Hey everyone. I have been reading PVC forums forever and finally decided to post. This is probably going to be lengthy so I apologize beforehand, however I know you will read every word because I am exactly like you, sitting in front of my computer chair at home, looking for any experience or tip that could help me reason out why PVCs occur.
I have been experiencing PVCs for 5 years, perhaps longer before I realized what they were. Here is a list of what I’ve gone through: (I am now 30 years old, male, exercise 5+ days per week, slightly over weight)
24 Hour Holter Monitor – showed PVCS, PACs, rare VTach – doctor said normal
Went to the ER – hooked to an EKG at the hospital having PVCS at the rate of 6-8 per minute. EKG ready normal.
Blood Work at Hospital – All levels in range
Thyroid Test – Thyroid range in normal zone
Electrolyte Test – Potatssium, Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium etc – all normal
Event Monitor – worn for 2 weeks last month, recorded many runs of pvcs, doctor saw them said no problem
Echocardiogram – done last week, full work up. Doctor called me and said you don’t even have come to your appointment today everything is normal.
THINGS I’VE DONE:
1. Eliminated all caffeine, haven’t had any in 3 years
2. More daily exercise (started that a long time ago)
3. Potassium supplements
4. Magnesium supplements
5. Iron supplements
8. Fish Oil
9. Eliminated all artificial sweeteners
10. Stay away from MSGs when I can
11. B50 Complex
12. Deep Breathing exercises
13. Beta Blocker
14. Anacids and anti gas medicines
15. Probably more stuff I’ll remember later
All of these things had various levels of effectiveness but nothing eliminated them completely.
Now let’s talk about anxiety. I have a history of it, general anxiety with panic attacks. Anxiety runs strong in my family. I recently found out my grandfather had two sisters that commited suicide over anxiety and depression. I have taken Paxil in the past but it caused pretty severe weight gain so I weaned off of it (very hard to do). I now take Zoloft 50 mg which seems to help. I have Xanax but take it sparingly, but it does work well when I was having runs of PVCs.
I sympathize deeply to anyone reading this – my heart goes out to you (no pun intended ). I would rather deal with being sick, a broken bone, or pretty much anything but PVCs. For us lucky ones that can feel them, it is a terrible feeling. The two quick beats and the agonizing pause terrified me. I believe this is a big part of the problem: The terror you feel when the happen, compounded with anxiety creates a vicious cycle. It’s the fear adrenaline cycle. Dr. Claire Weekes book “Hope and Help for your Nerves” is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who is having trouble with anxiety and pvcs. Peace of mind is a powerful tool and this book can certainly helped me understand exactly what’s going on. Anxiety can be defined as thinking that the worst possible thing is about to happen to you, and when your heart beats irregularly, you really do expect the worse. Anything that can help you understand how your nervous system / heart works will help take the mystery out of the symptoms and help you cope better.
Several doctors, when anything physically was ruled out, suggested I see a counselor. They told me to do deep breathing exercises and re-frame your thinking. I get the reframing your thinking part but it’s incredibly hard to do when it feels like your heart is going to skip out of your chest.
I think that having anxiety also manifests itself as health anxiety. This becomes the majority of the problem, the cycle of worrying you may have a fatal health problem, which in turn can cause PVCs, which makes you think……….and the cycle goes on.
I got the results of my echo on Monday (on which I was having PVCs during) and I think I finally convinced myself that PVCs are harmless and insignificant. Since then I’ve had maybe a handful all week. I’ve gone out and had a great time and have generally been much happier. I’m hoping and praying PVCs are in my past.
I’m not saying anxiety is the only cause of these but I think it does help amplify the symptoms and snowball out of control. I’ll be the first to tell you this is easier said than done, but I know you can get through it, because you are incredibly brave to dealing with these symptoms.
Lastly two things I continue to do that have helped is change my diet (low fat, more fresh vegetables, easy on the carbs) and I still take a magnesium supplement before bed. Since December 18th I have lost 12 pounds and feel a lot better. I think that goes back to the health anxiety, if you feel healthier you will have greater confidence is your overall health.
Best wishes and prayers to you,