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Heart fears

Posted by Carole C in NOLA on 3/31/02 at 12:54 (078098)

I don't know if heelspurs.com is the place to post about this, really. But it is very hard to find information about moving from almost immobility to what most would consider a sedentary lifestyle, and I'm having some problems with this transition. I can't figure out where to look online to find out more. All that I have seen online tells me that doing what I'm doing should be OK.

As some of you know, I've started trying to re-gain my mobility after being essentially off my feet and scarcely able to walk for several years with terrible osteoarthritis and overweight, which was then helped a lot by Celebrex (a miracle for me) and by then losing 80 pounds or so on Weight Watchers. I started going to big stores like Walmart again for exercise last summer which was good for me. But, as soon as I started exercising on my recumbent bike shortly thereafter, I got PF due to stupidity, so I was back to being essentially off my feet. I maintained my weight loss and healthier eating habits but didn't lose any for the past six months or so, and rested, rested, rested.

Now my PF is better so I'm trying AGAIN to get back to moving around. I'm still almost 100 pounds overweight and as of this week I'm losing weight on Weight Watchers again. This is so exciting to me!! I am absolutely thrilled to death about being able to do stuff and I'm trying to approach it with moderation though that's not easy.

Friday was my second day of 5 minutes (1 mile) on my recumbent bike at zero tension. Plus, I've been adding either 10 minutes of light housework or else a visit to Walmart or somewhere each day in addition to the exercycle. My feet felt (and still feel) fine from this. However, on Friday while just typing online and doing nothing I noticed my heart felt like it was beating faster and maybe skipping a beat, and I felt a little short of breath. I figured this was simply anxiety, because I had a date with someone new from the internet! Woo-hoo! What was weird was that resting and deep breathing didn't seem to help. After a half hour or so I felt better. The date was definitely a hot date! but my heart was no problem on the date at all.

This morning, just now it happened again and I haven't done my exercising again. I haven't done anything since I woke up but surf the net, post on message boards. I did have two cups of coffee but I had a plain turkey sandwich on whole wheat which I figured would soak up the caffeine. I guess I will have to see a doctor and get this checked out. Oh bummer.

Maybe my heart is just telling me 'what the heck? what's this exercise thingie? Are you crazy? do you want me to beat fast all the time or what?' LOL I don't know. I haven't had any undue or unexpected heart reactions when I exercise. Then, it's a healthy feeling normal speedup of pulse and breathing, that goes away in a normal amount of time.

Anybody have any thoughts on this? I've never had heart problems, and last month the rheumatologist said my heart rate was 72, my BP was 128/72, and nothing wrong seemed apparent. In fact, for someone 100 pounds overweight I amazed the nurses and him with my healthiness as far as tests and numbers. I have no family history of heart problems except my 92 year old Mom in Hawaii has just recently got congestive heart failure (but she got out of the hospital for it this week! and she is doing a lot better. yay!). I thought it could be just psychological with me identifying with her or something.

I *LIKE* my recumbent bike now that my PF are essentially healed; I like the way it makes my legs feel, I like the energy it gives me, I like the bounce in my walk that I feel after riding it. Hopefully this is all just some sort of psychological weirdness that I've gotten myself into. Just during the time while I was writing this post, my heart has settled down. Maybe I just needed to express my fears and calm down. Thanks.

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Suzanne D on 3/31/02 at 15:25 (078106)

Dear Carole,

I certainly cannot say if this would apply to you, but I will tell you my situation with heart palpitations and 'skipping'. Probably about 18 years ago, I noticed what you described happening to me. It would happen when I would be still, like sitting on the piano bench playing at church or just riding in the car. I would feel this weird 'lurch' - kind of take my breath for just a moment - more from surprise than pain. I think you understand what I mean. I would notice sometimes a 'racing' or a skipping of beats. Sometimes my chest would hurt a little.

I went to the dr. who sent me to a cardiologist who ordered an echocardiogram. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse syndrome. Some articles I have read state that perhaps 40% of all women have this. It is much more common in women than men.

