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01-19-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
JSummer
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Crohns and heart problems?

Hey all,

I joined this forum today in my search for answers.... I was diagnosed with CD in 2007, and just recently I have developed a rapid heart beat.

I saw a cardiologist today and he says 99.9% its related to my Crohns. He said sometimes when there is inflammation in the body for a long time, heart problems can develop. He said I shouldn't be worried as it's a secondary problem and not my actual heart and he's sending me for an Echocardiogram. (I've had 2 EKG's and all bloodwork done - normal)

My question is has anyone ever experienced or heard of this? In all the books and research I've done over the years I don't recall ever coming across anything to do with the heart. Its a little unnerving. Any opinions welcome I'm not looking for a diagnosis just some peace of mind if you've experienced something similar! Thanks!

JSummer
01-19-2011, 07:59 PM   #2
Manzyb
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When I'm feeling badly, my heart rate is always elevated. Even more so when I'm feeling pretty dehydrated, just walking from my couch to the bathroom makes my heart feel like its going to pound out of my chest. I never went and saw a specialist about it, I just always associated it with not feeling well.
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01-19-2011, 09:21 PM   #3
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The only time I had problems with my heart since I've been diagnosed, was because I was also hyperthyroid at the same time. That made my pulse higher, and I had to take a beta-blocker to slow it down. It happened for two different periods of time with no real explanation why, and went away on its own. EKG showed nothing.
Maybe you could get your blood tested just in case?
01-19-2011, 10:03 PM   #4
JSummer
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They did test my blood including thyroid and it is all normal... Manzyb by not feeling well do you mean in general or when your having a flare-up?

Last edited by JSummer; 01-19-2011 at 10:06 PM.
01-19-2011, 11:19 PM   #5
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This is interesting news. After being diagnosed six years ago, I noticed some strange heart palipations, but my general doctor said it was nothing to worry about.
01-20-2011, 12:50 AM   #6
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Not even my cardiologist mentioned a link to my Crohn's... :P

He did however say that stress was related. Next time I see him I'll ask about the Crohn's being a possibility. I have Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) and take beta blockers for it and I'm only 28 years old. Heart problems do run in my family though, but then again, so does Crouhn's. :O
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01-20-2011, 02:14 AM   #7
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Before i was diagnosed my heart rate would be 134bpm and when i would go to the toilet my heart would race and pound and when i was in the hospital 2 hav a lapoaroscopy to see if i had endomentiosis they had to cancelled because my heart rate was going 160bpm and they didnt know why because they gave me anti axiety meds, i also had a tempature at 38c highest was 38.5c and they kept me in hospital to find out what was wrong and by doing an EKG they found i had Sinus Tachycardia and later that week a CT scan showed i had mild wall thickening in the terminal ilieum and had a colonoscopy and they found mild crohns so i would say it does cause heart probs
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01-21-2011, 09:23 PM   #8
g_1988
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Well, I don't know much about medicine but I think it's very unlikely Crohn's "causes" anything. I believe there are cases that can develop from having a chronically elevated CRP, but I have no idea on the time-frame we're talking here. I asked a retired doctor of neurology, 89 years of age, a very similar question and he responded with:

CRP said:
Okay, it's highly critical not to seek out information related to indices like this and make associations that are, in actuality, inaccurate due to the absence of other factors.

I would readily agree with your doctor that the CRP in your case is elevated due to the relative state of your Crohn's disease and is a fairly good diagnostic indicator of the relapse or remittance of the disease activity.

In order for CRP to pose a risk factor of heart disease, however, other certain risk factors must be present. Cholesterol levels, for instance, are one such risk factor that must demonstrate rather remarkable pathological levels to place you at risk with relevance to an elevated CRP level. Even this, however, does not exclusively indicate any type of imminent risk. Other risk factos like prothrombin and partial prothrombin, anatomical factors related to the heart muscle itself, blood pressure, vascular patency, even dietary habits and family history all play a role in the actual risk posed.
I also happen to know that benign palpitations such as PACs, PVCs and perhaps others, are normally induced by excitation of certain nerves, namely the vagus nerve or 10th cranial nerve. The vagus nerve innervates the heart and lungs, pharynx, larynx and the digestive system, at the level of the pneumo-gastric nerve. Even a bout of trapped wind can cause excitation of this nerve which, when intercepted by the heart will cause a palpitation such as a PAC or PVC because it interferes with the heart's natural rhythm. It would seem fair that inflammation and other digestive irritation may also cause similar symptoms, though that is pure conjecture on my part.

