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Monday, March 5, 2018

My Way of Dealing with SVT

I have suffered from SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) for eight years.  When I first started having trouble with it, I would go into SVT frequently enough that my cardiologist recommended I could see an cardiac interventionalist if I wanted to.  Back then I was going into SVT every few weeks.

For the last four years, I have been going into SVT once per year, and I am able to convert into regular heart rhythm within minutes instead of tens of minutes. 

Here is my theory....

Those of us who suffer from SVT have an errant extra electrical pathway, and sometimes something happens to make the heart forget which pathway to use.  Usually for me it's a constellations of things, stomach upset, stress, and having a cold or something at the same time.  Also, sometimes dehydration can be in that trigger mix.

My theory is that when my heart gets tickled by my hiatal hernia in the case of having a full stomach and doing something to push my stomach up to physically hitting my heart, the heart gets off it's rhythm through that physical tickling of the heart by the stomach and does some sort of hiccup or pause caused by that physical touch of the stomach.  It would be similar to touching a butterfly when it's moving it's wings back and forth, when you touch them, the wings stop momentarily, and I believe in people with SVT, when the stomach touches the heart it also stops momentarily.  And then when it tries to get back on rhythm, it sometimes finds the wrong extra pathway that is the pathway characteristic of SVT.

If I am stressed, my stomach is sick, or if I have a cold, I become more vulnerable to my heart not being able to recover from that physical tickling and goes into SVT much more easily.

When I go into SVT my heart is usually beating about 150 beats per minute (more if I am anxious or panicky).

My theory is that in order for my heart to find it's normal pathway I need to get it to slow down.  If I can get my heart down to about 120 beats per minute, it seems to find it's normal pathway and converts.   It's like there's this open door and my heart needs to find it, and it does if I can get the heart rate down close to that door by calming down.

When I first started having SVT, I used to panic, and I would urgently try every vasal vagal maneuver I could, and when that maneuver didn't work, I would panic more and my heart rate would go up even higher.  The period of which I was in SVT would be prolonged to the point I would beg someone to take me to urgent care and while on the ride over, knowing I would soon be under medical care, I would start to relax, and my heart would convert on the way to Urgent Care.

Last night, I was at a neighbors house standing up in her front yard.  I had just had dinner and quite a full stomach.  While standing there talking to her, I was laughing and I crossed my arms over my fat stomach which put pressure on my bloated stomach, and immediately my heart went into a trigeminy rhythm, followed by SVT. 

I explained to my neighbor that I was in SVT, and it alarmed her, but as I was telling her about how it all works, in my mind I was thinking, "just pretend you are okay, and calm down, and ride through this. You aren't going to die." 

As I was explaining it to her and trying to keep my normal composure, I suddenly relaxed, and all of the sudden I converted.  I was in SVT for less than a minute!  It's crazy, but just ignoring the SVT as urgent as it felt was the action that stopped it.  Those of us in SVT feel so urgent about stopping the SVT we cause more harm them good by trying to stop it when for some of us, just going about  business as usual and trying not to think about it, can be the very thing to stop it.

In the past, I have always asked for a big glass of cold water to drink when I have SVT.  I think the cold water triggers the vagus nerve to vibrate and helps my heart to get back on regular rhythm.  Plus, the drinking usually distracts me from the panic, and I usually quickly convert. 

I've had SVT's last up to 45 minutes, but lately, they have converted in less than ten, and most in less than a minute.

This time, last night, I didn't have water, I didn't have a place to lie down, which I usually seek for, and I didn't even have a place to sit.  Yet, the technique of distracting my mind from panic helped my heart to ease it's pace to the point that it was able to find that door to regular rhythm, and I converted without feeling worn out or tired. 

I realize that this might not work for all people, and it might not always be the case as I grow older, but I also realize that this information can be helpful to many SVT sufferers which is why I am sharing it.

I have only been having about one prolonged SVT per year.  Prolonged for me means over a minute.  I will go into SVTs that convert in ten seconds or less about five times a year now. 

