Lyme Disease and Heart Problems The Connection

Lyme Disease and Heart Problems

Lyme disease and heart problems seem to walk hand in hand.

Since the early days of my sickness, I have struggled to right the crazy heart rhythms and blood pressures that have plagued me. In the beginning, Isoptin was my drug of choice.

Commonly used to lower high blood pressure and regulate heart rhythm, it did nothing to ease my problems. So, I let it fall by the wayside and dealt with my tachycardia and PVC issues on my own.

Over the years there have been frequent episodes of my heart beating so fast that I thought it would literally fly out of my chest. I have had so many echocardiograms I’ve lost count. Holter monitors and heart rhythm logs failed to catch my heart at its worst.

Every EKG I have had demonstrates a left bundle branch block, which puts me at risk of death if I ever have a heart attack. I have had nuclear studies and they have tried to convince me to have a heart catheterization which I promptly refused.

I have heard diagnosis after diagnosis, some scary and some benign. Pulmonary hypertension was perhaps the scariest train of thought, but I got a second opinion and the consensus right now is leaning towards the mild end of the spectrum.

Tachycardia and blood pressure issues are the bane of my existence. Throw in a bit of costochondritis and you have a recipe for misery.

My first cardiologist insisted that I had a very large heart. I immediately sought a second opinion only to learn that it is indeed thickened but not enlarged as once believed.

Left Bundle Branch Block

I was diagnosed before my thirtieth birthday with left bundle branch block, which is a delay or blockage of electrical impulses to the left side of the heart.It is rare in young, healthy people. Left bundle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently.

Slow heart rates and irregular heart rates are a few of the symptoms that go along with this condition. Some times my heart will beat at right around 60 beats per minute which is a perfect resting heart rate, but not if you are up and about trying to live your life. It makes me dizzy and nauseous.

Left Bundle Branch patients have a high mortality rate after having a heart attack. It is most often caused by an underlying heart condition and even rheumatic heart disease. Long story short, left bundle seldom occurs in a healthy heart. Those who have left bundle block are at a higher risk for heart disease.

Left bundle is much more worrisome than right bundle block, as it can point to significant underlying heart disease. It is also more common in middle-aged and older men, than women. Which makes me a bit of a mystery unless of course you realize that I have Lyme disease, the culprit that my doctor believes is behind my heart damage.

Lyme and heart block often run together. The bottom line is that Lyme disease damages hearts. The results from a recent nuclear heart study showed that my heart has signs of rheumatic damage, which my Lyme doctor believes is more accurately “Lyme damage.”

High Blood Pressure

This past year, high blood pressure has been one of my primary struggles. I of course was prescribed blood pressure medication to control it. I was told it is important for me to take it because high pressures have already caused my heart to thicken.

Upon taking this medicine, my blood pressure plummeted. I’m talking like in the toilet, plummeting so low I can barely function. I am a walking contradiction, first one way and then the other.

Low Blood Pressure

What is a girl to do? This week my pressures have been running so low, that I am at the risk of fainting. One minute they will be normal, within seconds they will plummet extremely low. I get shaky and weak. My head feels fuzzy and I have to lay down.

Recently, the room got hazy and I just knew that I was seconds away from a dead faint. Thankfully after a cup full of hot tea and a rest, the haze lifted and my pressure returned to a more manageable low.

Lyme Disease & Blood Pressure Problems

The connection between Lyme Disease and Blood Pressure

I was so worried that I contacted my Lyme doctor. He immediately told me that my Lyme disease is interfering with my aldosterone production. Aldosterone helps regulate sodium and potassium levels in the body. It also helps to regulate blood pressure. It is super important.

Apparently low aldosterone levels are a marker of adrenal fatigue which is common in Lyme patients. The recommendation is that I add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to 8 ounces of water three times a day. It has not been long enough for me to see if this will actually help, but I am hopeful.

Until then here I am on the couch, waiting for a reprieve.

How about you? Have you experienced heart problems related to Lyme disease?

To read more about my journey with Lyme disease you can read here:

A Day in My Life With Lyme Disease and A Window Into The Isolation of Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness

Keep Encouraged

 

 


21 Responses to Lyme Disease and Heart Problems The Connection

  1. Donna says:

    Gosh it’s all so scary, isn’t it? Sorry that you have been dealing with this. I haven’t had palpitations in a long time, thankfully. I used to get them quite frequently and it’s horrid.

    Interestingly, my HR has been pretty normal but this past I’ve been feeling a bit crap and even the simplest of things has seen my HR go over 100, when normally it would be in the 70s for example.

    I sometimes wish I knew exactly what was going on. Anytime I’ve seen my GP I get an answer of anxiety. But, to me, it’s definitely physiological.

    I’m definitely planning on mentioning this to the doctor I am seeing privately to get his view.

    I hope you find that the salt water helps. I wonder if it is a potassium thing too whether drinking coconut water would be helpful?

