Tuesday, July 15, 2008

heart update.

i've had several emails, phone calls and comments, so i thought i'd answer in one place and bring everyone up to date.

if you didn't already know, i've been having some episodes with my heart racing, usually while doing nothing. april 15, was the first time it happened---well, the first time since i was 20. i'm 30 now. on april 15, my heart started racing while i was laying in bed doing nothing. i had pain in my left shoulder, short of breath, weak, trembling legs, etc. it was short-lived....30 minutes to an hour.

that day, i cut out all caffeine and chocolate. since then, it happened several more times, so i went to my doctor because one day, not too long ago, my heart was racing for hours on end.

at the time my resting heartrate was 120. normal is 60-100 (obviously, 100 being the high-end of normal.) my doctor did an EKG which monitors heart activity and it was abnormal. i was instructed to make an emergency visit to my cardiologist and in the meantime they gave me a beta blocker to slow my heartrate.

so a few weeks ago, i went to the cardiologist and they decided to put me on a 30 day heart monitor so i can record the heart activity whenever i have symptoms. i have to wear it until july 26.

but, i called them a week ago to discuss the recordings i've already taken because it was happening more frequently and the medication didn't seem to help. after reviewing my records from a heart study i had at 20, comparitively with the new recordings, the diagnosis is this: Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia.

Inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) is a condition in which an individual's resting heart rate is abnormally high (greater than 100 beats per minute), their heart rate increases rapidly with minimal exertion, and their rapid heart rate is accompanied by symptoms of palpitations, fatigue, and exercise intolerance.

While IST can be seen in anybody, it is most often a disorder of young women. The average IST sufferer is a woman in her late 20s or early 30s who has been having symptoms for months to years. In addition to the most prominent symptoms of palpitations, fatigue and exercise intolerance, IST can also be associated with a host of other symptoms including a drop in blood pressure upon standing, blurred vision, dizziness, tingling, shortness of breath, and sweating.

These patients most often have a resting heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute, but it characteristically drops to 80-90 beats per minute while they are asleep. With even minimal exertion, the heart rate rapidly accelerates to 140-150 beats per minute. Palpitations (an unusual awareness of the heart beat) are a prominent symptom even though (as is often the case) there are no abnormal heart beats occurring. The symptoms experienced by sufferers of
IST can be quite disabling and anxiety-producing.

i forgot about the diagnosis...........but i had these same symptoms when i was 20. had a heart procedure to try to correct it but at the time they had to abort the procedure because the risk of me having to have a pacemaker was not worth it so we tried medication. after 4 months i was symptom-free.....for 10 years....until april 15.

so, for now, they have doubled my dose of beta blockers and i continue to wear the monitor and record each time i experience an abnormality. i go back sometime in late august to find out what they are going to do about it. the medication is meant to slow my heart down, but it also decreases your blood pressure. so i barely have energy to do much more than go to work and come home.

so that's the scoop. in the past month i've also had 2 weeks of the stomach flu and a sinus cold/infection.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update. I will keep you in my prayers. Hopefully this heart thing will go away again!!

    ReplyDelete

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