For me, it just means taking an antibiotic before surgery or dental work to ensure that no bacteria will get into the wall of my heart. The cardiologist compared this valve in my heart to a 'old screen door' which when slammed sort of bangs two or three times before it closes. The valve doesn't close exactly right and thus could allow bacteria inside which could then cause a major infection problem.

Other than that, he told me that understanding what it was would be the best medicine for me. Some people take a heart regulator pill, but many don't, including me.

Of course this may not be what is causing your symptoms, and I know you are smart enough to have it checked out, but I wanted to tell you my situation. Perhaps you can find something on the internet on mitral valve prolapse. I really have never looked on the internet for anything on the subject as most of the time I forget that I have the condition.

At times of stress my symptoms will be more pronounced. At other times, I may go for a long period of time without noticing anything. I am and have always been rather short of breath - never even been able to blow up a balloon - but have not had any major health issues.

I was told that some people (me included) have an irregular heart beat along with this and others do not.

I hope maybe this helped you a little! I hope you will get some definite answers so you won't have to worry about this long. You are doing so well with your feet and losing weight; you will overcome this, too!

Take care,
Suzanne :-)

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 3/31/02 at 15:55 (078110)

Thanks, Suzanne! I'll read about mitral valve prolapse. Maybe that is what it is. I do need to have it checked out, I guess. I never noticed this before I started exercising, but it doesn't seem to happen when I'm exercising. Maybe the 'old screen door' analogy would explain it.

It's encouraging to hear that you got it checked out, and it was relatively benign. It hasn't happened again since I posted. I don't have a regular doctor, just my rheumatologist. So, I'll have to find one, and make an appointment, and I'd guess it will be two or three weeks before I see him and he refers me to a cardiologist and then a few more weeks before I see the cardiologist (if that's what's needed). By that time I should know if it's going to keep happening or what.

I think I will keep exercising at the same rate as long as I don't have any further symptoms.

Thank you so much for your response! I hope you are having a happy Easter.

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

John h on 3/31/02 at 18:28 (078119)

always error on the side of safety Carole. go see your doc na see what he thinks. a stress test may be in order. very easily could just be anxiety but see your doctor.

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 3/31/02 at 19:40 (078121)

Thanks John. Guess I'd better. Sometimes it seems like NOTHING is easy or simple, even just getting back into the swing of things. :(

What really makes me mad is that the last time I tried to start exercising, I got PF. Now this. GRRRRRRR!

But, I will make an appointment. I rode my wimpy little 1.1 miles in 5 minutes tonight anyway just like I've been doing the past few nights, and had no problem (at the time). My plan was to ride this distance every day for a couple of weeks anyway, before I step things up, just to make sure all systems are go.

On the bright side, my PF are not hurting at all from this, which is sure a lot better situation that I was in a couple of months ago!

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

john h on 4/01/02 at 08:14 (078141)

Odds are it is nothing at all Carole but a visit to the doc will put your mind at ease otherwise this would be in the back of your mind for a long time.

Re: Heart fears

Pam B on 4/01/02 at 09:19 (078146)

Carole, I have had the same set of symptoms.......I thought for sure I was having the beginning signs of heart problems.......but when I explained it to my doc he told me it was an anxiety attack.......that was five months ago.......as of two months ago, he is now treating me for hypertension due to anxiety.......he thinks all this time being laid up with bum feet in addition to quitting smoking is what is causing it.....he says the anxiety comes from the addtional stress of being laid up and facing all that goes with it......I dont care what he says, it is very scary when your heart takes off like that and it actully takes your breath away, especially since we all know that woman more than likely display different symptoms with heart problems then men do......so I know your fear......boy, dont our feet bring us alot of stress??????? It seems that many people that post here are troubled with depression, anxiety and panic disorders......isnt it enough we have our feet to deal with........you really do need to see the doc though.......cause you never know.......let us know how you make out.......good luck :)

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 11:33 (078159)

I'm sure that it's probably stress, because I feel great right now. But I'm going to see a doctor about it. Just made the appointment! Thanks everyone :)

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 11:36 (078160)

I just found out that I'm going to sea again on Friday! YAY I will be gone for 5-6 days.

