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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Vagus Nerve and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia (POTS)

I found this excellent comment from a anonymous commentator on Wisegeek  (click here to see the actual discussion)today that explained so very clearly what may be causing my heart beat troubles, and how it relates to the vagus nerve.  It also has a very good discussion on anxiety in relationship to this condition, as well.  I'll copy and paste here....

It's worth noting that there is a condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia) and this is also related to the vagus nerve and can account for a lot of symptoms on here. I know this because I have it, as well as getting heart pauses and extra beats. It works like this: the vagus nerve, if malfunctioning, drives the blood pressure low and sends signals to the heart to compensate for this, so the heart gets faster and faster until the blood pressure catches up. This can cause a whole load of symptoms, like dizziness, fainting, getting lightheaded, vomiting, headache and heart palpitations, but the good thing is it is not dangerous.
If the worst were to happen, your heart will simply stop because it's run out of ideas, but here is the catch: as soon as you lie down or collapse, it restarts and will every time. Your blood pressure will return and you're back to normal. This is a newly diagnosed condition and is thought to be related to the vagus nerve.
This is where the rest comes in with back pain, chest pain, pain in your arms, etc. It is quite simply anxiety! This is a crippler. Anxiety can mimic a heart attack quite easily. It causes sickness, heavy breathing and muscle tension. It also affects the digestive system, because when this happens, the fight or flight response occurs and your body will send everything it has to your heart, brain and other vital organs to keep you alive! I know this because I have had it for a year with a 10 out of 10 for severity and am only now just learning how to deal with it. The body can quite easily handle anxiety and it will not kill you, but it can ruin your life if you let it. The thought of death consumes you and your train of thought will get worse and worse, which makes the anxiety worse because it feeds off it
Please, if you have these symptoms in any way and you have been checked out treated or just told you are O.K., then you must find the strength to pick yourself up and keep going. Do not stop. You might be scared and fearful of death, but if you are going to die, there is nothing you can do about it and sitting at home dwelling on it won't make a difference. You must fight, continue your life and keep going.
Anxiety is you. It's your thoughts that drive it. Once you stop fearing death, you can continue your life. What I mean by that is it doesn't matter what you are doing. Nothing is going to happen to you. Continuing your life is the answer. If you work, then carry on. If the worst is going to happen, it will, and it doesn't matter if you're in bed too scared to move or out running a marathon. Your body decides when it's time, not you. But you can help yourself by walking and looking after yourself. As long as you do your bit, the body will do its bit.
The vagus nerve is a fascinating thing and controls most things we so heavily depend on, but we can help ourselves. We need to just take care of ourselves and trust the professionals. Like my doc always says when I see him, “Well you're still here alive. Now do you believe me?” That is something to always remember: You're still here reading this and you will have a long life!

Whoever you are, anon329693thank you for caring enough about others suffering from this condition to post.

Vagus Nerve. That Good Old Vagus Nerve.

My PVC's are getting worse, and I have been in deep thought as to why.  After a discussion on another blog, which I discussed on my last post, with an alternative medicine doctor who is trying to influence the world of SVT on one blog, I was left to ponder all day about his suggestion that PVC and SVT sufferers should get their tissues analyzed for mineral deficiencies, and while I agree that one can not know whether they have a deficiency with blood tests done in a doctor's office.  I am very good about making sure I take the proper amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

This morning I woke up with a stomach ache.  In fact, it feels like I have been glutened again, and feels, somewhat that my gastritis may be returning.  No doubt, I'm in the middle of a major move to another house, and under quite a bit of stress.

I'm realizing that my PVC's are related to this stomach pain.  Both appeared at the same time.  And the stomach issues and PVC's have come and gone together over the past year.

So today, I'm going to begin an experiment.  I'm going to buy some mastic gum, and start taking it, and see if the PVC's calm down, if my stomach starts to heal.

If so, than I can pretty much be assured that it's that old vagus nerve causing all of my trouble.

Interestingly, I have had some swallowing related pain, as well as some difficulty with choking on my foods lately, and the vagus nerve also control swallowing.

I'll get back and report my findings, as soon as I know.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What an SVT Patient Needs from His/Her Provider

I recently had a discussion on another SVT sufferer's blog Heal SVT Naturally with an alternative health care provider.

Let me first say, I do believe in alternative medicine.  And he is proposing that SVT sufferers suffer from what they do because their minerals are imbalanced.  I don't disagree.  In fact, I agree.

But, when he proposed that SVT suffers spent their money on his outlined treatment instead of spending money on EKG's I had to reply.

