• Hannah Ost

The Spoonie Sagas #11: I have a diagnosis!

Well, kind of...

It's not clickbait, I did actually get a letter explaining what's been going on. I got a name for my symptoms, finally. But that's all it is; no idea of what's causing it, how or if it will go away, and no suggestions any kind of treatment plan long-term.

So, what is this mystery illness that has been consuming my life for the last year and a half? Well, as my doctor puts it, I am experiencing episodes of "sinus tachycardia", which is a fancy way of saying my heart beats too fast sometimes and it makes me dizzy. Let me explain what I know...

Sinus Tachycardia

When you exercise, sinus tachycardia is the body's normal response - it elevates your heart rate to get oxygen around the body faster. Inappropriate sinus tachycardia means my body is elevating my heart rate when it shouldn't – which can lead to me fainting, experiencing light-headedness and feeling nauseous. The natural heart rate for a woman is between 60 and 90 beats per minute (bpm). My heart rate fluctuates a lot and sometimes beats at over 100bpm – when this happens, it is known as sinus tachycardia.

So that's the science lesson over and done.

It's a start, but from what I have read online (since, understandably, it wasn't explained to me in person, due to the virus) sinus tachycardia is often a symptom of other conditions. I've had no follow-up appointment scheduled and the only advice provided is to drink water and eat salty foods, with the hope of stabilising my heart rate. So, it's all a little up-in-the-air right now!

What Now?

Well, I'm hoping to use the time I have during lockdown to rest and see if I can get better! I have improved since this time last year, which is reassuring, and my echocardiogram (an ultrasound scan on the heart) came back all-clear. So, no major concerns at the moment.

I'm sure we're all feeling the pressure of the unknown right now. It's scary to not know what the future holds. In the same way that I am hoping the world's recovery from COVID-19 will come quickly, I am also hoping my own body will hurry up and recover too! For now, it's a waiting game, but all we can do is make the best of it and wake up each morning with a smile and a positive attitude.

I hope you are all keeping safe and staying inside if you can. Sending love out to each and every one of my lovely readers!

©2020 Hannah Ost

Student Journalist