How I Got Rid of my Heart Arrythmia
How It All Started The First Time
One evening, out of the blue, I was sitting in my living room quietly reading one of my favorite books and suddenly felt my heart thump a bit stronger than usual followed by a brief pause as if it skipped a beat. I was quite used to these occasional episodes, and did not think much of it, since they usually went away on their own and every now and then came back to pay me a visit.
The good thing is that these episodes were quite short lived, lasting just for a second or two, however, in the back of my mind, some times I wondered what would happen if these occasional episodes would have lasted for a whole day. After all, I used to have muscle spasms in my upper eyelid lasting for days at times which I attributed to stress or putting excessive strain on my eyes. I therefore thought, ''the heart, is a muscle as well, so could the same thing happen as well? I did not have to wait long for an answer and was not really eager to find out..
For a weird twist of fate, that thumping followed by a sensation of skipped heart beat, continued throughout the evening that day and had me quite worried. I started questioning myself:
Am I particularly stressed?
Did I eat anything with caffeine?
Am I eating well?
As I questioned myself, I remembered that I had eaten some dark chocolate which contains caffeine, a substance to which I have always been quite sensitive to, but to which I had never had any similar consequences. So I started cutting off on chocolate, cocoa and anything with caffeine.
At the same time, I thought I was perhaps a bit stressed from a recent move from one state to another. Yet, I have a history of being quite stoic when it came to moving having done it often. However, I left this as a possibility and tried to get as much of sleep as possible and try to relax.
Truth was, it was hard to relax, knowing that the most important muscle of my body was beating erratically and that this behavior could have been even a sign that something in my body was seriously wrong. I did some research and came up with two outcomes: it could have been something serious, but it could have also been nothing to worry about. Not very encouraging news, since I did not know where I was standing...
I spent three days dealing with the issue. I cut back in caffeine, relaxed as much as I could and then one morning woke up without them. I was incredibly happy. I no longer needed to see my doctor and worry about it. I was a bit cautious the first day, sort of examining my heart every now and then, and was always happy to notice the odd heartbeats were gone....This was the end of summer...
An Unexpected Comeback: A Turn for the Worst
I had gone a whole three months with no skipped heart beats and was living a normal life. Then one day, I was watching a movie and sucking on a coffee filled candy. As the sugar coating melted, drops of coffee released into my mouth...its flavor was rich and intense...
Hours later, in the midst of the movie came that familiar sensation again. The thumping and the skipped heart beat sensation. I anxiously awaited it to go away after a few seconds. It did not.. it lasted for hours, days, weeks and to my terror, months..
I really was not eager to see a doctor, I was afraid something was wrong and was reluctant to have an electrocardiogram done. For some reason, I was telling myself ''If I am still alive, this must not be something major''. Yet, at times, I imagined my heart doing this strenuous work and giving up on me one day...
My reasoning was: ''How can a muscle stand so much work? If I over worked my fingers, hands and arms would these muscles withstand so much? How can a heart which is a muscle withstand so much? The erratic heart beats after all were non stop, I seriously thought they were taking place in my sleep as well.
On the other hand, a reassuring voice was telling me that the heart after all, is a different muscle. It is built to beat our entire lives, no other muscles does as much, so what a big deal if it just thumps a little harder each time?
For some reason, the erratic heart beats were especially severe at night. I yet had to understand if this was due to the fact that laying down one hears the heart more, or if it is just so silent that it becomes more evident, and it is easier to concentrate on it? I think it was a combination of the two.
Laying down, I could almost heart my heart beating in my ears. In some positions, by laying my head on my arm I could even feel my pulse, with the all familiar skipped beats. The silence of the room and the lack of distractions made me focus on the heart beat. It was just me: my heartbeat and I. The night must be pain's best friend, for at night in my case, I always seemed to feel its heavy presence seeping through the walls.
Daytime, was much better. At times, I had to question if my heart beats were still erratic. Talking with people, walking my dogs, gardening, cooking, all kept my mind away. It was when I was sitting still reading, watching t.v. or using the computer that my beats came over as to say ''Knock knock, who's there''.
One night then, the beats were so strong, I could not sleep. It was real, it was as if they were keeping me awake. At times, exhausted, I was questioning myself if it was a bad dream, but it was not. I was tossing and turning and wide awake. At some moments I was sweating cold, wondering if it was time to go to the emergency room. But just the thought kept my body sort of frozen. I did not even have the courage to express my concern to my husband sleeping heavily besides me. I was scared of my own words, scared of admitting something may have been wrong.
I survived that night, wondering if I really experienced something major or if it was just fruit of my imagination...Afterwards, I spent the whole day reading and learning as much as I could about these heart beats...
Evaluating Seriousness of Skipped Heart Beats
I really did not learn anything new on several medical websites. According to Health.com quoted:
''A heartbeat that is occasionally irregular usually is not a concern if it does not cause other symptoms, such as dizziness, lightheadedness or shortness of breath''.
The word that worried me here was ''occasionally''. I did no longer apply to this. My arrhythmias were always there, just like an eerie shadow following you everywhere. I never really felt lightheaded or dizzy, but one thing was for sure, those heartbeats were surely annoying.
The website continued noting how smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, taking stimulants such as diet pills or cough and cold medicines, being under stress or in pain, having a fever or other illness, taking certain supplements or even being pregnant could make people prone to palpitations or skipped heart beats.
I really did not do any of the above. I had stopped enjoying chocolate (something I used to eat on a daily basis), I was no longer in stress, other than dealing with the issue, I was not in pain, did not have a fever, did not take herbal supplements, did not take diet pills, and of course, I knew I was not pregnant... So why in the world did I have those annoying arrhythmias?
