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cardiac arrhythmia

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  • cardiac arrhythmia

    I've been having health issues for a while now that have kept me from riding, and I think I'm getting closer to getting an actual diagnosis. The latest testing shows I have quite a lot of PACs, some PVCs, some couplets, and my heart rate can vary from 60-160bpm. Still don't have a definitive diagnosis, and still haven't worked out exactly what is wrong, since I also have other symptoms.

    Before my heart started getting worse, I was pretty fit & eat well (vegetarian, no caffeine, minimal alcohol).

    Unfortunately, riding seems to make my symptoms worse. When I get on, my heart starts racing & pounding, but I have no other feelings of anxiety. Because my heart symptoms are often accompanied by dizziness, to the point sometime where I feel like I'll pass out, I get off. Not being able to ride, on top of not feeling well has me pretty depressed sometimes.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced similar, and how you've dealt with it.

  • #2
    Did your cardiologist go over your diet?
    You may consider a more inclusive diet, because some meats have factors that are health healthy, that vegetables just don't have in sufficient quantities.

    Now, I had a heart attack five years ago, caused by a very rare heart defect, not clogged arteries, they are squeaky clean.
    In the general cardiological work-up, I was told I needed to increase protein, I was not getting enough.
    I also ate very little meat or dairy, no sweets or many carbohydrates, always just drank water, just ate mostly vegetables and fruits, just a preference, not any diet extremes on purpose.
    It doesn't take much meat, just a little a week is all that is necessary, so I try to eat some once a week.

    It took the Drs some to find what to do to control the arrythmia I had after the heart attack, but now a minimal amount of a beta blocker and good management does the trick.

    With heart arrythmias, it is many times a guess what it may be or may work.

    It is normal to have symptoms of getting dizzy and almost or completely passing out when your heart is missing beats.

    I would guess the exertion of getting on your horse is overtaxing your heart and that is why you get dizzy.

    My problem, as they finally figured, after they sent me clear to Dallas for special tests, is that I have what they call an errant circumflex, a defective main heart artery, that supply it with blood to function.
    That artery comes out of the wrong side, goes around between the two main arteries and then disappears into the heart, they don't know where it goes.
    Where it goes between those arteries, when I exert myself, it gets squeezed and so loses blood flow and that causes the problem.
    So, I have learned not to stress or exert too much, keep it calm and slow and so no more dizzy spells.

    I hope your problem is as easy to solve, but it could be anything, maybe the sinus itself and if so, they can do some heart ablation to regulate the rythm again.

    Just keep after it until you have some answers, they can do wonders today, truly.

    Try not to get discouraged because for a spell you can't do what you want, take this time to rest and do what you can, later you will catch up.
    Remember, fretting is contraindicated when you have a tricky heart, so take a deep breath and try to think positively only.


    • #3
      As a matter of fact I'm sitting here recovering from my 4th heart procedure to repair my Atrial Fib problem. My heart rate too was about 160 or so when it took off. Three of the prior procedures did not work. This most recent one was successful.

      I had this problem for 7 years, took massive doses of drugs to lower the heart rate which made riding not fun - especially when my Danish WB thought that the rapid heart rate meant that I was afraid of something and panicked as a result. The drugs made me feel horrible. I felt immediately better after the procedure from the combination of no heart problem and no drugs.

      All I can say is research your issue. The cardiac ablation to repair this is pretty slick. This last one was over in 1.5 hours and it's pretty painless. The worst part is the IV. Recovery is pretty fast, you just can't lift over 10 lbs for a couple of weeks. They go into the groin and lower neck area and aside from a little bruising, you really have no recovery from the sites.

      Good luck. Hope you find a doctor that can do this.


      • #4
        I get some kind of weird heart beats mostly in cold weather and found it to be worse when carrying water buckets in the cold or other heavy objects. I gave my horses away because it was getting harder to do the work and my heart was really getting worse. I have asthma and allergies so after a trip at 3 am to the ER not being able to get a good breath after trying for hours and it got worse and then it was building up again a couple years later I decided to beat the ER and find an allergist. He gave me a prescription for an EKG and an X ray and I kept forgetting to go and now the prescription ran out. So I never got a good idea what was ailing me. The doctor said that most people have irregular heart beats and the interesting thing is that when you feel the beat is not the problem, it's right before that your heart has skipped, not the harder beat. I always worry when it doesn't recover and it keeps beating like that. Now one more time that it beats like that is when I Polka. My husband loves to Polka at weddings but my heart said nope. I had to sit down. I'm turning 58 next week, guess life is catching up to me or not.

        I don't think it's anything to mess with when your heart isn't dependable, and it's no fun and a bit scary. I also enjoy breathing.


        • #5
          a shocker!

          I was shocked to learn post strokes that being a vegetarian is a risk factor for stroke;
          breeder of Mercury!

          remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


          • #6
            My experience with heart problems has been quite mild - I've had dysautonomia all of my life, which just means that my autonomic nervous system can't control certain functions properly. Blood pressure and heart rate are two of those. My problems are quite mild though and can be treated through lifestyle.

