Heart Palpitations Forum
Heart Palpitations Forum >> Symptoms and other concerns >> Valvular Insufficiency or Anxiety Attack?

Message started by UpsideTown on Jul 10th, 2013, 9:53pm

Title: Valvular Insufficiency or Anxiety Attack?
Post by UpsideTown on Jul 10th, 2013, 9:53pm

I know that most people respond to heart palpitations with serious concern because it's frightening to have strange feelings coming from such a vital organ.
I suppose my question is whether or not I should see a doctor about my recent occurrences, or if I too, am one of the many paranoid. I know, I know, if you have any issues, you should see a doctor, not a forum, but I've had irregular palpitations, like many people, since I was a child and it has never been a problem for me, but recently I'm wondering if I am more stressed than I admit, and that's the cause of my increased palpitations, or if it is a physical concern I should be more worried about.

I'm a 24 year old female with a fairly healthy diet. I exercise less than I am used to because I am focused on finishing my degree in the next year and find myself studying more than ever before, balancing a job, and new life situations. (Stress, right?)

I was diagnosed with valvular insufficiency at birth and was monitored at checkups as a child; though I had irregular palpitations, everything was fairly O.K. I was able to join the track team and was an avid runner in my early years of college. My doctor only warned me to take it easy if I was exhausted quickly, but I never noticed if I was because running is tiring anyway. Once in college, I didn't have a doctor, nor health insurance. I take advantage of check-up, both general and female checkups through the university, and the doctors usually stop to listen to my heart multiple times with a twist in their brow but when I tell them about my irregular heart beat, they don't make much of it. I don't either, until now.

It must have been a little over a month ago I started getting these heavy "drop" feelings, like my heart would make one big pump. I didn't take it too seriously because I knew I was just ending a stressful semester, so I started exercising and relaxing more. The noticeable irregularity has increased and I am frequently tired. I take deep breaths or sigh a lot (but have always done that, and I believe it may be related to anxiety, so of course that can be managed). Other than feeling uncomfortable, it hasn't been an issue until today, when I suddenly felt very "off" at work.

Because my job is in customer service, and I happened to be on register, it was a shock to me when I had to interact with a customer. My language became paralyzed and I had to ask what they had just said to me because I heard the words but it's as if they did not compute. I then turned to a coworker, who I was talking to previously, and I had forgotten what we were talking about. She asked me a question regarding the topic and I tried to answer but the words would not construct a sentence. I suppose it felt like I had to fish every individual word out and the flow was very staccato. She looked at my face and stopped what she was doing and asked "are you okay"? "You don't look very good" and it frightened me, so found a way to say yes, though it was difficult to even answer that question. I slowly regained a sense of language and decided to put a shipment away because it was embarrassing to try to speak. Still it was incredibly mentally taxing to put items where they belonged and I started lining things up in front of where they would go before putting away them because the process was difficult to construct. My whole body felt warm and soupy and chest was extremely tight with a sharp pain around my sternum. I was physically exhausted (and rightfully so with only three hours of sleep) but even putting a cap on a bottle took extreme focus. My boss asked me if I needed a break and some food, but I had eaten not too long before that. I had a taste of blood in my mouth, but I'm sure there was non there. I felt almost drunk and my sight was trailing a bit. (Something that's been happening lately) It was more frustrating than anything. This was something I have never experienced before. I went home and sat the rest of the day because I felt burnt out.

I'm not sure if this is linked to valvular insufficiency, or if it was mental and was more likely to be an anxiety attack. I have had one anxiety attack nearly a year ago, I felt similarly weak, it was sudden, I collapsed, and broke out in a sweat, with nausea and tears began rolling down my face though I wasn't sad. I was weak when I got up and had to lie down the rest of the day and relax. Both experiences were different, but perhaps they share the same route but manifested differently?


Title: Re: Valvular Insufficiency or Anxiety Attack?
Post by richie on Jul 10th, 2013, 11:13pm


first of all im no MD or GP.. Unfortunately the cardiologist who answered the questions is not here anymore.