I also question your cardiologists statement that "heart problems can develop", though you shouldn't be worried as "it's not your heart".

You don't mention your age which would play a big part in any pathology, and you don't mention how fast your "rapid" pulse is. I also want to point out that there are some postings mentioning "heart problems" while referring to benign PVCs/PACs and uncomplicated sinus tachycardia. These are not heart problems in any way and do not constitute any pathology whatsoever and referring to them as "problems" is absolutely incorrect. Everybody gets these, but most people never feel them. Becca, tachycardia is not an unusal finding when fever is present, but I suspect some anxiety played a part in your 160 pulse...

Also, it is very common for people with life-long illnesses to suffer with anxiety, depression or stress without realising it and all of these can and do cause an increase in heart rate, chest pains, shortness of breath, etc.

G
01-22-2011, 09:01 AM   #9
Nytefyre
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Also, it is very common for people with life-long illnesses to suffer with anxiety, depression or stress without realising it and all of these can and do cause an increase in heart rate, chest pains, shortness of breath, etc.

G
This^.

I was going to mention, gently, that maybe anxiety is playing a factor. Two times last year I thought I was having a heart attack, or at least, some crazy chest tightness, shortness of breath, palpitations, etc. Many tests later it was assumed that I had been having panic attacks.

I had one about a week ago. I had pain in my lower right quadrant which then spread to the entire abdomen, up the sternum, through my chest and shoulders, around the small of my back, and started to affect my breathing. Every breath I took, the pain intensified. I got really hot, to the point where I had to take off my clothes. I felt like I was burning up, but the Muffin said I was cold to the touch and clammy. Breathing was becoming harder because the pain was at its peak. I was about to go to the ER. This lasted about 10 minutes. And then it lessened. And then it was over. I have scoured the net looking for clues to these symptoms and can only conclude that it was a panic attack. I should mention that about 15 minutes before this happened, I had intense pain in my lower right quadrant. It went away after some minutes, but was not accompanied by the other symptoms. We've concluded that the anxiety I felt towards the pain and the proposition of another ER visit leading to another hospital stay, as well as my propensity to take any symptom and let my imagination run wild, prompted this last "attack".


All this to say- Have you considered anxiety?

Edited to say that after reading it, I realize that I left out that I was extremely freaked out by the rapid onset of the symptoms! It was kind of scary.
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Last edited by Nytefyre; 01-22-2011 at 09:09 AM.
01-22-2011, 10:33 AM   #10
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Heart. People with IBD have more than three times the risk of developing pericarditis (inflammation of the sac enclosing the heart) than healthy people
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01-22-2011, 11:49 AM   #11
g_1988
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Hi Rossy,

That's an interesting statement and something I'd like to find more information on. Can you please tell me where your information comes from so I can check out IBD and pericarditis.

Thanks,

G

Edit: Just been doing a little reading on PubMed and haven't turned out much. Searching for IBD and pericarditis returns only 15 results, most of which are review papers of small numbers of patients who present with pericarditis and have a history of IBD. Interestingly, most of these patients seem to be colitis patients and the numbers are very small (1-2 patients). A small publication from 1990 concludes the following:

Pericarditis-An Extraintestinal Complication of Inflammatory Bowel Disease said:
The wide spectrum of extraintestinal complications of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is well known and includes inflammatory lesions of the skin (pyoderma gangrenosum and erythema nodosum), aphthous buccal ulceration, ocular lesions (uveitis and conjunctivitis), muscular skeletal disorders (arthritis, sacroiliitis, ankylosing spondylitis), vascular complications (thromboembolic disease, vasculitis, arteritis), and a variety of hepatic lesions (fatty liver, pericholangitis, sclerosing cholangitis, cholangiocarcinoma, liver abscess, drug hepatitis, immunopathic chronic active hepatitis, amyloidosis, and cholelithiasis). Pericarditis, myocarditis, and pleural effusions are uncommonly associated with inflammatory bowel disease, yet their association should not come as a surprise in view of their occurrence in other so-called autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.' The pathogenesis of the extraintestinal complications of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown, and the actual frequency of their occurrence is uncertain. In large case studies, between 25% and 36% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease had at least one such associated disease.
Read the publication at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00109-0088.pdf

See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?t...uerySuggestion for some more info on this phenomenon.

