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Old 03-13-2007, 06:44 AM   #1
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I'm getting really scared...

I haven't had a cigarette since Sunday night. I know, yeah me, good job, blah blah blah whatever. But what I was afraid of is happening...my heart rate is very slow again. It barely gets above 60 - even when walking around. Usually in the mornings my heart rate is pretty high and this morning it barely got above 60 when I took a shower (my heart rate is usually the highest while in the shower). As I sit here and type this right now it is 52.

I went to the gym last night. I was on the treadmill at a speed of 3.5 and had to incline between 6 and 7 just to get my heart rate to 125. (I wear a polar monitor, so I know what my heart rate was.) Then when I was done, the machine aborted the cool down because my heart rate came back down so fast. As soon as I sat down in the car it was 60 again.

I didn't get any sleep last night because I kept waking up because I thought my heart was stopping. Maybe it was, I don't know. I'm obviously obsessing over this. I can't help it though. I feel absolutely miserable.

The last time I tried to see my doctor about this, my heart rate got really fast because I have horrible "white coat syndrome". So then they see that and I guess they think I'm lying about the slow heart rate. So there isn't much point in calling my doctor about this. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm scared that I'm just going to go to sleep one night and my heart will stop and I won't wake up.

So I guess my questions are:

1. Is there any way that anxiety can cause a slow heart rate? I do have problems with anxiety that usually cause me tachycardia, but not lately. Since I am obsessing over this, is there any way that my mind could be causing my heart to slow so much?

2. What are the chances of my heart slowing down so much that it stops? Like while I'm sleeping.

I'm getting so scared. I have a physical scheduled for Friday, so I will mention this to my doctor then, but I know my heart rate will be fast then because of "white coat". I don't know what else I can do. My cardiologist keeps telling me that my heart is fine, and he treats me like I'm totally crazy. I know I'm not crazy. The doctors won't listen to me, though. I am absolutely miserable. I'm afraid to do anything anymore...especially sleep. I know it isn't good to worry about this, but like I said, I can't help it!

Thanks in advance for any comments, advice, etc.

 
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:58 PM   #2
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

60 though a tad low is not that bad .
Are you on any type meds to help with the tach (rapid heart rate )?
Those will definitely slow down the heart rate .

Though I do not suggest making it a way of life , I would recommend Zanax to take in times of extreme stress .

 
Old 03-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hi Leela~

I saw that you posted here today so I figured I would reply on this post. I always thought that a heart rate of less than 50 beats per minute is usually considered a slow heart rate (bradycardia). I know that Well-trained athletes often have slow heart rates, but this is not normal for most people. What concerns me is that all along you have had fast heart rates, went on a beta blocker, then tried quitting smoking, went off the beta blocker and remained with a very slow heart rate after you went off the beta blocker. Is that correct? I know all your Cardio test came back normal BUT what did the cardiologist say about the heart rate being so slow. I mean you never "normally" ran such a slow heart rate. Now all of a sudden you are. I would call them and tell them your concerns. Who cares if they think your crazy you need answers and the longer you are not getting them the more anxious and worried you are becoming. You are scared to go to sleep, that is horrible!!

 
Old 03-13-2007, 01:39 PM   #4
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hey boxer. I have told them my concerns plenty of times. But every time I'm in a doctor's office my pulse is really fast. I guess they think I'm lying, I don't know. I just don't know what to do anymore. I guess I should stop worrying about it so much. If my heart stops, I won't know it, right? I'm just so sick of all of this! I don't know what to do anymore. I agree with everything you said. It was fast, and now it is slow. I tried to ask some of the ex-smokers on the smoking cessation board if anyone had such a heart rate decrease when they quit, and most of them were just mean to me and no one had that problem. So I don't know what to do. I really don't want to smoke any more, but I can't stand my pulse rate this low!!!

Puckluvr - I am not on any medication that would slow my heart rate. I used to take a beta blocker for tachycardia and then my heart rate started slowing down so I stopped it. And I have Xanax - but right now I'm scared to take it because it might lower my heart rate even more.

I give up!

 
Old 03-14-2007, 09:34 AM   #5
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hi Leela
How are you feeling today?

