How to tell the difference between heart palpitations and a heart attack?

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My mother had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but died from a heart attack. I have always had heart palpitations since i was a teen. i was diagnosed with tachycardia years ago.

i dont have insurance, but i did have ekg a few times over the years. my heart has always come back normal. but its been a few years now.

the palpitations dont really cause my heart rate to spike, it stays in the 70s but i feel my heart skip beats, or accelerate a bit.

ever since my mother passed, when i get heart palpitations i start to panic, i feel faint, get heart burn,  and start imagining pain in my arms. 

the thing is that i get palpitations from coffee or overeating. overeating causes gives me heartburn. the faint feeling starts when i start breathing, as i read that it helps to make the palpitations to go away.

i used to get it and not care, but since my mother passed away, i feel like my stress is making the symptoms worse.

how can i know if i am truly having a heart attack? im only 33 but ive heard of people having it young, i am also overweight.

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  • Posted

    Probably a blessing that she died from a heart attack, pancreatic cancer is sooo nasty, so sorry you had to lose you mum that way, was she very worn down by the cancer.

    I would say NO COFFEE would be the order of the day for you, for some people its poison.

    I also must be just on the edge of it not being good for me as well, a couple of times I had one of those energy drinks lots of caffeine, and my heart was all over the place, and dizzy, I decided at that point I would never drink another, just to scary.

    I notice you saying about breathing, if you over breathe you can get dizzy from the build up of CO2 in your blood, as your lungs need time to exchange the oxgyen, and you are breathing so fast its not happening, try a paper bag over your mouth and nose, if you find yourself breathing too fast, except if you have been running, then you need to be breathing fast.

    As I understand it sometimes with papitations taking a deep breathe and holding it for as long as you can can put a stop to irregular heart beats.

    Your right about stress and symptoms making it worse, could some grief counseling help you.

    How long has it been since you lost Mum.

    I will give you my experience with Dad, I too was in my 30's, I grieved for him for about 2 years, often for no reason I would be in tears, something we used to do together, a lovely memory of shared favorite food, anything could trigger the grief, it is perfectly normal, we should not be losing our parents in our 30's far to young, not that it helps much, even when you are in the 60's, its hard. 

    With time you will be able to remember the good times, the fun times without that hurt, just fond memories, and even then you still get the occasional tearful moments.


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    • Posted

      Yes, i am grateful my mother passed in an instant and didnt have a long painful death.

      thanks for the advice about breathing, i was way too aware about my breathing and it was making it worse. 

      My mom passed away oct of last year, it hit me pretty hard. we were very close, and its only now that i am feeling like myself again. i still think of her everyday and cry sometimes because of memories.

      by the way, i was researching and found out that a magnesium deficiency can lead to heart palpitations. dont know if it will work, but i will try it for awhile.

      something that really affects my heart is zyrtec, which sucks because there are times i need to take it.

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    • Posted

      Oh God, losing a parent at your age is soooo hard. 

      Crying, normal I'm afraid, and if anybody tells you otherwise they don't have a clue what they are talking about, and have probably never lost anyone yet, their turn will come, its terrible when you are caught out unawares but share there will be somebody nearby who knows exactly what you are going through, I have been caught out suddenly even many years on, and ended up hugging with a complete stranger, as they knew exactly what I was talking about, and they were in tears as well.  Very healing for both of us.

      Eventually the crying does stop, and the lovely memories make you smile instead.

      Zyrtec, really keep your usage to a minimum the pseudoephedrine component of it is what is causing you problems, it has now been banned in australia, you cannot buy it across the counter, you have to get a dr's prescription. Our son when he gets a head cold needs that compenent, as his nose runs like a tap, not just a drip, but a constant stream, and nothing else touches the sides, of it, our local Dr has tried other tablets and medication, there are others out there, so check with your regular local chemist and tell him about the reaction you are getting, he may be able to give you something else.

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    • Posted

      thank you for your kind words. Out of all my siblings, ive been the one to handle is best. Even though im the youngest, im also the one that was there for her the most. we were inseperable. since we were so close, i had to experience her pain along with her. There is a slight sense of peace that shes no longer in pain. it still hits me from time to time and i'll start to cry.

      my mom prepared me, and let me know years ago what grief was like. =( she lost her mother and her brother. 

      by the way, i finally figured out what is wrong with me, i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. when my sugar is high, my heart palpitates. 

      its been hard on me, my moms health issues all started with being diagnosed with diabetes. its hitting me hard that i might be stuck walking down her same path.

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    • Posted

      I'm so glad you got back to me, time darling time, and the really sharp pain does heal. 

      Now type 2 diabetes, are you overweight, and was your mum the same. 

      You have to lose weight for you own health, I should talk, I too am overweight, but so far without the the diabetes thank god.

      But i have been to visit a dietian, find one whose advice works for you, and she gave us some charts to hang on the fridge door showing us what we should be eating, a breakfast chart, lunch chart, and dinner chart, as well as a snack chart, both me and my husband lost kilos over a few weeks by sticking to the charts, need to dig them out and hang them back on the fridge again, we have been cheating and returning to our old habits.

      Then I woke up, No biscuits, no juices, no soft drinks, and only about  2 slices of bread a day, just eating like our great grandparents did way back, lots of fresh vegetables, and not tooo much meat, and nothing pre prepared, we planted a garden with multiple types of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, parsley, chives, beans, silverbeet (spinach).

      Sister in law has done the same, she has type 2, and has lost somewhere about 30 kilos, looks amazing, and has cured her diabetes, she has given me some inspiration to lose mine as well.

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