Take a look on any fibromyalgia symptom board and minor heart irregularities linked to a possible autonomic nervous system response seem to top the charts. I have been personally told, by my primary physician, that these specific palpitations and irregularities may be stemming from diet, stress, and lack of exercise.
Yet, I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day. I weight lift at least once a week, and I keep to a very strict diet. Still weight loss and gain show common discrepancies. Simply put, nothing seems to work consistently all the time. The doctor even went so far to say that my strict, healthy diet may be harboring the genetics to lower my metabolism. Which in all fairness to him, is more than likely true. Nonetheless, he ordered some routine testing and a trip to the cardiologist.
Seven years ago, when I first harbored the initial symptoms of fibromyalgia I had heart irregularities. I was sent for the same workup. This same workup stumped my primary and specialists showing no heart abnormalities. Today, the first of the two referrals popped up with some minor issues. The heart x-ray showed some plaque to my aorta, and the EKG showed some minor shifts from the first one completed in 2011. The verdict on a recent phone call from the nurse stated, "I have the lab results from your recent testing......... Have you made an appointment with the cardiologist yet? The doctor wants me to impress the importance that you need to see the specialist immediately."
Of course, I went on an internet research spree and I now share with you a recent scientific study posted in Fibromyalgia News Today by Magdalena Kegel -
Fibromyalgia is common among patients with chronic heart failure, according to research from Australia, which demonstrated that the condition was linked to poorer health outcomes.
Cardiac failure patients with fibromyalgia were also more commonly affected by other diseases believed to stem from so-called central sensitivity — abnormal brain and spinal cord responses to sensory stimuli.
The finding that fibromyalgia is common in this patient group provides an opportunity to address not only heart failure, but also fibromyalgia symptoms, the research team from Monash University School of Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, argued.
The study, “Fibromyalgia has a high prevalence and impact in cardiac failure patients,”was published in the European Journal of Rheumatology.
Earlier research showed that fibromyalgia often coexists with other chronic diseases, ranging from autoimmune conditions to infectious diseases such as hepatitis.
Patients with coronary artery disease, a heart condition in which blood vessels become blocked with plaque, often have fibromyalgia. A study found that the severity of fibromyalgia followed the severity of the heart disease.
But there had been no data, until now, on the prevalence of fibromyalgia in patients with cardiac failure, the Monash research team noted.
The team recruited 57 heart failure patients, of which 63.2% were men. The average age of the group was 70.3 years. These characteristics differ from typical fibromyalgia patients, which are mainly younger women.
Among them, 22.8% fulfilled diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. Even more — 31% — had widespread musculoskeletal pain, with at least 11 tender points. In addition, 19.3% had depression. When this number was split for those with and without fibromyalgia, slightly more patients in the fibromyalgia group were affected by depression.
Patients with fibromyalgia and heart failure scored worse on all aspects of a general health assessment, compared to patients with only heart failure.
Researchers found that the severity of fibromyalgia was related to the severity of general health impairment, with more severe fibromyalgia linked to worse physical and mental health.
“This finding highlights the broad and significant effect [fibromyalgia] has on all aspects of well-being,” researchers wrote.
In addition, the team found that all other central sensitivity diseases investigated, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, irritable bowel disease (IBD), headache, and chemical sensitivity were more common in people with both heart failure and fibromyalgia.
The results support the idea that fibromyalgia is caused by an increased central nervous system sensitivity, researchers said.
They now hope that the recognition of fibromyalgia in patients with heart failure may lead to better outcomes for these patients.
I leave you with some closing thoughts. My doctor did not order my recent tests because he noticed a heart irregularity from my office visit.
I went into this visit noticing and voicing that my heart palpitations seemed to be coming more frequent. I expressed this to him immediately when he first sat down. He quickly went to my patient file and noted it had been sometime since my last full lab workup concerning heart issues. His response was, "Hmmmm..... let's get you another set of referrals to see what's going on and to be on the safe side." This was due to the fact I expressed to him my concern over the recent article I posted titled "Fibromyalgia Often Exists with Other Diseases".
Doctors are not magicians. They can't always accurately diagnose your list of symptomologies without input from you. Don't assume because you've been told, "It is probably the fibromyalgia that's causing this...." as full credit. Do your research, know your body, and keep questioning. At all costs, keep questioning - it could save your life.