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ME gave me a heart attack?

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Aerose91, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    I got hit with ME like a freight train 8 months ago now and since the onset have been in a terrible downward slide regardless of what I do and how much I rest. However, I recently had an EKG done and it shows that I've had a mild infarction. They then did an ultrasound and saw that I have some restricted movement and damage to the left wall of my heart. All of this is suspected from my overexerting in the beginning if the disease. By overexerting I mean simply walking to and from the car and running basic errands.

    I am 28 years old and a personal trainer. Right before this hit me I just released a fitness video so having a heart attack is not something that was ever on the radar for me. Is this an indication of how bad my disease is? Has anyone else had this?
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've not heard of this being linked to ME. I could be that whatever led to you having ME also caused problems which manifested in a heart attack? (That is just my own ignorant speculation). Could just be a coincidence?

    Sorry to hear these troubles have just hit you so hard from out of the blue. It does seem that people who have been ill for less long are more likely to improve, so fingers crossed for you.

    Personally, I think that people are probably best off just doing whatever their body feels like doing: not trying to exercise, and not trying to rest. I expect that it varies person to person though, and the more I learn about ME, the less confident I am about giving any advice to anyone.

    Best of luck with it all.
  3. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    There are known issues of patients with ME/CFS.
    Check out these links:

    http://phoenixrising.me/research-2/...sting-the-heart-stroke-volume-future-research

    http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/symptoms/a/Heart-Abnormalities-In-Chronic-Fatigue-Syndrome.htm

    http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Central_Cause:_Mitochondrial_Failure
    CFS is low cardiac output secondary to mitochondrial malfunction
    Two papers have come to my notice recently which make great sense of both my clinical observations and also the idea that CFS is a symptom of mitochondrial failure. The two symptoms I am looking for in CFS to make the diagnosis is firstly very poor stamina and secondly delayed fatigue. I think I can now explain these in terms of what is going on inside cells and the effects on major organs of the body (primarily the heart). More importantly, there are major implications for a test for CFS and of course management and recovery.

    If mitochondria (the little engines found inside every cell in the body) do not work properly, then the energy supply to every cell in the body will be impaired. This includes the heart. Many of the symptoms of CFS could be explained by heart failure because the heart muscle cannot work properly. Cardiologists and other doctors are used to dealing with heart failure due to poor blood supply to the heart itself. In CFS the heart failure is caused by poor muscle function and therefore strictly speaking is a cardiomyopathy. This means the function of the heart will be very abnormal, but traditional tests of heart failure, such as ECG, ECHOs, angiograms etc, will be normal.

    Thanks to work by Dr Arnold Peckerman www.cfids-cab.org/cfs-inform/Coicfs/peckerman.etal.03.pdf we now know that cardiac output in CFS patients is impaired. Furthermore the level of impairment correlates very closely to the level of disability in patients. Dr Peckerman was asked by the US National Institutes of Health to develop a test for CFS in order to help them to judge the level of disability in patients claiming Social Security benefits. Peckerman is a cardiologist and on the basis that CFS patients suffer low blood pressure, low blood volume and perfusion defects, he surmised CFS patients were in heart failure To test this he came up with Q scores.

    "Q" stands for cardiac output in litres per minute and this can be measured using a totally non-invasive method called Impedence Cardiography. This allows one to accurately measure cardiac output by measuring the electrical impedence across the chest wall. The greater the blood flow the less the impedance. This can be adjusted according to chest and body size to produce a reliable measurement (this is done using a standard algorithm). It is important to do this test when supine and again in the upright position. This is because cardiac output in healthy people will vary from 7 litres per min when lying down to 5 litres per min when standing. In healthy people this drop is not enough to affect function. But in CFS sufferers the drop may be from 5 litres lying down to 3.5 litres standing up. At this level the sufferer has a cardiac output which causes borderline organ failure.

    This explains why CFS patients feel much better lying down. They have acceptable cardiac output lying down, but standing up they are in borderline heart and organ failure. CFS is therefore the symptom which prevents the patient developing complete heart failure. Actually, everyone feels more rested when they are sitting down with their feet up! The subconscious has worked out that the heart has to work less hard when you are sitting down with your feet up - so we do so because we feel more comfortable!