So, I just called the doctor (an internist) and explained the situation. The secretaries tried to put me off even after I explained the whole thing to them, so I played it dumb and said, 'Oh, OK, so then you think it will probably be all right for me to be out at sea for a week away from any doctors or medical facilities?' That got their attention. They are going to squeeze me in this afternoon at 3:15. (big grin)

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Sharon W on 4/01/02 at 13:26 (078172)

Carole,

GOOD FOR YOU!!!

-- Sharon

Re: Good! Let us hear from you after the appointment! (eom)

Suzanne D on 4/01/02 at 15:30 (078191)

.

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 18:09 (078207)

Well, this doctor is REALLY good. He listened to me and he told me the truth.

Basically, there was nothing wrong with my pulse or BP, so he did an EKG which turned out completely totally 100% irrefutably NORMAL!!!!! whew! Gosh was I glad to hear that. I haven't had one done in 30 years.

Anyway, I said, 'well, so it was probably stress or something then, don't you think?' but he says he wants to run some thyroid tests on me to make sure it wasn't due to thyroid problems. That's ok. Doctors ALWAYS want to do thyroid on me because I'm fat, but it always comes out normal so I think I'm home free. He also didn't look pleased that I normally drink 2-3 cups of coffee, so I can see where that's going.

I'm having the thyroid and other blood tests tomorrow morning on an empty stomach, and they will let me know the results before I go to sea.

I told him about my weight loss but I didn't tell him about the PF and just sitting. It seemed like I was going on and on, and I just wanted to hit the highlights. I told him I was back on Weight Watchers, and that I wanted to start some light exercise 'just what Weight Watchers wants me to do, that's all' but he did not give me the 'oh, ok' that I was trying for. Actually I like the fact that he isn't too easily influenced by what I want. Anyway, he said he would decide about the exercise when he sees the test results. I am OK to go to sea (unless they get back some bad test results before Friday). And, I'm supposed to go see him again in a month.

He's really very nice! I should have seen him months or years ago.

Carole C

Re: WHEW

Suzanne D on 4/01/02 at 18:20 (078209)

I'm so glad, Carole, that you had a completely normal EKG! The dr. sounds thorough and concerened, so that is good, too.

Your trip to the sea again sounds exciting, and you will be able to enjoy it more after having been to the dr. and then getting the blood work done tomorrow.

I've been gone for awhile but as soon as I got home, I came to this site so that I could see what you found out at your doctor's appointment! Thanks for letting us know.

I think you'll sleep better tonight!
Suzanne

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 18:45 (078216)

Thanks, Suzanne! Yes, I think the trip will be a lot more fun without worrying about my heart! I would be flabbergasted if there's anything wrong with my thyroid, but he has to check that to be thorough. It was probably just stress, or coffee. On Sunday morning when it happened the second time, I had just finished my second large mug of coffee.

It was great to look at the EKG which was proof right there in front of my eyes that my heart is doing just exactly what it's meant to do. Good ol' heart, I'm sure glad!

Carole C

Re: WHEW

Necee on 4/02/02 at 21:24 (078305)

Carole, I'm so glad that you got a good report from the Dr. Now you can go out to sea and not have that extra burden.
Let us know how things go.
Happy trails...
Necee

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/03/02 at 05:54 (078315)

Thanks, Necee. I'll do that. :)

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Suzanne D on 3/31/02 at 15:25 (078106)

Dear Carole,

I certainly cannot say if this would apply to you, but I will tell you my situation with heart palpitations and 'skipping'. Probably about 18 years ago, I noticed what you described happening to me. It would happen when I would be still, like sitting on the piano bench playing at church or just riding in the car. I would feel this weird 'lurch' - kind of take my breath for just a moment - more from surprise than pain. I think you understand what I mean. I would notice sometimes a 'racing' or a skipping of beats. Sometimes my chest would hurt a little.

