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  • 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!



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    Old 03-06-2004, 04:47 PM   #1
    AmyRS
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    25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    This could get long but I'll do my best to keep it short as possible!

    Two weeks ago while sitting in a movie theatre I noticed my heart was beating really fast. When my husband and I came home I mentioned it to him and he listened and thought it was going twice as fast as his. We laughed, thinking it was nothing and decided to time it to see if he was right. His was 70 and mine was 130.

    After realising the "normal" resting rate is anywhere between 70-90 I started to realise something was not right!! We monitored it for a while and finally headed to emergency just in case. I spent the day there while they watched me go from 115 to 160 by simply lifting my arm to scratch my face. At this point I had no other symptoms besides my heart beating out of my chest. They released me that same night, under the impression that the medication I've been on due to some neurological problems (Nortriptyline) was causing my heart rate to be elevated. They made me stop cold turkey that night until I could talk to my neurologist.

    When I spoke to him, he said he has never had this happen before, only in elderly patients who had prior cardiac problems before taking the meds. Now we were getting a little worried, condsidering nobody knew why my heart was going crazy and it still hadn't slowed down.

    About 2 days later I was having trouble breathing and quite a bit of chest pain. Back to the hospital, where they admitted me for 8 days to run a bunch of tests. Lung scan to make sure no embollism which was clear, blood work for magnesium, thyroid, blood surgar all clear, echo showed no signs, and holter monitor that recorded beats up to 188. This is all laying in a hospital bed!!! They also had me do a 24 hour urine test which won't be back for 4-5 weeks.

    Because of the previous neuro problems I have a brain MRI coming up in 2 weeks to rule out MS. They released me thinking they'll know more when the urine test comes back and once we have the MRI as well.

    I visited my family dr yesterday and she is trying to convince me that this is generalized anxiety disorder and chronic panic attacks. I've only had difficulty breathing once, and I certainly haven't been anxious while watching a funny movie I'm starting to feel like they're putting me off because they can't figure out what it is and they don't want to take the time to.

    Should I just wait for the MRI and other results or should I be getting a referral to someone else? Should I just let this go? My heart is still pounding and my family isn't comfortable with me only being able to sit on the couch for fear of my heart going through the roof. Here is my big shopping list of symptoms:

    - Blue feet and toenails when sitting
    - Extreme fatigue - too tired to laugh or move at all
    - Irregular periods
    - Hair loss
    - Night sweats
    - Tingling in face, hands and arms
    - Headaches
    - Stiff feeling in eyes and vision problems - dyslexia with numbers and words
    - Out of body feeling - brain shutting off for a few seconds at a time - vision is shifty instead of smooth
    - Nauseous/no appetite
    - Vertigo
    - Sweating
    - Pounding head when first standing up
    - Chest pain
    - Pink rash on feet when in hot shower

    They tried me on 2 beta-blockers in the hospital and they made me feel worse - sick to my stomach and no energy, and they didn't do much to bring my heart rate down either!

    My blood pressure was all over the place as well - 165 over something - that one set off an alarm and they came running into my room, and as low as 80 over something and the nurse asked me if I felt like I could pass out! I haven't fainted (yet)!

    Another thing that was weird was they gave me Ativan and it didn't make me sleepy or make a difference with rate/pressure either.

    Maybe at least the tachycardia will leave as fast as it came on?

    Any opinions or advice are greatly appreciated!

    Amy

     
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    Old 03-06-2004, 06:44 PM   #2
    zzzzlady
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Wow! That's some story you've got.

    I think you're doing all the right things by being persistent on finding out what's going on. I was diagnosed with that tachcardyia as well, but I'm pretty sure mine came from years of taking decongestants and severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I'm on a low does beta-blocker (toprol xr) and so far, so good. I've only been taking it for a short period of time.

    Do you drink lots of caffeine? Do you smoke? Do you eat lots of sugar foods? pops? those will create an over stimulation of the heart. what about vitamins?

    Take care and keep us posted,

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 10:12 AM   #3
    AmyRS
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Hey there, thanks for the response.

    I eat fairly healthy, never smoked, never drank alcohol. I take a good multivitimin as well as a B complex.

    My family dr is the one really pushing the whole anxiety thing, which is driving me NUTS!! Why would I have a panic attack during a funny movie?! That just doesn't make sense to me!!

    Amy

    Last edited by AmyRS; 03-07-2004 at 10:12 AM.

     
    Old 03-07-2004, 08:03 PM   #4
    Jordie
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Just wanted to let you know that anxiety or panic attacks can hit you when you are the most relaxed. It sounds wierd, but many people have them whilst watching TV, even doing Yoga. They very much come 'out of the blue', and don't think you have to feel stressed to get one either.

    You are definitely doing the right thing though, in ruling out anything serious. I hope your heart rate slows down, it must feel dreadful. I get a racing heart but only for say 1/2 hour then it's normal. I also get headaches, tingling hands, depersonalisation. My MRI showed nothing, I hope yours will be fine.