            So, no real advice on heart-specific issues, except to say that having been through more of today's medical system in my 22 years than most people would in a hundred years, you really have to advocate for yourself - if you think something is wrong, you aren't getting the right care, aren't happy for any reason, or would just like a second opinion, then you have to go for it. No one will just give it to you.

            So I'd just second everyone else's advice - be smart, don't overexert yourself, take care of yourself, and get the best medical care you can. And of course spend lots of time on here drawing from the wisdom and support of the amazing board members

            Jingles to you for a quick and complete recovery.
            "The FEI is often in error, but never in doubt." - Jim Wofford

            "You do not find the happy life. You make it." - Camilla Eyring Kimball


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone.

              I went vegetarian because I was getting really sick after eating meat/fish, even if it was organic. My diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts & dairy. Plus, when I included meat & fish in my diet, I had problems with anemia, and I cannot tolerate any form of iron. However, the blood work I've had done since going vegetarian has shown no anemia at all. So, I think that for me being a vegetarian is the right move.

              Unfortunately, the few times I've tried to go for a ride, I haven't been able to get beyond just warming up at the walk, so I'm not doing anything very strenuous.

              Vegas Sky, which kind of dysautonomia do you have? I just recently came across a website about POTS, and a lot of the symptoms seem to fit me. In addition to my heart things, my stomach hasn't been working right & my body temperature is much lower than normal (96F).


              • #8
                Originally posted by sayyadina View Post
                Thanks everyone.

                I went vegetarian because I was getting really sick after eating meat/fish, even if it was organic. My diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts & dairy. Plus, when I included meat & fish in my diet, I had problems with anemia, and I cannot tolerate any form of iron. However, the blood work I've had done since going vegetarian has shown no anemia at all. So, I think that for me being a vegetarian is the right move.

                Unfortunately, the few times I've tried to go for a ride, I haven't been able to get beyond just warming up at the walk, so I'm not doing anything very strenuous.

                Vegas Sky, which kind of dysautonomia do you have? I just recently came across a website about POTS, and a lot of the symptoms seem to fit me. In addition to my heart things, my stomach hasn't been working right & my body temperature is much lower than normal (96F).
                Just a wild guess, but it sounds from your clinical case history told there that maybe you lack some digestive enzyme, that processes some protein and so you are not eating that kind of protein, thinking it makes you sick.
                Not processing that protein is making you short on some important vitamins, I would suspect in the the B group and your symptoms may correspond to that.
                I had a friend with similar problems and that is what her problem was.
                She was told to supplement with that enzyme and after that, she went back to being able to have a normal life.

                Not thinking zebras just because I hear hoofbeats, but sometimes, it is a zebra coming around the bend, after all, not a horse.

                I hope the Drs can straighten you up soon, so you can enjoy your horse.


                • #9
                  Sayyadina, the specific type that I was diagnosed with is Neurocardiogenic Syncope. Mostly I have problems with blood pressure and heart rate, thermoregulation (I FAIL at thermoregulation, hot or cold), and digestive stuff. I also have hypoglycemia issues, but not sure whether that is directly/indirectly related to the Dysautonomia or more of my family history. The fatigue isn't usually a problem for me at all, because I am go go go all the time - before the TBI, that is. Occasionally I would have fatigue problems, but caffeine was usually enough to help me through.

                  My heart problems are pretty easily controlled through diet - as long as I drink LOTS of water and eat LOTS of salt and potassium, it keeps my blood volume up. And of course I don't go more than a couple of hours without eating to keep blood glucose levels up as well - that's usually enough to keep me conscious The thermoregulation is only a problem during the summer - I live in Western Oregon, so it's pretty mild here most of the time, but it can get chilly during the winter, so I just bundle up. We also have a few very hot days during the summer - that's usually a bigger problem for me. I just cannot tolerate heat. I get hypovolemic and lose electrolytes and get overheated and it's just not good all around. So I stay inside during the hottest part of the day and only venture out during morning and evening.

                  Getting diagnosed was a pain. I first saw my primary Dr in early February 2008 when I was quite sick, and I didn't walk away from the specialist with a diagnosis until mid-April that same year. Between those two days, I went through MRIs, EEGs, EKGs, echocardiograms, holter monitors, bloodwork...lots of tests before a referral to a cardiologist who kind of knew a little about Dysautonomia disorders. After that diagnosis I did my own research and made lifestyle changes that worked and treat my symptoms well. I haven't had any problems the last two years so I haven't been back to the cardio, but if I do start having problems again I will probably go to a neuro or someone else who knows more about Dysautonomia than that particular doctor.

                  I'm sorry to hear that you're having so many issues. My struggles with it were not fun and I really had it pretty easy so far as autonomic nervous system dysfunction goes. Good luck to you. I hope you figure it out, and figure it out soon. Let me know if you have any questions or if you just need support.

                  Lastly, you might want to look into pacemakers. I know a lot of people with Dysautonomia have had success using them to control heart rate problems - bradycardia and tachycardia. There are so many different types now and the technology is so advanced...I don't know whether it's right for you, but it might be worth the research.
                  "The FEI is often in error, but never in doubt." - Jim Wofford

                  "You do not find the happy life. You make it." - Camilla Eyring Kimball