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My heart is not happy

  1. Apr 25, 2006 #1

    chroot

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    I've been having some problems exercising recently. For the last six months or so, lifting weights (10-12 sets of 4 or 5 basic exercises with moderate weights) has often resulted in my heart rate staying at 160 bpm for half an hour, plus the added fun of cold, clammy hands, dizziness, and even ringing in my ears that persists long after I get back to my desk.

    The doctor hooked me up to an ECG and, within minutes of seeing the printout, had a referral written up for me to see a cardiologist at the hospital to get a stress echocardiogram. I heard him outside the door telling the nurse to fax the ECG and "push me through" immediately, because he wanted the test "done in the next 48 hours." He checked the "urgent" box on the referral form. When he came back into the examining room, he asked me if I had ever had an ECG before, then told me I was absolutely not permitted to ride my bicycle or do any other kind of exercise until this has been sorted out.

    In short, he just scared the absolute crap out of me. I have to go do the stress echocardiogram tomorrow at 3:30 pm, and I'm totally unable to concentrate on my work or do anything productive right now.

    Wish me luck. :frown:

    - Warren
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2006 #2
    I wish you luck! I once had bronchitis and went to a clinic since I don't have health insurance. The doctor ordered a breathing treatment, so I did that, and my heart beat became faster. She gave my an EKG and told me I had an enlarged heart! She was going to give me something to calm my heart down and call an ambulance, but I opted to call my husband to take me to the emergency room. $1200.00 later only to find out I was fine. Boy, was I mad. There was nothing wrong with my heart. I hope nothing is wrong with yours, and remember docs do make mistakes! Get a second opinion, if you ask me! Hang in there.....
     
  4. Apr 25, 2006 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    Aw, chroot, man that sucks! You've probably just been exercising too hard. Geez! You're about the most health conscious person I know, and I can't imagine you having a problem with your ticker. But I am glad you're getting all checked out and I'm glad you'll get your results soon! Maybe the GF can bring some movies over? You need some distraction tonight.

    p.s. A few years ago, a doc told me I had a heart murmur and I got a little freaked out -- but no doctor has ever heard it in me since!
     
  5. Apr 25, 2006 #4

    berkeman

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    Hang in there, chroot. And try to relax and let technology do it's job in checking you out. If there's something wrong, they can fix it, and you'll be able to get back to your normal intensity soon. Let us know what they find.
     
  6. Apr 25, 2006 #5

    chroot

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    Yeah.. honestly.. I'm fulling expecting the results to come back tomorrow and indicate that I'm totally fine, and the doc was just being overly cautious. On the other hand, I have felt pretty lousy after workouts, have experienced odd bouts of syncope, and have felt palpitations. So, I'm thinking it's a good idea to get this sort of test done just as prophylaxis.

    I have a 600-mile bike ride to do in June, so... I'm trying to just view this as an "in-depth physical."

    - Warren
     
  7. Apr 25, 2006 #6
    I really don't know you at all since I'm pretty new here, but good luck with that. I hope they fix the problem, I know heart difficulties can be very non-fun.
     
  8. Apr 25, 2006 #7

    Moonbear

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    Chroot, sorry to hear that. However, keep in mind they didn't call an ambulance for you right away, so while there might be a problem, you're probably not going to drop dead before your appointment. :smile: The stress test will help narrow down the problem. It might be something very easily treatable with just some medication.

    I have to admit that I really hate it when a doctor just suddenly ships someone off for a referral without sitting down and discussing it with them...why the referral, why the hurry, what do they suspect, and what else could it be? I think those 4 questions should be answered, otherwise, it only seems to add to the stress by leaving someone sitting around worried that it could be the worst.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2006 #8

    -Job-

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    It sucks having to wait for results on things like this. I once came close to losing sight in my right eye, and waiting for the results on that was not pleasant, it's really impossible to get any work done.
     
  10. Apr 25, 2006 #9

    ZapperZ

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    All the best, chroot!

    I had a ECG about a year ago because my physician thought I may have a heart murmur. He flat out told me that he is being cautious and that he does not think it serious because he said that what he heard was common. He just wanted to make sure it isn't really a heart murmur or something more serious.

    It wasn't! :)

    So here's hoping yours isn't either.

    Zz.

    Edit: one of the benefits in working at a US Nat'l lab is that they make you take a physical with their doctors every year. So I have an EKG done every other year and the doctor compares the result every time with the baseline "healty" results. So I go through TWO physicals a year, counting the one I do every year with my personal physician.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2006
  11. Apr 25, 2006 #10

    chroot

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    Well, he's a family physician. I doubt he really knows the heart all that well, but he did an ECG and found something that reminded him of a previous case he had treated (successfully). The condition he suspects actually carries a small chance of sudden-onset cardiac arrest, so I think he did the right thing by referring me immediately. It's entirely possible (perhaps quite probable) that his suspicions aren't even remotely correct, but it's ethically (and legally!) the right thing to do.

