I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
Episodic supraventricular tachycardia
The results from my tests reveal that I appear to have episodic supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). In simple language, my heart sometimes beats too fast for a few seconds, and then returns to normal. The most likely cause is a "wiring fault" involving the electrical impulses that control the heart. There are lots of different faults that can occur, and the exact fault in question is yet to be determined.
The good news is that this isn't ventricular tachycardia which is associated with an increaed chance of sudden death. By comparison, episodic SVT means that I may occasionally feel dizzy for a second or two after heavy exercise. Damn.
SVT isn't a true diagnosis. Instead it's a more accurate description of the symptoms I've been showing. Episodic SVT has been known to disappear by itself, and sometimes may end up being nothing more than an annoyance. On the other hand, SVT may indicate a much more serious problem, or may be a problem in conjunction with other factors, so ignoring it may be a Very Bad Thing. I've arranged for a consultation with a cardiologist this Thursday, at which time I expect to learn a lot more about my condition.
In the meantime, my doctor has recommended that I constrain my intake of caffeine. Apparently filling the heart with stimulants can make everything more excited and induce episodes of SVT. So instead of two large coffees lovingly prepared with my espresso machine each day, I've been insteading having two cups of tea. As expected, I'm getting all te classic symptoms of caffeine withdrawal; irritability, difficulty in concentration, and mild headaches.
The worst thing is, it's working. Since giving up coffee I've experienced no cardiac symptoms whatsoever, so the whole thing may have a really simple fix. I should be thrilled, but I don't really want to give up coffee permanently. Drinking coffee is very high on my list of enjoyable activities.
The good news is that I may be able to resume my old caffeine intake if I have a proceedure that involves burning out parts of my heart with microwave radiation. Hmmm.... tough choice. I'm glad I discovered this before I went and purchased a new espresso machine.