 
Old 03-14-2007, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hey boxer. My heart rate is still really low. And I'm having a really bad dizzy day. I'm pretty sure the two aren't related, but this really stinks! I really wish I could get my heart rate up. I still haven't had a cigarette, and I really don't want one...other than to raise my heart rate. I know that sounds stupid, but it is true. I've woken up every day this week, so I guess that is a good sign, for now at least! Thanks for asking!

 
Old 03-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #7
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hi Leela

Yeah I'd say it's a good sign!
I did a internet search for you on low heart rates and it does mention about the dizziness as well as other symptoms.. This is also true for the rapid heart rates, which I knew you had as well. I am still wondering (for you) if there is a connection. It's just strange how your heart rate just started running low.
I don't want to cause you more anxiety, but figured I'd ask how you were feeling.
I am sure Friday when you see the Doctor for your physical you will have "white coat" and she will think your crazy
When you worn the 24 hour monitor what were your heart rates then?
I don't think you are danger low, but low for what you normally were.

Last edited by boxerlover227; 03-14-2007 at 10:16 AM.

 
Old 03-14-2007, 10:31 AM   #8
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

When I had the holter my heart rate was in the 60s most of the afternoon. He did see that it was higher in the morning and got lower as the day went on. I think I even had white coat over that too, because my heart rate wasn't as low as it normally is. I don't know if the dizziness is related or not. I have had the dizziness for 4 years now, and this heart stuff has only been going on for a little over a year or so. I never paid any attention to my heart rate before that, so I don't know what it was doing. But I had a holter when this dizziness first started and it was normal. I'm going to beg my doctor to check my thyroid...comprehensively, this time, and not just TSH. I have read that smoking supresses TSH, so I still could have some thyroid problems even though my TSH isn't real high. I just don't know what to do anymore. This is really getting me down.

Thank you for caring and asking about me. I wish there were someone on this board that had some insight. I would love to not worry about this!

How are you feeling?

 
Old 03-14-2007, 11:06 AM   #9
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

I know I am surprised no one else on the board had any more insight for you.
I remember reading that the thyroid could play a part in all of these symptoms you feel as well. I would definitely ask again. I am thinking of having mine checked as well. Sometimes the standard test just aren't enough.
All your dizziness "could" very well be a combination of things going on.
I just hope you find the answers, so you can go back to living a normal life!!
I can totally understand why it's getting you down, You have been living in constant sick mode for 4 years, and sometimes we just get so frustrated with ourselves and become sick of being sick! It's all normal for you to feel this way and I am in the boat with ya!
I am still feeling the same, some days I just have no motivation. We are taking
my daughter to the circus tomorrow night, so I am anticipating my anxiety about it most of today. I hate living like this, I feel like my own prisoner.
I guess I will take a xanax and hope for the best hopefully I am not to drunk headed feeling to be able to enjoy myself for her sake!!

If any one else has advice to give on this post I would be curious to hear their response as well.. Hang in there!!
Keep me posted on your visit with the Doctor. I am sure it will all be the same story, but I pray for your sake you get some bed side manor!!

 
Old 03-14-2007, 04:15 PM   #10
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Dear Leela C

I come here because my husband has CAD, but I have suffered anxiety for years!
I used to have a very fast heart-rate and took Inderal, but then my rate
became very slow at rest (as low as 42 Beats a min)
My doctor told me that the para-sympathetic nervous system can become dominant in anxiety states. This is more alarming to people because it isn't what we expect, and isn't as common.
For the last twenty years I have had a faster heart-rate in the morning
and slower as the day goes on! Even during calm phases.
I made my doctor promise that my heart wouldn't stop!
At least our heart-rates do speed up...some poor people under stress find
that their heart slows down when they get emotional. I have had that
happen (also the sudden slowing down after exercise - which causes a
slight ache in the chest too!) I also have missed heart-beats. BUT I try
to live with it and ignore it all.
I used to get dizzy in my twenties and thirties, but for the last twenty
years it got less constant.
I was always scared to death, and in the end, it was my poor younger
husband who got angina.

 
Old 03-15-2007, 06:27 AM   #11
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

~K~ - Thank you so much for your post!!!! I almost started crying reading it. Don't ask me why - I seem to be MORE emotional than usual lately. I guess it was just so much relief to hear that someone out there has had the same problems as me. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your story.

It's funny...I'm having a "panic attack" this morning because I have to go to the dentist later and my heart has sped up. I guess that is a good thing. The bad thing about all this is that I have to work a lot harder at the gym to get my heart rate to target. Last night I decided to do cardio instead of fat burn and busted my butt to keep my hr at my target of 151.

