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Is fluttering of the eyelid treatable by natural medicines?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
Some time back I noticed that at random occasions, my eye lids were gently fluttering. I could start to feel slight twinges of pressure along the outside of the skull. Then a cramping feeling across my left shoulder began. Now I'm getting a kind of squeezing pressure and a light fluttering in my heart immediately in succession, lasting between 1 and 20 minutes. It feels as if I am "able to feel my heart as distinct from the other organs", which had never happened up till this started somewhere around 2 to 4 months ago – I can’t remember when exactly it started, but I strongly believe that I noticed it fairly soon after the eye lid fluttering started happening. It can happen when I'm exercising, but even more so when not exercising (since I only spend a maximum of 10 hours a week exercising). Anyhow, there have also been some dizzy spells, and on occasion a sort of twinkling in my vision.
I recently put on about 3-4kg, which I have actually been trying to do for a year or so. I used to weigh in the high sixties to 70kg from age 19 to around 26, but I hadn't been above 64kg since 2004, when my metabolism apparently accelerated after living in the far east, until these last weeks when I suddenly weigh 66kg.
I'm male, 1.73m tall, 34 years old and have smoked for about 15 years, not more than 20 cigarettes a day, usually between 8 and 12 a day. I gave up cigarettes in 2005, switching to roll-your-own (with thick filters). I gave up roll-your-own in 2008, and started smoking a hookah water-cooled pipe in 2009 (an overall break of about a year). I have also drunk occasionally to regularly at weekends for that same period of time, and I have smoked marijuana occasionally over the same period of time. I have always enjoyed sport and played as many different codes as often as possible, which is sometimes 5 minutes in a week, but sometimes 5-7 hours in a week.
My dad's dad had a heart attack at 50, and my mom's dad had a stroke at 70-odd. My dad's mom is going strong at 91, and my mom's mom went in her sleep at 70-odd. My mom is going strong at 58, though she had angina for a time, but that seems to have passed now. She also had successful mastectomy without requiring chemotherapy. My dad is still going strong at 64. He has 2 or 3 times as much hair as I do.
There is not often a massive surge in my work-pressure, things generally tick over nicely.
I don’t often have outrageous crises or big surprises that need someone to go putting out fires. Not for a while anyway.

Do these symptoms sound particularly familiar? Is this kind of thing treatable with natural medicines?

Thanks so much.
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Valvular Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 9 hours later
Thank you for your query.

You have put forth your query in good detail and given an adequate background and past medical history.

The most probable explanation for your symptoms is an arrhythmia of the heart, probably extra-systoles. You could experience the same symptoms if you are anxious, if your BP is high, or if your fitness level is reduced.

However, this needs to be documented by ECG and correlated with your symptoms. If you have symptoms on a daily basis, a Holter monitoring test (which records ECG for a period of 24 hours) will capture the exact ECG at the time you were having your palpitations. Your treatment would depend on what is seen in the ECG/Holter report.

In addition, you need a stress test (treadmill test) in view of the fact that you are smoking. In your best interests, it is essential that you quit smoking completely.

You should also limit the amount of alcohol consumed. This is because both alcohol and smoking can produce the symptoms that you are having.

I would also urge you to check your BP, and do some preliminary/screening blood tests for sugar, lipid profile, thyroid function test and kidney/liver function tests.

The treatment is dependent on the exact diagnosis. In many cases, simple cessation of smoking and moderation of alcohol along with a good diet and regular exercise suffice. Depending on the results of investigations, sometimes drugs may be required. Sometimes there may be a need for more invasive testing like EP study, angiogram, etc.

Hope i have answered your query.. Please get back to me with the reports so that I can give you a more specific answer.

Dr RS Varma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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