It’s a phrase you would never expect to hear from your doctor. You have been diagnosed with something called Long QT. You have no idea what it is or how knowing about it can save your life, and your mind instantly begins to swim with worry.
We never realize how important our health is until something bad happens. That’s what happened to me. I fell asleep. I felt awful. Some dizziness here. The urge to throw up over there. Icky and nauseous waves of pure fear throttling through me as I felt like I was going to die.
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a condition which affects repolarization of the heart after a heartbeat. This results in an increased risk of an irregular heartbeat which can result in fainting, drowning, or sudden death. These episodes can be triggered by exercise or stress.
So how do you know if you have Long QT? What is the cause of it?
You will be surprised to find out that there are many drugs that actually create Long QT and for me, it was my anti-anxiety and bipolar medication that did it. Too high a dose. Too low a dose. You have to get it right. Along with balancing out the salts in your body, stress and the way you deal with exercise can all have an impact on the type of Long QT you have.
Is Long QT Treatable?
Yes, it is. In fact, many people live with Long QT without any issues cropping up or getting in the way. Sometimes medications are used to help with the conditions, and other times surgery is needed. Your doctor will provide you with all the options based on your severity.
What are the signs of Long QT? What Should I look for?
The majority of people (like myself) who experience in dealing with Long QT describe the following symptoms such as “fainting” one of the most common signs of Long QT syndrome. Fainting spells occur when the heart beats erratically or when you are excited, angry, scared or during exercise.
A normal fainting spell has warning signs first such as lightheadedness, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, weakness and blurred vision. A fainting spell from Long QT occurs without warning.
Another common sign of Long QT are “seizures” and this happens when the heart beats abnormally and the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. There are medications that can help with this.
Long QT and Death
It’s scary to even think about it but Long QT can be deadly. Generally, our hearts return to normal with a normal rhythm. Sometimes, however, when dealing with Long QT this doesn’t happen and sudden death can occur, which is how knowing about it can save your life.
What Do I Do If I Suspect I have Long QT?
The first thing you do if you suspect that you have Long QT is to see your family doctor. Our bodies provide us with all the information we need to know when something is wrong. So pay attention! If you feel off, depressed, tell someone. Don’t hesitate to take your questions to your doctor, and above all else don’t fail to get ER help for some attention required.
The moral is that you need to listen to your own body to know if something is wrong, and if you suspect you have Long QT then you need to get help for it. Knowing about Long QT, the signs, and symptoms and sharing them with your doctor, along with any medications you are on, just might save your life.