    Low cardiac output explains the symptoms of CFS
    The job of the heart is to maintain blood pressure. If the blood pressure falls, organs start to fail. If the heart is working inadequately as a pump then the only way blood pressure can be sustained is by shutting down blood supply to organs. Organs are shut down in terms of priority, i.e. the skin first, then muscles, followed by liver, gut, brain and finally the heart, lung and kidney. As these organ systems shut down, this creates further problems for the body in terms of toxic overload, susceptibility to viruses which damage mitochondria further, thus exacerbating all the problems of the CFS sufferer. This is called POTS postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

    Dr Paul Cheney has explored this further with his work with cardiac output in CFS - see Dr Cheney on heart function

    Chest pain
    This is a common symptom in CFS. Chest pain results when energy delivery to the muscles is impaired. There is a switch to anaerobic metabolism, lactic acid is produced and this results in the symptom of angina. Doctors recognise one cause ie poor blood supply, ie the supply of fuel and oxygen is impeded. However this fuel and oxygen has to be converted to ATP by mitochondria, so if this is slow, the same symptom of angina will result.

    One molecule of sugar, when burnt aerobically by mitochondria, will produce 36 molecules of ATP. In anaerobic metabolism, only 2 molecules of ATP are produced. This is very inefficient and lactic acid builds up quickly. The problem is that to convert lactic acid back to sugar (pyruvate) 6 molecules of ATP are needed (the Cori cycle). So in CFS the chest pain is longer lasting because this conversion back is so slow. Clinically this does not look like typical angina. Many patients are told they have non-typical chest pain with the implication that nothing is wrong! Actually they have mitochondrial filure in the heart.
    Ruthie24, sleepy237, maryb and 3 others like this.
  4. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    JT

    This is very informative, thank you. So then is it possible to go to a cardiologist and have my stroke volume measured to see pretty reliably how had my heart problems are? And that also makes me question; is mitochondria problem in the wart the reason for such severe brain problems? Because less blood is able to get to the brain? Or is it also mitochondrial failure in the brain, too. I wonder because I don't seem to ha every severe OI or POTS really. Sometimes, but not horribly. But my brain function is SEVEREY impaired and it never fluctuates. I have had a SPECT scan which confirms severe hypo perfusion. If the virus is cleared from the heart and mitochondrial function restored would all other problems then theoretically resolve?
  5. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    It is possible the heart attack caused the ME?
  6. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    Here is an interesting link I just came across

    Heart attacks, CFS, herpes virus infection and the vagus nerve
    Written by Gabriela Segura, MD
    Tuesday, 6 August 2013 09:48
    http://www.health-matrix.net/2013/0...s-herpes-virus-infection-and-the-vagus-nerve/

    I came across upon some very interesting research regarding the vagus nerve and chronic viral infections. This happened almost the exact same day someone very close to me had a heart attack shortly after a herpes virus infection. He is now out of danger and well into recovery, but his words stayed with me: “I think the herpes virus got a hold of my vagus nerve and that is why I had a heart attack”. I thought to myself, it is entirely possible!

    The Vagus Nerve: Our Smart Wanderer
    The vagus nerve is the heart of the parasympathetic nervous system, the anti-stress system. The vagus nerve is your calming and relaxing nerve which goes from your brain and down to your abdomen, dividing itself into multiple branches that reach your throat, your heart, and all your viscera.

    Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory. It is also calming and relaxing, and is the neurotransmitter your vagus nerve uses to send messages of peace and relaxation throughout your body. It is also a major factor regulating the immune system. Acetylcholine is a major brake on inflammation in the body and as it happens, inflammation is linked to every known disease. For instance, brain inflammation is linked to every known mood, behavior, attention, memory, or degenerative disease.

    Stimulating your vagus nerve sends acetylcholine throughout your body – not only relaxing you – but also turning down the fires of inflammation. So activating the vagus nerve on a daily basis is critical to keep your brain and body healthy. By activating your vagus nerve you can reverse or stop all the negative effects of stress.

    Éiriú Eolas – Stimulating the Vagus Nerve
    Inflammatory molecules such as cytokines are necessary to protect us against pathogens and promote tissue repair, but excessive cytokine production can lead to systemic inflammation, organ failure and even death.

