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Chuck Find out more about Chuck
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  • triggers

    what sets off a bout of symptoms for you? anything? or are your symptoms just random? (or constant, for that matter)?

    I've seen a couple of passing comments in other threads about "heavy meals". I thought that was a trigger for me, at times. I mentioned it to my doc and he sort of shrugged it off, like it was just a coincidence. But there is one thing that is almost guaranteed to kick off a period of "racing/pounding heart": pepperoni pizza. I can get away with a slice or 2...but any more than that, and I'll be THUMP THUMP THUMPing away the evening. (The beta-blockers seem to keep this in check...but I can still sense that my heart "wants" to take off...hard sensation to describe.)

    something else I discovered recently...or at least I think I've discovered...aspartame. over the years, I've occasionally had angina-like chest pains, even while on medication like the ccb's or the b-blockers. I used to put away large quantities of caffeinne-free diet coke. I gave that up a couple of years ago, and replaced it with selzer. I haven't kept a log, but I seem to experience these chest pains much less...if not at all now. But occasionally, I might have a diet-coke, if the soda machine is out of my usual selzer, and there seems to be a link. too much "dc", and I'll have some chest pains.

    anyone else?
    dx'd HCM @age24, (1989) |Gene + |no family history

  • #2

    Know what you are talking about with the Pepperoni pizza. For me it was always popcorn at the theater. I love salty buttery popcorn but had to give it up because I would be so miserable from it I would miss the movie.
    NEMC's (Boston) First Myectomy 7-22-2003


    • #3

      I have discovered that eating a heavy meal - or a high carb meal - will really set me off. I dizziness, SOB, chest pain, racing heart etc. when I eat like that. So I limit what I eat.

      You probably know your body better than anyone else, so don't be afraid to listen to what it is saying. The symptoms are doing their job in passing on important messages. All the same it is a bummer when there are so many good foods out there to be eaten.


      God Squad co-moderator
      Nothing is as gentle as strength and nothing is as strong as gentleness


      • #4
        Hi Chuck,

        You're not alone. It seems to be different for all us, but for me triggers for A-fib are usually these:

        - Dairy products - milk, cheese, butter
        - Chinese restaurant - may be some of the ingredients
        - To much of a good thing - coffee :P
        - Any sudden physical exertion with a full stomach - guaranteed
        - To much of another good thing - chocolate
        - Skipping meals
        - The dentist - but you don't need HCM for that
        - McDon* - hey don't let them read this or i'll get sued

        Just to name a few. Live itself can be pretty stressy to.

        \"Hope is disappointment postponed\"

        Dx in 2004, first symptoms 20 years ago? Obstructed, A-fib, family history!

        Combined Morrow and (left atrial) Maze procedures & PVI at St. Antonius Hospital, Netherlands, March 28, 2013.

        Meds (past) propranolol, metoprolol, disopyramide, sotalol, amiodaron, aspirin, dabigatran, acenocoumarol.

        Meds (current) sotalol, dabigatran, furosemide.


        • #5
          Chuck ,

          Yeah it is like climbing up a steep hill with an HCM heart.

          Reason for increase in symptoms: during digestion the circulatory system has to shunt larger blood supply there as it is needed to get the digestive system stoked up and moving to do its job . Larger meal = more circulation and time required. Why is this significant? Well the HCM heart ( left ventricle) has a problem filling adequately due to its inability to relax properly. It is dependant on a good volume or supply of blood to do this. During digestion or any other activity that demands a portion of circulation to get the job done there will be an impact on the HCM heart as with increased heart rate, sweating , SOB and any other symptom specific to each individuals uniqueness. Normal heart individuals are not aware of the changes because their hearts can rise to the added demand and adjust rather quickly without making the person feel yukky.

          I do not have any info on aspartane except that many have found they have allergies to it and there have been reported migraine headaches by some individuals. I quess if something makes you feel bad , you are correct to avoid it.

          Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
          Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
          Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
          SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
          [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
          Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
          Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
          Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin


          • #6
            salt. that's what I was thinking might be the "key" ingredient, here.

            I don't recall a problem with chineese food, in general. but I do remember a specific instance where I had some very "salty" hot & sour soup that really set me off. wondering if "MSG" could be a culprit...or certain types of sodium.

            I understand why a heavy meal might cause a problem. (big meal=increased circulatory demand in the digestive tract=more load on the heart). but specific ingredients?
            dx'd HCM @age24, (1989) |Gene + |no family history


            • #7
              Salt is definitely at the center here. Not just salt as you think of table salt either. There are many salts like MSG in Chinese food is a form of salt as is potassium. The body needs these but the human diet is generally way overboard on salt and way under in hydration. My key has always been salt nothing...go with the natural salt that food has, be careful of things like pizza or Chinese foods and drink water like crazy.
              NEMC's (Boston) First Myectomy 7-22-2003


              • #8
                Hey on the Diet Coke is it caffeine free too? If it's not that could be the culprit.

                Mary S.


                • #9
                  Triggers for me:

                  Too much to eat
                  Eating and then trying to exercise right away
                  Eating too late, close to going to bed
                  Dehydration--I need to drink lots and lots of water (+I drink water when I feel my heart even begin to flutter...)
                  Heat, as in hot weather--didn't know that until this summer because I live in a really moderate place, but it got into the 90's last summer and I was good for nothing
                  Caffeine and chocolate are possibly no good
                  Sudden exertion--starting uphill quickly, but have fair stamina starting slow and going moderately
                  Getting too tired, exhausted

                  Any two or more of the above at one time and I'm sunk.

                  But other things people mention are triggers for them don't bother me--dairy is one of the easy things for me to eat, for instance. Salt isn't a problem. I'm sure I eat way less salt than a "typical" American diet, but have never felt a problem when I eat it; my cardiologist said this was about the only heart condition he'd recommend that if you want salt go ahead and eat it, as it is important in maintaining hydration balance in your body.

                  On the forum people discuss alcolhol as being a big no; I've never had much tolerance for it; maybe HCM is part of that.

                  I guess it is about learning what stresses your heart too much and paying attention to it. The good news for me is that if I pay good attention and back off of the trigger situations, I don't have very much a-fib, few times a year. When I do, I try to figure what pushed too hard and change it if I can. But that's my experience and it is different for others, as you'll learn reading here.

                  My original cardiologist just shrugged all this stuff off, he didn't have a clue about it.

                  Lisa I.


                  • #10
                    Mine is pasta and Ice cream or any type of seafood, I started feeling bad this afternoon after I ate some Ice cream and I'm still miserable

                    Diagnosed 2003
                    Myectomy 2-23-2004
                    Husband: Ken
                    Son: John diagnosed 2004
                    Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

                    Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9