Training and heart palpitations

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by martialmartian, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. martialmartian

    martialmartian Valued Member

    Hi all,
    I'm 27 yrs old. I've been worried about heart palpitations, or 'flutters' in my chest while sitting in work over the past week.
    Background is that 3-4 years ago I had palpitations rather frequently and saw my doctor about it. i was informed that they were harmless, that any serious underlying cause would have caused me to pass out, become short of breath etc.
    After seeing the doc umpteem times I was sent to a cardio consultant last august 2005 for an ECG, a scan where they looked at the heart much like they look at an unborn baby. I was told that they could find no reason for this happening and structurally my heart was fine with a good strong pulse.
    I quit smoking in January 06 and stopped drinking as much alcohol as i had been and drink no caaffeineted drinks otherwise.I drink tea only around 2-3 times a week This seemd to really help, reducing the frequency and intensity that they happened.
    I then started swimming and training in Jujitsu in september. I've been fine and loving it..
    Until this week when the palpitations were very regular, every few minutes. I've been feeling quite run down though and attribute this to lack of sleep and my diet being poorer this week than it had been, as well as a stomach upset on Monday.
    It has worried me again, though I know that I have been screened and told that I'm fine by two docs and one specialist.
    Was wondering, has anyone else here had similar concerns, been told they were fine but might still notice the odd flutter.
    Was wondering if anyone had similar 'problem's themselves and if they'd found any way of controlling this. I am a somewhat anxious person and would like to hear from anyone who has advice on how to minimise these, or ignore them.
    Must say also, this is only my first real post as I see it- I read the forums a lot and have found much good information and advice on it. I trust that I'll recieve more here.
    Cheers in advance.
  2. cheesypeas

    cheesypeas Moved on

    Hiya Martin.

    I have had heart patpitations from time to time and recently my doctor sent me for a health MOT. Amongst all the usual tests, I had 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and a 24 lead ecg. After I had the ecg done I had a chance to talk with the cardiac nurse.

    She said palpitations were 'nothing to worry about' and that most people notice them when they are sitting down quietly (that's when I notice mine) She said that they happen more often than people are aware of but most of the time we are absorbed in what we are doing, hence noticing them only when we are fairly inactive.

    You say you can be an anxious person...that spoke volumes to me :)

    Before I started on my MA journey I was very uptight, tense and 'anal' . As time has gone on and I change into a calmer, more peaceful person, the frequency of my 'flutters' has decreased (but resurface when I treat myself to a pizza!!)

    I control (slow down and stop) my palpitations by breath control. I should perhaps point out that I train Taiji and nei gong..both of which are perfect for this.

    Simply put, I breath in slowly and evenly (through the nose) for a a slow count of three, hold it for a count of three and gently let it out through the mouth for same slow count of three. It works for me very quickly now. During the first couple of breaths it seems that the flutter increases, but I put all my concentration in the breath and the flutter 'melts' away.

    I also use this breathing if I feel myself starting to get wonders.

    Sorry for such a long reply...I know how scary palpitations can be and if you become anxious it will increase...vicious circle!!

    Best wishes, Angela.

    ps feel free to pm me if you want any clarification :D
  3. martialmartian

    martialmartian Valued Member

    Hey cheers for the reply,
    I was told the same thing.. everyone gets it, nobody notices, I'm fine.
    I have sometimes felt it while training.. it worried me then.. Still my doctor, who is very thorough and explains things well, informed me that it can happen during and after exercise as while, particularly high intensity stuff. He used the example of two squash players (I feel that may have been his personal anecdote...).
    I should stop thinking about it. Repeat after self, I'm fine, I'm fine...
    Thanks for the advice. I have a practical question for you..
    I tried the breathing techninque and do feel more relaxed..I still get thoughts entering my head. Is the concentration on the breath itself- sound, feeling etc??
  4. TheCount

    TheCount Happiness is a mindset

    Best thing is see a doctor and a decent Physician and get them to assess your ability to train, just to be sure
  5. Mei Hua

    Mei Hua Banned Banned

    Focus on the breath itself.
  6. cheesypeas

    cheesypeas Moved on

    You're welcome :D

    I always concentrate on the breath. Over time of using this technique, you should find that sounds and thoughts fade and eventually disappear. The best thing I can advise you do do when thoughts come into your head is to acknowledge them, tell yourself you will deal with them later and re-concentrate on the breath again.