I can't find any information on statistics but regardless of the lack of information, I don't think one should be concerned with this possible risk. Patient.co.uk concludes that outlook for patients with pericarditis that is not caused by a heart attack is very good and full recovery is made within weeks. Myocarditis is quite a rare problem anyway, and since no statistical information has been presented I don't think either of these concerns warrant more than a passing interest to a patient.

Last edited by g_1988; 01-22-2011 at 05:19 PM.
01-22-2011, 02:29 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the replies. To clear some things up:

I am 25, with no history of high blood pressure (its actually known to be low), cholesterol, or any other heart-related conditions. My heart has been as high as 140bpm, and hasn't dropped under 100bpm since this problem developed in December.

I do have some anxiety, however no more then I've always had. I had 2 anxiety attacks shortly after my diagnosis and first surgery in 2007, but nothing since. I am seeing my Gastro specialist on Feb 1st, and am going to ask him about this. Its a follow-up from a colonoscopy done in November and I think we are discussing going back on Imuran. You have all been very helpful and I will keep you posted with what he says.
01-22-2011, 02:39 PM   #13
Rossy
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Hi g 1988, heres the link that i took that quote from:

http://www.healthcentral.com/ibd/irr...9_5-145_3.html

You'll see that its taken from UC complications but refers to IBD, cheers
01-23-2011, 03:33 PM   #14
wildbill_52280
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dont rule out anxiety or magnesium deficiency along with other electrolytes(potassium, calcium).

right before i was diagnosed with crohn's i had an onslaught of anxiety attacks, the highest my rate was recorded was 135bpm, anti anxiety meds didnt help much, but didnt really slow my heart rate down that much. it wasnt until i took a three week vacation out fo town that every sign of anxiety and heart palpitations stopped, and for about three months after that too. your mind is a powerful thing.
01-23-2011, 04:13 PM   #15
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Just out of interest, what is a normal resting heart rate? And at what point should you be worried?
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01-23-2011, 10:52 PM   #16
Jennifer
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Just out of interest, what is a normal resting heart rate? And at what point should you be worried?
"For an adult, a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. For a well-trained athlete, a normal resting heart rate may be closer to 40 beats a minute. For healthy adults, a lower heart rate at rest generally implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.

To measure your heart rate, simply check your pulse. With your palm facing upward, place two fingers on the thumb side of your wrist — or place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Time yourself with a timer or the second hand on a clock or watch. Multiply this number by 6 to determine how many times your heart beats in one minute.

Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:

* Activity level
* Fitness level
* Air temperature
* Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
* Emotions
* Body size
* Medication use

Although there's a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath." http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-rate/AN01906

I had one about a week ago. I had pain in my lower right quadrant which then spread to the entire abdomen, up the sternum, through my chest and shoulders, around the small of my back, and started to affect my breathing. Every breath I took, the pain intensified. I got really hot, to the point where I had to take off my clothes. I felt like I was burning up, but the Muffin said I was cold to the touch and clammy. Breathing was becoming harder because the pain was at its peak. I was about to go to the ER. This lasted about 10 minutes. And then it lessened. And then it was over. I have scoured the net looking for clues to these symptoms and can only conclude that it was a panic attack. I should mention that about 15 minutes before this happened, I had intense pain in my lower right quadrant. It went away after some minutes, but was not accompanied by the other symptoms. We've concluded that the anxiety I felt towards the pain and the proposition of another ER visit leading to another hospital stay, as well as my propensity to take any symptom and let my imagination run wild, prompted this last "attack".
Honestly to me it sounds like you had actual pain caused by something in your gut which then turned into a panic attack. I have panic attacks as well and the sudden onset of symptoms is one of the worst parts about the attacks themselves yet having actual pain first may indicate another underlying issue.

