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Old 08-08-2008, 02:47 PM   #1
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Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi .
I am a 32 year old woman, skiny. I think I was on my best fitness, at age 30, just before getting pregnant. My exercises before pregnancy included also climbing 3 times a day 7 floors in stairs during my work day.
Since my baby was born (1 year and 4 months ago) I could never really come back to exercise regurlaly as before. To compensate it I am trying to do get back on doing at least the stairs exercises. But when I do it, I feel short of breath and my heart rate increases just in the first floors. When I get to the 7th floor my heart rate reaches 188 bpm. The full climbing takes around 5 minutes or less. In the past, even when I believed myself fit, I felt short of breath only in the upper floors, but had the same fast heart rate at the rate at the end of the exercise. I would not worry about that as I never had any symptom of heart dsease and no one in my family died sudenly in young age. My father had circulatory problems but they started only after he was 60. Both my parents have high blood pressure, but so far I have normal or low. So why I am writing here? Two of my friends that climbed with me said that 180+ is too much, that, maybe I should check it. Is there anything I should be worried about? I don't have much time to go to doctors if it is not really necessary and I would be a little embarassed to come if I don't have and never had any symptom of heart disease. So I just hope you will tell me that my friends are exagerating and there is a normal explanation for this.
Thanks a lot.

 
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Can you get a blood pressure cuff and take your pulse? Take it while laying down - after you have been resting and relaxed for at least 5 minutes. Stand up and take it 1 minute after standing, then again at 5 minutes standing. If there is a major jump, say over 100bpm, it could point at a few things.

What you need to do though if get your thyroid thoroughly tested - not just a TSH test, have your electrolytes tested, get blood sugar thoroughly checked, get vitamin B12 checked and even vitamin D.

If you do have that jump from a normal heart rate to one that is double or over 100bpm you should ask your doctor for something called a tilt table test. During this they strap you in and tilt you at around 70-80 degrees on a table. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and any symptoms you have are wrote down.

Also, if your heart rate does usually return to a normal rate, it could point at just being unconditioned or low blood pressure as a problem.

Last edited by aether4; 08-08-2008 at 09:38 PM.

 
Old 08-09-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi aether4.

Thanks a lot for your answer. I cehcked the numbers and maybe I did something wrong. I got 92 and 88 for resting rate (I mesuared twice cause I thought it was wrong) and then 100 in the first minute and 5th minute standing (I was curious and measured also in the 4th minute and I got 108 or 104). But many times I measure my heart rate while siting and it ranges from 60 to 84. Yesterday almost all the times I measured it was around 72. How come my heart beats faster when I am laying than when I am sitting? Today I am a little sick, some virus that dries my throat, makes me cough, change my voice and give me some quite insignifcant pain in my left back and in my left chest. I don't have fever and I don't have shortness of breath (I suppose I would have if I run or do some sport, but nothing out of normal ). When I lay down I feel some discomfort. It is not shortness of breath but I feel that sometimes I need to open my mouse to get more air as what I get from my nose doesn't seem enough and then I start breathing more concenrated and heavily. I think it is psicologycal, if I don't pay attention in my breath I don't hink I am out of breath. Do you think my strange resting heart rate may be due to this virus or some kind of anxiety while taking the measures?
Thanks again.

 
Old 08-11-2008, 01:32 PM   #4
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi Sampo, I have many of the same symptoms as you do. Did you happen to find out what was wrong?
Thanks

 
Old 08-12-2008, 07:19 AM   #5
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

the same thing happens to me
i cant hardly make it up stairs and have to pray it slows down once i get done

 
Old 08-12-2008, 07:32 PM   #6
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

sampoo, when you are sick your body does many things to compensate, its not a good time to try and figure out what your heart is doing. Check again when your good and over your virus and then see what happens. Fever or not, you can have a higher heart rate purely from the virus. Same with respiratory symptoms, its your bodies natural coping mechanism.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 07:37 AM   #7
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi All.

Thank you all for your answers. For those who have similar symptoms, I found 2 possible diagnosis that I will discuss with my doctor on tuesday. The good news is that both of them can cause tachycardia on exercise, but are not life threatening, although they are quite annoying. They are related to other symptoms that I have.