    I use this technique now without even realising I am doing it (eg when I am waiting for in a queue) People who have known me for a long time have seen a big change in me...things that used to make me anxious and stressed don't bother me any more.
  7. NaughtyKnight

    NaughtyKnight Has yellow fever!

    I've had them a few times. I was watching a movie with my ex and thought I was having a heart attack. In retrospect, it was purely psychosomatic.

    If it doesnt prevent you from training, I wouldnt worry.
  8. Durkhrod Chogori

    Durkhrod Chogori Valued Member

    The heart palpitations you are talking about is a direct result of:


    Because now your heart is overworked then you should back off.

    But as your problem was already before you started then anxiety should be addressed by undertaking some relaxation exercises. A good method: is a daily regime of meditation. A good time is doing it either right after you get up or right before you go to bed or both combined.

    How to fix overtraining:

    Take some time off (two weeks a a general rule of thumb) and when you get back resume training at 40% of what you used to do and review your diet and sleep patterns.

    Remember that overtraining is a result of either one of the following factors or a combination of some or all:

    1. Training workload that is either too high and/or too frequent
    2. Nutrition is insufficient. Many factors to be considered in here: quality and quantity of macro/micronutrients. Macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates; micronutrients: vitamins and minerals.
    3. Rest that is inadequate (quality of sleep)

    Anyway, for the peace of mind I would suggest you to visit a reputable sports doctor as other doctors know "jack" about exercise science and medicine combined.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  9. As people have said; they are very common and are often nothing to worry about.
    Alot of people get them but are unaware of it.

    A palpitation is a fast but regular beat. There are a number of different triggers. Overtraining or being tired, caffeine or stress are just a few. Cheese is another, slightly more bizzare one (pizza?).

    They effect different people differently. Do you feel lightheaded of like you are about to faint when it happens? If so let people close to you know about them so they know what do to if you do pass out.

    There are various things that you can do to help them go. Lying down, relaxing, breathing exercises will help.
    The valsalva manouvre sometimes helps. So does golding a cold object (cold drinks can for example) against you forehead.

    Your heart was structurally fine - were there any electrical problems? For some people they are due to irregular electrical currents in the heart. Sometimes these abnormal circuits can be removed. In some cases medications such as beta-blockers can provide a way of controlling recurrent episodes.

    They should not be confused with other heart beat irregularities. e.g fibrillations which are cause an irregular beat.

    I know what you're going through. The best thing is to see your cardiologist (of like DC said - a sports doctor) and let him know if there is any change. He will be able to give you the soundest advice.

    Good Luck

    Edit: definitely let your instructor know.
  10. martialmartian

    martialmartian Valued Member

    Hey cheers for all the advice..
    Spoke to the Doc today. I asked about the results from the cardio specialist.
    They said i had a thing called ventricular ectopic beat..
    and it's very common.
    I never feel lightheaded with them. They happened years ago frequently and were quite intense and prolonged hence the referral to the cardio in the first place. I had an electrocardiogram and scan. They could find no medical reason for them.
    Must say, I did drink and smoke a lot back then.....
    I'm taking it easy the rest of the week- I've a very heavy workload at work and it seems I've had a viral infection in my ears too!!! Was told to lay of training until Monday as I've been quite run down...guess it all got on top of me.

