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Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned

Posted by SueChef 
Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 08, 2018 04:13PM
Hello! I am so very thankful I found this forum!!!!! I’m confused and scared as I begin this journey with newly diagnosed heart issues. When I read posts on this forum, I realize there are so many more complicated issues as others deal with a-fib, medications, conversions, ablations, etc, and I sound like a whining baby compared to the complexities of what other folks are experiencing—thank you for your patience and understanding with me!

I’m afraid of a-fib and the symptoms I’m having.

Last August, I woke from a sound sleep feeling “funny”—felt so bad, and started having shortness of breath, that I had DH drive me to the ER where they apparently took one look at me and slapped me into a wheelchair and wheeled me back, hooked me up to a bunch of things, and told me I was in A-Fib. I was also having PVCs. (Aside: in my early 30s, I was having a lot of PVCs and was put on atenolol, 25 mg, and continued on that for at least 20 years, then my primary suggested weaning off of them and seeing how I did… weaned off atenolol a decade or two ago, and only had PVCs now and then –that I could feel)

Hours later, still in the ER and them using a calcium channel blocker, I was still in a-fib. They changed to a beta blocker and admitted me to the hospital. Hours after that, the beta blockers restored me to a normal heart beat (normal sinus rhythm?). I was discharged the next day with Pradaxa (150 mg) and metoprolol (25 mg), both twice a day, and was taken off lisiniopril/hydrochlorthiazide (once a day) and just given lisinopril once a day.

I was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic since 2005, no medications, and controlled only by diet. My latest A1C was 5.6. I’m 67 and overweight, but have recently (on purpose) lost 40 lbs. I have maybe 25 more pounds that I’d like to lose.

Three weeks ago, I started having “break out” a-fib. I don’t know if that’s the correct term to use, but I could feel fluttering or else I would just “feel funny” as if something isn’t right, along with some shortness of breath. These don’t happen every day, but will sometimes happen 2 to 3 times a day, and last between a few seconds and close to 3 minutes.

I also started having—not at the same time as the fluttering--really pounding heart beats that I could feel, lasting less than a minute, but bumping my pulse up as high as 95 bpm. I’d take my blood pressure and usually it was in the high range, and every once in a while, the indicator for irregular pulse would show up. These do seem to happen much less often than the flutters, but will sometimes happen twice a day, lasting less than 1 or 2 minutes.

I went to my primary care doctor who put me on the extended release of metoprolol, and he did a 2-week follow-up yesterday. The metoprolol ER did help with the “breakouts” of a-fib fluttering, feeling funny, shortness of breath, and pounding pulse, but I was still having them as well as occasional PVCs. I have a referral to see a cardiologist.

When I mentioned how scary these episodes were, my primary said as long as my pulse didn’t go over 100, I should wait it out, and then he focused on my anxiety rather than the symptoms I’m having—maybe because he figured the cardio would address the symptoms. I’m doing meditation, slow breathing, face “tapping” for the anxiety that this brings, thinking calming thoughts, and have even tried listening to a normal heartbeat, drinking cold water, putting my face in cold water, “bearing down” as if having a b. movement, and nothing really has helped when I get the flutters, pounding pulse, or feeling funny. I do not experience the flutters or the pounding pulse at the same time, or even during the same hours.

I asked my primary about magnesium supplements, and he said my levels (3 months ago) were within normal limits and he wouldn’t recommend them. Then I asked if he would order a C Reactive Protein test, and what the heck, check my thyroid too, and he said he would rather leave that up to the cardiologist.

The only supplement-type things I currently take are: gummy vitamins for women, and for immune system boosters, I take Sambucol black elderberry syrup, d-fraction Maitake, organic buckwheat honey and manuka honey. I also take psyllium husk fiber capsules. I don’t drink or smoke, and don’t drink soda or coffee or tea. Water is my beverage of choice—squirt of lemon is optional-- but now and then I’ll go off the rails and have plain club soda—because sometimes, this gal’s just got to have bubbles!

Does anyone have any advice for me, or any suggestions, of what to do in the meantime when I’m experiencing these things….or any suggestions of questions to ask the cardiologist when I see him? Many many thanks!!!!
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 08, 2018 09:46PM
I asked my primary about magnesium supplements, and he said my levels (3 months ago) were within normal limits and he wouldn’t recommend them.