I think that any person sound of mind, by now should have gone to see a doctor. Not seeing one was my choice, but I strongly recommend seeing one even though they may sound like something benign. The heart is something that deserves attention, and even though it turns out being nothing, peace of mind is really priceless.
As I was engaging in auto-diagnosing myself, the word ''idiopathic'' crossed my mind. A term I had learned working at a veterinary hospital, which popped up now and then, when vets could not figure out what was causing an illness. It is an elegant word that simply means: ''we have no idea what is causing this''. So yes, I had an ''idiopathic arrhythmia'', it sounded somewhat professional indeed..
An interesting Breakthrough...
Then one day I stumbled upon a forum. I am not really a fan of forums but somehow a search result query ended me on a forum where people were discussing about medical issues. Among these medical issues were people complaining about skipped heart beats. I was no longer alone!
Just as me, they were bothered by the annoying sensation. Many accepted them as a lifelong companion, some of them having them for years! This really surprised, but added a note of sadness, many confessed their doctors have told them they are benign and to just live with them. This was a hard pill to swallow. How can I live with this all my life?
Then somewhere, somebody claimed that every time he ate bananas, the heart arrhythmia seemed to lessen. Well, why not, give it a try? The yellow fruit is cheap, it is available in most food stores and tasty too.Other forum members claimed as well that bananas appeared to help them out. So I marked bananas down the list.
I eagerly stopped by my grocery store, but was afraid of getting my hopes high. After all, I had tried so much! I stopped eating chocolate, tried sleeping more, drank Chamomile tea, exercised more and tried to keep my mind off the heart beats as much as possible. Nothing ever worked, so what made me think bananas would work?
Indeed, they did not. It did indeed seem to lessen the heart beats, but they were still my loyal companions, both night and day. I tried to double the amount, but there were no significant changes. I was about to give up, until I saw a product laying by the natural, vitamin aisle of my local pharmacy. ...
A Promising Product Leads to Solution
The product did not really look much promising, but it did make some sense after all. I believe the substance which made bananas so helpful in heart arrhythmias was potassium. So I decided to try out a magnesium and potassium supplement. I really was not to keen to try things out without consulting a doctor first, but I was desperately seeking a solution.
It did not work... the first day, nor the following day, but on the third day the erratic heart beats appeared to have lessened considerably. There were still there but they were sort of ''silenced'' like if they were barely there.
After five days, my life resumed as normal. And now I am three months free of odd beats. I do not want to sing victory already, but I am pretty sure the supplement did the trick .I did find proof of this later from other websites.
On a forum, one guy in particular, had spent two years trying to understand the cause of his irregular palpitations. He had spent hundreds of dollars on doctors, EKG's, emergency room visits and so forth. And then he claimed that a bottle of supplements costing him less than 5 dollars had made them cease!
According to Life extension, the quoted findings:
'' Both magnesium and potassium are intricately involved in the heart’s electrical stability (Cybulski J et al 2004); consequently, maintaining normal functional blood levels and ratios of each is important. Potassium is found in every cell of the body, and magnesium, the second-most-abundant intracellular mineral, is involved in many chemical processes (Swain R et al 1999). Magnesium deficiency may result in irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, and irritability. Conversely, an excessive amount may cause a very slow heartbeat (bradycardia), dizziness, blurred vision, or breathing difficulty.
Magnesium deficiency is usually due to inadequate dietary intake or depletion. Most present-day diets include inadequate amounts of magnesium, and aging is a risk factor for deficiency. Insufficient magnesium may contribute to the symptoms routinely associated with aging (Durlach J et al 1998). Medications such as diuretics, used to treat chronic diseases, may be responsible for more loss of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is more likely among older people who are institutionalized (Durlach J et al 1998).
Potassium may also be reduced by medications widely used to treat diseases associated with aging. Some heart medications, such as diuretics used as adjunctive treatment for high blood pressure, may dangerously deplete potassium levels. Besides causing severe muscle weakness and possible arrhythmias, inadequate potassium, which may lead to electrolyte imbalance, may cause mental confusion that may be attributed mistakenly to age or incompetence. The underlying electrolyte imbalance resulting from deficient levels of potassium or magnesium in the serum may also predispose people to arrhythmias (Cybulski J et al 2004).
According to Nicole Cutler, in her article ''Why Bananas Support a Healthy Heart'' published on Mature Sources: quoted
''Potassium is one of the most important nutrients for keeping the heart healthy. This mineral is needed for muscle contraction (which is required for the heart to beat). For 100,000 times each day, potassium helps trigger the heart's squeeze of blood throughout the body. As a food source, bananas have one of the highest potassium contents available. The daily recommended amount of potassium is about 2,300 mg."
So there I I had it.. the solution to my annoying heart arrhythmia. Then a few weeks later I also learned how effective mother wort and hawthorn extracts could also be. So now I alternate them. If only I knew this before! However, I am grateful of stumbling upon some forums and studies that provided further proof of these product's effectiveness. At times, knowledge is really power...
Disclaimer: the above article should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing heart arrhythmia, please refer to your personal physician for professional advice. Readers assume full responsibility for their course of action. Always consult with a doctor before taking any supplements. An excess of potassium can be troublesome so blood work is usually recommended by doctors first.
For further reading
- Causes of Skipped Heartbeats
imelechon The sensation of the heart skipping a beat is known medically as an extrasystol or premature ventricular complexes. Basically, these consist of extra electrical impulses that stand out because they...
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