    So thanks for all the advice, all of you. I've come to accept them as being normal and harmless since I've had a full checkup..The main point of my post was prb to seek assurance that it is in fact normal, that many others get it, and in the hope that someone might have breathing techniques I could use. I'm glad i got those..
    VFB mentioned a 'valsalva' manoeuvre. What is this?

    Going for a grading early Feb or so (hopefully I'll be up to par) so hopefully i'll be fighting fit then..
  11. Glad you feel better bout the whole thing.

    I have heard of ectopic beats. They are extra beats - coming from the lower part of the heart (ventricles). Again, lots of people have them but are unaware. They were probably picked up on your ECG.

    The valsalva manouvre involves forcibly trying to breath out while keeping your mouth and nose closed.

    It's probably a good idea to discuss it with your Dr. before attempting it because every case is different.
  12. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Yeah I went through a period of suffering from bad ectopic beats a couple of years ago. The best way to describe the feeling is like all of a sudden you are aware your heart has stopped beating, its not a particularly pleasant feeling, then half a second later you get one beat that feels very strong and then you feel normal again. They wont have showed up on your ECG unless you suffered one during it.

    They are largely harmless (unless you are very old) and can come on from all kinds of things, caffeine is a big trigger, so is stress (having your heart suddenly stop beating every 2 minutes doesn't help the stress), lack of sleep is another big one (my main trigger).

    Once I had been properly diagnosed and informed that I wasn't suffering from a serious heart condition, the stress dropped off and they went away completely after a couple of weeks rest.

    Your doctor should have given you more information than "They're harmless", if indeed they are ectopic beats, which seems likely as they are very common, then just relax, stay off the caffeine, get proper sleep and ignore them (your anxiety is probably making them worse) and they will sort themselves out.
  13. Durkhrod Chogori

    Durkhrod Chogori Valued Member

    Point 1:

    You just said it. You are OVERTRAINED. Period.

    Point 2:
  14. martialmartian

    martialmartian Valued Member

    "the feeling is like all of a sudden you are aware your heart has stopped beating, its not a particularly pleasant feeling, then half a second later you get one beat that feels very strong and then you feel normal again"
    Yup, that'll be the one.. as will lack of sleep..

    I'm off to work now.. boo.
    cheers all
  15. Shotokan666

    Shotokan666 New Member

    Hi everyone
    Im not sure if this is still up and running but I did karate for ten years and have always had the odd beat for years until two years ago when they suddenly went crazy, I have had monitors-24hr, 5day, etc, an echo, ecgs by the thousand, seen 4 cardiologis and they put it down to extra beats. Benign, harmless, get on with your life. I cant, I am absolutely terrified of these beats- sometimes it misses a beat and does a big thump, sometimes a nasty squeeze high up in my chest, or a run of crazy beats between 5-30 secs but the beta blockers have helped this but not the odd beats. I literally have let it ruin my life. I lie in bed all day waiting for the next attack and feel broken as its like my life has gone. Even to be able to sweep the floor would be a treat for me. I have been told to do my karate and other things as they are harmless but theres a feeling they are being too complacent and using the word stress too easily! They happen worse during rest but the long flutterings can happen anytime. Im sad as karate was all I had in my life but Im so scared to start it in case I drop down dead. Ive tried counselling and allsorts but they will always terrify me to the point of calling many ambulances . Its easy for doctors and 'normal' people to say Ive been told they are harmless so why are you in such a state over them- live your life but I just cant!! I have spent many a night in the A&E car park 40 miles away at night as Im scared to stay at home sometimes. I desperately want to train again but this fear is horrific. I feel Im living on borrowed time. Can anyone relate to this utter terror and misery my life is ticking away and I cannot control it. Ive let go of the reins and my horse is way way out of control.. sorry to bore you all and thanks for reading this essay..
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    It sounds like either you think all four of the cardiologists are wrong, (which is unlikily) or you need some counseling about this, it might be worth seeing if CBT/something else is available.

Share This Page