A few months ago I started to suffer from severe PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions – commonly referred to as heart palpitations), as well as from some angina symptoms: I soon become almost incapable of living a normal life; after only a few quick steps, I would feel my heart ‘skipping beats’ heavily or beating furiously fast and irregularly and, at times, disabling chest tightness. I was very confused and scared at first but then, after suffering ‘in silence’, I decided to see different cardiologists and cardio surgeons and, of course, underwent several tests. One of the 3 cardiologists (probably the better one) prescribed beta blockers for me and, after that, further tests.
On my way home from the most uncomfortable test ever, I decided that I was going to give ‘natural supplements’ a try. I was shocked at how quickly my condition improved. I am going to keep you informed not only about what I did and am doing, but also about what my progress is like, with updates.
What are PVCs? PVCs are, briefly put, irregular heart beats which make you feel as if your heart is ‘skipping a beat’ or beating too many times (feeling the ‘extra systoles’ in your heart beat, for example); this is not a pleasant feeling at all and can make you faint or feel very anxious or even scared. If, on top of that, you also have some chest tightness (as in my case), you may well feel as if you are about to have a heart attack or to pass out. I would find myself in the middle of a store suddenly needing to stop and sit anywhere hoping that the ‘heart palpitations’ would subside and, at times, my chest tightness too. It was awful. I also became very irritable and anxious, as a consequence of my physical condition.
I will go into the detail of the condition if you want, but essentially anybody who suffers from PVCs (sometimes referred to as heart palpitations, rightly or wrongly) will know what I’m talking about.
The cause of PVcs is different from person to person. It could be trauma, stress, a metabolic problem, some nutrient/s deficiency, occasionally even a hormone-based cause. It could also be due to some ‘blockage’ inside or hardening of the arteries, even the peripheral ones (not the ones inside or just outside your heart, very simply put). For this reason, the best approach is to undergo enough tests to rule out potential blockages of even one artery, or just to make sure they have not hardened too much (again, very basically put). Your cholesterol and your blood pressure should also be checked thoroughly, to make sure there are not further problems in your cardiovascular system. In any case, if you speak to a cardiologist he/she will know what’s necessary to rule out a physical reason which could be potentially dangerous. The tests usually range from a simple Echo Cardiogram to Echo Stress Tests (ways to ‘view’ the heart and its functions whilst in a ‘stressful’ situation, namely beating much faster than usually), to an actual angiogram (a more invasive procedure for which you may have to stay in hospital for one day). Sometimes a radiation-based-test is indicated, although I chose avoid such (relatively) high radiation tests (very recent studies cautioned against nonchalantly carrying out these tests and recommended them only if absolutely necessary); again, it all depends on the seriousness of your condition and, above all, if a much deeper study of your cardiovascular system and your heart function is necessary; the choice is yours and, of course, listen to what your 2 or 3 cardiologists recommend in your case. If you do what I did, you will not stop at the first cardiologist and will seek more than one opinion until you feel you know all there is to know about your condition and all the options you have to treat it.
Assuming your tests show nothing serious at physical level as mentioned above, you are going to be offered a small number of options, typically:
1 – Do nothing since your PVCs are ‘benign’, potentially only consuming (letting it dissolve in your mouth, for example) a ‘baby’ aspirin daily (from 75mg to 100mg per day) to improve blood flow
2 – The use of beta-blockers or similar drugs; beta blockers slow down your heart beat (often with the consequence of diminishing PVCs). They are quite useful and commonly regarded as safe. I found them useful but did not want to deal with the minor weight gain nor with having to check my heart beat often, to prevent it from being too slow. Nitroglycerin-type drugs ‘widen’ your arteries and veins, thus improving blood flow and, if you don’t want pills, you can opt for a skin patch; very useful against angina but, in my case, my PVCs became instantly much, much worse and I literally thought I was on the verge of death. Of course, we are all slightly different in the specifics of our heart condition, so monitoring how your body reacts to each or any medication is key. I quickly chose to research if there were alternative, natural supplements and, today, I feel this is the best path for me. I explain this on my article (link below).
3 – In very serious cases, heart ablation is considered. This is a surgical procedure which ‘burns’ the section of the heart where the extra systole is taking place (or the ‘faulty’ heart beat). As I was waiting for my many tests at various hospitals, I talked to few sufferers who had already undergone heart ablation once, and were scheduled to have a second surgery! I was not impressed (but of course you cannot rule it out unless you cardiologist thinks it’s OK to do so – in my case 2 out of 3 thought heart ablation was not in my immediate future and that other options should be tried first).