Friday, March 13, 2015

Tachyarrhythmia Event

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Tachyarrhythmia Event
            I had an attack of tachycardia last night that lasted for hours and hours and was very scary. L  It was the worst one I’ve had in years, and left me over- exhausted, heavy-chested and frightened.  I did not get to bed until after 3 AM, and did not sleep for a while after that.
            In some ways, it was worse than other tachycardia events, and in some ways, less bad.  It was worse by lasting longer than “normal” and also by seeming more irregular.  The latter part was better because it slowed down some (though still irregular and more rapid than usual) and wasn’t as painful. 
            A couple weird things:  during the event, I had to keep peeing, and peed a lot.  As it subsided I drank well over a quart of water. (I was desperately thirsty!)
            Dr. John, my cardiologist, wants me to go to the hospital if a tachyarrhythmia event lasts more than 20 minutes and ask to be put on a heart monitor so that they can pinpoint the electrical malfunction that causes it.
            I am concerned about why I suddenly had it and if something I did triggered it—I don’t want another!
            Of course I was wracking my brain for possible causes:
  • ·         Sex?  But we have sex fairly regularly, and I don’t normally respond with tachycardia.  ©©©
  • ·         Something I ate?  Ginger?  I didn’t eat anything particularly unusual. 
  • ·         Dehydration?  I didn’t drink much yesterday as I ran around doing stuff.
  • ·         Stress?  I was feeling a little stressed-out by the day, particularly because I’d had several bad sleep nights immediately preceding and was tired.
  • ·         Overtiredness?  But I am always (often) overtired.
  • ·         Some combination of factors? 
  • ·         Sleep apnea?  I’m wondering if I fell asleep right after peeing and had an apnea event.  I wasn’t aware of one . . .  But I often wake up from apnea events in a panic with rapidly beating heart.  Apnea events can cause heart attacks!  L

o   Cardiac arrhythmias are common problems in OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) and (SDB) (Sleep-Disordered Breathing) patients, although the true prevalence and clinical relevance of cardiac arrhythmias remains to be determined. The presence and complexity of tachyarrhythmias and bradyarrhythmias may influence morbidity, mortality and quality of life for patients with OSA.”
o   “We frequently encounter patients who experience symptoms of acute heart failure, unstable angina or arrhythmia occurring primarily at night, due to apnea. These patients often have a difficult time losing weight despite trying various weight-loss methods. In these patients a significant portion of their weight is fluid that accumulates due to their sleep apnea phenomenon.”
o   “Obstructive sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias, as it aggravates autonomic nervous system imbalances.” Steven Y Park, MD,
o   “Presentation of arrhythmias: Some patients truly are asymptomatic – the arrhythmia is usually discovered during a routine physical examination. However, most patients are symptomatic in some way when an arrhythmia occurs. Patients having paroxysms of arrhythmia may have symptoms of palpitations or out-right heart racing. Other symptoms may include chest pain, pulsations in the neck, dyspnea, light-headedness, fatigue, sweating etc. After a spell of arrhythmia, the patient may have frequent urination (due to release of atrial naturetic factor, a polypeptide released from the atria that stimulates diuresis) or feel fatigued for hours to days. Other arrhythmias may cause syncope with the attendant risk of injury. More serious arrhythmias may result in a cardiac arrest or death. In the United States alone, about 400,000 sudden cardiac deaths occur annually, which approaches the total number of deaths from all forms of cancer.  (Emphasis mine.)

My hypothesis is, from the evidence, that I had an arrhythmic tachycardia (tachyarrhythmia) event triggered by sleep apnea, triggered in turn by obesity.  And that I seriously NEED to lose weight and need all the support I can get. Positive support. (I did weight less this morning, the least I’ve weighed since December 23rd, 2014. Of course, I had no lunch).

The sleep apnea event (if indeed, I had one and that’s what triggered it), could have been caused in part by some of the other factors (super over-tiredness, for example).

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