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Old 07-17-2012, 12:46 AM   #1
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Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Hi Everyone,

For the past two months I've been experiencing scary heart palpitations which are often accompanied by feeling light headed, weak and unable to perform any physical activities.

It's ruining my life completely and I'm hoping someone else can help as well as keep this thread as a diary for those to find when I do find out what's wrong with me.

Current symptoms:

Normally will have 2 to 3 severe palpitations per day. An additional dozen or so minor palpitations that are barely noticeable but do not cause any alarm or much discomfort.

Every 2 to 3 days will have an "attack" or episode which usually includes palpitations and heart pain. These attacks render me physically disabled. I cannot stand up without my heart beating weakly, but very pronounced at the same time (like it's thumping in my chest). Sometimes, pulse will be very slow (40 to 45) and blood pressure will be as well (as low as 90/40). Although, I have had attacks with a more normal pulse and blood pressure.

Sharp pains around my heart, usually on the bottom.

It feels like an air bubble is in my heart, or something blocking blood flow.

Palpitations:

The first kind of palpitation feels like a fish flopping around in my heart. Or, a series of very rapid contractions - similar to a flutter but not quite. The palpitation is accompanied by a sharp, severe pain.

The second kind of palpitation feels like my heart was shot with a cross bow. Very, very sharp pain. It feels like it was preceded by a missed/skipped beat.

My background:

I'm a 23 year old male that works from home. Historically I have a very low level of physical activity. For about 3 years, daily exercise included walking up and down my stairs a few times to get food. No walking around an office, no walking around a grocery store, no walking around my house - nothing.

However, I recently lost over 50 pounds. From about 200 down to 145 which was my normal weight. A month before this happened, I was doing high intensity cardio training - sprinting at full speed for a minute, then jogging for 2, and repeating for 20 minutes. I also spent a week carrying a 20 pound messenger bag around sunny Florida with no problems at all.

Initial "attack":

What started this all was one night when I was masturbating. I held my breath in like I've normally done since I was a very young teen. This time after about 10 seconds, my heart beat became severely weak and with longer than normal pauses in-between beats, my heart went "THUMP ... THUMP ... THUMP ..." Very prominent beats that shook my chest, but felt very, very weak - like it was about to collapse - having a hard time keeping up.

This alarmed me and I stopped. I then decided I should go to bed. I had been up for 18 hours and was very fatigued. I started having horrible palpitations. Then, my body decided I needed to void my bowels. The act of applying pressure while going to the bathroom immediately caused severe palpitations. I thought I was having a heart attack. I took a cayenne pepper pill as I know that can stop one. I figured an ambulance would just throw me into a panic attack and make things worse, so i went back to bed reluctantly and eventually did fall asleep.

Medical care:

About 2 weeks later, I ended up in the ER as the symptoms were not going away and I was having an "attack". By the time I got to the ER, the attack was pretty much over. All tests: xray, blood test, EKG - all came back normal. They discharged me and referred me to a cardiologist.

Cardiologist had me take a stress test. I felt fine before, during and after the test as afternoon is the best time of day for me symptom-wise. Stress test echocardiogram came back normal (they used an ultra-sound machine before and after)

He told me I'm probably just out of shape, to exercise for 8 to 12 weeks and to come back if still having problems.

2 days later I'm walking at a Grandmotherly slow pace and at 8 minutes on the treadmill I have to stop and have a full blown attack. Arms and legs feel like blood is no longer in them. Can't catch my breath. Pulse is slow and most likely had low blood pressure. This lasted for about 2 hours before I felt more normal again.

I went to a primary care doctor - he gave me a 48 hour holter monitor which the results came back normal (not surprisingly, as during that period I had a very minor palpitation, no attacks or severe palpitations).

I'm going back to the cardiologist to see what else we can do. More tests, maybe a longer holter monitor session. I will post an update once a conclusion is reached.

Misc. info:

No stress when this happened whatsoever. I can completely rule anxiety out - I know everyone likes to use it as a "catch all" culprit but am confident this has nothing to do with anxiety.

My diet at the time this occurred was relatively poor. I had a fish sandwhich and a mexican coke for dinner. But, normally, my diet consisted of organic fruits and vegetables and only water for fluid - lots of it!

Last edited by JackBlack2012; 07-17-2012 at 12:49 AM.

 
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Look up things like supraventicular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia. It sounds like you have something like this going on. It is not life-threatening as such, but can be quite debilitating. Monitor yourself; count your pulse every half hour while it is going on, and keep a record. Cheers, Sera

 
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:02 AM   #3
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraph View Post
Look up things like supraventicular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia. It sounds like you have something like this going on. It is not life-threatening as such, but can be quite debilitating. Monitor yourself; count your pulse every half hour while it is going on, and keep a record. Cheers, Sera
Thank you for the response, Sera.

I had spent a lot of time looking up different things and it seems like just about any condition of the heart can cause these symptoms, which makes it a bit frustrating when trying to pinpoint something.

supraventicular tachycardia can be ruled out because during an attack or episode, my heart rate is either normal (around 60 - 70) or slow (around 40 - 50 when lying down).