    - Warren
     
  12. Apr 25, 2006 #11

    Moonbear

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    That actually sounds more reassuring. 1) If it is what he suspects, you know he has treated it successfully before, and 2) if it isn't what he suspects, it's just being overly cautious, and no reason to worry.

    I only have two classes left with my group of med students this year, so just because of this, next week, I'm going to remember to bring this up as a social issue. It'll fit in with the case we're covering a bit (someone with a spinal cord injury who would have every reason to be scared to death upon admittance to the E.D.), so I have one more chance to do my part to be sure 8 more future M.D.s are reminded of how scary it is to not know what is going on when referred for tests, or to not have their condition discussed fully.
     
  13. Apr 25, 2006 #12
    hehe, so i must be sadistic, cause first thing i thought of was you with 8 students, pulling them aside individually and tell them that you're worried about their performance in class and that you want to test them to take a learning abilities test. tell them its best not to mention it to their classmates just in case there's a problem, and ask to see them to come in for the test ASAP. they come to see you, and you have them write an essay or something on their "condition" without saying what it is, and a second question about "how do you feel about discussing your 'condition" then they write all sorts of stuff about being weirded out by some condition they never knew they had.

    then you take the papers and read them aloud to the class anonymously. dicuss how it sucks to go in for tests when you're clueless what they're about or what they expect from you. fun
     
  14. Apr 25, 2006 #13

    Astronuc

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    Warren - hang in there, and seriously, try not worry.
    The last part (after cold) is a concern. The heart should stay at 160 bpm for so long. It might be time to cut back on the exercise and take it easy.

    It's good that you will be seen by a cardiologist.

    It sounds a bit like over-training, which is possible, with some cardiac hypertrophy. That's treatable, part of which may be slow down and reduce the amount of exercise.

    Take it easy. :zzz: OK, not that easy. :tongue:
     
  15. Apr 25, 2006 #14
    I would hope that doesn't work with med students. I'd be a bit concerned if they didn't catch on.

    That's definitely unnerving Chroot, I hope everything ends up ok.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2006
  16. Apr 25, 2006 #15

    chroot

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    I can easily keep my heart singing at 160 for hours on my bike. The number itself is not the concern; it's the fact that it sometimes continues for many many minutes after I've stopped exercising. Most people's heart rates return to baseline within about 5 minutes after exercise.

    I don't think it's overtraining. I hit the rock climbing gym for four hours a week in the not-so-distant past, and lifted weights on other days. Now, I can't even do 10 sets of easy weights without feeling like I'm going to pass out.

    Thanks for the well-wishes. I shall let you all know tomorrow.

    - Warren
     
  17. Apr 25, 2006 #16
    Sending all good thoughts your way, and wishing for the best. Of course you'll let us know ASAP what they find.
     
  18. Apr 25, 2006 #17

    Evo

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    Why don't doctors just say "I want to check for x, Y & Z and give you some idea of what they're thinking. I think a patient would worry much less than if they're thinking they're going to die.

    Let us know, I hope it turns out to be nothing.
     
  19. Apr 25, 2006 #18

    Moonbear

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    Years ago, back when I was still in college, I experienced something similar, but also my heart would just start racing while I was at complete rest, and then I passed out...IN a doctor's office. That got me the complete physical, visits to the cardiologist, EKG, and cardiac ultrasounds, among other things (talk about scary...I was only 20!). The final diagnosis was hyperthyroidism, which also affects the cardiovascular system. So, a bit of time on beta blockers to control the cardiac symptoms while simultaneously working on treating the hyperthyroidism (which, against all odds, resolved itself with medication alone...that was a relief...surgery was otherwise in my future), and everything was brought back under control again. It took me a few years to get everything completely under control, but I've been totally medication free for a long time now. So, even some very scary symptoms can be the result of something fairly easily treated once it gets diagnosed.

    Gale, have you ever seen the movie The Doctor? That's somewhat like what they do to the med students at the end of that. I'm not enough of a sadist to do that to my students...besides, I like the group I have. Other than one who I'd like to smack upside the head some days and want to suggest he go into anesthesiology so he's only dealing with unconscious patients, the rest I have every confidence will make great doctors in a few years.
     
  20. Apr 25, 2006 #19
    I have it once every year around this time(in fact I have it right now) for past around 5ish years.I heard there is only 7 starnds of it so I only have 2 more to go untill I can't get any more...
     
  21. Apr 25, 2006 #20
    Hey,
    It's sad to hear you're not doing well. It's sad to hear when anybody is not doing well. It all indeed will be fine. Have you been stressed or worried for the last couple of weeks? I think you may have a partial bundle block.
     
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