I wanted to write an article to talk about my experience with a Heart Condition and how important it is to get checked out, even if you feel okay.
As a 21 year old Personal Trainer and owner of a Health & Wellbeing Company, I never could have imagined that I would be diagnosed with a heart condition. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about how many miles I could run or what salad was for dinner tonight in an aim to be healthy, because anybody can be diagnosed with such a condition.
After my uncle was diagnosed with a genetic disorder known as Cardiomyapathy and fitted with a defibrillator, it was a big worry when I started experiencing heart palpitations at such a young age. I fought with my mind and my body for a few days before deciding that I really needed to be checked over by someone. As a typical mother, of course my mum was panicking when I mentioned my symptoms to her and looking back, her wise words ‘its better to be checked out and have nothing wrong with you, than not to get checked out and there be something seriously wrong’ couldn’t be more true.
I booked an appointment with my local GP and funnily enough, whilst in the appointment, I was experiencing heart palpitations so my GP was able to get a true feel of how I felt when I was experiencing an episode. He sent me straight across to my district hospital for blood tests and an ECG to make sure nothing was untoward, but it was. Whilst wired up to the ECG, my heart was jumping from 50bpm to 190bpm and this lasted for about 10 minutes, although I have to say I was never too worried because I was in the right place. My doctor called for an ambulance and I was rushed up to the main hospital where I spent the day undergoing further tests. I was tachycardic all day whilst in hospital, however they sent me home and put it down to my electrolyte levels!
For the following two weeks, I tweeked my diet incase it was my electrolytes that were causing the problems and I honestly did think that it had just been a short term illness, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It all started up again (a week ago from writing this!) and so I decided that I had to go back to my GP. The episodes were much worse this time around and I was getting really bad chest pains and episodes of breathlessness, at one point my partner could even see my heart beating through my chest, scary!
I went to my GP and explained that it had all started up again and he gave me a small machine to use when I was experiencing the palpitations so that I could record my heart rhythms at the time, but that night when I went home things went from bad to worse when my partner found me collapsed on our lounge floor (I don’t remember and honestly don’t know how long I was out for). When I woke up I was hot and clammy and struggling to breath so I went straight back to my GP who sent me straight back to hospital and referred me to a Cardiologist.
After further tests and ECGs, the doctors diagnosed me with WPW Syndrome and started me on a course of Verapamill to control my heart rate. I am yet to have a further appointment with the Cardiologist, but I have been told that in order to continue my career as a Personal Trainer, Catheter Ablation will most likely be the route I will have to take.
I just want everyone to know that Doctors are there for a reason, if you don’t feel right, then get yourself checked out and don’t stop looking for answers just because someone says there is nothing wrong with you as this is what first happened to me, but thankfully due to furthers episodes of palpitations and many visits to the GP, I am finally getting somewhere.
Your heart should be taken seriously and always listen to your body.