 My rules for avoiding SVT or at least making them bearable are:

1.  Manage stress (I had accompanied a choir on four pieces at the piano in front of an audience of 300 people yesterday making me susceptible to SVT)

2.  Get enough rest

3.  Don't get dehydrated

4.  Control your allergies in whatever way you can, especially food allergies that upset the stomach, i.e. gluten.

5.  If you are sick don't over do.

6.  If you have a hiatal hernia, as I do, don't overstuff your stomach.

7.  Stay off of rollercoaster rides that make you go upside down.  I have gone into SVT twice on Rockin' Rollercoaster, but I usually convert on the second loop.  LOL!  The first upside down experience puts me in SVT, and the second takes me out.  I have only tested this twice.

8.  Don't raise your arms up above your head while your heart rate is already up.  It pulls other internal organs up against your heart and moves your vagus nerve around.  Last year I went into SVT walking through a parking lot.  I was really chatty, and laughing and raising my arms up, and one got triggered.  I felt so stupid.

9.  Don't bend over to pick things up at the waist.  Bend at the knees. Again, it pushes internal organs up against your heart.

10.  Get checked for celiac disease.  I'm a celiac, and I know of other celiac's that have SVT.  If you are, stay away from gluten.

11.  Don't eat sugar, fried foods, high fat foods, or any foods that you know cause damage to the stomach lining, like caffeinated drinks, or create discomfort for the stomach.  The vagus nerve gets stimulated by a sore, sick, or inflamed stomach, and since it is connected to the heart also, when it is stimulated, it will stimulate the heart and trigger SVT.

Anyway, these are my impressions on SVT, learned from many years of SVT experience.  I really hope this will help other SVT sufferers!  Let's hope we all improve as we work to calm down our worried minds.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taken Off of Statins

This may, happily, be my last post for a while.  I know it's been a while since I've posted too.

Since the last post, our family has moved cross country and DH, thankfully, has a new cardiologist.  This was a very good change since this new doctor has more faith in dietary treatment of heart disease.  We didn't know that he would be that way.  We just chose him because he was close to DH's work and had the best reviews from Google.

Well,  he ordered a nuclear stress test for DH, and the results showed no signs of heart disease.  I call that a reversal.  This is what the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease program has proven over the decades, and this is the goal.  It is what we have realized with years of faith in the studies.

His latest numbers  Total Cholesterol 144, HDL 35 (and the doc says because the total is so low he can't see the HDL being able to go higher - this goes against what our previous doc would say), triglycerides 165 (a little high because he eats a lot of fruit), and LDL 76 (very good!).

Yesterday, the doctor said, "Keep doing those natural things that you are doing.  They are working!"

And then he offered to take DH off of the statins.  "What!!!!!??????""  Dr. Martin said DH would never get off of the statins no matter what his numbers were.

But, Dr. Grullion says that the statins are hampering DH ability to exercise and were the cause of his calf muscle exploding two years ago.

He said if DH can reach the 45 cardio three times a week, the statins will not be needed, and he needs to go off the statins to be able to exercise.

Anyway, that is our report.  I will be checking the blog for comments once in a while and answering any questions that come up, but this chronicle was for the sole purpose of following our experiment and documenting the journey to provide hope and education to, particularly, young heart disease patients.

You might check back for updates, but I have a new project brewing, so probably won't be updating much, if any.

Many thanks to those who have followed this blog with an open mind.  The diet works.  DH is our personal proof!  Best of wishes and luck to all of you heart patients out there who desire to take your heart health into your own hands and try this approach.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Three Years After Stent Placement and New Lipid Profile Numbers

DH's last stent placement was three years ago this week.  From that time he has been following Dr. Caldwell Esseltyn's low fat plant based diet program to reverse his heart disease.

Every three to six months we have had his lipid profile to see if the diet is working.  His numbers continue to improve.

Today he had his lipids checked again, and these are his numbers:

Total Cholesterol: 104
Triglycerides:        166
LDL:                        38
HDL                         33

And now he has his glucose checked and it was at 87.

Take a look at his numbers last time:

Total Cholesterol:  157
HDL:                        28
Triglycerides          198
LDL:                        90

In past months his doctor has always gotten on his case for the LDL, but look in the huge drop, it went from 166 to 90.

