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Toolshed
04-18-2005, 13:42
Wondering if anyone has ever had heart palpitations while hiking on the trail?

I got one while on the AT over the weekend. I have never had one before and I collapsed on my hiking polkes for about 1 second, losing consciousness for a split second before catching my balance again.
It was absoltuelt terrifying - especially the brief pounding in my head.

Right afterward I was fine, though.
I am going to see my cardiologist this week, but was wondering if anyone else has ever been hit by one?

FWIW, it was quite warm out this weekend with no leaves to offer shelter from the sun, even though I drank 2.5 liters of water I was still feeling dehydrated.

Thanks

MOWGLI
04-18-2005, 13:51
Wondering if anyone has ever had heart palpitations while hiking on the trail?

I got one while on the AT over the weekend. I have never had one before and I collapsed on my hiking polkes for about 1 second, losing consciousness for a split second before catching my balance again.
It was absoltuelt terrifying - especially the brief pounding in my head.

Right afterward I was fine, though.
I am going to see my cardiologist this week, but was wondering if anyone else has ever been hit by one?

FWIW, it was quite warm out this weekend with no leaves to offer shelter from the sun, even though I drank 2.5 liters of water I was still feeling dehydrated.

Thanks

Scary stuff! Glad you're getting it checked out. Many people would shrug it off.

Regarding hydration. 2.5 liters is not very much if you're carrying a pack for any distance. I average about 5 liters on a typical 12-14 mile day, and that is still usually not enough.

orangebug
04-18-2005, 16:11
The 2.5 liters might even be a source of the problem if he dropped his Sodium from sweat and had some dehydration.

Depending on age, most everyone has some cardiac irregularity from time to time, but without symptoms. A skipped beat or early beat can occur. Atrial tachycardia is common enough with those who over exert and go beyond a safe pulse rate.

I doubt Toolshed had a total loss of consciousness if you were able to prevent the fall. It sounds vaso-vagal, but needs to be evaluated. Toolshed is a very responsible hiker to avoid the ultimate LNT faux pas.

MOWGLI
04-18-2005, 16:41
Yesterday I had something happen out on the trail that has never occurred before. My fingers & hands swelled up pretty badly. It got to the pint where it was difficult to make a fist. Seriously!

Within a few hours of getting home, things were back to normal. Weird! That ever happen to anyone else? Am I a goner?

Footslogger
04-18-2005, 17:27
[QUOTE=MOWGLI16]Yesterday I had something happen out on the trail that has never occurred before. My fingers & hands swelled up pretty badly. It got to the pint where it was difficult to make a fist. Seriously!
==================================================
From the sounds of things you might have had had some sort of histamine reaction (like an alergic reaction). Could have been from something you touched or ingested. Pretty hard to tell without knowing more. Good news is that it subsided on its own in a reasonably short period of time and was restricted to your hand. In other words ...you didn't have any respiratory symptoms (correct)

Gout could cause what happened but it generally doesn't clear up that fast and you'd probably know if you suffered from it.

Only other thought that comes to mind is something called "RSD" (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). You can look that one up yourself on the web.

Probably not a bad idea to talk this over with your primary care physician and have some lab work done.

'Slogger

orangebug
04-18-2005, 20:16
Yesterday I had something happen out on the trail that has never occurred before. My fingers & hands swelled up pretty badly. It got to the pint where it was difficult to make a fist. Seriously!

Within a few hours of getting home, things were back to normal. Weird! That ever happen to anyone else? Am I a goner?Both hands or just one? All fingers and thumbs? Tingling or pain associated?

I agree that it sounds like a reaction to an insect sting or other allergen. However, that just wouldn't make sense if it was bilateral.

MOWGLI
04-18-2005, 20:45
Both hands or just one? All fingers and thumbs? Tingling or pain associated?

I agree that it sounds like a reaction to an insect sting or other allergen. However, that just wouldn't make sense if it was bilateral.
Thanks Slogger & OB.

I donno. I can't think of anything other than the sourwood leaf I stuck in my mouth, and that has never affected me before. I think it was both hands, but more so in the left hand. My diet has been atrocious lately. I feel like a beached whale. Time to cut back on the moon pies, apple pies, and pie ala mode. Salad is in my future. Maybe a doctors visit too.