About the virus, yes I agree that my heart is exagerating a little because of the virus. You won't believe what happend this week. The bad news is that I felt so bad on monday that the nurses at work sent me to the emergency room. The good news is that in the hospital they did a complete blood count, an E.K.G and a radiography of my chest and found nothing. 2 more blood tests will come to my doc till tuesday: electrolytes and Thyroid. So I started to believe that maybe I don't have a heart problem after all and all the things I feel may be explained by one of the 2 conditions above or just by some "panic attack" caused by stress combined with a virus.
For those that like details, here is what happened:

On monday I woke up feeling that my body was weak. Then I checked the changes in my heart in the first minute and I was a little terrified. Yet I decided to come to work and check excatly how long it takes to reach the seven floor. I went up slowly not to overvcharge my weakened body and it I was surprised that it took only 1 minute. In this minute my heart jumped from 100 bpm to 220 bpm! I was terrified. When I am not with a virus and do it fast it reaches 188 bpm.
So I went to the nurses and checked the changes in my heart from sitting and standing. It was normal. Yet I came back to my cubic and couldn't work. Every little step I made that day made me feel my heart beat faster and my body weak. I couldn't think about anything else. I tried lying down and I still felt my heart beatting agressively. Then my hands started to sweat a lot (I have this sometimes) and I started to feel numbness. Then I asked for help and they decided to take me to the emergency. They told me I was really pale. That day even when I was out the hospital and tried to sleep I couldn't because I was allways feeling my heart beating so strongly. With heart problem or not, I know I was really stressed. I don't know if the stress caused the heart beats or if the heart beats caused the stress . In the hospital letter they recommended me to see a cardiologist in case I have an episode like this again. I am still sick (almost a week!). And before I gave birth, I was one of those people that never get phisically sick (I have depression sometimes). This week I had many different symptoms, including gastrointestinal ones. My cough is really worse and disturb mine and my husband's sleep. My body is still weak when I do some effort. The heart is calmer. Frankly I think people can get sick from stress. Lots of work at work and at home, no time to sleep, exercise and eat well. I think that's what's happening to me. Unless we find something else related to the remaining blood exams or the 2 conditions above. Anyway I feel that everything is gonna turn out just fine. Either way I don't feel I have some life threatening problem, I just need to take a little more care about my health. Hope these details help someone in a similar situation. Sorry for the big letter.

Wishing a good health to everyone!
Sampo.

Last edited by moderator2; 08-15-2008 at 03:10 PM. Reason: posted disallowed website(s)

 
Old 08-15-2008, 01:33 PM   #8
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Thanks for the reply Sampo. Very reasurring there are no heart issues.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 11:21 PM   #9
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi All.

For those interested in possible diagnosis, look for information on dysautonomia and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). I also read about your suggestions and Mitral Valve Prolapse seems a possible diagnosys. In this case, it is a heart problem, but most people who have it can leave normal lifes. The exams I did in the hospital would not point it. I would have to do an echocardiography. My doc mentioned something about it in case all my blood exams are ok. I will update you all once I talk to him on tuesday. Anyway, my advice to you all: here you can get ideas on what to talk to your doctors but you cannot have a diagnosys, so please if you think you may have some abnormal conditions, discuss it with your doc. It is better to prevent than to cure .

Thanks for your support.
Sampo.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 07:50 AM   #10
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Just in the last few weeks I have developed the shortness of breath with just doing the least little thing, walking across the parking lot to another building at work and back, I have to sit down. If I try and do a little house cleaning it happens again. I have also developed a cough. Thought it was from the BP meds but the ones I am on has no such side effect. I have only had the hight bp since May with changes in meds. The one I am on now I have to take twice a day(verapamil er 200 mg) and one Benicar 20 mg in between. My bp is now staying down and no spikes in a while but I am tired all the time. I was diagnosed with the Mitral Valve prolapse about 2 years ago. Could this be causing the shortness of breath and cough? The cough seems to be be ok as long as I am laying down but up moving around it starts and I do not have a cold. I have allergies but have never had a cough like this. The shortness of breath is my big concern. Being on 420 mg o bp meds has taken a toll on me. I am only 56, 125 weight and 5'. Other than thyroid(low) and allergies I have always been in good health. Any advise from anyone?

