I was born with mitral valve prolapse syndrome (MVPS (also known as "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome"), which is the most common heart valve abnormality, affecting five to ten percent of the world population. I never knew I had it until after my son was born.
At first it felt like a thump in my chest that would cause me to gasp. At times in the middle of the night I would wake up rising to a sitting position with a gasp. In those times it felt almost like I couldn’t figure out whether I needed to breathe in or out, almost as if I was stuck suspended between somewhere unknown, and the present.
As time went on there were times when my heart would go into these extremely rapid beating palpitations, which feels more like the rapid fluttering of a butterfly, or rather more like a hummingbird. If you feel my pulse there is no distinct beat felt, just rapid fluttering. Although sometimes the symptoms differ slightly when this happens, there are times when I can’t get my breath; extreme anxiety like I would imagine a panic attack would feel like, and my throat would burn, as if I had been running a long way in cold weather; and my left arm will feel heavy and ache slightly. Many people state that they experience sharp pains in their chest and left arm; however, I have never experienced this. Another complaint by many is fatigue, another symptom I don’t experience, or at least when I do, I have never attributed to this ailment. It is said that people with mitral valve prolapse may have imbalances in their autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing, which may be what causes that particular symptom, along with depression, sweating, anxiety and panic attack feelings. Stroke is a very rare complication of mitral valve prolapse.
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a regulatory branch of the central nervous system that helps people adapt to changes in their environment. It adjusts or modifies some functions in response to stress. The ANS helps regulate...
• blood vessels' size and blood pressure
• the heart's electrical activity and ability to contract
• the bronchium's (BRON'ke-um) diameter (and thus air flow) in the lungs
The ANS also regulates the movement and work of the stomach, intestine and salivary glands, the secretion of insulin and the urinary and sexual functions. The ANS acts through a balance of its two components, the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.
I was told by my doctor that it is not life threatening, although it certainly feels like it when you have an attack. I can go on medication for this ailment, although I choose not to, although I am required to take an excessive amount of antibiotics about an hour prior to having any dental work done, including x-rays, and then another excessive amount several hours afterwards, since valve infection, endocarditis, is a rare, but potentially serious complication of mitral valve prolapse.
Instead of medication, I will take a baby aspirin and calcium when I have an attack. Calcium is a natural relaxer, and growing up was the only thing I could take that would touch my severe menstrual cramps, along with soaking in a hot bath. Since I feel like I may pass out, I will usually squat down, or get on my hands and knees, and regulate my breathing by breathing in through the nose, short pause and slow breath out through the mouth, and imagine all the tension leaving my body with each breath out. This usually works quite quickly for me.
I can go months and even years without a single episode, but when I am under a lot of stress, it will crop up quite frequently…sometimes several times a day. I would much rather work naturally with all my ailments, and I have purchased the Wilddivine Program, developed by Deepak Chopra and others, and this has taught me the ability to control my mind much easier. It is so beautiful, fun and enlightening, and powerful. Just watch the video. Your mind and body control the game.