So please notice the fact im no doctor.

about your posting and question..
It all comes down to your valvular insufficiency..
WHERE is it precisely and HOW MUCH is it?
Basicaly all valves leak a little because it takes a little while for the valves to close completely and blood leaks until the valve leaflets do close together completely. So that by itself wouldnt be a big issue .
So why were you monitored? and more over for what exactly?

Do you have an aortic regurgitation?
or mitral valve?
or even the pulmonary valve is possible
or Tricuspid valve regurgitation

I quess an echo would give you more information of what exactly is going on..an echo and stress test combined in one..so a stress echo would give you the most info.

the question is ..what kind of valvular insufficiency do you have, and how INSUFFICIENT is it?

My advice is : try to get this kind of test, or do speak with your consulting GP about this.. Just to be sure..

When mild, mitral valve regurgitation may not progress and may never pose a serious threat to your health. but i quess you need to be monitored

for now.
Do you have swollen ankles?
Are you in need of breath (shortness) while lying down?
do you have a cough? also at night?

if this is present please seek medical help asap.

some tips:
no smoking, no alcohol
monitor your BP...if it is suddenly much higher..than there might be more of a problem..
Normally the advice with mitral valve regurgitation..I dont know its the same with aortic is that you can keep exercising NORMALLY.so no excessive things imo. but if this gets suddenly more difficult ..again schedule an appointment..

Title: Re: Valvular Insufficiency or Anxiety Attack?
Post by UpsideTown on Jul 11th, 2013, 12:19am

Hello Richie, thank you for your reply.

I'm not sure if "monitored" was the correct word choice but my childhood doctor would check to see if my murmur was consistent while growing up and that symptoms (if I had any) did not worsen. It was really just to keep things in check.

I have MVP, and he never expressed to me that the valvular insufficiency was threatening by any means, but that was years ago, so my facts aren't exactly current.

By 18 I had moved across the country and no longer saw the same doctor. I had similar symptoms when I was 21 and had seen a doctor and she asked me if I would like to order an EKG, but when I told her I didn't have insurance she said to just try to relax and keep an eye on my symptoms, so that leads me to believe whatever is happening isn't that threatening, it's just a scary feeling.

Thankfully, I can tell you that no, I do not have swollen ankles, and lying down is beneficial to me. Sure I can feel an occasional irregular "thud", but my breathing is fine, while lying down. General physical activity is currently what is taxing to me. Going up stairs, making a bed, etc. Again, I am in good health and though busy, try to get about three days a week of intentional 30 minute cardio sessions in, as well as yoga at night and pilates any time I feel I can spare five minutes.

And no, I do not cough at night.

Admittedly, I do drink alcohol about four out of seven days a week, and my blood pressure is generally low 115/70, as a consistent reading throughout my life (September was the last time I saw this BP). However, when I went in to switch my birth control a month ago, the university doctor noted it reading 132/80, and I had explained to her that I was balancing a lot on my plate. She didn't advise much and we went on to talking about what I was there for.

If a stress and echo test is the next step that needs to be done then I wouldn't mind finding a way of getting one, simply for the sake of clearing up some foggy windows.

Title: Re: Valvular Insufficiency or Anxiety Attack?
Post by Jonp on Jul 11th, 2013, 7:26am

Hi UpsideTown

I am no doctor nor do I have valvular insufficiency but I do have a lot of your symptoms and I have done a lot of research which has reassured me and I may be able to reassure you.  I would see a doctor anyway because of your history.

You say that you take deep breaths and sigh a lot.  Do you yawn a lot as well?  This all indicates overbreathing (hyperventilation).

Overbreathing is associated with panic attacks and adrenaline release and will cause lowering of carbon dioxide in the blood which inhibits oxygen take up which causes more overbreathing!

Symptoms of all of this are:

Raised blood pressure
Sweating and hot flushes
Confusion and weakness
Chest pains
Blurred vision
Metalic taste (I sometimes get the taste of blood as well)
Wanting to cry

Does this sound familiar?  There are other symptoms as well which you will find on websites about panic attacks.

If you have been overbreathing for a long time as I have, it will be difficult to control, I have just started.  Check with your doctor and Good Luck!

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