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Old 08-21-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
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Just AFib or something more?

Hello all. I've been trying to figure out what's going on with my body this past year and since the doctors haven't been able to figure it out yet, I figured I would ask you all for any insight/personal stories/etc.

I am a 36 year old male who was in pretty decent shape before everything started up with my head/heart...

In Aug '11, I started feeling lightheaded. The doctors couldn't figure it out, so I ended up getting physical therapy for vertigo (even though it wasn't vertigo). The lightheadedness went away on its own by about mid-Sept '11 or so.

In Jan '12, I was admitted to the hospital for sustained A-fib and was cardioverted. The lightheadedness returned and has been present ever since.

In Feb '12, I was admitted to the hospital for a second case of sustained A-fib and was cardioverted a second time.

Since then, I've had two cases of A-fib that lasted about 1/2 hour each and both started while attempting to play softball. For the next few days I just felt horrible (exhausted after moving around, chest tight, etc) before it would gradually dissipate after a few days.

I've felt my heart racing/pounding at times, both my legs feel exhausted (especially my calves), and my chest feels tight. The lightheadedness has still be constantly present.

I've had stress tests, EKG's, echos, etc and all have come back fine. All of my basic bloodwork has come back fine, so thyroid, diabetes, etc don't seem like the cause at this point. I will be having a follow-up with an electro-cardio physiologist and an endocrinologist in Sept.

Does anyone have similar symptoms? Does it sound like only Afib or something more? Think it could possibly be triggered by athletic movement (ie- running)? I went thru years of playing basketball, softball, weight-lifting and never had a problem until the Afib started.

Thanks!

 
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Your symptoms, if present when your heart rhythm is normal, and you aren't in a fib, would concern me. There are a few things I am thinking. Since your symptoms are precipitated by athletic activity, which puts an extra demand on the heart, I would wonder if you have an opening between the two atrium of the heart, causing a shunt of unoxygenated blood into the oxygenated L atrium. This opening can be very small and is left over from birth, when it is supposed to close, but doesn't always, called a patent foramen ovale. It can cause increased left atrial pressure, afib, lightheadness, and compromise the oxygenation of blood to the rest of body during increased demands. This can be tested by a "bubble test" echocardiogram. I would also consider whether you have intermittent claudication, a lack of oxygen to the calf muscles caused by peripheral artery disease. You are very young for that, and it is usually accompanied by cholesterol and triglyceride, lipid disorders. The chest tightness should be evaulated from both a cardiac and pulmonary perspective as exercise induced asthma can cause chest tightness caused by bronchospasm. I would ask for a bubble echo and ask to be put on a medication to prevent the afib if you have no objection to that. Pulmonary function tests can be done to make sure there is not a respiratory component to this problem.

Last edited by ladybud; 08-21-2012 at 07:06 PM. Reason: correction

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Greetings youngerman78! Welcome to the Heart disorder Healthboards! I hope the needed comfort is found, my sympathies. I would be interested to know how the appointment with the electro-cardiophysiologist goes if desired to tell us. Peace, sjb

Last edited by sjb; 08-24-2012 at 10:42 AM.

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Thank you SJB...I appreciate the support. It's been very frustrating going from doctor to doctor so far. My cardiologist is great...but I feel that he's hit a brick wall and is just confused on why I have the symptoms that I do (he believes it is purely afib/electrical and I feel that something more is going on). I will definitely post on what my ECP says when I meet with him in late Sept.

Ladybud...thank you for your reply. I will definitely look into some of those thoughts. Even if those are not the answer at least I feel like I'm actively looking for an answer.

I am now on Flecainide Acetate 50 mg...after trying Multaq. I've only been on it for about a week, so I'm not sure if it's working or not yet.

Yes, the a-fib tends to bring on some of the more severe symptoms. However, the lightheadedness, chest tightness, lack of strength in arms/legs comes and goes. I've had times where my heart feels like it aches. I also occasionally get what I describe as a "gurgling" in the center of my chest. Sound anything like "patent foramen ovale"?

