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    GERD causing heart palpitations?
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    zen332 posted:
    I have mentioned this in previous posts and had attributed my heart palpitations to the use of PPIs. What I have discovered after much research online is that there appears to be a connection between the autonomic nervous system (Vagus nerve) and GERD. I had never experienced heart palpitations prior to my GERD. They come on suddenly, sometimes wake me during sleep and have lasted for several days on several occasions.

    When I asked my cardiologist about this, he claimed he had never heard of this and recommended that I begin a regimen of "anti depressant therapy". His conclusion was reached after I tested normal on my holter monitor, EKG and ECHO. I am very discouraged about some physicians not thinking out of the box or even being "open" to this concept.

    Has anyone else encountered these symptoms or physician mindset?
     
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    Ann44 responded:
    I've been taking Prilosec for acid reflux. I started having frequent palpitations. After 10 days I saw my internal medicine doctor. He was thinking it over and mentioned that Prilosec inhibits absorption of magnesium. So I added some calcium-magnesium-zinc and potassium-magnesium supplements to my diet (just the recommended amount, nothing excessive). The palpitations ceased, and my frequent leg cramps diminished.
     
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    rudster61 replied to r108j's response:
    I was diagnosed with GERD a few years ago. It started out with just a tickle cough, no other cold symptoms. It was getting worse, where I couldn't speak a whole sentence with out coughing. Then I started experiencing low fevers, usually at night with chills. My General physician had me take chest Xrays and found sand size granules in my lungs. They wanted to wait a few weeks then look at doing a biopsy. In the meanwhile these 2 synptoms continued. I was scared to death, now thinking I had lung cancer or something. Something was not right.
    I made an appointement with, who turned out to be, and excellent Pulmonologist. He told me I had GERD and adult Asthma. He told me the acid from my stomach was spitting up into my esophogus and wind pipe. My wind pipe was almost 50% closed form being infected and swollen from my own acid. This was causing the fevers and the tickle coughing, it also brought on the asthma.He said, at the time, the granules found in my lungs were another issie, and we'd deal with that next. But from the day I saw him and he diagnosed me, I was put on Nexium for my stomach, Advair discus for my Asthma, and Singulair for allergies that we found I had. Moving to Florida from NJ and being here for 20 years, I developed allergies to the different pine trees and other pollen from what I was used to growing up in NJ. I was feeling 100% within days. I was somewhat relieved. Next we did a lung biopsy that came out negative. What I had was Sarcoidosis, in the dormant stage. Nothing to worry about.
    However, in the past year especially the past few months, Ive had a lot of stress in my life, and started getting the heart palps. Very scarey. They'd last 1/2 minute to 15 minutes. Just the other night I had an episode last over an hour. It made me feel flush, I was starting to see white sopts and feel like I was going to pass out. I DO notice that everytime I get these, I find that need to burp, and can't. I can feel it right there up in my upper esophogus but can't burp. I took an Alka-seltzer and finnaly was able to bealch, even the smallest burp, and it relieved the pals. I haven't seen my Pulonarist but I know it's realated to stomach acid.I'm thinking maybe my Nexium 40 mg may need to be stronger for me.
    By the way, strangely enough,I've never ever, experienced the typical indigestion symptoms, heart burn, stomach or chest pain, etc during my history of GERD, just to note.
    It is a live style thing. Your eating habits, matter and with some people can be totally controlled by changing you eating habits. Especially at night. After dinner and before bed. Alcohol. chocolate, spicey or greasy foods can definately trigger GERD.
     
