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HCMA FORUM ARCHIVE
12-17-2002, 11:29 AM
[Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Ralph King (---.s45.tnt2.annp.md.dialup.rcn.com)

Date: 04-16-02 12:40

Hi,

I am 62 years old and was diagnosed about 30 years ago. One symptom I have is if I drink more than two small glasses of wine or any alcoholic drink, I will within 2 to 6 hours get a fast heartbeat that may last an hour or more. Of course the best way to avoid this is to not drink more than one glass. Has anyone else had the same reaction?

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Brie Rodighiero (---.dialup.sndg02.pacbell.net)

Date: 04-16-02 14:53

Hi Ralph,

I'm 23 years old and I have the same reaction. I was just diagnosed about 10 months ago. In the last couple years that I have been drinking alcoholic I have ALWAYS felt my heart beat forceful and fast. I'd ask my friends if they ever felt their heart react like mine, and they looked at me like I was crazy! Now I know it's because of the HMC that my heart reacts the way it does.

I have cut down on drinking, but every once and a while I still like to enjoy a nice glass or two of red wine with dinner. But I too, feel my heart race and the next morning I will usually be very weak! So it's almost not worth it!

Best of luck to you!

Brie

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Sarah Beckley (---.dsl.mindspring.com)

Date: 04-16-02 15:02

Dear Ralph

The first time my brother and I went into atrial fibrillation was because we had some beer (him) or sangria (me). And I only had a few sips. Not even a whole glass.

Needless to say, I don't drink anymore.

Sarah

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Glen (---.com)

Date: 04-17-02 08:12

Hi Ralph, I am 52 and was diagnosed 30 years ago. At that time one of my complaints was that when I drink alcohol my heart races and goes irratic (Atrial Fibrillation). I also can get it when I have had very a big meal. The doctors back then thought I was nuts.

My cardiologist Dr Wigle who has been an HCM specialist for 40 years now tells me they have since learned that these are definite triggers for those symptoms.

I can still drink alcohol, but I must be careful of the amount and I really avoid combining drinking and eating a lot, like at a party.

However there are times when I throw caution to the wind like the week before Christmas when I had my last episode of Atrial Fibrillation, when we were hosting a Christmas party for the neighbours and did consume too much alcohol and food. When it happens I just shut down and relax and it usually goes away after a few hours.

Anyway for sure alcohol is a trigger.

Good luck and stay well.

Glen

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Glen (---.com)

Date: 04-17-02 08:12

Hi Ralph, I am 52 and was diagnosed 30 years ago. At that time one of my complaints was that when I drink alcohol my heart races and goes irratic (Atrial Fibrillation). I also can get it when I have had very a big meal. The doctors back then thought I was nuts.

My cardiologist Dr Wigle who has been an HCM specialist for 40 years now tells me they have since learned that these are definite triggers for those symptoms.

I can still drink alcohol, but I must be careful of the amount and I really avoid combining drinking and eating a lot, like at a party.

However there are times when I throw caution to the wind like the week before Christmas when I had my last episode of Atrial Fibrillation, when we were hosting a Christmas party for the neighbours and did consume too much alcohol and food. When it happens I just shut down and relax and it usually goes away after a few hours.

Anyway for sure alcohol is a trigger.

Good luck and stay well.

Glen

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: lisa (208.47.172.---)

Date: 04-17-02 10:58

This is an interesting topic, one I know personally. Drinking and HCM has been the subject of some debate in the medical community. Several years ago a group in Israel did a study that showed that obstruction increased and atrial fib/flutter was more common after drinking for those with HCM.

Strangely some people have no problem with alcohol, even large amounts, while others, like myself, can not even have 1 glass of wine with out "knowing about it".

Rule 1 Alcohol dehydrates....we know those with HCM are very sensitive to dehydration... so if you MUST have a drink...maybe it would help to drink plenty of water before during and after you have your "must have drink" ...

Rule 2 Is Alcohol really that important?????

Rule 3 If something makes you feel bad AVOID IT!

Atrial Fib is not always reversible therefore, popping in and out of a/fib can have serious ramifications........ INCLUDING STROKE... ( I refer you to Rule 2)

Thats my take on this matter....Cheers ;-)

Lisa

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Reenie (---.gate0.misawa.attmil.ne.jp)

Date: 04-22-02 19:52

Glen,

I don't have HCM, I read this board because my husband does. However, I do have mitral valve prolapse with some supra-ventricular tachycardia problems too. I know that if I have more than a couple of drinks my heart races too. I take verapamil for my heart rate. It controls the tachycardia and the palpitations really well for me. When I was a kid my heart rate was recorded at 350-400 beats per minute. I know that probably should've killed me, but since I was a kid, evidently my body could handle it. It stopped spontaneously and hasn't ever gone super fast like that again. I should mention that I rarely miss my meds now, too. Anyway, my point was that I know what the racing heart thing feels like and alcohol also is a trigger for me. Although I understand the feeling of needing a drink occasionally, please avoid as much as possible.

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Jake D. (---.monkeys.com)

Date: 04-22-02 21:38

Greetings Ralph,

You'll have to excuse me. I just started writing on this message board and maybe it's just me, but it seems like everywhere I look I'm seeing more and more evidence of exactly what happened to me, which is to say a formal diagnosis of HCM, but _also_, as an extra added attraction, a serious (but intermittent) case of atrial fibrillation on top of the HCM.

