IBD & cardiology

For a while now I have been having palpitations on and off for no particular reason. I started checking my heart rate, using a built-in app on my phone, on a somewhat daily basis shortly after my IBD diagnosis back in 2016 and noticed my resting heart rate was always above what the app said was normal for someone of my age/height/weight/gender. I didn’t think much of it because I was on a lot of meds that, for all I knew, could be causing the increase in heart rate. It was always high whenever I was admitted to the hospital too but I assumed that was due to being in hospital as well as being unwell at the time.

Skip forward to just after my first surgery, and my resting heart rate was always above 120bpm. For reference, for an average adult of my height/weight/age/gender, the resting heart rate is typically between 60 & 80bpm. I figured the 120bpm was a direct result of my surgery and after a few weeks of slowly building my weight back up, my resting heart rate dropped to around 90bpm or so.

From there, I didn’t really notice it much; it became sort of like background noise. I’d notice my heart beating really fast during and after exercise but didn’t really think much of it then either because that’s meant to happen, right?

Anyway, after having surgery for the fourth time back in July last year, I started getting sudden onset palpitations with fast breathing and a somewhat panicked feeling (a panic attack?). Again, for no apparent reason. This would last for about 2 minutes before fading, leaving me feeling drained and anxious, so I finally went to my GP. She referred me to have a 24 hour monitor, which involves wearing a heart monitor (similar to an ECG) for 24 hours that records the wearers heart rate which is then analysed by a cardiologist.

After having the 24 hour test at the beginning of the year, I finally saw a cardiologist in clinic earlier this week. They did an ECG and an ultrasound on my heart and, thankfully, everything looks normal. My heart infrastructure is fine and looks healthy, and aside from the palpitations and high resting heart rate, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong. They don’t want to try any intense treatment unless it starts interfering with my daily life but they did recommend trying beta-blockers to help regulate my heart rate. Because beta blockers can make you tired, the cardiologist said I wouldn’t have to take them all the time but could try taking them whenever I start getting palpitations.

My GP has already filled a prescription for me so I guess I’ll give them a go once they’re ready. Whether this is related to my IBD or not, I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think so as IBD can effect many parts of the body, not just the bowel. I’ll update again on this after I’ve been taking the beta blockers for a bit.

In other news, I’m going to flying to the Netherlands later this week so expect a post about that later next week. I’ll be sure to take note of how going through security goes this time compared to last time (hopefully, it’ll go just as smoothly).

This was a couple of minutes after standing, walking about five slow steps and sitting back down again.

To answer @bendywarrior ’s questions, it is much lower when I’m laid down (between 70 and 90) but this is normal for me if I’m standing or sitting down. It does slow slightly if I go from standing to sitting sometimes too.

I don’t remember if I’ve already mentioned this but I’ve had an abnormally high resting heart rate since leaving the hospital at the beginning of April. (And by high, I mean consistently higher than 110bpm).
I have since spoken to my GP and had a blood test to check my potassium levels, which came back fine, as well as an ECG. The ECG showed a regular but high heart rate of around 90-100 so they’ve referred me to the hospital out-patient cardio clinic to have another type of ECG (the proper name of which escapes me) where they put goop on your chest and use a scanner to watch your heart beating. Fingers crossed they’ll figure out what’s causing it. I’m still on prednisolone, which I know can cause a rise in heart rate, but it’s never been this high before. I’m hoping it’s nothing serious. Someone from IBDSuperheroes has suggested it could be the beginnings of POTS so I’ll talk to the doctor when I go for the ECG.

I went to the doctors for an ECG this afternoon because my resting heart rate has been abnormally high (between 100-130 bpm) since leaving the hospital. The nurse said although it’s steady, it is high so she showed my doctor and said it could be that my potassium levels have dropped again so I’m going to have a blood test tomorrow morning. I may have to start eating more bananas.