I will say that he is on 10 mg. of Atorvastin three times a week, but this is a decrease in medication from a daily dose of 40 mg. of Simvastatin, and the pharmacist told him to tell the doctor he doesn't need to take the statins anymore.

He is not on anything else, no adrenaline blockers, or beta blockers.

Want to know what he eats every day?

Breakfast:  1 huge bowl of oatmeal, 15 frozen cherries, and 1/2 grapenuts
Snack:  1 cucumber
Lunch:  1 large potato, refried beans, 1/4 salsa, 2 T sugar free ketchup, and 2 tablespoons of mustard

(okay, I can't get into the mustard, but he has developed a taste for it)

A discussion on potatoes:

People say that russets cause blood sugar problems, and weight gain, but not for DH.  Russets are what he has added to the diet since the last test and look at the numbers!

Since he has added potatoes to his regime, his glucose has gone from 110 to 87.  The numbers don't lie.  He has also lost 10 pounds, so where is the problem with the potato I ask?

The problem is what is added to the potato.  Dr. Neal Barnard has proven that it is the fat added to the potato in the form of butter and sour cream that drives up the blood sugar.  I was once pre-diabetic and I have tested out this theory over and over again testing my blood sugar frequently and as long as I eat the russet with the skins, and stick to one large, not over eating, my blood sugar stays below 125 during digestion, and goes back to the mid 80s two hours after.

Continuing on with what he eats during the day.......

Snack:  Banana, and or apple.

Dinner:  Dinner almost always consists of something really starchy, whatever the paleo low carbers would call taboo: brown rice pasta, another huge potato, or brown rice.

Examples of dinner meals:

Pasta with low or no oil marinara sauce
Pasta with a veg cheese sauce I make out of blended cooked cauliflower, garbanzo beans, and nutritional yeast.
baked yellow potatoes, ketchup, no oil homemade hummus.
Stir fry with no oil added.

Like I said dinner always has something very starchy and he eats as much as he wants, and at a least a couple of veggies in the from of stir-fry salad, cooked veggies, etc.  Then he also has fresh fruit for dessert as sweet as he wants, like pineapple, and as much as he wants.

He also does something else the diet experts would call deplorable, he eats a huge bowl of oatmeal before bedtime.

He has lost 75 pounds and maintained that weight.  The only exercise he does is 10 minutes of strength training three times per week, and puttering around the house.

I have friends and family struggling with life threatening health crisis as I speak now.  This diet works, and I pray for you that you might give it a try because it is an easy way to live and it's does work to reverse conditions that not even medical intervention has been able to do.   We've been at this for three years, and the proof is in the pudding.  He lifted a 26 cubic foot refrigerator into the back of a pickup yesterday and didn't even break a sweat.

Saturday night we walked two blocks to an event in downtown and I couldn't keep up with him.  He had no breathlessness, no sweating, no dizziness, no left arm heaviness and pain.

Three years ago, he couldn't walk to the end of the block.

How many people do you know who have had heart procedures that have gone for three years without heart medications and without having a degradation in their heart health?  I struggle to find one person.

How many people do you know that have diabetes, or have been diagnosed pre-diabetic, as DH had, reverse their diabetes without medical intervention in the form of pills?  I know many, but all of them are people I have only seen on the Internet, and are doing this diet.  I don't know any personally, except for one and he works hard physically, and has changed his diet, but doesn't do a low-fat plant based diet, but he is on a good diet, but let me make this a long sentence and say he does a lot of hard physical labor.  DH does not.

I only want to bring this up because it has been three years now, and DH has now become one of Dr. Esselstyn's hundreds of statistics that have supported the studies that a low-fat plant based diet reverses heart disease, and if your doctor is saying there isn't anymore he can do for you, and you are crippled by your chronic condition, there is hope that there are answers in this diet.  If you are up against a wall, try this diet.  You don't go hungry, you can eat how much you want (if your a guy), and when you want, and still heal the chronic condition.

All you need is education to learn how to prepare the foods, and setting it as a priority in your lives.

DH is a busy man, works for corporate America, eats out at restaurants because his business requires it, but he has learned how to bring foods to work that keep him going through the day, and he has learned how to order only from the menu what he can eat.  If he can do it, you can to.