with my heart? Why didnt this show up before? Could heavy lifting cause damage to the heart in any way?
I have been very stressed out over the past few weeks, and there is quite a bit of anxiety in my family. I know that its 'probably nothing' and that I wont know for sure until next week, but I am very nervous about it. I work very hard to stay healthy, what could cause this problem?
[This message has been edited by FailedSun2049 (edited 09-10-2003).]
[This message has been edited by FailedSun2049 (edited 09-10-2003).]
Weight training has been found to increase (left) ventricular thickness, and this additional thickness might be the cause of your murmur (possibily due to mitral insufficiency). The echo should be able to determine this as well as assess the severity of any valvular regurgitation. Most likely, the echo results will confirm that the murmur is due to your having an "athlete's heart". I hope this eases your concerns.
Thanks for the reply, NMc. It definately calmed me down a bit. I also checked out this site: [url="http://www.sportsdoctor.com/articles/heart.html"]http://www.sportsdoctor.com/articles/heart.html[/url]
Which describes what could be going on with my heart.
To test myself, I worked out very hard today. Started of with a 5 minute sprint on the stairmaster at 85% of the machine's max speed. Then, did a 22 set full body workout in about 80 minutes or so. I didnt notice anything abnormal, I may have been a bit light-headed after the last set of deep squats, but I was not short of breath at all.
I suppose I wouldnt be able to do all that if something was seriously wrong.
You're welcome! Please let us know how the echo results turn out and your doctor's recommendation. Others with similar concerns might find it helpful to see that murmurs are often a common (and benign) variant of "normal".
Sorry, I don't know much about what could've caused that, but people can have a heart murmur at any age. Some babies are born with them. I'm 14 and I have one. People think you can't have any heart problems until you're 50 or something. Well anyway, good luck.
Thanks for your response. I dont know if the murmur I have is definately a problem. Ive never had any symptoms and I can exercise <I>hard</I> and it never skips a beat. Im worried that too much heavy weight training and not enough cardio (virtually none) may have caused my heart walls to thicken. Or maybe, Ive had this murmur most of my life and never knew it. (this is my first checkup in almost 10 years). I dont use drugs or drink or smoke, so if something is wrong with me its genetic.
I dont know but Im nervous as all hell. I think the stress about not knowing if its benign or not is the worst part about it.
Just ran up and down a flight of 12 steps 20 times and felt great. My pulse was only 108. It can't be all that bad. I cant help but worry though, the anxiety, coupled with an overactive imagination, is the worst.
[This message has been edited by FailedSun2049 (edited 09-12-2003).]
Originally posted by FailedSun2049: Just ran up and down a flight of 12 steps 20 times and felt great. My pulse was only 108. It can't be all that bad. I cant help but worry though, the anxiety, coupled with an overactive imagination, is the worst.
I hear that. I get the feeling constantly, and just about all day long (ESPECIALLY when i am in Heart Observation Mode) that my heart is somehow doing something other than the classic Thump Thump Thump. I don't usually get all lightheaded, nor do i always have to catch my breath, but sometimes, i feel like i get a head rush, like after a cold drink of water that makes you hold your breath for a second. I get all anxious about the smallest things due to the overactive imagination. Oh well, the mind is your greatest friend, and your biggest inconvenience.
Thanks for the posts! (and thanks for posting again Carebear73) I go in for the echocardiogram tomorrow morning. Im still nervous, Im still anxious. And Im really sick of feeling this way. Its like my conscious is completely rational, telling me Im fine and not to worry. And then there's my subconscious constantly screaming in my head that something is wrong with me.
Ill be fine, and then Ill just think of MVP or CHF or whatever, and then on come the symptoms. The left side of my body gets really tight. It dosent hurt, its not a shooting 'angina' type pain or tightness, and I can breathe just fine. My pulse is fine. Its more like my muscles just tighten up, like my body is trying to mimic the symptoms Ive been reading about.
I havent had a full blown panic attack, but sometimes I can feel one comming on. My heart starts to race, my brain is going 1000 miles an hour imagining that I have all kinds of medical problems...with enough effort I can steer my way out of it.
Im really sick of all this. I kind of wish I had never gone to the doctor. My younger brother is just like this too, a serious hypochondriac. Gets the same kinds of anxiety attacks. Its never really happened to me until a couple weeks ago. Maybe it runs in the family?
On thing Ive found that helps...when I start freaking out about things I close my eyes and focus on a white dot. It seems to help clear my head.
I felt great UNTIL I went to the doctor. Shouldnt that be the other way around? Im really thinking about a visit to a psychologist, I wonder if that would help me rid my personality of this over-anxiety nonsense?
I am sure everything will be fine. It's really good that you focus on something ie the little white dot. Seeing a psychologist might not be a bad idea. I saw one and I felt great. But just learning to deal with the fear itself is a big step to recovery. Accept the fear. It just manifests itself and feeds off of your fear and gets bigger and bigger. I am going to borrow the attacking anxiety program from my sister in law. I read the book from panic to power and it really helped me in some ways. I know I still have a long way to go. It's funny. With anxiety, sometimes we don't get a symptom until we hear about it or read about it or the doctor says something ( heart murmur for example) I know where you are coming from. It's scary. I don't know how many times I thought I was going to die.. but I didn't. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Good luck with your test tomorrow. Keep us posted. :-)
Well, went to the echocardiogram session this morning. A tech performed it, so I dont know the results. He saw that I was nervous, and said from what he saw, I have nothing to worry about. He said maybe I have mild MVP. But only a cardiologist could make that diagnosis for sure. And in the worst case, Id need to take anti-biotics before going to the dentist. I have no symptoms at all (other than the terrible run of anxiety over the past 2 weeks or so - it was truly awful. I feel for anyone experiencing it)
I think that, no matter what I may have, exercise (which I do plenty of), and a healthy diet(which I am very strict about and have been for about 2 years or so) will be enough to keep it in check. And if something gets worse in the future, Im sure valve replacement technology will be even better than it is now, and Ill be able to lead a normal life. And if I keel over from some 'sudden death' crap...well, we all gotta go sometime. I may stay away from 1 rep max's at the gym (I leg pressed 1000 lbs last month-that was probably a little stressful on the ol' heart) - they're mostly for the ego anyway. Im going to get a blood pressure cuff and monitor my cholesterol frequently, and get a echo once a year, just to be on the safe side.
But, other than that, Im not going to allow this to get in the way of my life anymore, starting now. I want to thank everyone who responded to my post, and I wish everyone well who is dealing with medical issues of their own.
Also, and I really think this may be of some use...I got really, really sick of the anxiety so I went to the local health food store to look for something - anything -that could help. I was in the botanical extracts section and I saw a little box labeled 'anti-anxiety'. I read the back - it had concentrated extracts of most of the herbs Ive read about that people use to help deal with it. Valerian root, Avena Sativa, etc. Its made by a company called 'Lehning' and comes in a 1oz bottle.
Anyway, I took it as directed, and about 20 minutes after the first dose, I started to calm down. It was like the 'racing bad-though express train' and the constant scanning for symptoms got pushed into the background. Today, I have barely any anxiety at all and I feel quite well. I dont know if its all in my head, or if its the herbal remedy, but it worked. That's all I care about. I would strongly recommend it.