The Old Fhart
04-18-2005, 21:01
MOWGLI16-"My fingers & hands swelled up pretty badly. It got to the [point] where it was difficult to make a fist. Seriously!"Obviously this isn't to be construed as medical advice and there can be multiple causes that produce the same symptoms, but it has happened to me (and others) as well. I've found this occurs earlier in a long hike until your body adjusts to its new routine. Check here (http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor/hands.html) and here (http://www.ultrunr.com/handswel.html) for some more info. Try some of the suggestions in the first reference and see if they help. If not, just tell everyone you had a swell hike. :D

MOWGLI
04-18-2005, 21:10
Obviously this isn't to be construed as medical advice and there can be multiple causes that produce the same symptoms, but it has happened to me (and others) as well. I've found this occurs earlier in a long hike until your body adjusts to its new routine. Check here (http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor/hands.html) and here (http://www.ultrunr.com/handswel.html) for some more info. Try some of the suggestions in the first reference and see if they help. If not, just tell everyone you had a swell hike. :D

Thanks Old Fhart. Great links! Puts my mind at ease.

Kozmic Zian
04-18-2005, 23:24
Yea.....Palpatations. I have them everytime Heidi Clum jumps my fence when I'm [email protected]

p.s. hope that's not too sexist for ya...

Rain Man
04-19-2005, 10:39
Yesterday I had something happen out on the trail that has never occurred before. My fingers & hands swelled up pretty badly. It got to the pint where it was difficult to make a fist. Seriously!

You might try tightening your sternum strap and see if that helps. If it's too loose on some people, then the shoulder straps slide outwards and restrict veins running up the inside of the arms. Blood can run down the arms, but not back up easily, causing swelling and tingling. That's one thing the sternum strap is for.

Also, on the heart palpitations, I read a book about two months ago about a thru-hike. The author had that exact problem and had to do a zero day in a shelter, as I recall. But right now I can't remember which book it was, but it was right on point. If I recall which one it was, I'll post the title. Sorry!

Rain:sunMan

.

MOWGLI
04-19-2005, 10:55
You might try tightening your sternum strap and see if that helps. If it's too loose on some people, then the shoulder straps slide outwards and restrict veins running up the inside of the arms. Blood can run down the arms, but not back up easily, causing swelling and tingling. That's one thing the sternum strap is for.

.

Rain Man, it was a day hike, so there was no sternum strap involved.

By the way - K-Mart Sucks. And these are definitely not my underwear. Yeah, definitely not my underwear. :D

anneandbenhike
04-19-2005, 11:21
This swelling of my hands happened to me when I was NOT using my hiking poles. It was a 13 mile day hike and I had a pack on with water, snacks, raingear, and a few other small items. The straps on the pack go across your shoulders and they DO restrict the blood flow back to your heart from your arms. With your arms by your sides, they do not get the pumping action for getting blood back up your body. Your hands will swell and making a fist is difficult. It goes away soon after you are finished your hike, or within an hour or so. When I hike with poles, I NEVER get this swelling as the constant grip and release of the poles as you are walking will do all you need to get the blood flowing. The sternum strap idea is good by the straps of the pack still go across the shoulders and restrict flow a bit. If you are not a pole-using person, then try swinging your arms from time to time up over your head to keep the blood flow out of your hands and arms going. This is especially important if you are carrying a heavy pack and your hands are swelling. THere is no danger in this swelling, just a nuisance, and easily "curable".:-?

bronzie5
04-19-2005, 16:57
I AM NOT A DOCTER so do not take this as medical ADVICE. I have worked with cardiologists before and if the palps are not reoccuring i would not worry about it. They will probably give u a holter monitor( a device that monitors the heart for 24 hours) to look for PVC's (Pre-Ventricular Contractions). I also say if you have insurance go see the cardiologist for reassurance.

dp the wonder dog
04-19-2005, 23:13
On the palpatations, I had a bad problem with them 2 years ago. Kinda scary, sitting at desk or whereever...and feeling you are missing a beat -- and waiting...and waiting... for the next beat. A couple of seconds seems like a long time. After much testing (stress test, multiple EKG's that showed a different symptom each time, echocardiogram, etc), we finally figured out the problem. Too much caffine. Like a Mountain Dew twice a day, 4 or more glasses to ice tea at lunch, the same for supper...usually coke for breakfast..... cut back on the caffine, problem went away.

Maybe your diet is different when hiking -- affecting you in a similar way?