I'm really going to try hard to ignore all of this stuff. Deep down I know my heart probably won't just stop, but I can't help being scared. I have had problems for over 4 years now and doctors have been of no help, so I can't help but not trust them.

Thank you again for posting! It does help me a lot hearing your story.

Hey boxer! - How are you today? Like I said earlier, I'm panicky about the dentist so my heart rate isn't as slow today. I just can't win, right? heehee I seem to be in a better mood today. My doctor is trying to treat my PCOS with progesterone, and I think that is doing a number on my mental state. It's been 3 1/2 days without a cigarette!!! It's really not bothering me that much. I will be out of work after noon today and out all day tomorrow (we get every other Friday off). So I don't know how much I'll be on. I hope you have a great day! And have fun at the circus! Let me know how it goes.

LeeAnn

 
Old 03-15-2007, 08:51 AM   #12
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~K~ View Post
I have had that
happen (also the sudden slowing down after exercise - which causes a
slight ache in the chest too!) I also have missed heart-beats. BUT I try
to live with it and ignore it all.
Being on medication, my resting HR is around 45 and now I have just noticed that it skips. At first I was concerned but now realize that it is more common than I thought. I too wanted to make sure it would not just stop. Skipping OK, Stopping not good.

Cheers

 
Old 03-15-2007, 12:39 PM   #13
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Leela_C HB User
Re: I'm getting really scared...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~K~ View Post
I used to have a very fast heart-rate and took Inderal, but then my rate
became very slow at rest (as low as 42 Beats a min)
One question for you...did you get off the Inderal when your rate got that slow? And is it still that slow? I got off the beta blocker I was on when mine started slowing down, and it stayed slow. I figured it would come up some when I stopped the beta blocker??? Who knows? Thanks again!

 
Old 03-15-2007, 01:06 PM   #14
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Hi - Just read your post and wanted to tell you my story even though my condition is different from yours. I have neurohumeral myocardial stunning - aka Broken Heart Syndrome - I had what I thought was a heart attack, spent 3 days in the hospital was told "we're not sure what happened but take these drugs and you SHOULD be fine, we really don't know what casued your heart attack, could be several things, we may never know". That wasn't good enough so I went in search of a second opinion. Fortunately, it only took this cardologist 20 minutes of the consultation when he said "your a perfect match for N.M.S., here's some information on it (an article that had been written just months prior) and here's how we're going to handle this" - My point is, I couldn't live with the "oh well" of the first Doc so I pursued a second opinion and found the answer. He's wonderful and will see me at the drop of a hat and will even call me (I also have PVC's now and thought I would die from that) to discuss what was happening. I wore two 24 hour monitors and a 3 day moniter in an effort to catch what I was feeling and they came out to be just PVC's. BUT, my Doctor made the effort to find out what I was complaining about, assured me at every step of the way and has made me feel looked after! I encourage you to find the same - it may be harder to find, it may be the very next Doctor BUT don't give up in finding answers! Good luck to you! Linda

 
Old 03-15-2007, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: I'm getting really scared...

Dear Leela, Hi again,
I have an average rate of 55. My anxiety is much less now than in my twenties and thirties! If I have tachycardia I take a low dose of Inderal (20g)
or 5mg Valium. I'm not afraid if this reduces my pulse to around 42 at night.
I haven't worried about having a labile pulse for the last twenty years!
These days I just worry about other things, such as getting cancer (I
will always be a worrier)
Sinus brady is a benign phenomenon in young, otherwise healthy, patients.
Keep being observed, but TRY to trust your doctor.
Anxiety CAN and DOES cause para-sympathetic activity to dominate, and even to become the normal pattern. It is amazing how many specialists don't
know much about this! Doctor Claire weeks mentions this in one of her anxiety books.
If you want your heart to become less labile; you need to be calmer for more than just a few weeks (easier said than done)
I just want to mention that 5HTP drugs like Prosac can cause bradycardia.
Your heart STILL wouldn't stop...but if you are taking these drugs (I
never wanted to take them) just a caution.
All the best
Sorry about the format...I use the 'cut and paste' method! LOL!

Last edited by ~K~; 03-15-2007 at 04:40 PM.

 
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