    As a blessing from above, local and systemic inflammation is calmed down by the brain through what is called the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway which is a mechanism consisting of the vagus nerve and its neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

    When there is inflammation, the vagus nerve is working suboptimally. Stimulation of the vagus nerve is already being used in epilepsy and depression, but now this anti-inflammatory pathway has extended its potential benefits to autoimmune diseases and beyond!

    Lets look closer to this nerve and what else has in store for us.

    20% of the fibers of the vagus nerve controls the organs of maintenance (heart, digestion, breathing). The rest 80% of the vagus nerve fibers sends information from your gut and other viscera to your brain, and the signals generated have the potential to affect the entire organism in order to achieve an homeostatic balance. This is why the vagus nerve is also known as the great wandering protector (vagus: vagare, to wander), for its protective role in our bodies.

    The vagus nerve enhances neurogenesis (the creating of brain tissue) by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) output, which is like a super fertilizer for your brain cells. It helps repair brain tissue, but also helps with regeneration throughout your body. BDNF plays an important role in neuronal plasticity which is essential for learning, thinking and higher levels of brain function.

    Stem cells are related to the vagus nerve as well. Activating your vagus nerve can stimulate stem cells to produce new cells and repair and build your own organs. Stem cells are mother cells, progenitor cells which have the potential to form different specialized cells in the body.

    This is why the Éiriú Eolas breathing and meditation program has an amazing stress-control, healing, detoxing and rejuvenation effect in our bodies. It is based on stimulating the vagus nerve and its healing potential on all the body. For more information see Mass nervous breakdown: Millions of Americans on the brink as stress pandemic ravages society and also eebreathe.com.

    I’ve been doing Éiriú Eolas for over 6 months now and I’ve had some great results! Leading a “modern” lifestyle rapidly left me totally stressed… a busy work environment with long hours and short deadlines, three teenage children and generally trying to get ahead in life. I was overweight and not able to sleep for more than 4 hours at a go. After practicing EE for a short period of time, I found I was more relaxed and calm. It was much easier for me to put life in perspective so to speak. My sleep is now much better and I now am able to sleep for 6-7 hours without waking up. Recently while talking with a group of new friends, I asked them to guess my age. I was surprised when the nearest guess put me 5 years younger. I figure that must be rejuvenation!! By far the best benefit from Éiriú Eolas has been the ability to put my life in perspective. I feel I’m now back on track and better equipped to figure out what’s really important in life. I’d like to thank all those who developed and are helping to share this amazing program. - Kinyash, Kenya

    Herpes virus infection of the vagus nerve?
    So it was with interest that I read the following research “Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: A psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis.” As this article states:

    For years, CFS researchers have been looking in plasma and blood cells for a pathogenic agent that causes the myriad of symptoms experienced by patients with the condition. However, according to VanElzakker, they may have been looking in the wrong place (plasma) and need to search instead in the tissues of the peripheral and central nervous system. During infection, the sensory vagus nerve sends a signal to the brain to initiate “sickness behavior,” an involuntary response characterized by fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that are often observed in patients with CFS. However, VanElzakker proposes that when sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia are themselves infected with any virus or bacteria, these symptoms would be exaggerated. He notes that many of the symptoms of sickness behavior (such as fatigue, sleep changes, myalgia, cognitive impairment, depression and zinc depletion) are also mediated by proinflammatory cytokines and observed in CFS.

    It seems to me that this is another explanation why Éiriú Eolas practitioners report significant improvements for many problems that at first may seem disconnected.

    The research is unique in that rather than blaming one specific virus or pathogen as a single causative agent of disease, it focuses instead on the location of an infection: the vagus nerve.

