T Nation

Heart Palpitations

Ok, so lately I have been having heart palpitations. This started about 2 months ago at a frequency of about once/week. Then it increased to once/day and now in the last week they have been happening anywhere from 20-40x/day. This is really freaking me out and I have a doctors appointment schedule in 2 days. I’m only 20, not overweight, eat well etc…

These palpitations do not occur any more frequently while doing aerobic exercise so thats somewhat reassuring… It’s usually the worst at night. My medical history is clean. I have no known allergies, i’m not pn any meds, and this has never happend before. I have read as much as I can on the net about these to inform myself before I go to the doctors and it sounds like figuring this out will involve 1-blood work and 2- an EKG.

My questions are

1- Has anybody else experienced this? If so, what was the cause of yours ?

2- The last time I saw a doctor was when I was 12 and broke my leg so I haven’t had a physical probably since I was a child. This thing has got me freaked out and I wouldn’t mind getting full blood work done and a “full physical” whatever that entails. The blood work for the Palps will probably just involve checking a few minerals but I want my hormones and fats etc checked… Will they do this in Canada for a 20 y/o or am I going to have really push the doctor? (don’t mean to turn this political but I HATE socialized medical care).

Anyways, I would appreciate any and all advice or anecdotal experience.

Thanks, Travis.

First make sure it’s heart palpitations which are quite rare for a 20 yo. Sometimes diaphragm spasms can feel like heart palpitations.

I had heart palpitations…later found out to be caused by pulmonary embolism(blood clot in lung).

[quote]steveprez wrote:
First make sure it’s heart palpitations which are quite rare for a 20 yo. Sometimes diaphragm spasms can feel like heart palpitations. [/quote]

Agreed, but add esophageal spasms as well. If he feels it more at night, it could even be an effect of gastric reflux causing a spasm.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Could be something as minor as dehydration or more serious like an arythmia. The point is you won’t know until you get thoroughly checked out. Assuming your bloodwork and EKG are in order, they will probably have you wear a Holter Monitor for 24 hours to see what is happening. Think of the monitor as a 24 hour EKG. You might even undergo a stress test. There is no sense fretting over this. See the doc and let that take its course. Anything you read here could be cause for unecessary alarm or false reassurance - no one can tell you what is going on and any similiar experience is pretty useless as the cause for palpitations can run a pretty wide path. Just get it checked out.

In addition to what other posters have said about stimulants, are you by any chance eating low carb, are you pretty lean or are you cutting weight? One of the body’s responses to low blood sugar is to kick up the adrenaline this can cause palpitations. So can swings in blood sugar in some people.

I Had mild palpitations because of overtraining for a short time.

  1. Reduce stress. That can come from any angle. Your nagging girlfriend could be worse for you then your screaming boss. Adjust intelligently. Positive stress is probably OK, though.
  2. Adjust your sleep. Go for maximum quantity and quality.
  3. No stimulating substances. I’m like BB here. The slightest traces of Coffee have a huge effect on me. So kow your stimulants and cut them completely out.
  4. If you do sport, do it now as a means to release stress, not to beat PRs.
    That means a non-competitive environment, less volume, way less intensity, good rest afterwards, etc.
    I believe, however, that doing sport at all is more helpful then just sitting on your ass. Done the right way, it can help the heart to adjust.
  5. You might want to buy a pulse-measurer (don’t know the english name), very helpful tool if it’s serious stuff you’re facing.
    On a second look, I see you have palpitations 20x + per day. You should definitely monitor your pulse from now on and to better understand and work with your body.

My father had big troubles with his heart. Age, a lot of work, even more stress with top managment, the list goes on. I don’t remember the exact diagnosis, but his doctors are amazed that he is completely without medication today. The cardiac specialists tell him every time he visits them for screening, that he’s the only patient [with that diagnosis] they ever heard about who is today completely healthy again.
He did it by rebuilding his cardiac strength through exercise, mainly with a rowing machine, watching his pulse and keeping book of every parameter, while cutting the medicine back little by little (cutting a 1/16 part of pill away).
You could say that it was basic, progressive training that saved his ass.
The pharma industry is, of course, zero interested about such a simple and effective therapy. I say that because he tried to speak about this and maybe even work on a study.

Back to you:
I don’t know your diagnosis and I’m sure it’s not so tough like in my father’s case.
But if you encounter a doctor who will declare you a med-junkie for life, you should note it doesn’t have to be the case.

Take Care-
S.

Thanks a lot everyone for the help. I’m not super lean ( I would guess 10-15 %) and i’m not eating low carb. I do occasionally take 200mg caffeine pills and have played with ephedrine in the past. Haven’t taken any ephedrine though in probably a year and the caffeine is rare and doesn’t seem to specifically bring it on. Nevertheless I have stopped taking all stimulants.

Thanks for the info. Will update when I see the doc.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]steveprez wrote:
First make sure it’s heart palpitations which are quite rare for a 20 yo. Sometimes diaphragm spasms can feel like heart palpitations. [/quote]

Agreed, but add esophageal spasms as well. If he feels it more at night, it could even be an effect of gastric reflux causing a spasm.[/quote]

prob this.

my friend (25) just had the exact same probs. thing is, she just ignored until the palps got worse and eventually she felt like she was having a heart attack, and she HAD to go to the hospital. unfortunately we live in korea and it took the dumbass docs a week of absolute agony to figure out that the prolem wasnt her heart, and that it was gastro reflux. this is despite the fact that her heart rate and blood pressure were totally normal, even during the painful attacks.

anyway, get it sorted asap cos it can get quite painful.