I went to the dr. who sent me to a cardiologist who ordered an echocardiogram. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse syndrome. Some articles I have read state that perhaps 40% of all women have this. It is much more common in women than men.

For me, it just means taking an antibiotic before surgery or dental work to ensure that no bacteria will get into the wall of my heart. The cardiologist compared this valve in my heart to a 'old screen door' which when slammed sort of bangs two or three times before it closes. The valve doesn't close exactly right and thus could allow bacteria inside which could then cause a major infection problem.

Other than that, he told me that understanding what it was would be the best medicine for me. Some people take a heart regulator pill, but many don't, including me.

Of course this may not be what is causing your symptoms, and I know you are smart enough to have it checked out, but I wanted to tell you my situation. Perhaps you can find something on the internet on mitral valve prolapse. I really have never looked on the internet for anything on the subject as most of the time I forget that I have the condition.

At times of stress my symptoms will be more pronounced. At other times, I may go for a long period of time without noticing anything. I am and have always been rather short of breath - never even been able to blow up a balloon - but have not had any major health issues.

I was told that some people (me included) have an irregular heart beat along with this and others do not.

I hope maybe this helped you a little! I hope you will get some definite answers so you won't have to worry about this long. You are doing so well with your feet and losing weight; you will overcome this, too!

Take care,
Suzanne :-)

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 3/31/02 at 15:55 (078110)

Thanks, Suzanne! I'll read about mitral valve prolapse. Maybe that is what it is. I do need to have it checked out, I guess. I never noticed this before I started exercising, but it doesn't seem to happen when I'm exercising. Maybe the 'old screen door' analogy would explain it.

It's encouraging to hear that you got it checked out, and it was relatively benign. It hasn't happened again since I posted. I don't have a regular doctor, just my rheumatologist. So, I'll have to find one, and make an appointment, and I'd guess it will be two or three weeks before I see him and he refers me to a cardiologist and then a few more weeks before I see the cardiologist (if that's what's needed). By that time I should know if it's going to keep happening or what.

I think I will keep exercising at the same rate as long as I don't have any further symptoms.

Thank you so much for your response! I hope you are having a happy Easter.

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

John h on 3/31/02 at 18:28 (078119)

always error on the side of safety Carole. go see your doc na see what he thinks. a stress test may be in order. very easily could just be anxiety but see your doctor.

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 3/31/02 at 19:40 (078121)

Thanks John. Guess I'd better. Sometimes it seems like NOTHING is easy or simple, even just getting back into the swing of things. :(

What really makes me mad is that the last time I tried to start exercising, I got PF. Now this. GRRRRRRR!

But, I will make an appointment. I rode my wimpy little 1.1 miles in 5 minutes tonight anyway just like I've been doing the past few nights, and had no problem (at the time). My plan was to ride this distance every day for a couple of weeks anyway, before I step things up, just to make sure all systems are go.

On the bright side, my PF are not hurting at all from this, which is sure a lot better situation that I was in a couple of months ago!

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

john h on 4/01/02 at 08:14 (078141)

Odds are it is nothing at all Carole but a visit to the doc will put your mind at ease otherwise this would be in the back of your mind for a long time.

Re: Heart fears

Pam B on 4/01/02 at 09:19 (078146)

Carole, I have had the same set of symptoms.......I thought for sure I was having the beginning signs of heart problems.......but when I explained it to my doc he told me it was an anxiety attack.......that was five months ago.......as of two months ago, he is now treating me for hypertension due to anxiety.......he thinks all this time being laid up with bum feet in addition to quitting smoking is what is causing it.....he says the anxiety comes from the addtional stress of being laid up and facing all that goes with it......I dont care what he says, it is very scary when your heart takes off like that and it actully takes your breath away, especially since we all know that woman more than likely display different symptoms with heart problems then men do......so I know your fear......boy, dont our feet bring us alot of stress??????? It seems that many people that post here are troubled with depression, anxiety and panic disorders......isnt it enough we have our feet to deal with........you really do need to see the doc though.......cause you never know.......let us know how you make out.......good luck :)

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 11:33 (078159)

I'm sure that it's probably stress, because I feel great right now. But I'm going to see a doctor about it. Just made the appointment! Thanks everyone :)

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 11:36 (078160)

I just found out that I'm going to sea again on Friday! YAY I will be gone for 5-6 days.