Here is his quote....

“I’d like to make one final suggestion to those diagnosed with SVT. I wonder if the time,effort, and money necessary to capture an actual event via EKG may be better spent having an HTMA done and following the diet/taking the recommended supplements?”

I know he didn't mean harm, but this suggestion would be an outrageous suggestion to anyone who sufferers from SVT.  Anyone who has not been officially diagnosed is "dying" to know what they have, and he could no way know who strong that desire to know (and how important) to know what the condition is.  Anyone one who has been officially diagnosed, knows very well, how reassuring the SVT diagnosis is, because the condition has a good prognosis for those with structurally sound hearts.

Anyway, I responded in such a manner, because I felt he was ignorant of the seriousness of our worries, and un-empathetic.....

1. You can not be diagnosed with SVT without an EKG. It has to be captured and read by a cardiologist to get a diagnosis. A person may have some other arrhythmia caused by a previous heart attack, high blood pressure, or valve disease, and it is most prudent to know whether one has the benign condition of SVT or some other arrhythmia that points to a potential cause of sudden cardiac death. The structural condition of a heart suffering from arrythmias should never be trivialized. EKG is the most responsible use of dollars when SVT onsets, and I only pay $40 for mine. Money well spent for diagnosis and reassurance.
2. Even seasoned SVT sufferers, those who have even suffered since childhood and know what their condition is, and know that it is benign, can feel an extreme feeling of dread when going through an episode, even with all that they may know about their condition.
3. Without an official diagnosis, and test to see if the heart is structurally sound, one can not know his/her prognosis or chance for an unfortunate random fatality.
4. Once one has had the event captured, and an ultrasound/stress test proves a structurally sound heart, the worry factor decreases immensely, and the coping mechanisms become amazingly effective.
5. No one at this point offers guarantees of a cure, not you (even though I appreciate your wanting to learn more about how to help those with the condition), and not regular doctors, nor cardiologists. With all it’s a “let’s try and see” approach, nothing more, nothing less.
EP doctors have cured SVT, but they still don’t offer a promise of healing, and the healing rate is currently expensive but at 95% which is a pretty good promise, if your willing to go for it. But in all cases, one must go by faith, at this point, in all treatments, even mineral balance and change of diet. But I feel energies are best spent, at least from the beginning of an active SVT cycle, like I am in, to learn how to cope, manage, and educate oneself.
6. The patient needs reassurance and stress management first and foremost and as quickly as possible. Once that kicks, then and only then, can they have what they need to explore alternative ideas.
7. I have met and talked to many well meaning people with theories, offering help, and trying to offer reassurance, but to the sufferer their attempts seem to be trivializing what feels like life and death matter. People who go the alternative route for diabetes, allergies, cancer, and even coronary heart diease feel like they have time to explore options. People with their hearts beating out of their ears at 160 bpm’s feel like they are going to die now and want answers now, and unfortunately to us, theories, and suggestions seem un-empathetic.
But to those who suffer, the best healing balm, is to compare notes, and socialize with other sufferers. Why, because they have survived and thrived, despite the condition.
Cancer patients may receive hope from other cancer survivors, CAD patients may receive hope from other CAD survivors, but with SVT, the hope offered from one survivor to anoother is the greatest because the condition is benign for those who have structurally sound hearts, and once the new sufferer, as myself, becomes exposed to more and more SVT sufferers, they begin to learn that many people have lived long and healthy lives with this condition. This gives more hope than anything, and relaxes the person into living a more normal life.
8. It is also known that SVT suffers have additional electrical cells in their hearts that they are born with that lie dormant until some time in life. For me, it started after I had H1N1. Mineral balance would support a higher threshold but it can’t take away those errant cells. Only a catheter burning can do that.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our condition. The time you are investing in it can only help those you work with in the future. SVT sufferers can be very fearful about their condition, and the doctors that have been the most effective with me are those who have been empathetic. It is a very human condition that needs an extreme amount of the human touch of empathy in order to gain a patient’s trust and faith in treatment.
The best healing moment I had was when the paramedic held my hand on the way to the ER last fall when my SVT would not convert until after two shots of adenosine. My heart rate was at 180 bpm’s and shot up to 200 bpm because of the fear factor. Even after the second shot my heart rate would only go down to 100. When you think you are dying, you want the human touch more than anything, and it heals and gains trust more than anything. It was his holding my hand, although I didn’t even know him or his name, that brought the heart rate down to 80.
Keep studying and talking to other sufferers and your knowledge and empathy will be much appreciated by your SVT patients, and they will gain faith in your protocol.
Normally, I would link to the discussion, but I don't wish to drag his name through the mud.  But I hope that others who are trying to know how to meet, especially the emotional, needs of their SVT patients or family members, would come to know that when others trivialize the condition, or try to offer a no-guarantee cure, they only look un-empathetic and prideful in their attempt, and trust from the sufferer can not happen.  You are essentially hitting a brick wall. 
If the person who is advising the SVT patient with a protocol only to financially gain or gain notariety, first of all, shame on him, and secondly, good luck.  SVT patients are the least gullible, and the most demanding for sure answers, not just theories.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SVT Today - Positional Trigger

So, the SVT's that I have had this past year fall in this timeline....

