Storytime. Several years ago, I kept getting this feeling like my heart was skipping a beat, or that it was beating double occasionally. I had lots of tests done, and it was determined that I have mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a really common heart disease–but no big deal in my case. The bigger news was that my doctor told me to try avoiding caffeine to see what would happen.
So I stopped drinking soda and coffee (I didn’t drink much to begin with), and like flipping a switch, the heart fluttering STOPPED. I was amazed.
When doing some research about mitral valve prolapse and caffeine, I came across this list of symptoms of MVP that sounds just like HSP symptoms. I wonder if there is a connection?
Difficulty concentrating ~ Palpitations of the heart; skipped or irregular heart beat ~ Panic attacks, with pounding heart beat ~ Hypersensitive startle reflex ~ Sensitivity to drugs, including alcohol, caffeine, and medications (caffeine prevents the natural absorption of catecholamines [blogger note: adrenaline is a catecholamine], so that they linger in the body.) source
Digging a little deeper, sure enough I find a mention of people with MVP having traits similar to HSPs (on Elaine Aron’s site, no less!) I guess I wasn’t the first brilliant mind to make the connection. Or maybe I’m just crazy and think everything is related to HSP….
So I wonder, those of you who identify as HSPs–do you get heart “flutters”? Do you have mitral valve prolapse?
Related Post: Caffeine is my kryptonite
You might be on to something here! I have both HSP & MVP.
Like we need more acronyms, right? 🙂
yes, have both. recently discovered name for HSP symptoms/traits but had MVP diagnosed as “no big deal” as a teen–didn’t know about overlap or fluttering, caffeine, etc. tho.
I have MVP and am a HSP. Huh! This is definitely something to think about!
I have MVP and was treated for SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia). I am extremely sensitive to my surroundings to the point that I am disabled. A train whistle, fire horn or any sudden noise weakens my knees. I stay away from soda and caffeine – I should stay away from sugar because that upsets my balance.
Chicken or the egg? Let’s remember how powerful our thoughts and emotions are: able to rearrange our cells and their functions!
yes to heart flutters or SVT for me! What is a good alternative to coffee when energy levels are depleted? That is my go-to; adrenaline/stress response is the only thing getting me to 5:00 🙁
Hi Caroline, I never really drank coffee much so I didn’t know how it helped with energy. However….a while back I *did* start drinking coffee more than ever before (which is still not much) and I was amazed at how much more focused I was at work! For the first time ever, I understood why people love coffee! (Fortunately I have not suffered any of the fluttering heart affects again.) Sadly, I don’t have any suggestions for an alternative. 🙁
This is exactly what happens when I take in caffeine. It takes me way out of my comfort zone. I would feel as if my heart is pounding out of my chest and get clammy hands. Not to mention that the effect lasts ten or more hours which keeps me wide awake at night. HSPs should really be more careful with their caffeine intake, tea would be a much better option for us (:
I have HSP and MVP but also experience ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) – I wonder if there’s a connection.
This is total conjecture, but I think there is a relation with ASMR. It just makes so much sense! Thanks for sharing. Look at us with all our acronyms 🙂 Maybe I should write a post about ASMR. It kind of seems like the opposite of misophonia, doesn’t it?
I am an HSP and I do have MVP, which was diagnosed when I was about 7 (I’m now 54). I try to do all things good for my health, but coffee is my vice . . . go figure. I was just raving about my new Bialetti moka express maker and how much I love the coffee it makes. Probably not coincidentally, my heart has been really pounding hard lately. So much so that I have a doctor’s appointment next week. I have half a mind to cancel my appointment because I don’t want anyone telling me that I have to give up coffee!
Uh oh Suzanne! I have a family member in the same boat–she loves coffee but her doctor told her to stop. I can imagine it’s really tough…what if you swapped out one cup per day for tea? Maybe baby steps help…. or heaven forbid…DECAF!! 🙂 🙂
I was diagnosed with mvp after many panic attacks I didn’t even know I was having. I suffer from the symptoms whenever I get stressed, but I’m always stressed, always In a bad mood and always so sad. I’ve known I was sensitive my whole life I can tell when people are down, I’m supper sensitive to smells, I can sense bad energy, tell when people just aren’t right and although some don’t believe I could sense and see spirits until I managed to block that out. It seems I’m also an hsp extrovert. Which is opening my eyes and fitting all the puzzle pieces together… there’s defiantly a connection between the two. Now to just manage them… first step.. a cleansing.
I have always been very sensitive to caffeine and even a half a cup makes me sick with anxiety, rapid heart beat, shaky hands and nausea so I don’t drink it anymore. I am also very sensitive to medication. I do not like to take any pain killers, cold medicine or really anything that alters the way I feel. Last year I was experience bouts of rapid heart beat that would occur up to twenty times daily with a distinct start and end, occurring after intense workout and throughout the day randomly. It was very strange and because I get very worried about health issues it was causing me a lot of stress and panic attacks, which I’m sure was not helping the situation at all. I went to a cardiologist and he had me wear a heart monitor for a couple weeks and eventually told me that it was nothing to worry about. They also told me that since I was a small person I may be more aware of my heartbeat than others. I got a second opinion and this doctor told me that he prefers to do a procedure to fix what he calls a glitch in the electrical rhythm of your heartbeat. The doctor performed Cardiac Ablation for the AVRT causing the tachycardia and I haven’t had many issues since. It was a very scary experience for me. I am just learning about highly sensitive people and it surprises me how much I can relate with my experiences. Thanks for the podcast! It was very interesting.
Wow, Jessi, thanks for sharing! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well after your procedure. Let’s stay way from caffeine, shall we?? 🙂
I definitely think you are on to something. I’m an HSP and have had issues with panic attacks during stressful times in my life. This is one of those times. Recently, I’ve had heart palpitations, anxiety, panic, and high blood pressure. My doctor talked to me about MVP and I was on a heart monitor for a month. I cut out caffeine and have noticed better sleep and less anxiety. I’m going to monitor this!! I hadn’t made the correlation. Thank you.
Kelly, I was thrilled to find your website. Thank you so very much for all your hard work. I have something unrelated to MVP, but that I feel is somehow related to my HSP trait. I have BFS (Benign Fasciculation Syndrome). I would be hard pressed to believe that there is not a relationship between the two due to the highly sensitive startle response. I do wonder how many others struggle with BFS.
Hi, I was just identified as HSP, just found your podcast. Yes, I do have heart murmurs that I almost feel like I can control (weird, I know), they are quite distracting at times. But I have always just ignored it! Maybe there is a connection there…anyway thanks for the food for thought.
I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and an anxiety disorder my entire life. Medication barely does anything, it just helps me cope easier with life. Recently, my therapist told me I was an empath. I’ve always hated that word as I feel it’s misused by the new-age spiritual community. In any case, what my therapist was describing about empaths really resonated with me. So, I typed in “empath” into podcast search and up popped your podcast. I can’t tell you how much I relate to EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. It’s interesting that when I’m out in nature, camping away from everything, I have no symptoms of anxiety or ADHD. I’m now almost certain there’s nothing wrong with me. Instead, I’m 110% convinced I’m an HSP. I’m commenting on this post specifically as I get heart flutters constantly and while I don’t know if I have MVP, I have recently had an EKG and the doctors said nothing was wrong. It’s really crazy how sensitive I am to caffeine and other drugs, too. I’m sensitive to EVERYTHING. I really hope I can learn to harness HSP as a gift, rather than constantly feeling alone and wondering why I am the way I am.
Wow, this is interesting. I am HSP and have a MVP.