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    ill_informed replied to rudster61's response:
    Not sure if this discussion is still active, but I created a similar one here: http://forums.webmd.com/3/digestive-disorders-exchange/forum/5164

    I've been diagnosed with acid reflux over and over again by many doctors, although I've never had heartburn a day in my life. My main symptoms are:
    [br>-occasional sharp side pain, chest pressure, a variety of different kinds of heart flutters/palpitations to the point where my chest and shoulders have gone numb and tingly (like the feeling when your foot falls asleep), panic/anxiety attacks, heart racing after eating, swollen feeling in my throat, constant coughing or clearing of my throat, difficulty swallowing, and belching...lots and lots of belching.[br>[br>I 100% believe that the anxiety and heart flutters are being caused by whatever else is going on inside my body. I'm naturally a very calm, patient, easy-going person and have never had issues with anxiety before I started having these digestive issues and for some reason every doctor I've seen refuses to believe this. They basically just tell me I'm crazy and that I need crazy person meds. [br>[br>After doing my own research since doctors are now useless I've discovered that silent reflux exists and believe that this is what has been causing all of my symptoms. However, it is still treated the same way as GERD or acid reflux. [br>[br>I've tried everything. I've been on all the OTC stuff, I follow a very bland vegan diet, no onions, garlic, or tomato based products, no fried foods, no alcohol (not even extracts), no caffeine (not even chocolate and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever!), no carbonated beverages, I don't smoke, I'm not overweight, I eat multiple small meals a day as opposed to three big ones, I don't eat after 9pm, I sleep with my pillows propped (practically sitting up), and I even just recently decided to go gluten free after reading up on how food intolerance's can cause acid reflux and STILL can not find relief. [br>[br>Does anyone else have this issue or have advice? I'm really starting to feel defeated.
     
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    gerdbird replied to Worrywart911's response:
    Thanks for your post. Very encouraging! It's so scary when you have these attacks. My story mirrors yours, and I too am amazed how ignorant doctors are about these symptoms as they are so common. How are you these days?
     
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    thinking42 responded:
    I have had these problems for 10 yrs and although I am on medication for the palpitations I still have problems in the late evening.Digestion does play a part If I,m careful with the amount I eat avoiding fatty food, chocolate and cheese after 6pm. I stand a chance.Another tip for women with this worrying condition is to undo the bra clasp as it does help I find.Any tight fitting around your torso or waist can affect digestion which may not seem important but try it.Dont be tempted to snack after 7pm it does help.Emotions too can effect and can trigger an attack, Stop watching whatever may be making you anxious. Although we never think about our subconscious and what we,re involved in at the time, watching a violent film, tense mind games even sorrow. We have to remind ourselves our subconscious can be affected which can trigger off an attack involuntary. Thank you for letting me have something to add.Hope it helps.
     
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    teknical replied to ill_informed's response:
    I mirror your symptoms ill_informed. They started shortly after the birth of my last child. The only thing I have found that helps is if I take Zantac (prescription) 2ce a day (one in morning, one at night); And I take vitamin supplements of Magnesium Citrate 400 MG, Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin C 400 MG as well as Zinc. I cannot tolerate any citrus due to the acid but the Vit C I use works fine. This particular cocktail deals with electrolytes which I was told contributes to acid reflux (your body isn't absorbing the nutrients and water it needs to balance out cell activity thus you are almost dehydrated even though you may drink plenty of water).

    I feel really that Magnesium is the key. It can be found in a lot of over the counter Acid Reducers (even Nexium's main component is Magnesium) and also is used to treat heart palpitations and arrhythmia's as well as a host of other things.

    I had been diagnosed with a Sinus Arrhythmia, which is when you are deep breathing (meditating, exercise, simply walking up stairs), but it went away after this cocktail of treatment. This leads me to the conclusion that what everyone else on here has said --- their palpitations are related to their GERD. It still happens to me on occasion but usually when I've cheated by eating something fun, like spicy Indian Food or having a beer.

    Again, try the Magnesium supplement at least and see what happens. Don't overdue it because it tends to act as a natural laxative as well (Milk of Magnesia). No more than 400 MG. Some people do take more and it won't kill you, but you may find other belly troubles if you do. Also, be careful if you have kidney disease. As with any supplements, bad kidneys may find it hard to flush out.

    Please don't feel defeated. You are not alone (although I was there not that long ago. I even started thinking that maybe I was crazy! )
     
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    taffy14 replied to Ann44's response:
    How long on magnesium before symptoms got better?
     
