It’s my 27th birthday today.
Initially I had planned a post to reflect what I have learnt in life thus far and what I hope to achieve in the coming years, my dreams and my aspirations. But I just experience the worst thyroid storm (after I think 3 years of being clear of Graves Disease), and had successfully overcome it on my own. I thought that was a strong signal for me to pen down this experience.
What is a thyroid storm?
” Signs and symptoms of thyroid storm:
o body temperature of 100 degrees or more
o rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
o blood pressure over 130 (top or systolic number)
o unusual or unexplained changes in consciousness, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice.”
Information from: https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/thyroid-storm-what-know
I had all these symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, as well as feeling the need to close my eyes because I felt so dizzy and had to sit down asap when I finally got home.
I think what triggered it was because of my alcohol intolerance. I do drink alcohol but usually just a few sips from a glass because I dislike the effects that I usually get: Asian flush, teary eyes, dizziness, heart palpitations.
In lieu of my birthday celebration, I had one alcoholic drink all to myself. It was my first ever Singapore Sling – which was good and I could barely taste the alcohol and the effects of it 30mins in till much later. One hour in, I felt a slight woozy effect and a slight Asian flush alongside teary eyes. Manageable symptoms that I felt was no cause of concern.
One and a half hour in, after consuming my delicious gluten-free chocolate cake, I felt the impending force of the alcohol intolerance. I now had all the symptoms of it:
- A red, flushed face
- Hot feeling
- A fast heartbeat or palpitations
- Low blood pressure
- Stuffy nose
- Stomach pain, which may include nausea or vomiting
- Trouble breathing
- If you have asthma, your symptoms get worse
Information from: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/alcohol-allergy#1
Before I knew it, I was rushing to a public bathroom to vomit. I felt better after that but still felt woozy and the need to head to a toilet to relieve myself again. When I got home and did so, I felt the full effect of the extreme heart palpitations. My heart was beating so fast that I was starting to panic as I was sure tachycardia; heart beat more than 100 times per minute was occurring. Immediately I rushed to take 2 tablets of L-Carnitine (a natural alternative to Propanolol), and 2 charcoal pills just to try and quickly rid my body of the alcohol. Given my past history of Graves’ Disease, I thought this could be an onset of a thyroid storm. Either that or I was experiencing supraventricular tachycardia, which is most likely to affect people who drink too much alcohol, or have a lot of caffeine. I also frantically searched for my Propanolol pills which I haven’t touched in years, because the palpitations were not slowing down. All I could do was close my eyes and to try to keep myself calm by taking deep breaths as best as I could.
When 5 minutes had passed and I felt no immediate relieved, I went online to search if propranolol could be taken with alcohol and L-carnitine and found out that it was alright to do so. Only drawback was lethargy and sleepiness; symptoms which I would much rather choose than a heart attack that could lead to organ failure. I quickly swallowed a propanolol pill and tried to keep calm while the med took effect. After about 15-20mins, I felt the slowing of my heart rate and normalcy returned. It was such a scary episode that I can almost swear off alcohol right now.
Now at 27 years of age, I know what’s too much alcohol for me. I think safe to say, I will only be taking just a few small sips and not an entire glass from now on.
TL;DR: L-carnitine and Propanol at hand are important items to have at home to stop heart palpitations. I have L-carnitine pills at home because since 3 years ago, I have been taking them daily as a natural substitute to Propanolol in stopping and preventing hear palpitations. Read here for more info.
I will write a post on how I had overcome my Graves’ Disease in my next post!