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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Hi I am not very physical active. 65 kg. 1.75

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Dr. Ilir Sharka

Cardiologist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 6652 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 28 Dec 2018 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: Hi

I am not very physical active.
65 kg.
1.75 tall.
non smoker and non drinker.

I was beginning to wonder whether I suffer from electrolyte imbalances. I haven't scheduled a test of this yet and I have never had it tested before either.

My only issue is that I am wondering if I should try eat/drink electrolytes or avoid it seeing as I don't know if first I have a problem or second whether I have too much or too few.

What makes me suspecious of thiss is that I for the last 2 years have had episodes of higher heart rate and palpitation episodes that lasts for around 2-6 hours. Normally my heart beats normally and around 55-65 bpm at rest. But after training (1-3 hours AFTER workout and not right after or during workout) even just lightly I sometimes can trigger these episodes of palpitations that feel irregular in my chest all the time during the episodes.

I've also had a change in bowel movement over the last 9-10 months now, this has been tested left and right and they have not found any cause of it and labeled it IBS. I've read that electrolyte imbalance can also cause bowel issues and connecting it with my heart episodes I wonder if this is the same.

I have also noticed that I have had a lot of muscle twitching the last couple of days. This is happening in the left upper back and the upper abdominal muscles just below the sternum bone start.

I know all these symptoms could also be caused by anxiety/stress which has been a big thing for me the last year because of the other symptoms that has caused me a lot of worries about heart and bowel related issues.

I feel also frequent pains in the sternum area, this is mainly when I have also problems with my bowel or stomach and is most frequent when I have to sleep and I've taken antacids some of the times to see if it was a solution. I don't take regular vitamins or supplements, but I've experimentet a bit with it and taken some magnesium supplement for anxiety but it's impossible for me to say if I've taken enough to not be having sufficient levels in my body.

What do you think?
Is there anything I can do before I get a test done?
Should I rather eat or avoid taking supplements of electrolytes or what do you think?
Next week I am getting a echocardiology done to see if there's something there causing this.
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Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka 28 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I would explain as follows:

Detailed Answer:
Hello Phil!

Welcome back to Ask a Doctor service!

I understand your concern and would explain that an electrolyte imbalance (due to dehydration or sweating during physical activity) could trigger all this clinical scenario (the ectopic heart beats, the palpitations, bowel disorders, muscle cramps, etc.).

But, we can not judge about this only on your symptoms. It is also necessary checking regularly your blood electrolytes, or during these episodes of palpitations (if you go to the ER as soon as these palpitations start).

Only based on these results, we can decide if it is necessary to take some extra electrolytes or not.

From the other hand, anxiety may mimic this clinical situation too. You should know that anxiety is not related to physical activity.

Sensitive persons tend to be more anxious when they are resting and not during physical activity ( as the brain in engaged with the muscles control).

I would also recommend performing an ambulatory 24-48 hours ECG monitoring in order to examine your heart rhythm trends for a prolonged time and investigate for possible cardiac arrhythmia.

You should discuss with your doctor on the above tests.

Hope to have been helpful to you!

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask me again!

Wishing good health,

Dr. Ilir Sharka, Cardiologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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