October 2012 - Lasted for an hour and had to have adenosine conversion by paramedics.

January 2013 - Lasted for 15 minutes and converted on my own.

June 2013 - Lasted for 20 minutes and converted on my own.

July 2013 - Lasted for 5 seconds and converted on my own.

August 2013 - Lasted 7 minutes and converted on my own.

In all of the cases above my SVT's were triggered either by slouching or bending at the waist.  My new focus will be to eat smaller and more frequent meals and bend at the knees.  It's better for my back anyway,  right?

I would be the happiest person on this earth if I could go many months without an SVT, and avoid medication, or surgery by these two relatively simple lifestyle changes.  I'll keep you posted.

On the conversion front, vasal vagal maneuvers have never worked for me.  Even when I had the paramedics with me helping me do them in October, they didn't work.  Vasal vagal maneuvers just make me more panicky, because they aren't working.  At the suggestion of others who have successfully converted on their own consistently, I have learned that sitting or lying down quietly to quiet my speeding heart works best.  I can't be thinking about the SVT.  I have to have my mind occupied with something else, and in the last six conversions that's what happened.  Someone in the family said something to get my mind off of it, and it converted on it's own.  I also drink five 8 oz. glasses of water and take a magnesium pill.  I don't know if it's the water, the magnesium, or the quieting, but I will continue to do all three because all three are good for me.

I will say that the conversion is one of the best feelings in the world when it happens on it's own.  More updates to come.

Are you dealing with SVT?  Please know that if you are, you are not alone.  I have concern and care for anyone who deals with this condition.  I hope that together we can all come up with a non-surgical/non-medication solution for this, but it helps to know you are not alone.

Boy, I am a lot more calm about this condition than I was a year ago.  I still hate it, but I'm not as anxious as I used to be about it.

I'll let you all know if I have anymore after trying my new changes.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Off of Bystolic and on with Living

My husband has been off of bystolic for a month now.  Yesterday, this is what he spent his day doing.....

Because his low-fat plant based diet is giving him a good number count, and because the Bystolic was making him not want to exercise, he was weaned off it to see if he would regain his energy, because all he wanted to do was be a couch potato.  Now off of it, he has regained his drive (no pun intended) for living and doing again, and he took on the huge project of restoring our Suburban.

We are grateful for doctors who listen and have faith in him to live this lifestyle.  By the way, the 55 pound loss was making it really hard for him to keep his jeans up yesterday.

Time to go shopping.

How to Tell if Your Health Guru is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Since 2008,  I have extensively studied the writings and tested out the diets of four medical doctors who promote plant based diets that claim to reverse disease.  My online interactions with these doctors and study of their books, listening of there tapes, and watching of their YouTube videos have taught me a lot about how to tell if they are conspiring for money, or generally hoping to reach and help as many people as possible.

Here are the characteristics that I have learned that are warning signs of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

1.  They charge exorbitant amounts of money for you to gain full access to their program.  I don't mean huge amounts of money to buy their books or tapes, per say,  but to gain clarification of their program you have pay a subscription on the their web site to have access to them, or staff that they have hired to take their place in giving you further counsel.

2.  They promote themselves in various forms on TV, i.e. public television.

3.  They show up on Doctor Oz on a regular basis

4.  They fail to provide studies or concrete evidence that their findings do as they say.  Maybe their theories are too new to provide data, which is a warning sign because the other doctors have data dating back to ancient times because they have studied the human population and have found what promotes longevity.

5.  They make generalizations in their claims.

6.  They have an online store that sells vitamins.  I mean if you need to sell vitamins, then can the diet stand on it's own in giving you all of the nutrients that you need?  And if you are taking a supplement, then how do you know if it's the supplement of the diet that's doing the trick?