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    trista627 responded:
    To zen332:
    Yes! I've had GERD since 1994 and also have a Hiatal Hernia and Gastroparesis.
    On January 5th, at 2 am, I was awakened by heart palpitations. Not enough to cause me to go to the ER, just enough to annoy me and keep me from sleeping. I could hear my heart beat in my ears and feel it in my neck. I didn't go to the ER as I was currently without insurance, and wouldn't be able to swing the entire cost.
    Soon, the palpitations brought along some friends. It followed soon with strange sensations of cold & heat in my chest and arms, sometimes like someone was squeezing my Esophagus and like something was stuck in the middle of my chest.
    After awakening on the 3rd Sat in March, with weakness, headache, nausea & body aches, I decided to go to the Emergency Clinic as I had insurance at my new job. So, upon seeing the Dr., I described my symptoms and asked also that she check my throat. Years before I got Thrush that grew down into my Esophagus and was exhibiting some of the same symptoms. Throat culture positive for Thrush. She wrote me a Scrip for Dannatal, with Belladonna.
    FYI, Belladonna is prescribed for relief from spasms of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines), the bladder, and the biliary tract. This is helpful in controlling conditions such as colitis, spastic bladder, diverticulitis, infant colic, renal and biliary colic, peptic ulcer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
    Belladonna also reduces the secretions of many organs, thereby helping to control conditions such as excessive stomach acid production.
    After going through 2 rounds of the Donnatal and continuing to have issues, I followed up with my PCP. She indicated that if it were the Thrush were still giving me issues, that the Donnatal should have healed it. She recommended another Endoscopy, thinking it may be Barrett's Esophagus. So, over the course of 3 months after also having 3 EKG's, ECHO & Holtor Monitor, situation normal. The Endoscopy determined that I have a Bezoar. Basically, formation of food into solid masses that obstruct the flow of the stomach to the small intestines. Aka, undigested mass of food trapped in my stomach. Wow. I was advised the remedy for this is to take Adolph's Meat Tenderizer for 7 days and then once a week, thereafter. I take a Tbls in any liquid, (water, milk, juice, Coca Cola) once every 7 days. After a couple of weeks, I seemed to be acquiring some relief. Yay! Well, it seems I may have gotten to comfortable with it, and I stopped taking the meat tenderizer. Bad idea. It came back to haunt me last week. Also, for those unaware, Gastroparesis is a condition in which stomach emptying is prolonged because the nerves are damaged or stopped working. I'd say damaged due to the over production of stomach acid over the last 20 years. I take probiotic supplements, drink Chamomile & Ginger tea. I don't smoke, drink alcohol, I wait at least 5 hours before going to bed after eating and watch my caffeine intake. Seems to not always be enough. Ugh. Well, for those of you that are new to GERD, I feel your pain. And, you should also research the wonders of probiotics and read up on all the things you should avoid, living with GERD.
    Also Google "Coca Cola cures Bezoars". Very helpful & informative. After reading this about 5 months ago, I decided to switch to regular Coca Cola to help with the digestion.
    Most Doctors don't want to cure you. They want to put a band aid on it so you'll keep coming back and lining their pockets. It's rare to find a Dr. that truly cares for you as a person. Good luck to all dealing with these debilitating issues. Stay well.
     
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    tharden responded:
    Finally I can actually hear that I'm not crazy, you should see how my Cardiologist and my Honey picks on me when I go visit him. but I have been researching and trying to figure out what is wrong all the test that he can do was done. losing weight, eating foods that they say is not good for us. But water was the biggest intake of my body and guess what the water is bad, bad, bad because it make your Vagus Nerve act up. I don't have all the details but make an appointment with a nerve Specialist I am. I have had a Loop recorder inside me for two years now and it's so disappointing that every time I have an episode the can't see any thing. so maybe the nerve doctor can shed so light. Haha I just turn 50 and I was listening to people saying it's your age, That's bull crap. I workout four days a week, and is stress free I'm loving my life right now and keep repeating to myself on a daily basis (greater is he that's in me, then he that's in the world.) Thank you all for listening and let's keep each other in Prayer so that God will solve our mystery BE BLESSED!!!
     
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    hanishbabu responded:
    You may have trivial mitral and tricuspid regurgitation which 70% of adults have without symptoms.
     