Likely a serum mag test. If you are low on this you are really low. However can be low on an intracellular basis and still be normal on serum as the body tries hard to keep the mag in the blood within a certain range.

You could ask for an RBC mag test and you'd want levels in the 6.0-6.5 range. Or an EXATEST, but that is hard to get a non integrative doc to order.

On the other hand, you can just supplement magnesium on your own and see what happens. As long as your kidneys are normal (not on dialysis), you will pee out any excess.

I've used mag in fairly high doses (up to 5.5 g/day currently about 2.5 g/day) to keep afib mostly at bay since 2004. No guarantees, but I certainly don't see harm in trying.

Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 08, 2018 10:39PM
George, thank you so very much for your helpful answer! I realize I wrote a short story with this, my first post, and while many had read it, you are the first to respond. I really appreciate your input!

I looked at my lab work online and couldn't find any magnesium test results... it could be that the tests that were taken while I was in the ER are not posted at the patient access portal page for labs.

My appointment with the cardiologist is in late March. My kidneys are fine, I'm not on dialysis, and your info about magnesium was very helpful. Do you have a favorite "brand name" that you use?

Again, thank you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2018 10:40PM by SueChef.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 08, 2018 10:57PM

For me, any mag works. The standard answer is that the glycinate form is very bioavailable. Jackie would say to make sure it glycinate has the stuff made by Albion in it. If you do that you won't go wrong.

Because I take so much mag, I take things like di-magnesium malate from an equine supplier in powder form <[shop.performanceequinenutrition.com] I also make magnesium acetate by reacting magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) with organic apple cider vinegar in a 2:7 ratio. <[groups.google.com] <[tinyurl.com]

I've used citrate, made magnesium bicarbonate water <[www.afibbers.org]

Not to confuse with too much info, but there is a vast number of options out there and, for me, any of them work. I just need to take it!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2018 10:58PM by GeorgeN.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 08, 2018 11:01PM
Here is an iHerb search <[www.iherb.com] the key to get the Albion stuff is the keyword TRAACS
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 09, 2018 03:32AM
Hi, George and thanks for all additional information and the links. I downloaded the pdf for the Magnesium Bicarbonate summary sheet and hope to spend some time tomorrow reading it. Special thanks for the input and link to purchasing the Albion stuff with the keyword. You've been so helpful...thank you!!!! smiling bouncing smiley
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 09, 2018 09:32AM
Hello Sue and welcome. George has provided you with excellent information regarding magnesium.

You should be aware that low magnesium is often found in diabetics. And, the majority of afibbers are
also found to be magnesium deficient. Stress depletes magnesium. Once you work on ramping up
your magnesium intake slowly but consistently, you may find that you feel less stressed should you
have an AF event. It takes time to replenish and stay that way consistently, but I'm sure you'll begin
to notice a difference. You can read more about the 'inner workings' of Mg at this link for a start...
there are many reports and even books about the benefits of magnesium.

Also, to relax, you can try a foot soak with Epsom Salts or a relaxing tub soak. Both are great and you'll
enjoy the relaxing, calming effect.

Another tip for you as a diabetic: Extremely important to be sure you drink an abundance of pure water daily.
Avoid municipal water if possible. I read one report that said at least 12 glasses of pure water daily... and that
also helps avoid the onset of peripheral neuropathy which is so common in diabetes.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 09, 2018 01:18PM
Before drinking a lot of water, I would google "drinking too much water" to be sure you don't over do it.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 09, 2018 08:27PM
Hi Sue,
I'm new to this site too. Don't have any Good advice for you but you are not alone. I have been in and out of Afib since August last year. Steady since January 19th this year. I'm hoping to find some good advise here too. Looking for anyone who has maybe tried following Pharmacist Ben Fuchs or Dr. Joel Wallach with the Youngevity supplements. I wish you all the luck and hope you are able to stabilize. This condition does cause anxiety. I am having the same issues.
Good Luck Sue
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 03:04AM
Hi, Jackie, and thank you for your kind and welcoming words.

I have to admit, I've been under a great deal of stress for the past few years (and finally feel that I am coming out of this stress as I am dealing with it better -- passage of time, meditation and all that--I do feel the stress is/was a major component in my a-fib. The stress triggers can still rear their ugly heads now and then.