I've played sports my whole life without any real issues. However, at one point before all this started up, I started to feel weird and wondered if I had asthma. However, since I wasn't weezing or coughing, I didn't look more into it. Anyway, the two substained a-fib cases...I could not directly look back and contribute it to sports. However, I also did not know what was going on back then and wasn't trying to figure it out. The last two times did occur during softball...but, it was not strenuous activity as I only did light running. And my current symptoms have been around even after the afib died down.

Any other thoughts or confirmation on my symptoms? I really do appreciate the advice and comfort. I find myself getting stressed with all the physical ailments right now, so I'm more than happy to hear what you all have to say. Thanks again!

 
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Patent foramen ovale typically causes shortness of breath with exertion, and can cause fatigue and lightheadedness with exertion. It can also cause lower than normal oxygen levels, which can be measured by a pulse oximeter, the little finger monitor, done while brisk walking, as it will be normal usually at rest. It does not cause gurgling in chest, but mucus can do that which can be present in asthma. Asthma can cause chest tightness and lightheadedness, but typically causes also a short of breath feeling and/or cough. It may be brought on by exertion in some people. You are very young to have angina, but a thallium enhanced treadmill may put your mind at ease. I think I would get the asthma work-up done with exercise pulse oximetry, then go back to a cardiologist if no answers. Sometimes just knowing you have checked everything out eases the anxiety about it all.

 
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by youngerman78 View Post
... In Aug '11, I started feeling lightheaded. The doctors couldn't figure it out ...
One of the possible causes of lightheadedness is allergies. Have allergies been ruled out?

Quote:
In Jan '12, I was admitted to the hospital for sustained A-fib and was cardioverted. The lightheadedness returned and has been present ever since.
Allergies cause activation of the adrenal glands which can not only over-stimulate the heart, but also can cause higher blood pressure.

Other things that can stimulate or irritate the heart are: cigarette smoke, caffeine, too many carbs (sugar) in one's diet, chemical off-gassing, etc.

Just another thing for you to consider......

Best of luck with finding a solution to your problems and with your health!
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Machoan- Thank you. I saw an allergist when my lightheadedness symptoms started back in Aug '11. He listened to my symptoms and at some point, decided he was done with me and started walking out of the room as he was telling me that it wasn't allergy-related and that I should see a neurologist. Well, I haven't ruled out going back to an allergist (although it will be a different doctor), but I'm trying to focus on more of my heart conditions/symptoms right now.




I've had some of the doctors mention anxiety (which I haven't completely ruled out - even though I'm pretty sure that it's not directly CAUSING my symptoms). However, they all seem to be mentioning it as an afterthought (ie- due to lack of a conclusion). For example, the neurologist after he ran some tests, basically said "I have no clue what it is. Why don't you take some anti-anxiety medicine and we'll see if that does anything?" I don't want to take anti-anxiety medicine just because no one else can figure out what is wrong with me. Yes, I'm stressed and anxious, but it's basically because I am not feeling well. Usually I am an even-keel type of guy. However, I am not feeling well, which makes me stressed, which makes me feel worse, which makes me feel more stressed...

I know of some definites (a-fib, lack of strength, chest tightness, etc) and I am pretty certain that something else other than afib is affecting my heart. However, the doctors that I've seen either have no clue as to what is going on or they key in on a certain word/symptom and then forget everything else that I have said. That is why I appreciate this message board because I can bounce ideas off people and get different ideas on what to check out.

I'm going to try to find a new cardiologist and mention the bubble echo and exercise-induced asthma to them. Any other thoughts that anyone has?

Thanks again.

