Anxiety / feeling off



I am a 43yo female, I got my pacemaker on May 11 for an AV heart block. The doctor has me coming back in August because as they described it it's like there's fog lights on but the fog has cleared so they have to adjust settings possibly.

I do feel that I am experiencing stress in a heightened state. So in a situation that would previously have caused me some stress is causing me to express myself and appear more agitated than I am used to. I was taking some medication from the doctor to help but then I just felt groggy more often. I also still feel exhausted frequently.

I think my heart rate prior to my surgery was 30 most of the time, at least for a year and a half. I do not know what my normal resting heart rate was prior to that, my father is low to mid 50. 

I'm wondering if my settings can be tweaked to slow things down a bit? if that would help me? so that I don't feel so anxiety ridden. i'm not sure anxiety ridden is the best description it feels like everything is turned up.

"I feel better every day" is my response to everyone checking in. Honestly though I feel tired most of the time and out of sorts/ unsettled. 

I am very sensitive to medications and soaps, lotions, cleaning supplies, etc. My husband likes to joke that I am the person that experience the fine print side effects- the weirder ones first.

any advice on settings adjustments would help 

thanks so much




Hi there

by Lavender - 2022-08-14 10:19:58

Like you, I have AV block and am 100% paced. I also have left bundle branch block. 

When my pacemaker was put in, I left the hospital feeling anxious and with a strange sensation in my neck. My heart rate was set faster than I was used to, so I felt the relentless pounding. It drove me crazy and I wanted to turn it back down. As someone else said, it was like horses galloping in my chest. I described it as feeling like I had a pot of coffee. I was asking family to pray for this anxiety feeling to go away. It disturbed me and I wasn't comfortable leaving my home. I was sad and took a lot of escape naps. 

The pacemaker is set to a higher voltage (I think that's the term) at first to help the leads get going. Once the fibrous tissue settles the leads into the heart more, they can be turned down. After a while-in my case-a month, it was turned down and my heart was set at 60. That felt better right away. 

What helped me was listening to meditation tapes and calming music using headphones. I put the headphone wire on my back not front-because you are not supposed to let the wires hang over your pacemaker. 

I'm unable to take most meds due to reactions. I don't drink or smoke. So, I go the all natural route for most issues. I lie in the hammock and gaze at the clouds. I tend flower beds and keep flowers in the house at all times. I make pillow/linen spray with lavender. Nature helps me. 

Like you, I am sensitive to so many things, as is my mom! I get surprise hives, stomach reactions, itchiness etc.  I can only use certain products. I get most of the side effects on the paper inside products and meds. You should see my list of reactions to things. I just hand a copy to the office when going to a new doctor. 

When you go for your adjustment, tell them how you feel. I'm hoping you walk out of there feeling better. Meanwhile, copy and paste this and listen:

There are a lot of self hypnosis videos on YouTube. A psychologist recommended to me to listen to Michael Sealey as well as Eckhart Tolle on YouTube.  Mind over matter. Also no caffeine no chocolate no alcohol. 

I can tell you that this is just for now-not forever! Better days are just around the bend. You're early into this and your body/mind are healing as you recover.  

Many people get pacemakers with little problems or complaints. My next door neighbor has had one for 16 years-including a replacement one. He had zero issues with his and forgets he has one. Some of us have a range of issues, but we are all here.  We got through and we learn to cope, our bodies are amazing as they work to get us better.



by new to pace.... - 2022-08-14 15:54:09

I agree with what Lavender wrote.  I too live with great many  sensitivities both food and chemicals.  Try to stay with  natural but that does not always work.  They to cause me problems.   I also carry many list's with me. Always for new doctors and when i have  had to change and  add more in.

 Now have found out there are foods to avoid that trigger the fast heart rate. AFib.,  foods with Tryamine.  Chocolate. Fermented or pickled foods:yogurt,saukerkaut,cavair, tofu,pickles, kimchi.  Processed(means a combination of many foods found the (DF ice cream i like is considered processed)  or Smoked foods. hotdogs, bologna, bacon ,hard cheeses. Sauces: soy sauce, shrimp sauce, fish sauce, miso and teriyaki sauce.  Soybeans and soybean products(vitamin K9). Snow peas, broad beans(fava beans) and their pods. Dried or overripe fruits, such as raisins, prunes or overripe bananas or avocdos.   Meat tenderizers or meat prepared with tenderizers.  Yeast-extract spreads, such as Marmite, brewer's yeast or sourdough bread.   Alocholic beverages suchas beer- esp. tap or homebrewed beer- red wine sherry and liqueurs.   Combination foods that contain any of the above ingredients.

   Most pacemakers are factory set for 60.

new to pace


by AgentX86 - 2022-08-14 17:13:41

I don't think we can tell you what your settings should be. Optimaztion is a very personal thing.  What works for me, probably won't work for you.

You didn't say what your resting heart rate is now but you might be able to have that dialed back a little but they're not going to go back to the 30s.  The minimum would likely be 50bpm. If you're tired all the time, I doubt that they'll even do that.

Are you on any new or increased doseages of any drugs, particularly a beta blocker? These can certainly make you lethargic.  Almost guaranteed to in large enough doses.

Anxiety can put you on the razor's edge. IMO, drugs are a crutch, here, and may make it worse in the long term.  Therapy might help chill the anxiety and with that take much of your other symptoms.


by Persephone - 2022-08-14 19:37:25

As someone who has experienced lifelong anxiety - I would say 1. your concerns are very real and should be addressed by your mediical team  - you are very young and do not need to continue on a path of high anxiety; and 2. I'm a proud member of the "weirder one" category and strut my stuff. The chemical sensitivity factor is real wrt skin care products and detergents; no benefit in dismissing it. There are several reliable online resources that can point consumers to products that are safe for them to use. Best to you.

Felling out of sorts

by Julros - 2022-08-16 23:59:39

My personal theory is that those of us who walked around with a very low heart rate likely had massive amounts of adrenaline coursing through our systems as our neurohormonal system tried to get our heart rate up, or at least maintain a blood pressure. Then once, the heart rate comes up, it takes some time for the adrenaline to re-regulate and go back to a more normal level. I know for me I felt every paced beat, partly because of an elevated blood pressure, but also because the output was high until the leads could heal into place. They told me my leff ventricular lead was sort of floating in the vein, so it needed a higher output setting initially, as well. 

Once things settled down, got my settings to a better place, and I established a mindfulness practive my anxiety cooled off. 


by Lavender - 2022-08-17 14:56:17

You said, "My personal theory is that those of us who walked around with a very low heart rate likely had massive amounts of adrenaline coursing through our systems as our neurohormonal system tried to get our heart rate up, or at least maintain a blood pressure. Then once, the heart rate comes up, it takes some time for the adrenaline to re-regulate and go back to a more normal level."

This intrigues me because I have a history of adrenaline rushes while sleeping that wake me with a pounding heart and trouble settling back down. I always said if I die in my sleep, it'll be a heart attack from the fierce pounding. I haven't had this happen to me since I got a pacemaker.  I wonder if my heart rate was dipping so low while sleeping that when it recovered -from maybe even pausing-the adrenaline rushed in?

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