    Regards,
    Jordie.

     
    Old 03-10-2004, 03:54 PM   #5
    AmyRS
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Well, my MRI is next Wednesday, so the plan is that no matter what the results are we're going to head to the teaching hospital about an hour away to get a second opinion on everything.

    I've recently been researching a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) that I have just about every symptom of. It's given me some hope that I might have a defense against the panic attack diagnosis. In everything I've read about panic/anxiety attacks the patient has something they are anxious about that they are aware of, even if the attack happens when they aren't expecting it. I don't have anything I am worried about - everybody gets stressed out and I KNOW that what has happened to me for over 2 weeks now is not due to stress. That's another thing - I haven't heard of panic attacks lasting over 2 weeks.

    I guess we'll see what happens with the MRI and then off I'll go for the 2nd opinion!

    Amy

     
    Old 03-11-2004, 09:44 AM   #6
    hry33
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Hi Amy, I hope they can work out whats wrong, allergies are a possibility.so is an adrenal gland tumour that secretes adrenalin
    effective ativan doses vary a lot and a larger dose may be needed, experiment. it dosesnt always make you feel sedated even when its working

    try to accept the rapid heartbeat and dont worry about it, sometimes this is all thats needed to slow the heart

    stay with us

     
    Old 03-15-2004, 04:16 AM   #7
    NLee
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    [B]Totally agree with finding out what is wrong. It gives you a peace of mind.
    I suffer from stress and Anxiety every single day of my life and find that it takes it toll on my heart. I have skipping, racing, and just ill health because of it.

     
    Old 03-24-2004, 11:34 AM   #8
    AmyRS
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    I'm back with good news!

    I had my dr's appointment yesterday to go over the MRI results, and they are clear! Also, the 24-hour urine test (to check adrenal function) has also come back clear!

    My dr FINALLY admitted that she didn't know what to do, so I suggested the whole POTS thing I've been researching. She agreed that would be worth checking out, and is going to get me a referral to have the Tilt Table Test (to diagnose it) done! And she thinks the wait will be fairly short since it isn't a "regular" test!

    The BEST thing about the whole visit was that she didn't mention anxiety ONCE! I think she has finally figured out like the rest of them that panic attacks are not what I've been experiencing. She also took my pulse and listened to my heart and my pulse was about 120 just sitting there. I think she gets the picture now! I feel so vindicated! LOL!

    Next step is the follow up with the neuro first week in April, and hopefully the Tilt test will happen even before that. Either way I'm thrilled!

    Amy

     
    Old 03-24-2004, 01:17 PM   #9
    CTmom
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Amy -

    Don't know if this will help but this is my story. Was diagnosed with tachycardia at age 13. Had many of the same symptoms you have. Saw a cardiologist and the official diagnosis was "supraventricular tachycardia". I also took beta blockers for about four years - it never really did a good job controlling the palpitations and I was very groggy and "out of it". At this point I was in the ER about once a week with heart rates 150-200 per minute. I would get short of breath and have chest pain. In the ER they would convert my heart rate to normal sinus rhythm using various medications. I'm surprised they send you home still in tachycardia. They never would release me until I went back into a normal rhythm. One medication in particular, verapamil, a calcium channel blocker, worked very well, although it wasn't supposed to for this particular condition. When it came out in pill form I began taking it and have taken it, and it alone, ever since. I have been very stable and not needed to go the ER in over 15 years.

    About 10 years ago my Dr. had me stop my medication because I wanted to get pregnant - symptoms came back. He recommended I have arrhyhymia mapping with catheter ablation. Basically, the put a wire through an artery in your leg up into your heart (just like with cardiac catheterization) and stimulate different areas of the heart to figue out what brings on your palpitations. In my case I had an extra electrical pathway in my heart that would misfire and mess up my heart rhythm. Usually, they can then ablate (or burn out) the problem and you are cured, but in my case the pathway was very close to the heart's main pacemaker and there was a chance it would be damaged as well, so we decided not to do it, especially since I had been so stable on medication.

    I also have been dealing with anxiety issues for years, but never saw any correlation between my anxiety and palpitations. They would come on at the weirdest times, often when I was sitting watching TV or reading. You might want to pursue the cardiologist route further just to rule out any cardiac problems. My stress test and echocardiogram were completely normal. The tilt table test will be helpful, but you also might want to see an electrophysiologist who studies the electrical pathways of the heart for his opinion.

    Best wishes!

     
    Old 04-22-2004, 07:03 AM   #10
    AmyRS
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    I have a MAJOR update to share today.