    The Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis (VNIH) of CFS is as follows: While the sensory vagus nerve normally signals the body to rest when it senses a peripheral infection, that fatigue signal is pathologically exaggerated when an infection is located on the vagus nerve itself. More specifically: Immune cells, including neuroimmune cells called glial cells, sense infection and launch the same basic neuroexcitatory response
    regardless of infection type. When the glial cells that envelop the sensitive vagus nerve are activated by any viral or bacterial infection, their neuroexcitatory secretions escalate afferent vagus nerve signaling, which is misinterpreted by the brain as evidence of a severe peripheral infection. The brain then initiates sickness behavior, which includes fatigue and many other CFS symptoms (see Key Terms Table). Because of the way that glial cell activation may persist in a pathological positive feedback loop (as it does in neuropathic pain conditions), these CFS symptoms can persist for many years.[...]

    The study of phenomena – such as sickness behavior – that sit at the intersection of behavior, brain biology, and immunology, is a relatively new field of study known as psychoneuroimmunology [...] To understand the VNIH, one must understand each part of the connection among behavior (‘‘psycho-’’), the nervous system (‘‘-neuro-’’) and the innate immune system (‘‘-immunology’’).

    The VNIH offers CFS researchers and patients a specific mechanism for explaining symptoms, and it offers testable hypotheses and treatment strategies. According to this hypothesis, the major symptoms experienced by CFS patients represent pathologically exaggerated sickness behavior caused by infection-activated glial signaling somewhere along the afferent vagus nerve system. Several researchers have advanced theories that align with the VNIH of CFS. Many groups have pointed out that CFS symptoms are consistent with viral infection and ongoing immune activation. More specifically, Shapiro theorized that CFS could be caused by the common neurotropic herpes virus varicella-zoster infecting the peripheral nervous system [139]. Maes has pointed out the overlap between inflammation, depression, and CFS [140]. The vagus nerve hypothesis provides an exact mechanism to these hypotheses, as well as an explanation for many of the inconsistencies in the literature.[Med Hypotheses. 2013 Jun 18. Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: A psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis. Vanelzakker MB.]

    This herpes virus varicella-zoster is a very problematic virus that contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction even in its latent infection phase. As I explained in On Viral “Junk” DNA, a DNA Enhancing Ketogenic Diet, and Cometary Kicks , most, if not all of your “junk” DNA has viral-like properties and if a pathogenic virus takes hold of our DNA or RNA, it could lead to disease or cancer.

    Herpes simplex virus is a widespread human pathogen and it goes right after our mitochondrial DNA. Herpes simplex virus establishes its latency in sensory neurons, a type of cell that is highly sensitive to the pathological effects of mitochondrial DNA damage. A latent viral infection might be driving the brain cell loss in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

    Members of the herpes virus family, including cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus which most people have as a latent infection, can go after our mitochondrial DNA, causing neurodegenerative diseases by mitochondrial dysfunction. But a ketogenic diet – a diet based on animal fats – is the one thing that would help stabilize mDNA since mitochondria runs the best on fat fuel. As it happens, Alzheimer’s disease is the one condition where a ketogenic diet has a profound positive effect.

    The role of mitochondrial dysfunction in our “modern” age maladies is a staggering one. Our mitochondrial energetic sources are essential if we are to heal from chronic ailments. It is our mitochondria the one that lies at the interface between the fuel from foods that come from our environment and our bodies’ energy demands. And it is a metabolism based on fat fuel, a ketone metabolism, the one which signals epigenetic changes that maximizes energetic output within our mitochondria and help us heal.

    So with all of this in mind, it was not surprising to hear speculations such as, “what if the herpes zoster infection had a role in my heart attack via an infection of the vagus nerve?”. I thought that was pretty smart. If the vagus nerve is unable to calm down inflammation due to malfunction and/or infection within its sensory pathways, we are set up for trouble.

    The more reason to welcome the idea of practicing Éiriú Eolas to balance up and heal the vagus nerve on a daily basis and so much needed dietary changes! Hopefully my old friend will introduce them soon enough as tools for his recovery.​
    sleepy237 likes this.
  7. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    Wow! This is great information.

    I'm intrigued by you mentioning vagus nerve infection and herpes because my ME is suspected to be caused by HHV-6 since my symptoms started with what was thought to be limbic encephalitis and hhv-6 is a leading cause of that. I have had extensive blood work done and have always come back negative for HSV-1 and 2 but positive for EBV and I've had chicken pox in the past so I know I have varicella-zoster even though I haven't been tested for it.