So, I just called the doctor (an internist) and explained the situation. The secretaries tried to put me off even after I explained the whole thing to them, so I played it dumb and said, 'Oh, OK, so then you think it will probably be all right for me to be out at sea for a week away from any doctors or medical facilities?' That got their attention. They are going to squeeze me in this afternoon at 3:15. (big grin)

Carole C

Re: Heart fears

Sharon W on 4/01/02 at 13:26 (078172)

Carole,

GOOD FOR YOU!!!

-- Sharon

Re: Good! Let us hear from you after the appointment! (eom)

Suzanne D on 4/01/02 at 15:30 (078191)

.

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 18:09 (078207)

Well, this doctor is REALLY good. He listened to me and he told me the truth.

Basically, there was nothing wrong with my pulse or BP, so he did an EKG which turned out completely totally 100% irrefutably NORMAL!!!!! whew! Gosh was I glad to hear that. I haven't had one done in 30 years.

Anyway, I said, 'well, so it was probably stress or something then, don't you think?' but he says he wants to run some thyroid tests on me to make sure it wasn't due to thyroid problems. That's ok. Doctors ALWAYS want to do thyroid on me because I'm fat, but it always comes out normal so I think I'm home free. He also didn't look pleased that I normally drink 2-3 cups of coffee, so I can see where that's going.

I'm having the thyroid and other blood tests tomorrow morning on an empty stomach, and they will let me know the results before I go to sea.

I told him about my weight loss but I didn't tell him about the PF and just sitting. It seemed like I was going on and on, and I just wanted to hit the highlights. I told him I was back on Weight Watchers, and that I wanted to start some light exercise 'just what Weight Watchers wants me to do, that's all' but he did not give me the 'oh, ok' that I was trying for. Actually I like the fact that he isn't too easily influenced by what I want. Anyway, he said he would decide about the exercise when he sees the test results. I am OK to go to sea (unless they get back some bad test results before Friday). And, I'm supposed to go see him again in a month.

He's really very nice! I should have seen him months or years ago.

Carole C

Re: WHEW

Suzanne D on 4/01/02 at 18:20 (078209)

I'm so glad, Carole, that you had a completely normal EKG! The dr. sounds thorough and concerened, so that is good, too.

Your trip to the sea again sounds exciting, and you will be able to enjoy it more after having been to the dr. and then getting the blood work done tomorrow.

I've been gone for awhile but as soon as I got home, I came to this site so that I could see what you found out at your doctor's appointment! Thanks for letting us know.

I think you'll sleep better tonight!
Suzanne

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/01/02 at 18:45 (078216)

Thanks, Suzanne! Yes, I think the trip will be a lot more fun without worrying about my heart! I would be flabbergasted if there's anything wrong with my thyroid, but he has to check that to be thorough. It was probably just stress, or coffee. On Sunday morning when it happened the second time, I had just finished my second large mug of coffee.

It was great to look at the EKG which was proof right there in front of my eyes that my heart is doing just exactly what it's meant to do. Good ol' heart, I'm sure glad!

Carole C

Re: WHEW

Necee on 4/02/02 at 21:24 (078305)

Carole, I'm so glad that you got a good report from the Dr. Now you can go out to sea and not have that extra burden.
Let us know how things go.
Happy trails...
Necee

Re: WHEW

Carole C in NOLA on 4/03/02 at 05:54 (078315)

Thanks, Necee. I'll do that. :)

Carole C