    On Monday I woke up and said to my husband that I felt different. When I put on my heart monitor like I do every day I looked and my rate was LOW! The Monday before I took my last pill, and exactly a week later my heart rate returned to normal! I'm still having breakthrough beats when i'm doing something (130s-140s) but my resting rate has been as low as 77! Usually it's anywhere between 90-115. So I guess this means that it WAS the Nortriptyline that was causing my heart problems. I can't believe the stupid doctors couldn't figure this out. Good thing I decided to go off them on my own to see what would happen. I've had some really bad headaches and tingling and some vision trouble, but I think I'm okay. Considering the heart stuff was only the icing on the cake, I'm not getting my hopes up too high just yet - I left my job because I was so sick before this heart stuff even happened, so it should be interesting to see how I feel now!

    Today is day 4 of low rates. I don't even know what to do with myself! On Tuesday I did all my cleaning on my own - I didn't have to get my Mom to help me at all! It tired me out but I was able to do it!

    I haven't told my dr about this yet - right now I think I'll still have the king of hearts monitor done, just to make sure the meds haven't done any damage or anything. That's my main concern right now - that this has done something to my heart!

    I KNEW this wasn't anxiety/panic attacks and I FINALLY have my proof!!

    Amy

     
    Old 04-22-2004, 07:13 AM   #11
    newlywedgurl
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    Good for you Amy!! I am so glad to hear that you have gotten everything straightened out!! It certainly goes to show that Doctors don't know everything! Women are usually pretty good at knowing their own bodies--glad your instinct was right!!

     
    Old 04-22-2004, 08:46 AM   #12
    missmokay
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    First, anxiety attacks CAN hit out of the blue.

    But you have a crazy list of chronic symptoms. I think you're doing the right thing by following up.

    I was recently in the ER for a strange episode of dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, etc. that was determined a panic attack. My white cells were high and my blood pressure was 156/95. I realize your bp can go high when you're stressed, but I have chronically elevated bp and that's the highest mine has ever been. So, it does concern me. I've had panic attacks before and do have Generalized Anxiety, but this was different. It started with a sudden headache where my vision went blurry for a second. I didn't have half the symptoms you have and I'm going to follow up with a second opinion.

    If you're young and they can't find anything obvious in your blood, they always say anxiety attack, anxiety attack, anxiety attack. I don't think I'm being a paranoid GAD idiot here, either. My mom used to be a nurse and she is encouraging me to follow up. I think the moment I told them I had a couple of anxiety attacks 3-4 years ago, they ran with it. But I have high blood pressure for my age and this is the 2cd time I've been told I have high white cells (which, too, can elevate under stress) when I didn't have an apparent physical illness such as a URI or UTI.

    The telltale thing to me as well is that the treatments for anxiety aren't working with you. Sedatives, etc. would probably work for someone having panic attacks. At least heavy sedatives would.

    I think you should keep getting other opinions if your MRI doesn't show anything.

     
    Old 04-22-2004, 08:57 AM   #13
    dizzygirl916
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    I am 22 and also get the same symptoms that you have listed. all the doctors say anxiety too. I went for my MRI last week and still have not got any results, hopefully they will come this week. I am not stressed about anything either, I have a great job, wonderful husband, and have nothing to be stressed about. But still, people with anxiety just have an imbalance, you don't have to be stressed out to have anxiety. You just get it. And now that you are worried more about what is happening to you, I am sure your symptoms will only seem worse. I am gonig through the same thing rright now, and I am scared to death. But I have had so many medical tests and I read that there are many people like me with anxiety that have the same feelings. I guess I have to either except it or else not enjoy life anymore. I am trying to except it, but it is very hard, especailly with those weird symptoms. I hope that everything goes well with you, try to keep us posted how you are donig.

     
    Old 04-27-2004, 06:10 PM   #14
    Dexter2004
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    Re: 25yr old with tachycardia out of the blue - drs say anxiety?!

    I'm glad you got so many responses... aside from the feet rash thing, I had all those symptoms pop up 4 years ago when I was 23... I had EKGs and bloodwork, stress tests... nothing was wron with me physically, just mentally... my advice would be to accept that it is in fact anxiety, and work with it...

    After my umpteenth fake heart palpitation chest pain episode, I strapped on my rollerblades and went out for a crazy long distance skate thinking "If my heart wants to give out, than I'll hekp it along..." Well I skated for 2 hours straight until I had no sweat or energy left... and my heart is still ticking...

    Anxiety's a b*tch... it comes up with new and creative ways to make us think we're sick... I've had alot of the symptoms you mentioned.... dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pain, arm pain, numbness in one side of my face, numb fingers, numb legs and feet, blurred vision, trouble breathing... I could go on forever...

    Your body is much stronger than your mind is letting you beleive it is right now... trust me, you're fine... when I have a panic attack now I just laugh at how it snuck up on me... and try to figure out why it happened... sometimes it takes a day or two to figure out, but it's always linked to the same triggers (a bad day at work, an upcoming engagement I'm not looking forward to, trouble at the homefront, too much work on my plate, etc.)...

    You think you can't have an attack during a funny movie? Our nutty brain chemicals can be released at anytime... I've woken up from a hard sleep and had a panick attack... just remember that it's just chemical... not logical...

    Cheers!

     
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