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    hanishbabu replied to bkh146's response:
    Echo Dopler test must be taken to find any regurgitations in heart valves.
     
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    noissapmoc replied to ill_informed's response:
    Incomprehensible that so many doctors fail to make the gastro/palps connection. When my stomach/esophogus is settled, no problems. When my GERD/reflux acts up, I have chronic fullness feeling in throat with burping, & then it's palpamania time. For many, it's episodic (hours or days or weeks at a time). It's NORMAL to be concerned. The trick is to never stop trying to get to the point where you remain concerned, but without anxiety. I conquered my POST-palp anxiety (it was never PRE-palp anxiety) because I accepted that no matter how bad the physical symptoms get, I will LIVE to see tomorrow (I know, easier said than done especially when in the middle of a palp episode). Having said that, I have also grown to have no respect for people who fail to sympathize with those who suffer anxiety/panic attacks as a result of having the palps. Please, please, please don't be hard on yourselves on how you react to your physical flare-ups. I vehemently disagree with those who want to inappropriately place a mental label on what's going instead of compassionately understanding that it is extremely probable that GERD can initiate palps (and I believe definitely so based on years/episodes of GERD flare-ups occurring imminently prior to palp flare-ups). Hopefully, this post will help others know that there are other people out there who have gone through exactly what you are now going through and, over time, developed the confidence to move past the anxiety. The key is to stay engaged in your everyday lives no matter how many palps you have. LIVE! All those who don't understand or callously judge us have never felt the PHYSICALLY intense and PROLONGED symptoms. Once all the logical tests come back normal (even with captured benign PACs/PVCs), we all meticulously attempt to manage, research, and treat our symptoms to the best of our abilities. That is what I call being functionally and effectively concerned. And that is where this fantastic forum becomes so very helpful. You are not alone. No two cases are identical, but the one thing I know for certain is that my GERD/reflux causes my palpitations. Again, in all the years I've had these episodes, they were NEVER preceded by any anxiety. Now I live with confidence knowing that I will live a long and happy life no matter how many episodes I have. Please know that there are people out there who compassionately understand what you are all going through and most importantly, would never JUDGE you for being legitimately concerned about how your heart is functioning. The most important message I can send out to all you kind people is to NEVER GIVE UP! Sometimes the episodes initiate for no apparent, yet sometimes the initiation can be traced back to a recent slip in eating habits, lack of sleep, or lack of regular exercise (when in an episode I have found mild exercise/walking/stretching/easy swim, stationary bike, etc helps more than the usual more strenuous exercise). Hopefully, this forum will help all readers to have increased confidence. Discussion leads to an exchange of information to the benefit of all. All we can do is continually make and MAINTAIN the necessary lifestyle improvements. On a final note, although not always effective, I have found that magnesium citrate often relieves my palp symptoms, but GERD MUST be controlled with a strict diet. The dos and don'ts are all over the internet. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
     
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    new2gerd replied to noissapmoc's response:
    Hello,

    I have recently been diagnosed with nsaid-induced acid reflux and have been on omeprazole for 2 weeks. In the meantime, I've been researching online about GERD and heart palpitations. While I found many informative blogs and websites, your comments have been the most encouraging thus far! Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and open explanation of your experience. I have also never experienced heart palpitations prior to the reflux. I went to the ER three times with chest pain and significantly increased heart rate (my baseline is in the nid 60s and my rate went up as high as 150). All three times I was told I was not having a heart attack and all of my tests came back normal (or negative). Each time I was given an acid reducer and my symptoms disappeared. I was told to take an acid reducer since I was on nsaids regularly but I at that point I was so worried too many medications were causing my heart to race that I stopped taking everyting. Of course my symptoms got worse until my (new) pcp finally encouraged me to take PPIs. For two weeks, I was on them and I could tell I was gradually getting better. My dosage was recently reduced, which I was excited about. However, I recently caught a cold and the same day I began my reduced dosage, I ended up staying up all night with a dry cough (hard to say if it was from the cold or GERD symptoms due to the reduced dosage). Needless to say, the next morning, I ate a normal (bland) breakfast and could feel the pain from the reflux. Within 20 minutes, I had a palpitation episode. I'm able to control them now without getting too anxious, but it's still so exhausting and upsetting, especially when you think you're well on your way to getting better. My question to you is how often has this happened to you...feels like you're better only to suddenly have an attack? I'm sure my lack of sleep and cold symptoms (in conjunction with the reduced med dosage) might have exacerbated/contributed to the reflux, but is this something I need to be worried about everytime I catch a cold? Do you have any idea if NSAID-induced reflux gets better or will I have this for life now that it's here? I can live with it, I'm sure, but for now again it's been two and a half weeks since I've been on the PPI regiment) it's really taken a toll on my normal life. I haven't seen a GI yet but I don't know how much extra they would do that my PCP hasn't already, other than an endoscopy. Would you or anyone else living with this suggest this route? Again, your comment really helped me realize that life goes on and I will have to manage living with this if it'll be a lifetime condition, and I have so much respect for you for living with it and reminding others (me) that it's not the end of the world. Please share any more info you may have.
     
