Tuesday, December 13, 2011

matters of the heart (part 1) - snoring?

So... last week at this time I was waking up in the hospital, with hardly any decent sleep.

I was diagnosed with a condition called atrial fibrillation, which is where the top chambers of your heart beat erratically compared to the lower chambers. It results in an irregular and faster heart rate. I felt like my heart was pounding all the time, and it was. I was doing about double time.  I was told that it is not related to diabetes.

My doctor had me drop in (no appointment, just walk-in whenever) on Thursday to check my stats and see how I was. While I was there he called and got me an appointment to see a cardiologist, because I had never seen one while in the hospital. The next day I was in the office and having a chat with a young doctor. He listened to my story, asked some questions, and put in requests for further tests. I will be doing a day on a heart monitor, a stress test, and a sleep study. He wants to get more information and rule some things out. He said it may have been a one time episode, and I might not even need the beta blockers I'm taking right now.

I was intrigued by the idea that it might have been caused by sleep apnea. I have started snoring this year, and Carol has influenced (!!) me to start sleeping on my side to stop it. I have been doing some reading about it and am realizing that it's a very common problem and a lot of health issues are caused by sleep disorders. I would like it if it were that simple. Just fix the sleep, and everything else will fall into place. I don't have the impression that my snoring is the type that stops my breathing, but that's what they all say...

Anyway, in the next month or so I'll have those tests done and get a bit closer to understanding what's going on.

I had to reduce my dose of beta blockers this week because my heart rate had eventually dropped over the weekend, into the 40s. I'm no olympic athlete, so that was a bit too slow. I felt woozy and lethargic at that uber-chill pace. Barely awake.

One more thing... I like both my primary doctor and this new cardiologist, a lot. A new generation of doctors is emerging. They are young, and they know how to work with people. They listen and go out of their way to make things work for you. It's great.


  1. My grandfather had the kind of snoring that stopped him from breathing and he knew it, because he would wake up from not being able to breathe. It created a real problem with his sleep.
    I hope your sleep is easy to fix. Sleep is great!

  2. Keep us posted on what you learn about this...