I will bring these up with the doctor and see what he says...

 
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackBlack2012 View Post
Hi Everyone,

For the past two months I've been experiencing scary heart palpitations which are often accompanied by feeling light headed, weak and unable to perform any physical activities.
Your heart may be perfectly healthy, but you definitely have a problem with your heart's electrical system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackBlack2012
Every 2 to 3 days will have an "attack" or episode which usually includes palpitations and heart pain. These attacks render me physically disabled. I cannot stand up without my heart beating weakly,
I can understand why you are worried. I wish that I had your symptoms 50 years ago when I fought against frequent palpitations and tachycardia. I had no pain or breathing problems or weakness. I let it go for decades and finally wound up with Heart Failure.

If I had also had your nasty symptoms perhaps I would have done more to prevent damage to my heart.

Quote:
The first kind of palpitation feels like a fish flopping around in my heart. Or, a series of very rapid contractions - similar to a flutter but not quite. The palpitation is accompanied by a sharp, severe pain.

The second kind of palpitation feels like my heart was shot with a cross bow. Very, very sharp pain. It feels like it was preceded by a missed/skipped beat.
It is quite possible, at your young age, that there is absolutely no heart damage yet. There is something that is causing irritation to your heart's electrical system.

In my case, I have found certain foods, drinks, allergens, chemicals, odors and materials that cause, not only heart rhythm and heart beat problems but also higher blood pressure. The more "irritants" removed from my life, the less problems I have with my heart going nuts!

Quote:
However, I recently lost over 50 pounds. From about 200 down to 145 which was my normal weight. A month before this happened, I was doing high intensity cardio training - sprinting at full speed for a minute, then jogging for 2, and repeating for 20 minutes. I also spent a week carrying a 20 pound messenger bag around sunny Florida with no problems at all.
Well.... well..... well.... A possible smoking gun.

During your overweight months, or years, you could have become mildly or somewhat Insulin Resistant (Metabolic Syndrome). Insulin Resistance is caused by a diet too high in carbs, over a certain period of time. It is reversible.

But, with your change in diet, your metabolism has to reset itself. During this time your metabolism is dysfunctional. You have up to 300+ hormones circulating in your body at any one time, controlling every process in your body. Until your metabolism settles down, your hormonal system and immune system could be over-reacting to irritants and allergens that have never bothered you before.

Finding out what is triggering your heart rhythm and heart beat problems, until your metabolism goes back into balance, might be a possible solution.


Quote:
What started this all was one night when I was masturbating. I held my breath in like I've normally done since I was a very young teen. This time after about 10 seconds, my heart beat became severely weak and with longer than normal pauses in-between beats, my heart went "THUMP ... THUMP ... THUMP ..." Very prominent beats that shook my chest, but felt very, very weak - like it was about to collapse - having a hard time keeping up.
Sexual activity is not only a strenuous activity, it causes all kinds of hormonal activity in your body. Since your metabolism might be out of whack (so to speak), the hormonal changes during and after sex could be causing malfunction in your heart's electrical system.

Just some things for you to contemplate. I have learned a lot about my own heart problems, and have survived heart failure for over 25 years because of what I have learned about my own problems. I can now do demanding physical exercise every day without any symptoms of heart failure, even though I have significant damage to my heart.

What do you think about my theories? Have you noticed any irritants or triggers, other than sex, that have set off heart rhythm and heart beat problems? Do you seem to have more problems within an hour after eating or drinking?

Do you take any medications or health supplements?

Do you smoke, or are you around others who smoke?
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
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Last edited by Machaon; 07-17-2012 at 11:00 AM.

 
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Thank you for the response, Machaon!

I did notice that when I have a severe attack, I am usually dehydrated. So now, I'll drink a tall glass of water or two and that usually helps me feel better within 10 minutes. It's possible it could just be the placebo effect and I expect to feel better so I do, but I have no idea.

I try to avoid grains and carbs. Last night I had pasta with a cream sauce and pancetta and I felt absolutely horrible after that.

I don't take any medication or supplements. I was taking cayenne pepper in capsules to help with digestion however when this first started I stopped taking it because my heart would race a little afterwards. ]

Don't smoke and not around others who do.

I mentioned my drastic, sudden weight loss to both doctors and they didn't think twice about it, implying it wouldn't be causing my palpitations but one of them did explain to me the same thing you have. The symptoms started well after the bulk of my weight was lost so personally I don't feel it's linked.

Thanks again for the response - I will keep these things in mind.

 
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Greetings Jackblack 2012! Welcome to the Heart Disorders Message Board! These are things I would do in my opinion. of course everyone makes their own decisions in life.

Usually if changing a person's life from a life of no or little activity it is recommended that the person starts out slow and works up to more activity. One can start out with walking very briskly outside in the sunshine and fresh air before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for 2 and a half minutes or until short of breath and then slow down and walk back. The following day this can be increased to 3 minutes the next 4 and so on until a person can walk a few minutes after each meal plus one hour of brisk walking a day. Just a bit before a person finishes the walks he should slow down a bit.