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    ill_informed replied to new2gerd's response:
    Hi new2gerd,

    I'm glad you've found comfort in our comments. I'm not familiar with NSAID-induced reflux, and again I'm no doctor, just someone sharing my own experiences.


    I would suggest seeing a GI to have an endoscopy just to rule out anything serious, but the most helpful kind of doctor for this is one that has a more natural approach and is dedicated to finding the root of the problem by seeing the whole picture rather than treating individual symptoms. They are tricky to find but I've finally found one at a small practice just by word of mouth through a few friends.


    I just had my first appointment with him a few weeks ago and he said that most cases of reflux are 100% curable just by a strict diet change. He explained that reflux is just a symptom of having an irritated stomach lining and he related it to having an open wound on the skin, and the more foods we eat that irritate our stomach would be like rubbing that open wound and irritating it even more, making it worse. The hard part is finding the foods that cause this irritation. In my case, I had to resort to taking an allergy/sensitivity test and will be getting the results next month.


    He also explained that the gut is one of the most important things to take care of as its our best form of defense against sickness and diseases. And that this irritation can also cause our digestive system to not function properly and cause a thing called "leaky gut". Where certain things we consume can no longer be digested. For instance, if I have even the smallest amount of caffein (say a piece of chocolate) my heart rate increases, I get palpitations or a full blown panic attack. He explained that this is because my body can not digest caffein so it goes directly to my blood stream. It's like taking a shot of espresso through an IV! Finally an explanation for these heart palps!


    My doctor did mention though that in some cases where the stomach lining is a severely injured it may not be as simple as a diet change. So again I would still recommend seeing a GI and finding a doctor that is willing to work with you to find a solution and not just treat the symptoms.


    Best of luck!
     
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    new2gerd replied to ill_informed's response:
    Hi ill_informed,

    Thanks for the reply and thanks again for the great information. After 4 weeks on PPI and a VERY restricted diet, my palps have not appeared (going on 2 weeks) but I feel like this will be a long recovery. I am very happy to hear that there is an explanation for what we in this forum experience. I have a cardio appt this week (to get my event monitor read and hopefully rule out heart disease). I hope I'm not on PPIs for much longer but I'm so afraid of the palps coming back. All else is manageable but those high heart rates are unbearable, physically and emotionally. Next week I see my PCP and hopefully I'll get the okay to see the GI. I am certainly going to ask. After much research, I've found (and heard) that NSAID can cause severe reflux and even stomach ulcers. This was never clarified to me when I was prescribed high doses of NSAIDs for my back pain. It wasn't until much later, after I had to go to the ER 3 times for heart palps that I was told this was a risk of NSAIDS, as I was put on the PPI regiment. Like some others, I thought it was the PPIs inducing the palpitations but now I am confident the PPIs are helping and it was the reflux. However, I don't want to be on them too long, either. I am just in awe of how much stomach issues can affect the rest of the body. I am sorry you had to go through the allergy tests but I hope the outcome was good and it helped your outcome. Thanks again for great insight and for your thoughtful explanations.


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