Last edited by Jennifer; 01-23-2011 at 10:55 PM.
01-24-2011, 12:54 AM   #17
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JSummer- the whole series of problems that led to my diagnosis started off with what I thought was a heart attack! Obviously I was told it was either GERD or Anxiety but the funny thing is I have, nor ever had neither and its completely gone so far w/out ever taking any meds! I know it was related to how bad a flare I was in! I would have these weird random palpatations, get light-headed and feel like I was about to pass out! A couple of times it would develope into what I thought was a heart attack! Had heart tested and it was fine each time! As I said Im convinced it was due to the Crohns!
01-24-2011, 01:02 AM   #18
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Shake N Jake u describe it perfectly. That's what's happening! Good to know its not just me (well u know what I mean!) Thank you.
01-24-2011, 01:54 AM   #19
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Thanks Crabby! I just wondered because whenever the docs measure it, its 120-130, but I measured it at home and it's 80-90.
02-26-2011, 09:21 PM   #20
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About 3 or 4 times I have had a rapid heart rate (around 130 bpm) and elevated blood pressure (about 160/80) at the doctors and hospitals. It usually coincides with feeling really crap and having this awful feeling of pressure or bloating in my upper abdomen (sort of around my stomach). No doctor has ever known what it was and have mainly just freaked out and given me antibiotics. One time before a colonoscopy I told the nurse I felt really dizzy and after testing blood pressure etc, they put me on an ECG machine and made me lie in a bed instead of the waiting room (bonus!). Couldn't find anything wrong with my heart except that it was beating fast. It was funny because even though I was just about to have surgery I wasn't very anxious.
I have asked my gastro about it and he has given me really stupid answers like "you were just anxious," or my personal favourite "you have a responsive heart." WTF.
Anyways I would guess (though I am going to pursue this further with my GP and gastro) that it is related to electrolytes and also the level of inflammation.
I have also been told that I have tired adrenal glands, and have read somewhere that sometimes the heart beats faster to try and keep the blood pressure up (it's chronically low when you have tired adrenals, apparently).
The last month and a half I've been having chest pains too, and sometimes it's uncomfortable to breath. Don't know if you have that along with your other heart problems.
By the sounds of this thread, there does appear to be some link between heart and IBD, but it sounds pretty tenuous and vague. Personally I'd really like to know what the hell is wrong with me - I'll let you know if I find anything interesting.
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02-27-2011, 12:26 PM   #21
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You still need to use caution when these symptoms occur. I had these problems for years due to anxiety, panic attacks. Then can the evening that I had shortness of breath, actually hurt my throat and neck to breath. Began thinking maybe an allergic reaction to something I'd ate. Turns out I had suffered a heart attack.

Just be aware of the symptoms and if they seem a little out of the ordinary then get it checked out.
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02-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #22
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I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure at the age of 32. I've always eaten healthy, low sodium diet, blah blah blah. The heart issues are VERY genetic for me. BUT when I'm on Prednisone, I have to be on a Beta Blocker because my heart feels like it's beating its way out of my chest. Prednisone raises blood pressure AND heart rate. My resting heart rate was consistently at 130, enough to really freak me the heck out. Which in turn makes it beat even harder LOL.
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04-05-2011, 06:24 PM   #23
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I hate to resurrect this thread, but I wanted to donate a couple cents to the pot. (lol) g_1988 already said a lot, but this is my personal experience.

I have known since I was a kid that if my gut acted up, my heart acted up. Without fail. In fact, I recently (last week) experienced six hours worth of a gastroenteritis that's been all the rage here in town. I only got a couple bouts of nausea every time I tried to eat or drink, but the feeling originated from my upper small intestine and immediately triggered a rapid heart rate.

Conversely, when I get bad reflux, it tends to slow my heart way, way down; when an esophagus swells, I assume the vagus nerve stretches and causes the signals to slow, not to mention the actual pressure it puts on the heart itself.

Similarly, nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in heart attack patients because of the nerve stimulation around the heart. As if the infarction weren't bad enough, eh?

Last night I was woken up by a rapid heart rate—a very unusual situation for me. I didn't feel sick, anxious, or messed up in any way, but I did feel like my intestines were struggling. In fact, when my recent flare started a couple months ago, one of my first bouts was during a day of having no appetite, followed by trying to eat and immediately being taken over by fatigue and a pounding heart. It can be miserable.

I have "mitral valve prolapse dysautonomia," as well as a funky thyroid. It's always difficult (or impossible) to tell if my dysautonomia is causing my heart and gut issues, or if my gut is triggering the arrhythmias. The two are very intimately linked; messing with one naturally messes with the other, and so it goes.
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04-24-2014, 10:17 AM   #24
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i have crohns 25 years and have recently had 2 hospital admissions with palpitations and severe chest pain, on imuran 25 years and this is the first time i have had such an experience, cardiologist carried out all tests which proved negative except for one what they called diamond blood test which was showing a count of 1000 which they said was very high but a pulmonary clot was ruled out and they said possibly inflamation, ? anybody with similar experience ? thanks. JD.
04-24-2014, 06:26 PM   #25
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I sometimes get chest pain...I have a tiny hole in my heart and an irregular/ fast heart beat.
04-25-2014, 06:07 PM   #26
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I have a heart murmur, but it's not anything my doctor says to worry about. I don't know if it's from my Crohn's or if it's just something I have -- my mother and grandmother have heart murmurs as well.