I would not bother with any of the cardio machines except possibly an exercise bike or treadmill and even those only in very inclement, bad weather when I could not get outside to enjoy the added benefits of sunshine and fresh air. The doctors are now saying that machines especially weight lifting machines are bad for the heart valves and may damage these. I have seen some of the bikes used improperly however with intra-abdominal pressure increased to the point of being likely unhealthy for the person using it.

I would not masturbate I would allow the body to have a wet dream on its own if there is no proper partner. In my opinion the heart reacted to that in a negative way. I also would not hold my breath ever unless swimming and that only for a very brief time because the body and especially the brain needs proper oxygen to work well. Holding the breath deprives the body of this important oxygen. Obviously the body objected to this treatment.

I would add grains, and beans to the diet staying away from chemicals even food additives, mexican cokes, sodas, ( These can be caustic to the silver plating on something and are said to be bad for bones and teeth also) tobacco and alcohol.

Have a pleasant life and day!

Last edited by sjb; 07-18-2012 at 07:07 AM. Reason: addition

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Thank you for the response!

As an update, I'm scheduled to have a special monitor put on my chest for a month.

Apparently, the Holter monitor is an outdated device. This "new" device is a patch I'll wear which records everything continuously - so I don't have to push a button. He says since my symptoms are so brief (eg. one palpitation every hour or two) - a holter monitor doesn't make sense.

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

That is good news. I hope they can get to the bottom of this and sort it out. I still get attacks, and sometimes they scare me so I go to emergency and get an ecg and sedative to settle down. I am going to have to have a cardiac catheter ablation soon, but am putting it off. Sera

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #9
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

That sounds scary, Seraph...

How exactly did they determine that's what you've needed?

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:29 PM   #10
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

They have done everything else they can. I take a high dose of beta blocker (sotalol), I have had defibrillation (with the paddles, under anaesthetic) twice, I am on a fairly high dose of warfarin. If all that hasn't stopped it, then the catheter ablation is all that is left. The main danger is that I have a family history of stroke and I don't want to add to my risk. 20% of strokes are caused by arrhythmia. Otherwise it is just a pest. Sera

 
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Oh wow, interesting. Well I hope everything goes smoothly for you - I'll be thinking about you.

 
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:55 PM   #12
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Thanks Jack. Let us know how your monitoring goes. Sera

 
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:30 AM   #13
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

As promised, here's an update:

The monitor results (apparently) came back normal. After waiting almost a month for them to call me and not returning my voicemails, I got a hold of them. The nurse put me on hold and 2 minutes later said the results were normal, but she'll have the doctor make sure. 2 minutes later I got a voicemail saying the results were fine and no need to follow up.

My symptoms have been up and down.

I find that:
  • If I exercise each night for about 20 minutes, it alleviates symptoms almost entirely and makes me feel better. However, I have to take it slow as my heart does feel vulnerable during this time
  • If I don't exercise, the symptoms are there. This is concerning, as I shouldn't have symptoms in the first place.
  • If I don't eat light/healthy, the symptoms are more pronounced. Vegetables and fruit are really important.
  • Drinking a ton of water is a necessity. If I have symptoms, drinking a couple tall glasses of water seems to help a lot.

I'm convinced I have a problem with my heart's function or my arteries. It seems blood flow related. I tend to think it's with heart function, as exercising helps. If it were clogged arteries, I would probably not be able to alleviate symptoms as easily.

At this point, I'm going to continue trying to exercise on a daily basis and eat healthy. If after several months of proper diet and exercise I still have symptoms, I'm going to go back and request more testing.

Last edited by JackBlack2012; 09-21-2012 at 03:32 AM.

 
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:24 AM   #14
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

I understand where your coming from hun. I had them just like that a few years back. But mine wouldnt let up and had a lot of them ,at least 200 a day. But I did a lot of research and found something that worked and I got two whole years of me back. I just stopped using the (I know I know but it really does work ) But Magnesium worked for me. I stopped using it cause my neck had pressure that I couldnt understand why. Thought it was time to give the Magnesium a break. But now wish I wouldnt have. I started back on it tonight and so far my problems I was having are not so bad if at all. You might want to do your own research on it and figure out what you will need to take amount wise. But one thing most people don't get about taking it. You have to stick with it and it might take a month to see a big difference. But it does work. I know first hand. I am just glad that I figured it out before it was too late. ^.^ I do hope you find relief and get back to your old self and enjoy life. Have a great day hun. <3

 
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:35 AM   #15
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Re: Palpitations, pain & an "air bubble" sensation in my heart

Your symptoms sound like they are acting as a personal trainer for you. In a way you are really lucky - your body tells you in no uncertain terms what is good for you. Follow its guidance in keeping your symptoms down and you will actually improve your health at the same time. Coronary artery disease would be the first thing they would rule out; you probably have a good strong heart which can take a bit of irregularity and still do the job. You will get less bothered about in time. Sera

 
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