7.  Their books cost more than $20.00 on Amazon, or they sell DVD's, books, and cassette tapes in one package for one to education themselves on the program.  If you need to digest that much material to learn the program, than how easy is it to follow, and to remember how to live on a daily basis?  A healthy diet plan should be so cut and dried that a person could easily know what is fine to eat and what is not, even if they are miles away from their resource materials.

8.  They make general promises with amazing claims like.... "if you need a stent and delay your angiogram for 12 weeks, you can avoid surgery by following my program".

9.  If you make a comment derogatory to their claims on their public media or social media sites, they delete it.  I mean if they truly have faith in their program and that their claims can hold up to scrutiny than they shouldn't feel threatened by any dissenting views, and they can feel confident that consumers can decide for themselves.

10.  They get very defensive when placed in a debate with another health guru on the topic of which diet is best.

11.  They contradict themselves.

12. They provide point systems for you to decide which foods to eat.  One should not have to count anything when deciding what foods to eat.  They should be able to know right off the bat if that food should go  in their mouths or not, and that food would be nutritious no matter what their score is, and the person would know it immediately without having to think about it.

How to tell if your guru is not a wolf in sheep's clothing....

1.  His success in helping others has stood the test of time.  Meaning that before he puts his information out there, he has patiently gathered his data over years, and proven it out before writing and publishing a book on it, and after that book has been written and published the public seeks him out to provide testimonial and many, many testimonials can be found in many public venues.

2.  He does market things on his web site, but not vitamins and supplements, but items that help you to help yourself, i.e. cooking tips, books.  And those things are provided ala cart so you can pick and choose what you want for a reasonable price. They try to help you become more self-reliant.

3.  They don't charge a monthly subscription to gain access to their advice.

4.  They make themselves as accessible as humanly possible to the general public.  For example, one man can not address the queries of every single individual that wants to have a piece of their advice, but they will continually provide free videos online of their counsel, and make available all of the material of their program in various forms for free for those that are looking for it.  You should be able to find every piece of their program online for free by gathering from the materials they provide for free online.  Not that it will all be in one place, but you can easily put together all of the information of the program yourself by your own research by finding material they have made available, not by material that others customers have made it available.  In other words, they are truly trying to reach as many people as possible to share their message without those people having to pay money to gain their information.

5.  You find that many others have claimed to be able to talk personally to gain free knowledge from this person.

6.  High profile people that have been on their program have be shown to stay on it for a long time and appear to keep their health.  For instance, I have been following the life of one woman that cured herself of cancer following a certain health program, and she has been on the program for decades, and continues to be able to be cancer free and run marathons in her 80's.

7.  They freely associate with other health gurus that follow the same principles of access, and don't view them as a threat, but collaborate and work with them to bring more good to the world.

8.  They associate with others that help the public to gain access to knowledge for free through social media venues.

9.  The medical community has gained curiosity about their long term findings and provides resources for further studies, and in time those medical communities promote their programs, i.e. Kaiser Foundation embracing education to patients on the low-fat plant based diet for heart patients.

10.  They have many resources and studies to back up their claims.

11.  They do not delete you when you make any comments on their Facebook or blog posts that challenge their claims.   They know their program can stand on it's own and are not afraid to let their readers decide for themselves.

12.  They do not contradict themselves.  For instance, one guru said, I can cure and reverse your heart disease, and then in another sentence on his post he said, those with severe heart disease need further guidance.

13.  They practice what they preach, and have the health and longevity they are promising you.

In a nutshell, I don't care if the guru who is a wolf in sheep's clothing has a good program that promotes health or not.  If you are regularly spending money on them, they are a wolf in sheep's clothing.  And, if your guru is not accessible to you without feeling like you are shelling out money here and money there, maybe his program is not dangerous, but it could be, but maybe it's not the best that is out there, and maybe it provides health but not optimal health.

I want to say, you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to gain access to a healthy nutritional program, because healthy nutritional programs were developed over hundreds of years.  They are not developed. They are discovered and exposed. To do this, you have to be willing to stand the test of time.  You have to discover and promote what others have discovered and lived...what has worked through the ages, and then you have to use yourself as the guinea pig, practice what you preach, and then stand the test of time yourself.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Off of the Bystolic

Dh was able to go off of the blood pressure medications due to his good numbers, and due to the fact that the Bystolic was dragging him down to depression and lack of will to do anything.

He has been off of it a month now and what a difference it has made!  I have gotten my husband back.  He is happy, has his drive back, and we are now able to pursue a house building project that a month ago he abandoned due to his lack of drive.

His headaches are also gone now too.

He is still on the Simvastatin, but he no longer complains about how his is feeling.  It's been great to see him willing to do things with the boys again.