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An introduction from Admin

#1
Firstly I just want to say welcome to any new users reading this. I setup this forum to help anyone anxious or looking for information on their arrhythmia, but also because I couldn't find a dedicated forum to discuss arrhythmia's. I truly hope this site can become a resource and reassurance to those suffering from arrhythmia. 

Arrhythmias are a scary, unpredictable and a deeply personal experience with seemingly erratic responses to medication. I've found the most success in treating mine by experimenting over many years, trawling hundreds of websites and treads to finally build a lifestyle that works for me.


My journey with arrhythmia

My journey with arrhythmia started around 13 years ago, at the time I was involved in a lot of sports and found my self playing roller hockey. This is a particularly strenuous sport, with a high octane mix of explosive exercise requiring excellent aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

I was probably pushing my heart as far as it would go and really enjoying it. I remember the first time I noticed something was wrong, it was in the cool down period after a hard game. I was sitting down taking my gear off and noticed a thud in my chest that took my breath away and immediately grabbed my attention. Sitting bolt upright I started to panic a bit but calmed myself down and carried on.

I must've forgot about it or written it off as a one off because I kept playing hockey that year. I do remember having other similar episodes in when cooling down but didn't think much of it. Other than the occasional thud (that I now know were skipped beats) I was in excellent health and able to exercise for hours at a time.

Fast forward to around 8 years ago, I had been working an office job for a few years, grown a little lazy and lost most of my teenage fitness levels. I had also developed quite the caffeine addiction, drinking probably 5 or 6 mugs of tea a day! Along with using nicotine replacement therapy you would probably say I was a stimulant addict (never dabbled with anything illicit though).

Symptoms returning

I had my next major episode at my desk. I was calmly working away when I was jolted by a huge skipped beat. Not a single one this time but multiple times in quick succession. This was terrifying and came completely out the blue. I had to excuse myself and find my way to an A&E immediately. The ECG looked perfect, by this time the episode had passed (always the way when someone is monitoring you!) and I was sent packing with a referral to cardiology.

The next few years passed with periods or on and off episodes, various appointments and a very broad diagnosis of "ectopic beats". Nothing they could really do about it, my heart scans looked fine and I was told to not worry, try to ignore them as it wasn't going to harm me. Not particularly helpful advice considering it didn't feel normal to me at all.

Usually when an episode started I could calm them down by exercising or by swallowing a couple of magnesium tablets. This worked for a years but the frequency increased until it was an everyday occurrence.

Eventually the skipped beats changed to an almost constant uneasy feeling in my chest. I would have palpitations (the feeling my heart was beating heavily) all day long, interspersed with skipped beats. Exercising became almost impossible as I was now getting skipped beats whilst exercising and cooling down felt life threatening.

I had even more tests and was eventually prescribed beta blockers. They are relatively helpful and certainly calmed the palpitations, however they also made me extremely tired, my attention at work suffered, I could barely get out of bed so I decided to quit.

Helping myself

I had been experimenting with all types of natural approaches, but that's not because I'm adverse to prescription medication but due to the fact my doctor wouldn't prescribe me anything. Specialist appointments can take a long time in my country and I needed relief in the meantime. There's also the phenomenon that around the time of my appointment or monitor the symptoms would go away, making it harder to diagnose and prescribe for.

So whilst over the years I seen many specialists I needed something to bridge the gap. Initially I was managing things with magnesium, it's regularly recommended on the net as a "cure" and it did help. I ended up taking too much and making my situation worse for awhile and I knew deep down this wasn't going to be a magic bullet.

I also tried:
  • Potassium supplements
  • Fish oil tablets
  • Hawthorne
  • D Ribose
  • Taurine
  • Coenzyme Q10

Amongst others I've now forgotten, the full list would probably be twice the length! Non of these seemed to work for me and some, despite being touted as helpful actually made mine worse.

I also quit drinking alcohol and caffeine, which helped but didn't solve the problem. My own personal opinion is these two only exacerbate the underlying issue but don't cause it. If my heart feels fine I can tolerate alcohol without an issue, if I'm having an episode I have to avoid it.

Eventually I gave up with most of the supplements and focused on a more hollisitc approach

  • Ensure I get good rest
  • Eat a diet with varied veggies
  • Exercise 30mins a day (this was difficult at first, once I built a basic level of fitness it became easier)
  • Vitamin D supplements (winters here can mean days without getting proper sunlight)
  • Occasionally take a multivitamin
  • Eat a lot of beetroot & tomato
  • Drink around 50ml of olive oil a day
  • Occasional teaspoon of tumeric & sprinkle of blackpepper with food

I'm now at a point where I can live a pretty normal life and not experience any heart related issues. I do something get an uneasy feeling in my chest and the odd skipped beat but compared to a year ago it's a night and day difference!

I will post about how I believe those individual components have helped me soon. Let's help one another by sharing our knowledge  Smile

I'm not a doctor and anything posted here should be taken an opinion.
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