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Greetings! Well if it is anxiety the avoidance of sugar might be of use in my opinion. Peace, sjb

 
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Hello all. This afternoon my whole body started aching, my heart was pounding in my chest and my chest felt tight. Whenever I walk around, my whole body (especially my arms and legs) get exhausted. My arms (forearms) and legs (calves) just feel dead. Also, when I get up from a sitting position, my heart starts pounding in my chest and I can feel it pulsing down my arms into my forearms. I've taken my pulse and I don't appear to be in noticable Afib. I actually hooked up my blood pressure monitor to check for Afib (which it will), but I was fine at 108/78 with a BPM of 74. I really doubt that my symptoms point to Afib.

I am contemplating going back to my original cardiologist, even though I felt that he was stuck on what to look for. However, I feel that if I could mention a few things to check out (ie- bubble echo, etc), that might help break any barriers preventing him from thinking anything that what I have must be Afib. Thanks!

Last edited by Administrator; 09-05-2012 at 12:07 AM.

 
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #10
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

I cannot relate to your symptoms, but if it were me I would be seeking a second opinion perhaps from a general physician. Someone maybe needs to look at other issues beyond the heart.

 
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:04 AM   #11
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by youngerman78 View Post
Hello all. This afternoon my whole body started aching, my heart was pounding in my chest and my chest felt tight. Whenever I walk around, my whole body (especially my arms and legs) get exhausted. My arms (forearms) and legs (calves) just feel dead. Also, when I get up from a sitting position, my heart starts pounding in my chest and I can feel it pulsing down my arms into my forearms.
Sorry to hear about your latest ordeal with your heart rate.

I am wondering if something, in particular, set off your heart? I've been battling with Heart Failure, Permanent Atrial Fibrillation, Tachycardia, etc. for over 25 years. I have found out that the more irritants and stimulants that I avoid the less problems that I have with either the health of my heart, or with my heart rate and rhythm.

Did you have anything to eat or drink within two hours prior to this incident. Did you take any supplements or medications this morning? Did you come into contact with any chemicals or strong odors or cigarette smoke?

Quote:
I've taken my pulse and I don't appear to be in noticable Afib.
I have permanent Atrial Fibrillation. The top part of my heart is quivering all day long, but I never feel it. Digoxin keeps my Atrial Fibrillation from causing tachycardia in the middle or lower portion of my heart.

Quote:
I am contemplating going back to my original cardiologist, even though I felt that he was stuck on what to look for. However, I feel that if I could mention a few things to check out (ie- bubble echo, etc), that might help break any barriers preventing him from thinking anything that what I have must be Afib. Thanks!
I had been through several cardiologists and regular doctors, all without much help. My major, life-threatening heart and health problems got significantly better after I went on a very healthy, low calorie, small meal diet; avoided many irritants and stimulant; went to a significant physical exercise program; and started taking the most effect medication for me.

I hope that you will be able to find a Cardiologist that will solve your problems. Best of luck and health!
__________________
Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Administrator; 09-05-2012 at 12:08 AM.

 
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:35 AM   #12
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Re: Just AFib or something more?

Hi,
I'm new here also, and your post sounded so much like me (other than gender!), that I made an account and joined. I'm 37, and over the past year or so, I had light headedness also on several occasions. They thought maybe it was my blood pressure, and it had to do with my period, so I chalked it up to that and lived with it as it wasn't very often.
This past Saturday after my morning run, I noticed during cool down that my heart was racing and felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. An hour of that, I decided to drive myself to ER. It was 180. They tried a very scary drug first called adenosine. I will never take that again, esp since they admin twice and it didn't work. I ended up on Dilitiazem and Heparin waiting to be cardioverted, and I ended up getting to sinus on my own after 48 hours.
My chest still feels sore and I'm still completely exhausted, and have no idea if that is normal.
They think I was dehydrated. Anyway. I have no idea if this exhaustion is normal. I"m guessing so since my body was put through the ringer, but I'm usually very active, so getting tired walking through the market was unsettling.
Main reason for this post is to let you know you're not alone, and maybe we can keep in touch to share what we are going through and to give each other tips that we learn along the way.

 
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