My father (75), who also has Crohn's, has aortic stenosis, but they say that's just from age. He's been on blood pressure medication for five years, though.
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04-26-2014, 08:10 AM   #27
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Well, I don't know much about medicine but I think it's very unlikely Crohn's "causes" anything. I believe there are cases that can develop from having a chronically elevated CRP, but I have no idea on the time-frame we're talking here. I asked a retired doctor of neurology, 89 years of age, a very similar question and he responded with:



I also happen to know that benign palpitations such as PACs, PVCs and perhaps others, are normally induced by excitation of certain nerves, namely the vagus nerve or 10th cranial nerve. The vagus nerve innervates the heart and lungs, pharynx, larynx and the digestive system, at the level of the pneumo-gastric nerve. Even a bout of trapped wind can cause excitation of this nerve which, when intercepted by the heart will cause a palpitation such as a PAC or PVC because it interferes with the heart's natural rhythm. It would seem fair that inflammation and other digestive irritation may also cause similar symptoms, though that is pure conjecture on my part.

I also question your cardiologists statement that "heart problems can develop", though you shouldn't be worried as "it's not your heart".

You don't mention your age which would play a big part in any pathology, and you don't mention how fast your "rapid" pulse is. I also want to point out that there are some postings mentioning "heart problems" while referring to benign PVCs/PACs and uncomplicated sinus tachycardia. These are not heart problems in any way and do not constitute any pathology whatsoever and referring to them as "problems" is absolutely incorrect. Everybody gets these, but most people never feel them. Becca, tachycardia is not an unusal finding when fever is present, but I suspect some anxiety played a part in your 160 pulse...

Also, it is very common for people with life-long illnesses to suffer with anxiety, depression or stress without realising it and all of these can and do cause an increase in heart rate, chest pains, shortness of breath, etc.

G
i have to disagree re anxiety, i developed severe palpitations and passed out rapidly and this came on suddenly, also severe chest pain and pressure lasting a few hours on another occasion, i am on imuran 25 years and have dealt with crohns all that time and have never had a panic attack. jd60
06-28-2014, 07:19 PM   #28
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Happy to find this thread. I was diagnosed with CD early this year and recently started having the palpitations, dizziness, rapid heart beat (just over 100). I also have high iron and iron saturation.

I though it might be a whole new issue but I am sort of relieved to hear that it is Crohns related. I have not started meds yet - I am really reticent about going on imunosuppressants - but now that I see that Crohns can have an even more intense impact (heart stuff is scary!!) I think I am going to call my GI and bite the bullet. Time to start reading threads on meds now.
07-04-2014, 06:03 PM   #29
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Very doubtful an elevated heart rate has anything to do with Crohn's, unless you got an associated infection of some sort.
I am NOT a trained athlete but my heart rate is usually 56. In a stress test it refused to go much over 60, and they had to give me an injection to elevate it!
07-14-2016, 01:29 PM   #30
tikobh
 
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Hey all,

I joined this forum today in my search for answers.... I was diagnosed with CD in 2007, and just recently I have developed a rapid heart beat.

I saw a cardiologist today and he says 99.9% its related to my Crohns. He said sometimes when there is inflammation in the body for a long time, heart problems can develop. He said I shouldn't be worried as it's a secondary problem and not my actual heart and he's sending me for an Echocardiogram. (I've had 2 EKG's and all bloodwork done - normal)

My question is has anyone ever experienced or heard of this? In all the books and research I've done over the years I don't recall ever coming across anything to do with the heart. Its a little unnerving. Any opinions welcome I'm not looking for a diagnosis just some peace of mind if you've experienced something similar! Thanks!

JSummer
2 months ago I had an irregular heart beat and the cardiologist told me that crohns can cause it. On Tuesday. I go for an endoscopy and colonoscopy to make sure that everything is okay because I've be getting rely bad gastric reflux.I'll let you know what they tell me after if you like.
Rick
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