Other people in this thread mentioned a-fib (atrial fibrillation) already, so it would seem that I'm not the only one who's thinking that that may be what's causing what you describe.

You may want to read the other thread I started here about A-Fib and HCM together. Meanwhile, here's my free advice for anybody who has been diagnosed with HCM and who occasionally and/or in certain circumstances (e.g. after drinking) feels a serious bout of palpitations and shortness of breath:

#1) WHEN THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING TO YOU, go to the local ER and ask them to do an EKG. A-fib is, as I have learned, one of those things that even cardiologists don't (can't?) really look for. Somebody just has to catch you while you're in it (and then get an EKG strip chart of it while it is happening) or else nobody will know or believe that you actually have it. (The ER people will probably want to check you in, but you can just blow them off and go home if you are feeling well enough and if all they see on the EKG is a-fib. A-Fib is _not_ life threatening

_unless_ it causes your ventricles to start fibrillating too.)

If you do have a-fib, then your cardiologist should definitely be informed of that fact, because this may make a big difference in terms of your medications and your overall treatment.

#2) What I'm just learning now, after literally YEARS of a-fib on top of HCM, is that diet may make a HUGE difference. In particular, multivitimins and getting lots of fruits and vegetables (especially bananas and oranges, good sources of potassium and magnesium) may make a really big difference. Your milage may vary, of course, but hay! Eating a banana a day never killed anybody. So what the heck! Try eating two bananas and two oranges 24-36 hours before your next drink and see what happens. Think of it a home science project. :-) Report your findings here.

P.S. In answer to your original question, yes, I've had the same reaction. I had _one_ beer about six days ago, and one hour later I was in a-fib, again. (I'm 48 and I was disgnosed 23 years ago, so you and I aren't that different. Keep in mind that now you've had about 30 years or more where your left atrium has had to work extra hard because of the problem with your left ventricle. That tends to cause the left atrium to become enlarged which can, in turn, lead to a-fib.)

P.P.S. I read somewhere that alcohol sucks the magnesium out of your body. Just another possible connection that I thought I should mention. Eat oranges! Eat bananas! They're good for you anyway, and they're delicious.

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Ralph King (---.s51.tnt1.annp.md.dialup.rcn.com)

Date: 04-23-02 06:33

Thank you all for your informative responses to my original comments regarding high pulse rate and drinking wine, etc. Any time I have told my physicians about this problem I was looked at with a "so what" look!

If it wasn't for my step-daughter who is a second year resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, I would have continued in my blind acceptence of my current medical treatment. Kelly urged me to get another opinion regarding HCM and I am thankful I've found this website and I thank Lisa for her work and care for others with the disease.

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Craig (---.dsl.sfldmi.ameritech.net)

Date: 04-25-02 09:46

I just saw Dr. Lever at Cleveland Hospital this past week. Despite non-obstructive HCM, and being relatively asymptomatic, Lever was adamant in his oppposition to me EVER drinking alcohol again. Now, while I understand Lisa's points about "why bother if it's not good for you?" I am very curious about the sciene behind Lever's recommendations. What specific studies are out there about alcohol and HCM? Lisa mentioned one in Israel, can someone give me the specific study, website, etc. for me to read?

Giving up alcohol completely just seems a bit extreme to me, possibly too conservative a prescription. Whatever happened to the "wine is good for the heart" concept?

Thanks,

Craig

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Lisa (---.dyn.optonline.net)

Date: 04-25-02 17:57

Hi Craig,

Regarding your questions about alcohol and HCM, unfortunately the scientific literature is very limited. The alcohol basically affects the HCM heart in two ways, it is a vasodilator and alcohol on it own can cause arrhythmias. The problem with vasodilation is the fact that your veins become larger yet there is no fluid in your system to compensate these larger veins this creates dehydration. Further, alcohol can cause palpitations in all people, not just those with HCM.

Why you do bring up an extremely good point, "where is the literature "I would simply antsy by saying this there are such limited funds to conduct research with that we must choose very carefully what is researched. While alcohol consumption is a part of many people's social lives, it is not a life sustaining factor. Our research dollars and time must be spent wisely. I have heard several physicians discuss this matter over the years and I would suspect in the next two to four years somebody will study it and write about it.

Until that time I would strongly recommend you listen to your physician, what happens to be a rather good one, and avoid alcohol.

Best wishes,

Lisa Salberg

President

HCMA

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[Re: Wine and fast heartbeat]

Author: Sarah Beckley (---.dialup.mindspring.com)

Date: 04-25-02 22:40

Dear Craig

I had never, ever, ever gone out of rhythm until I had ONE OUNCE (maybe 2, but more like 1.5 oz) of Sangria when I was 27. I went into atrial fibrillation. Luckily, I was put on coumadin and cardioverted without incident three weeks later. But it was a nightmare.

My brother went into atrial fibrillation for the first tiem wen he was 12 from drinking a beer. He is now permanently in atrial fibrillation --has been for ten years and is facing enlarged atria and possible future congestive heart failure because of it. And he was asymptomatic before the beer.

A very good reason to just say no.

Sarah