On the swelling, as ar as being bilateral not indicating an allergic reaction.... Occassionally my feet will swell up on the bottoms....never find rhyme or reason or pattern... happens to both feet almost simultaneously -- i feel them swelling.... testing could not find a reason.... but a couple of generic benedryl's will fix it in about 30 minutes, everytime. Maybe something I'm eating or breathing....it happens any time of year, any time of day or night.

walkin' wally
04-20-2005, 17:40
Jan Curran is the author of two books on the Appalachian trail. He has several experiences with heart palpitations that turned into arrhythmia. Maybe these are the books that Rain Man is thinking of. The Books are; The Appalachian Trail, A Journey Of Discovery" and "Onward to Katahdin". They are available at the ATC store at Harpers Ferry. There seemed to be a lot of info in those books. Hope this helps.

orangebug
04-20-2005, 20:11
Palpitations = physical symptoms of arrhythmias

Some folks feel their heart simply trying to beat its way out of their chest. Very unsettling.

Rain Man
04-21-2005, 15:58
I hiked with Red Hat for a couple of days in the Smokies two weeks ago. I don't think she'd mind me borrowing these posts of hers from TrailJournals, as they are so apropos to the discussion in this forum.

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=93871

Sunday April 17
Word of the Day: scared
In case you have not noticed, the sound of my last two entries has been a little melancholy. I decided yesterday that I was feeling sad because I was exhausted, so I would cut back to fewer miles and hours. Today would be a short, easy 10 mile day. Rocky and I even talked about having lunch at the diner down from the road crossing about 2.4 miles. Shortly before I got to the road crossing, my left arm went numb. I couldn't hold my hiking stick. So I switched and carried both in my right arm. Then I started to have pains in my upper left chest. I was scared! I decided that I would slowly get to the road crossing and get a ride into town.
When Sowega came up behind me, I told him that I was going to town. He asked what was wrong and I told him. He took off! By the time I got down to the road, he had knocked on a door, gotten a phone, and called Miss Janet's to arrange a ride. I felt better as soon as I took off my pack and sat down. But I went to Miss Janet's and promised to see a doctor tomorrow.


Monday April 18
Word of the Day: Normal
Went to the doctor and then to the hospital for a chest xray and EKG. Results: normal! It seems that my Golite pack was too heavy (should be about 25 and was pushing 30) so I had a nerve pinched in my shoulder. That was what caused my problems. The doctor said I was good to go!


Wednesday April 20
Word of the Day: backpack
Since my Golite Gust packed too full was giving me a pinched nerve (which we thought might be heart symptoms), I purchased a new pack. I now own four backpacks. First, I have my good old REI internal frame. It weighs over 5 lbs. Second, I have my Mountainsmith Chimera. This is a first class pack, but unfortunately, it never fit properly and was uncomfortable. I discovered in being fit for a pack this week, that I am a short torso. I am tall, but it is all in my legs! So, for this hike I purchased my third pack, the Golite Gust. It has no frame and should carry up to 30 lbs. I found that over 25 it was uncomfortable. With five or six days food, I am pushing 30. Off to the outfitters in Johnson City, TN we went to find the perfect pack for me. I wanted the beautiful purple Osprey Ariel (remember, I am a Red Hat!), but alas, it was too big. After trying five or six different kinds of packs, I settled on a grey Osprey Atmos 50. It has air vents on the back to keep my back cool. It is tight and I have to carry my tent and pad on the outside. But it fits well and should solve my problem. My hike today was very comfortable with my new pack.

Toolshed
04-22-2005, 11:14
Thanks folks.
Saw my Card yesterday. He said that with 2 sub 1-second arrythmia's 6 months apart, it would be very diffifucult to determine from which chamber they arose (upper or lower).

Suggested I could try a holter, but it probably wouldn't capture anything over a 24 hour. I had one 3 years ago before my aortic valve was replaced with no abnormal results other than extrra beats.

Told me to also watch the dehydration and the coffee and to take it easy(ier) as my echo also showed nothing that was out of the ordinary (for a valve replacement subject).

He did assure me that if they started occurring more frequently then I should have additional tests done. So I feel a lot better. Although I dread the feeling of the flutter in my chest and the split second lightheadedness that occurs.

orangebug
04-22-2005, 21:38
...Suggested I could try a holter, but it probably wouldn't capture anything over a 24 hour. I had one 3 years ago before my aortic valve was replaced with no abnormal results other than extrra beats...Harrumph!

Aortic valve replacement?

Dude, you are a set up for the occasional arrhythmia and odd sensation - especially if you get involved in an endurance sport like long distance hiking.

I suggest that you add to your next long weekend walk an extra 12 ounces of holter moniter. Maybe, just maybe, this isn't the sport for you anymore.

LNT, including don't leave a corpse on the trail.