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Donna,
      It is scary! I hope your doctor can help you figure out the cause. Here lately I have had an inordinate amount of chest pain, but since I have costochondritis I never know if it is that or angina. It is a terrible thing to be so unsure. I have heard the word anxiety so many times, but since I have a thickened heart, etc…I believe all of mine is physiological too! It’s strange how one doctor contradicts the next one. Leaves the patient feeling confused. The salt water has helped a little. My potassium runs low, so I will have to try coconut water. I hadn’t thought of that! Thank you for the suggestion. Blessings and thank you for reading and the encouragement. Valerie

  2. Wow. I am learning so much from your posts. I am sure it is hard for you to keep up with the blog, but please keep writing! It gives me motivation to face my day– if she can go through this I can suck it up!
    You’re an inspiration! Keep fighting!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Liz, Thank you for your lovely, encouraging comment and for reading. You are so right, writing for my blog is a battle. But, then I receive wonderful comments like yours and I want to keep writing. I have really enjoyed reading about your RV journey. It is so fascinating. Hope your weekend is wonderful. Blessings, Valerie

  3. Prayers are with you Valerie. I’m truly sorry for your continued health struggles due to Lyme disease – and “friends”. Hoping reprieve will come your way – and soon. Stay strong lovely! 💚💚💚😘
    Terry Mayfield recently posted…Reflection. Pressing Pause. Hopefulness.My Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Terry,
      Thank you so much dear friend. I truly appreciate the well wishes. I am so hopeful that this treatment will do some good. Hugs and hope your week is going well. Valerie

  4. Tonya says:

    In all my testing I never tested positive for Lyme disease but with pots/eds/mcad my hr & bp go all over the place, too. So far the haven’t found anything anatomically wrong with my heart. It’s that my autonomic nervous system is dysfunctional, It’s frustrating and scary for sure.

    I am attached to salt as well. I drink an electrolyte drink throughout the day and salt everything I eat to no end. I hope salt loading helps you. You could try salt tablets, they are hard on the stomach though

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Tonya,
      I totally understand having a dysfunctional nervous system as Lyme has really done a number on mine. So far the salt is not really doing much good. I’m a little afraid of it, since my BP shoots up extremely high at times before it plummets. Sending you well wishes and encouragement, Valerie

  5. Lisa Ehrman says:

    Oh, this sounds terrible! It’s amazing how many chronic illnesses also have co-morbid heart conditions. I hate to hear that for you. Thanks for sharing all this great information.
    Lisa Ehrman recently posted…Valentine’s Day Gift GuideMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Lisa,
      Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. It really is something how many conditions are accompanied by heart problems. Blessings and have a lovely week, Valerie

  6. Brittany W says:

    I don’t have Lyme disease, but I have chronic low blood pressure from dysautonomia. It’s so scary when you think you’re going to pass out!
    Brittany W recently posted…Cashew Vegan CafeMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Brittany,
      I know! Passing out is the absolute worst, you feel like death. I’m so sorry that you are struggling with LBP too. It really is a terrible symptom and it can wreak so much havoc on your daily life. Wishing you all the best, thank you so much for reading and the lovely comment. xoxo Valerie

  7. Lynn says:

    Valerie, you are the only other person I know whose doctor told them to take salt water. Here we are, most people being told to limit salt, and my doctor told me to take a teaspoon in water each morning due to my BP being so low. Of course, I don’t have the scary block that you have. I am sorry you have to deal with that. Mine was just very low BP. Thank you for explaining the LBBB. I have typed about that for years but did not really know anything about it physiologically. Love and hugs to you!! Lynn
    Lynn recently posted…Beautiful Antique Cupboards Galore!My Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dearest Lynn,
      I my goodness, I am so sorry that you are struggling with LBP too. It really is quite horrible to deal with! I hope the salt water works for you, so far it has made little difference for me and now my BP is having dangerous spikes. It is sort of one of those situations where I’m darned if I do and darned if I don’t. LBBB is a pain, mostly I worry about my heart health and the possibility of a fatal heart attack later on in older age. Love you and hope your week is lovely, Valerie xoxo

  8. Kim says:

    I have never been tested for Lyme Disease but after reading this post I think it’s time. I have fibro but so many are finding that lyme is the underlying cause to the fibro. Just in the past two months I’ve been having irregular heart beats. It will beat really fast and make me light headed and at times feels like it skips a beat. My daughter has POTS so I assumed that I may have it as well, however, this makes me think lyme is worth checking into! I hope they can figure out something to help. It’s so scary to have your heart do crazy things and have to worry you may have a heart attack. Hope the salt helps!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Kim,
      I would totally get a Lyme test! I have often thought that I might have POTS along with my Lyme. But, my doctor believes that at least 90% of my heart issues are Lyme related. I hope you can find some answers soon, sometimes the not knowing is just as stressful as all the rest. Hugs and hope your week is lovely, thank you so much for reading and the sweet comment. Valerie xoxo

  9. Brenda says:

    Wow, that’s too bad that heart problems are linked to lyme disease. I hope your doctor finds something to help, because it sounds scary!
    Brenda recently posted…How To Compare Grocery Store PricesMy Profile

  10. Kami says:

    Oh Valerie I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with all of this. It sure adds extra layers to what is already a challenging life of battling illness. I also have low blood pressure and tend to have a lower heart rate also. Palpitations and feelings of passing out are quite scary! Sending you gentle hugs while you rest and wait for relief, dear one. 💜

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Kami,
      Thank you sweet friend for your kind thoughts. Low blood pressure is the pits, I’m so sorry that you are dealing with it too! Hope your week is absolutely lovely. Blessings, Valerie

  11. Sabra says:

    Good tips. When you truly want spectacular skin, do the same things you might do to boost your cardiovascular system, maintain a healthy weight, lift your mood and live longer and better: Get frequent exercise, sleep enough and eat good food.

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