Could this just be indigestion : A fortnight... - AF Association

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Could this just be indigestion

A fortnight ago I awoke with severe pains in my chest which did not ease. After vomiting I called 111 who rang for an ambulance to take me to A&E. I was admitted to hospital where extensive tests revealed I was anaemic and had low potassium levels.

On Thursday early evening the same thing happened although it wasn't as severe so I rode it out and after a couple of hours the pain subsided.

I had a pre arranged appointment with my GP yesterday and mentioned this to her and the next thing I know I'm on my way to A&E again.

Blood tests chest Xray and ECG revealed that the heart is ok and that iron and potassium levels are acceptable.

I am not convinced that these pains are heart related and wondered whether it could be just indigestion.

Has anybody else had similar experience. My diet is good. I eat very little in the way of processed food and have my 5 a day. I can't drink fizzy drinks as so many have aspartame or caffeine in them which play havoc with my heart rate!. Before the first episode I had eaten an M&S cheese pasty which I have to say was vile and I left half of it but the second episode occurred at least 6 hours after eating a small salad at lunch.

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Would fizzy water be worth trying for shifting any trapped wind?

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I could give it a go Flapjack. I do have Fever Tree Ginger beer which is carbonated but natural.

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It may sound unlikely but I had a similar episode one evening with agonising chest pain and the paramedics came to my house to check me out. They decided it was muscular pain and I recalled doing some heavy lifting earlier in the day. I am very slight so any lifting is heavy for me! They left me at home with instructions to take paracetamol and gradually it calmed down. I am now aware that muscle pain can resemble heart attacks and worry less. Just a thought...

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It is Hennerton. I am on a phased return to work and although it sounds a bit wimpy some of the lever arch files can be heavy when over full.

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It could be a variety of things but one thing to rule out is gall bladder. Mine had to be removed last fall and the surgeon said it had been inflammed chronically for a long while. I had no symptoms until the night it sent me to the ER, but thinking back over the year, I would have occaisional episodes of vomiting, mostly at night. I too was eating healthy and was suprised to find out that was a problem.

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It could be gall bladder. I have also been prescribed additional heart meds so I wonder whether it could be one of them. So much to rule out.

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G'day Becksagogo,

Back in the day, and a feature that for me was life changing was when I identified that an AF event occurred after food, often 6 to 8 hours after consuming food. Symptoms were, not in any particular order and not all at once were; burping, massive, massive and very painful bloating focused around the left chest, flatulence, intestinal gurgling and diarrhoea. My GP at the time had bloodwork done to check for IBS and/or Coeliac Disease. I showed clear on both counts. I was offered more tests and declined. instead I consulted a nutritionist.

Next consideration is the Vagal Nerve, its a nerve in and of the central nervous system which controls the function of many organs, notably, the heart and the digestive system. Do suggest you google ... 'diagram of the vagal nerve'. You'll find some excellent schematics of where the vagal nerve wanders through the body. Vagal basically equals wandering !!

From what you say I doubt that your diet is that good. You may think it is but there is much more involved. If I had 5 to 7 fruit and veg a day I would assume permanent occupancy of the bathroom.

Following the advice of the nutritionist I went gluten free, wheat free and oats free. I looked at aspects of the FODMAPS diet but found it a bit severe and although I adopted aspects of it I left it alone.

My logic was calm the vagal nerve - calm the heart. This process took a long time and continues even now as a work in progress, I can now say that I have only had 1 AF event since April 2015. The one event I had came around 2 am on 15 Feb 2018 when I was sleeping on my left side - however - I cannot exclude the possibility that food eaten the previous evening was the underlying cause. This event lasted some 5 hours and my heart rate peaked at 149 bpm. It was all captured on my BP monitor and portable handheld ECG device. My BP took another 21 hours to return to normal.

It has not returned since then - nearly a year now. I am confident it won't return.

So my diet is aimed at calming a dysfunctional vagal nerve, not sure the cause of the dysfunction but it will be an allergy to some/many foods and their ingredients and also it can also be seriously inflamed by foods and their ingredients or a blend of both.

Now I'd always considered myself having led a fit lifestyle, and medically a fairly trouble free life, however, (I'm now 74) I can trace digestive issues back to my late 20's and early to mid 30's. At one time gall bladder was in serious contention. At the time surgery was not considered instead I was encouraged to review my diet. In those days I lived in Sydney and the lifestyle was largely BBQ's and salads. I ended up cutting out a lot of salad type foods - with success. I still have my gall bladder.

So I make these comments for what they are worth. I am not a GP, or a Nutritionist, I have no barrow to push I have simply fallen into the AF quagmire.

Hope this helps.

John

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Thank you John. I will Google the vagral nerve (google has been my best friend since being diagnosed with AF)!

Diet is a minefield. I try so hard not to eat too much in the way of processed food and although I do eat a lot of fruit and veg it has no effect in regards to my bathroom habits. I like spicy food but that doesn't seem to upset me whereas something as simple as cheese will! I guess their will be a lot of food diaries and trial and error coming up.

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Yep, cheese is a weirdo for me. Happy as Larry on hard cheeses, can't take any soft cheeses 😒

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Stomach ulcer, hiatus hernia? Really only way to tell is more tests if the problem continues, not something you would want to put up with. I had a very bad version of the 'coughing bug' and could feel I was damaging my oesophagus, had dreadful acid reflux and one episode of what I would describe as upper stomach pain though no vomiting and still have to take Ranitidine twice a day instead of once. I'm hoping it settles down on its own. Good luck with getting a diagnosis 💜

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Thank you Buffafly. The last two years since being diagnosed with AF has been such a learning curve for me. I try to pay attention to my medication and diet and sometimes feel like I am back at school. I must be one of the few people in my office desperate to put some weight on!

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Are you taking aspirin or clopidogrel? In my case these caused stomach inflammation (gastritis which can lead to stomach ulcers) which gave me severe pain and nausea. I had an endoscopy which diagnosed it. Omeprazole and a low acid diet worked for me. A lot of drugs can cause digestive problems. I hope you get a diagnosis soon.

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Hello Janet.

No, I'm not taking either of those meds although I am on quite a cocktail. I am having to watch what I eat and make notes as to what is upsetting me although thus far it has been just the two episodes.

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Do you take aspirin? I found, even thought I was taking omeprazole I still developed oesophagitis. Thankfully off it now.

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