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PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

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Old 08-06-2011, 04:51 PM   #1
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calyk HB User
PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

Hi all!

After about a year and a half of terrifying PVCs, I am finally getting some relief; I hope it continues!

A little background...I'm a 29-year-old female with no significant medical history and am not on any prescriptions. Last March, I began having PVCs out-of-the-blue. They weren't constant like they are for some people, but I would have one every couple of minutes. I went to an urgent care doctor who did an EKG and confirmed that they were "completely harmless" PVCs. He told me to just forget about them. He ordered a metabolic profile and thyroid tests, all of which were in-range.

I then discovered the wonders of magnesium. Magnesium seemed to make the palps go away, but they returned with a vengeance in July 2010. So I again set out looking for an explanation/cure since it simply didn't make sense to me that they would just begin all of a sudden. And despite the doctor's assurance that it was "normal" and nothing to worry about, it didn't feel normal. I was afraid to sleep at night for fear of not waking up.

One of the tests I had done that made me begin to suspect an iron problem was a ferritin serum test (but not a whole iron panel). My ferritin was 26 ng/mL (range of 13 - 150) in August 2010. My regular doctor seemed unconcerned about that level (even though now, after having done a lot of research, it is apparent that a 26 is not a good number. An optimal range is supposedly between 70 and 90 for women, and some people's hair falls out and they suffer from restless leg syndrome with levels below 50). His solution? A beta blocker. (I'm so sure that PVCs are caused by a propranolol deficiency. <Eyeroll>) I took the beta blocker twice, and it caused my heart rate to lounge around in the low 40s, so that didn't work for me.

In the past couple months, the PVCs were getting worse. They weren't really happening a lot more frequently, but they got scarier; sometimes, it would feel like there was one after another lasting for many seconds - terrifying! And even when I wasn't experiencing the full-blown "FLIP/FLOP," my chest just didn't feel calm; I'd still feel
squiggly/wigglies, as I have dubbed them.

So I decided that I would get another ferritin test and a complete iron panel. At that point, I had done a lot of reading indicating that low iron can cause heart palpitations. My results are below:

Iron Bind. Cap. (TIBC): 330 ug/dL (250-450) (usually normal/high with iron deficiency)
UIBC: 289 ug/dL (150-375) (usually normal/high with iron deficiency)
Iron, serum: 41 ug/dL (35 - 155) (optimally above 90)
Iron saturation: 12% (LOW) (15 - 55%) (optimally 35 - 45)
Ferritin, serum: 15 ng/mL (13 - 150) (optimally 70 - 90)

I also had a CBC done, and everything was in-range (though my hemoglobin, MCV, and MCH were on the low end of normal). So thankfully, I'm not anemic, though I might have been after a few more months of my iron levels declining, as they obviously had been over the past year based on the 11-point ferritin drop.

I got my iron panel results two days ago and began taking Blue Bonnet's Iron Glycinate (very absorbable and easy on the tummy) immediately. I have already experienced tremendous relief! Last night, my heart was the calmest it has been in MONTHS, and I haven't noticed any of the giant "flip flops" that I had been noticing several times a day. I know that it can take weeks and even months to replenish iron stores and am not going to get discouraged if I still have PVCs for a while (since I had them when my ferritin was 26, I will probably have them to some extent until it at least exceeds that), but I'm so grateful to already be feeling better. I wanted to share!

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Old 08-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
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sweet_chic HB Usersweet_chic HB User
Re: PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

Wow! That's awesome!

What do PVC's stand for again? I assume you're talking about heart palpitations?

I've been having them off and on since last year, and usually (usually but not always) they occur only around my cycle for some reason. I'm starting to think it might be something hormonal.

I've gone to two different GP's now, and each Dr keeps saying that my iron levels are "normal", and my EKG's look "normal", and I even had a halter on for 24 hrs that showed no abnormalities. BUT I KNOW something is not right. I'm not saying there's something deathly wrong with me or anything, but I think that maybe something in my vitamin or hormone levels must be out of wack, because I used to NEVER get heart palpitations....and when I did get them, it was always very seldom and they were only minor.

These days, I get them so bad, it feels like my heart stops beating for a second, and then sometimes I get tired right after or feel like I need to catch my breath!

So...I'm going to a cardiologist next month to get checked out, but I just wanted to say that I'm glad you kept pushing for more tests. Only YOU know your body the best. Drs. can only do trial and error or rule out certain diseases/disorders based on some scientific tests, but they don't know YOUR body better than you do, and they don't know how you personally feel internally. Only YOU know that. So...kudos to you!

I'm wondering if my symptoms could mean a minor iron deficiency too...

Old 08-11-2011, 05:39 AM   #3
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sickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB Usersickandtired99 HB User
Re: PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

pvc = premature ventricular contraction; although some call them extra systoles in some feels like a skipped beat

doctors say in "structurally" normal hearts pvc's are benign unless you're very symptomatic (dizziness, fainting etc) or you have a number of pvc's greater than say >15% of your total daily heart beats on a monitor; which would be roughly 15,000 pvc's daily.

It's amazing to read how many doctors just dismiss arrhythmia's as have my doctors for about 35 years. They're so reluctant to do simple blood panels and send patients away or treat a symptom with a drug instead of trying to figure out if there's an imbalance; which could be an easy fix with supplements.

CBC and electrolyte panels should be done but most often they aren't; if you're still having problems it may be helpful to go to an internist - that's who finally is trying to figure out all my complicated problems and said he doesn't know exactly but won't just treat me with a pill and try to "band aid" the problem.

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sweet_chic (08-11-2011)
Old 08-11-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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sweet_chic HB Usersweet_chic HB User
Re: PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

^^Thanks for the advice! I think I will get checked out by an internist eventually as well if the cardiologist doesn't find anything wrong. I think maybe even going to the GYNO might be helpful also, just in case it's something having to do with the female hormones. *sigh*

Old 08-12-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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sico HB User
Re: PVCs/palpitations: iron deficiency.

I have too much iron in my blood. I think it is called Heamachromotosis or something.
I still have palps and Tachicardia bouts.

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