A person stands at the beginning of a long path that winds into the darkness

My Journey — A Tale as Old as Time

Hi, everyone! My name is David Advent, and I'm a new moderator and contributor for CardiovascularDisease.net. It's great to be here, and I'm looking forward to connecting with everyone. I've written previously on Health Union's Rheumatoid Arthritis Community since 2019, so I'm happy to bring some of those experiences to the CVD Community.

I wanted to share a little bit about my story to see if anyone else resonates. Weirdly, I don't have an official diagnosis related to CVD (besides high cholesterol), but I have been told that there is something wrong with my heart. My healthcare team just isn't sure what to call it.

I first noticed an elevated resting heart rate

Essentially, all of this started when I noticed that my resting heart rate became elevated out of nowhere for a period of time. Initially, I thought I had postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) because, upon standing up from lying down, my heart rate would shoot up to 115 to 120 beats per minute from a resting rate of 70 to 75; however, upon multiple tests, it was determined that I don't have POTS.

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I was alerted to the increase in my resting heart rate by my Apple Watch, actually. I have been wearing an Apple Watch since 2019, and it truly has revolutionized my fitness and my relationship with my body.

An EKG revealed a problem with my heart

At one point, my watch informed me that I had a low cardio fitness score, and looking into the data, I noticed that my resting heart rate was hovering around 79 to 80 beats per minute when previously it had been around 69 to 70. When I told my cardiologist this, he didn't seem too concerned. However, because I was concerned, he continued with a battery of tests, including an EKG, a stress test, and then an echo stress test.

The EKG showed I have a right bundle branch block, which basically means I have a small electrical problem in my heart as it pumps. The stress test and the echo stress test both came back fairly normal; the only issue I had was clinically insignificant regurgitation in my mitral valve and a clinically insignificant enlargement of my heart.

Still no real answer

Though it was interesting to hear these results — and perhaps new problems — my cardiologist said that none of these results would really explain why my resting heart rate was now slightly more elevated, nor would it explain why my heart rate would be elevated upon standing.

After over 2 months of testing, I was now at the same place I was at the beginning of this diagnosis process: no real clear answer on what was happening to my heart.

Having a name for a condition can bring relief

Essentially, my cardiologist told me to cut back on caffeine, lose weight, and get my cholesterol in check, and then I should see some differences. While these things are generally good advice, I'm not sure it will help me find the solution to the problems I've been facing with my heart, which feels frustrating.

This is a common theme with chronic illnesses, where you obviously don't want to have a diagnosis of a chronic illness, but having the name and knowing what is happening to your body is a relief because you can now do something about it. It's complicated.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading my story. If you have any similar experiences or thoughts, please let me know. I'm looking forward to connecting with you all!

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