Last updated: Aug 05, 2008
I was certain I'd had a heart attack. It was the most frightening thing that ever happened to me. The EMTs tell you to try to breathe through it, but it is very difficult to stay calmespecially when you are 26 and you think you're pretty healthy! The doctor said this is the closest thing to having a heart attack without actually having one.
I went through a bunch of electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiograms, and I had to carry a portable EKG with me everywhere. All these patches were hooked to my chest with little wires, and the machine recorded my heartbeat all day. I was glad to let that thing go back to the clinic! It probably took at least three to five weeks before I got a complete diagnosis: supraventricular tachycardia. The electrical part of my heart malfunctions and causes something like a short circuit that makes my heart beat too fast. My normal everyday beat is around 75 to 120 per minute. I'm on metoprolol and ramipril, but without heart medication, my heart beats up to 180 beats per minute. Sometimes it will reach that rate even while I'm taking the meds.
Hidden Heart Trouble
I looked great, and exercised Watch video
Im 53" and 100 pounds. I dont look like I have a heart problem. Its rare for someone like me to have this type of condition. When I go to my doctors clinic, the heart patients are much older and usually much heavier. Im one of the youngest people in the room. I get strange looks and comments as if I do not belong there. Sometimes the assistants at hospitals are shocked when they see me because I'm not what they expected.
My doctors don't have a reason for why it happens or when it will happen. No one in my family has any type of heart disease or heart problem. I dont have sleep apnea. My type 1 diabetes isn't a factor in this either. It might just be a malfunction in my heart that I always had and it did not really affect me until now. In high school I had always had a fast heart ratearound 120 to 130 beats per minutebut no one seemed concerned at the time.
In the last couple of months my heart rate has started to increase. My doctor ran some tests and discovered that my tachycardia has caused a valve in my heart to become enlarged, which puts me at high risk for stroke and heart attack.
My daughters worry a lot. My youngest asks me every day, "Have you taken your medication?" She always is looking at my daily pill box to make sure I have taken my meds, and she sees the days on it and she makes sure that the day is empty. Or if I put my hand to my heart, she asks me about it.
Before this I didnt have any limits. I had all the energy in the world. Now when I try to walk at the ocean or take hikes with my kids, I get out of breath very fast. Now we're constantly worrying about my health.