Would you (or anyone here) feel that perhaps a home-made type of magnesium/epsom salts & water spray on the skin, versus capsules as George so kindly linked, be better? Thanks also for the suggestion of a nice Epsom Salts foot soak!

Thanks, Ken, for the caution about too much water!

I think my water intake is pretty good ... we use purified water and that's what the dogs drink, too. I'm not sure I could get up to 12 glasses daily, but I do get very close to 8 or 9 glasses a day.

Thank you again!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2018 03:05AM by SueChef.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 03:15AM
Hi, Dave,

Glad to meet another newbie! I'm sorry that I can't help you about Youngevity supplements or Ben Fuchs or Dr. Wallach ... hopefully someone with more knowledge and experience than I have will be able to ring in on this for you.

It's been so good to find this forum and know that I'm not alone! I'm sorry you're in steady a-fib since last month--does that mean episodes all day long, or long-lasting episodes that last a long time or ?? (I'm still learning the right terms to use--does stabilize mean no a-fib "breakouts" or only once a day or ??)

When these flutters happen to me, or when I get a pounding pulse and high blood pressure and then take my BP on my little BP monitor, or when it shows an irregular heart beat, my anxiety skyrockets and I get into a terrible loop of OMG! What if it doesn't STOP!!!! That just builds stress onto my already anxious self!

Again, nice to meet you!
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 07:48AM
Hi sue,
Yep mine is constant. It has been steady since last month. I too get the occasional pounding but my BP is usually not high. I know what you mean when you say the little icon shows irregular. I is a huge letdown. Good luck and try to stay positive!
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 09:03AM
Hi Sue - I'm sorry to learn about your stress history. All all the more reason to really focus on magnesium intake.

The best possible method to optimize intracellular magnesium consistently is by ingesting capsules or powder.
The topicals are certainly useful but more time consuming. There is a topical magnesium oil or 'gel' that works efficiently, too... but again, takes time and I think it leaves the skin feeling tacky and needs to be washed off eventually.
You can read more on the Internet.... here's the classic version by Dr. Sircus... [drsircus.com] It does work quickly to relieve sore muscles.

The point on too much water is well-taken and yet still important for diabetics to be well-hydrated because excess glucose in the blood makes it more 'sticky' and the resultant AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) actually 'carmelize' tissue and cause damage throughout the body. Optimizing water intake helps prevent that. I'd think 8 - 9 glasses would be good but depends on what you're eating on a regular basis. And, obviously, on your activity level.

Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 11:52AM
Sue, you're drinking plenty of water but try to drink it a little at the time rather than glug down a full glass in a few seconds.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 10, 2018 03:23PM
Thank, Jackie, for the extra info about magnesium and for the link to Dr. Sircus.

Sam, it's always good to be reminded about the glugging---thanks!

I take my Pradaxa with a full 8 oz glass of water, twice a day.
Two hours later, and then mid afternoon and again before dinner, I also take my psyllium husk fiber capsules with another full glass of water, so that's three more times I have to glugg. The other times during the day, I do drink a bit at a time.

Dave, thanks for weighing in here too. Yes, that darn little "irregular" icon can be very disappointing!!!


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2018 04:11AM by SueChef.
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 17, 2018 09:28AM
I'm also new to the site. This forum is awesome! I know we are not doctors, but many people have lived the experience. I have gotten a whole lot of information from this site. It loads me up with knowledge, so I can ask informed questions to my cardiologist. Don't be scared, stay calm and try different ways to relax. Sounds like you are apprehensive about your heart and that raises your blood pressure and is also a known stress to cause irregular heart beats. As Bill Murray says, "Keep calm and chive on."
Re: Newbie intro -- nervous, scared, concerned
February 18, 2018 04:17AM
Ah, Willis, another Bill Murray fan!

Thanks for your kind words... yes, this forum is a God-Send!
Episodes are still scary, though. I've been having issues with my computer, too, but those are not as scary as this a-fib and pounding heartbeat stuff!
I do have the things I do to try and stay calm. When I'm awakened from a sleep, though, it seems twice as scary because of course I wonder... will this resolve on its own? How long until it resolves or how long do I wait for it to resolve? Goodness gracious! I'm so thankful to know I'm/we're not alone!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2018 04:19AM by SueChef.
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