 
Old 08-17-2008, 05:22 AM   #11
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

londonlin - Make sure your thyroid problems are being properly treated as it can cause a bunch of symptoms and should never be overlooked.


sampo2 - That's what my post was alluding to, but even though I have NCS and POTS I don't like going around suggesting that everyone else with elevated heart rates has it too. To be honest, that your heart rate does return to normal, when standing, sort of suggests that may not be what you have.

And yes, being sick (having a fever) or even dehydrated with drastically affect your heart rate even while resting. Mine was around 116bpm resting at the hospital yesterday.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 06:25 AM   #12
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by londonlin View Post
Just in the last few weeks I have developed the shortness of breath with just doing the least little thing, walking across the parking lot to another building at work and back, I have to sit down. If I try and do a little house cleaning it happens again. ... twice a day(verapamil er 200 mg) and one Benicar 20 mg in between.
Verapamil once was my most effective blood pressure medication (not the slow release version). I took it three times a day for at least ten years. I didn't have any problems with coughing on Verapamil, but we are all different.

I finally switched over to Coreg. For me, Coreg is even more effective and it doesn't seem to interact with my diet or give me any other problems.

I didn't take the "er" extended release version of Verapamil.

Just wanted to pass on to you the experience that I had.

Good luck finding a solution.
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CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Diabetes, Asthma doing great

⇒ Avoid allergic & non-allergic irritants/triggers
⇒ Low calorie ovo-vegetarian diet
⇒ Power walk, weight lifts, pushups
⇒ Coreg 25mg bid

Last edited by Machaon; 09-03-2008 at 05:16 AM.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 04:14 PM   #13
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by aether4 View Post
sampo2 - That's what my post was alluding to, but even though I have NCS and POTS I don't like going around suggesting that everyone else with elevated heart rates has it too. To be honest, that your heart rate does return to normal, when standing, sort of suggests that may not be what you have.

And yes, being sick (having a fever) or even dehydrated with drastically affect your heart rate even while resting. Mine was around 116bpm resting at the hospital yesterday.
Hi aether.

Thanks for your answer. I hope you feel good now, it is not nice being in the hospital. I want to clarify something: I did not suggest that everyone has POTS. People asked me if I found something, I just wanted to share with them the things I read. I also enphasised that only their doctor can give a diagnose. I don't even know what I have. I really hope it is just stress combined with a virus, but I think I was not clear about my symptoms. It was before the virus that I got my heart beating around 188 just after one minute climbing stairs and my friend told me to check it. And I always had a rapid heart beat on exercise, even when I was fit and with no virus. After I read about POTS and disautonomy I thought there may be a link with other things I feel that I didn't mention before: I also have some sort of dizziness when I change positions and I also have depression crises and fatigue. Anyway I am still weak, one week after the emergency room. A couple of hours ago I felt shortness of breath and numbness and I felt cold. Yet, no fever and no headache. I added clothes and drank tea and felt better. Now I am feeling hot and removed clothes. I don't remember I ever had had a virus that would make me feel so weak for so much time and without fever. I read that stress can weaken the imunne system, so maybe I finally had my overdose of stress.
Maybe it is worth mentioning that 3 months ago I stopped pills again because we want to have another child. Could hormonal changes be causing all of this?
I just hope things will get back to normal soon.
Best regards,
sampo.

 
Old 08-19-2008, 01:31 AM   #14
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

Hi All.

Just wanted to upadte you about my results. The only thing they found is that I have low iron. My doc thinks I don't have any heart problem. His opinion is that all I've been feeling is a combination of low iron, virus and stress. I guess he is right.
Wishing a good health to everyone,
Sampo.

 
Old 08-19-2008, 09:50 AM   #15
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Re: Rapid increase in heart rate and shortness of breath when climbing stairs

I have blood work every 3 months for thyroid, I am still good and no change in that med thanks goodness. I have been on thyroid for 16 years. Dr. had me do an x-ray yesterday, can not figure out what that is going to show. I also have Mitral Valve Regurgitation and I hope she will do another echo to see if it has maybe gotten worse and that may be causing the cough and shortness of breath. I may have to change doctors and go to a speciality one.

 
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