Toolshed
04-23-2005, 22:35
Harrumph!
.... Maybe, just maybe, this isn't the sport for you anymore.

LNT, including don't leave a corpse on the trail.
Not ready to buy the farm yet Hannibel. 4 Years and almost a thousand miles backpacking and dayhiking since the new valve (not even counting bike commuting and kayaking) and this is the first occurance of any kind, which had me stumped (as well as my card).

orangebug
04-23-2005, 23:01
Which is all the more reason to do a holter on the next long weekend on the trail. If you have been doing that well for 4 years and 250 miles per year on average (I'd be surprised if you did 25 that first year with the cracked chest), then something may be changing.

Don't buy no farm, unless you grow some nice fava beans, which go so well with sauteed spleen.

love and keeping dinner warm,

Dr Lector

:eek:

pjohnson
04-24-2005, 07:34
I have the same problem Anneandbenhike described above; when I hike without poles my hands swell up, some times to the point where I cannot make a fist. If I raise my hands above my head for a minute this relieves the symptoms. When I use my poles the swelling does not happen. When I am out on a trail I adjust my poles so that my hands are at approximately the same level as my heart. This works for me, and I usually carry about 45 lbs when I'm doing a 4 to 5 day trip. I eat good on the trail.

Toolshed
04-24-2005, 08:26
....(I'd be surprised if you did 25 that first year with the cracked chest) ....
:eek:

I was a lucky one - I was out on the trail backpacking 5 months after surgery. I was also fortunate, as I was walking at least 2 miles a day 2 weeks after surgery. The other interesting fact was Cardiac centers were courting me to have surgery there. I guess Aortic replacement on a healthy person would reduce their loss statistics :)

Say, Does GoLite make a Holter??

orangebug
04-24-2005, 13:13
Toolshed, you are correct about being courted as a good prognosis patient. You were also more than lucky, as if it is good luck to need an aortic valve replacement.

I don't think GoLite has entered the medical equipment market yet. I was reading about a very light CPAP machine for those with sleep apnea, but they don't have a battery pack for it yet.

MikeG
02-27-2007, 01:09
i have had heart flutters/palpitations PVCs for about 3 years now. they happen on a daily basis. i get a skipped beat sensation, fluttering, panic feelings when they hit. since it happend everyday i started to develope a panic/anxiety disorder. i have been a boxer since i was in grade school and have been playing high school and college rubgy football. its been a real pain in the ass, and theres nothing that can fix it.

RAT
02-27-2007, 01:31
I get the hands and finger swelling thing first day out then it goes away. Only get heart palps when I climb Little Bald (Big Harry) southward on my section ;)

RAT

Frosty
02-27-2007, 11:30
Which is all the more reason to do a holter on the next long weekend on the trail. If you have been doing that well for 4 years and 250 miles per year on average (I'd be surprised if you did 25 that first year with the cracked chest), then something may be changing.I'm not a doctor, and I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I'm a retired engineer and I understand risk/benefit analysis. Sometimes, like in this case, the answer is obvious. There is great possible benefit to be derived from wearing a holter, and the only downside (besides carrying an extra pound or so) is ... I see no downside at all. Having no problems while wearing it is not a downside. It's all data.

Bodies do change. Last week after my annual physical, my doctor sent me off to have a nuclear stress test done (usual ramp stress test except one minute before the end when I'm at max heart rate, they dump some technetium into my bloodstream and later look at it radiologically). The doctor wanted to do it basically because I turn 60 in a couple months. I don't think I needed it at all, but what's the harm?

I think you did the smart thing seeing your cardiologist, and hope all is well with your heart.

Frosty
02-27-2007, 11:32
and theres nothing that can fix it.have you seen a doctor? Based on my experience when I was your age, I would not rely solely on your team doctor for medical advice.

ASUGrad
02-27-2007, 11:35
MikeG

Are you taking any medication? I find that I get the "flutters" from certain types of Blood Pressure medicine. Otherwise, I only get them when i am really tired or drink too much caffeine.

Old Grouse
02-27-2007, 11:37
I've also experienced swelling in one or the other hand - mostly just enough to notice when making a fist or grasping something. As a previous poster noted, this has never happened when using treking poles, so there's another good reason to use them.

MikeG
02-27-2007, 13:05
haha yes ive seen many doctors. i've had three EKG's, one at a walk in, one at my family doctor, and another at a top cardiologist center in metro atlanta where i also had a stress echocardiogram.

before the echo my family doctor suggested a holter moniter so i made an appointment with the sibly heart center and wore one for 72 hours.