    I have also spoken extensively to the HHV-6 foundation and they are big supporters of the theory of exercise intolerance and it's issues being caused by systemic infection and inflammation of the vagus nerve. I am now on Valcyte to hopefully combat the HHV-6.

    The meditation/ breathing exercises are all good I believe and have been doing well before I ever got sick. Anxiety and depression definately aren't symptoms that I'm dealing with these days (SPECT scan proves that) but I continue with the mindfulness meditation regardless.

    I plan on seeing a cardiologist soon to get my heart checked out anyway but this theory seems like a definitive possibility.

    Also- with the reference of glia cells- is that referring to myroglia cells in the brain? Or do glia cells occur throughout our whole nervous system?


    Minkeygirl- I couldn't tell u to be honest. I don't have any recollection of FEELING like I was having a heart attack, but all my tests prove that I have. I just don't know when it was
  8. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    I doubt the low level exercise you described caused it. Do you think that your being a former personal trainer may have influenced the docs to reach that conclusion (i.e. they assume your an energetic type so must have been pushing it)?
    There are a fair number of heart abnormalities reported in ME/CFS, those above but also some others and some ME/CFS docs focus quite a lot on them. Dr Cheney in particular if I remember correctly. Suggest trying to see such a doctor if you can, as you will get more out of them.
  9. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    I have had heart issues recently and need to have a stress test done. Chest pain and palpitations have occurred more than once over the last few years to the point I really thought I might have had a heart attack.

    Given that I work in a hospital and was working during one episode, you would think I would have gone to the Emergency Room..... I did not but know I need to be evaluated soon.
  10. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    The only reason they found the infarction was because Dr Enlander did an EKG when I first saw him as just part of the protocol. I hadn't told them anything about my work history. I couldn't thin of what had caused that either but regardless it happened and I can't think of a time prior to the ME when anything would have even remotely led me to believe I had anything wrong with my heart. I have no idea

    I like Dr Enlander but I am thinking of searching for a new doctor- he doesn't seem aggressive enough and is pretty set in his ways. I have read a lot on Dr Cheney and would love to see him but he charges an absorbent amount and I just don't have the $$ to see him. I'm basically tapped out now. I'm going to see a cardiologist just to be safe but I agree with you that I need another doctor, just have to be able to get there!
  11. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    This is very interesting... it might explain my recent sojourn to A&E with suspected heart attack symptoms, found to be "an inexplicable pain, not a heart attack, not stomach cramps, but nothing to worry about".
  12. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    @peggy-sue
    A & E - me too - 3 times - ECG showed heart rythymn not quite right 'but nothing to worry about'..............
    pain 'probably' some form of gastritis - take omazeropole (PPI)!!!! - not likely, a couple of years ago my stomach acid test showed very low levels of stomach acid - fools.
    sleepy237, vli and peggy-sue like this.
  13. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    The first thing I did was try some lansoprazole I have. It did nothing.

    I felt as if a carthorse had kicked me in the chest.

    I looked up the NHS 24 thing. It said;
    Call an ambulance immediately.

    I didn't like that, so I tried some slightly different answers. It said;
    Call an ambulance immediately.
    I still didn't like that.

    I called my OH.
    he said;
    Call your gp.

    I called my gp, he said;
    Call an ambulance immediately.

    By this time, it was going to be quicker to wait for my OH to get to me and take me himself, which he did.

    It was not a bad experience at all - I was taken seriously, I was rushed through to be wired up to monitors, had nurses, doctors and consultants running around after me.

    I took advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of educating about ME. :thumbsup:
    maryb likes this.
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    Because something that is unexplained/unknown could not possible be dangerous. :mad:
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  15. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Well, I wasn't having a heart attack.:thumbsup:

    I got an ecg trace done, something my gp has refused me - I was told my t-waves were fine, which I had worried about before.:thumbsup:
    I got a lung x-ray.
    I got told I don't have lung cancer. That's good to know, given I was a smoker for 40 years. :thumbsup:

    They gave me some strong painkillers. The pain went.

    All in all, it was a good experience. I finally got tests I have wanted done, done. ECG and lung x-ray.

    It was a good experience being taken seriously by medics at all.:p
    Little Bluestem and Valentijn like this.

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