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    Old 07-18-2003, 12:40 PM   #1
    hilery79
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    Question fast heart rate - anxiety?

    Hi,
    I have been suffering for the last couple months with a very rapid, but weak heartrate. I've had lots of tests and nothing is ever found so my dr. says it's just anxiety. (basicly he has no idea what's causing it and just says this because there's no test they can do to prove it is or isn't anxiety - that's what I think anyway) I know that some of my symptoms are due to anxiety. I just found out I have thyroid cancer, so I do have a lot of anxiety right now.
    Anyway, my heartrate used to run around 70-75. All of a sudden a couple months ago it jumped up to over 100 and is this way constantly. And, whenever I am up doing something, just light activity, it will go up to 160-180. This makes me feel very dizzy, lightheaded, and out of breath. I am so tired of feeling this way and no meds seem to help all that much. Also, my heart beat is very weak (sometimes I can't even feel my pulse) and my bp is very low (for me) 100/60.
    Has anyone who has trouble with anxiety had their heartrate be this high constantly? Can anxiety really do this? And if so, why won't the anxiety meds slow it down? I've been to my dr over 10 times in the last 2 months and never seem to get any answers.
    Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this. I would really appreciate any input.
    Hilery

    Also, even though I have thyroid cancer, all of my thyroid hormones are within normal range. They've checked them 4 times now.

     
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    Old 07-18-2003, 01:33 PM   #2
    Soar
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    Usually when I have a lot of anxiety my heart races and it concerns me but I have to remind myself it is anxiety...and it will go away. Doctors sometimes are not very helpful, especially when your heart is racing due to anxiety. I can certainly relate to ya. Keep us posted! Cassie

     
    Old 07-18-2003, 11:07 PM   #3
    anadia
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    my heart rate is usually around 55-65, doctors say its normal since i am a very athletic person, but about a year and a half ago my heart felt like it was literally pounding against the outside of my chest going about 100 bpm, and that was just sitting around doing nothing! i went and saw a cardiologist, i had an echogram, i had to wear a 24 hour heart moniter and also got a thyroid test, everything came back saying i was perfectly normal, what caused it all was anxiety/stress of my long term girlfriend cheating on me but everything is ok now :]

     
    Old 07-18-2003, 11:09 PM   #4
    anadia
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    Oh and it lasted about a week and a half, not constantly, but enough to make me very worried

     
    Old 07-19-2003, 07:29 AM   #5
    hilery79
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    Thank you Cassie and Anadia for your replys.
    I have had several ekg's and worn a 24 hr holter monitor, but haven't had an echo. Mine has lasted 2 months now. I have a hard time believing that anxiety could be causing my heartrate to be this fast constantly. Also, when it all started, I wasn't under any stress at all. I don't know - hopefully they'll eventually figure out what's wrong with me.
    Thanks again~
    Hilery

     
    Old 07-19-2003, 12:59 PM   #6
    hry33
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    anxiety can make the heart hammer and jump around without beating any faster, but can also make the heart beat increase
    relaxation and stress reduction is the answer
    meds such as beta blockers will help, if the dose is got right
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    Old 07-19-2003, 04:14 PM   #7
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    well i went thru nearly the same thing.. i was an active athlete on my highschool basketball team, often running my arse off for full three hour practices and living for it..
    then all of a sudden my heartbeat changed and my breathing changed and i was afraid to work out..
    i had all the tests done and there was only medications to be offered to me for treatment..
    it's now three years and i'm getting back to normal.. with only occasional anxiety problems..
    i've found that what's true for everyone is that it gets better with time.. but noone's the same.. some ppl's anxiety lasts a weekend and it's gone for years.. some ppl's anxiety is limited to dizziness or limited to a upbeat heart pace.. then there are the others who are continuously bothered by multiple symptoms that strike outta nowhere and seem to go on forever..
    just realize that this gets under control in time.. it could be gone by this time next week for all you know..
    just try not to dwell on it.. and remember that it's not any indication of a serious problem with some vital organs in your body..

    -ryan

     
    Old 07-30-2003, 11:48 AM   #8
    slyJohn
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    It makes me feel better to hear stories like the one above. I am going through the exact same thing man. I am 20 years old; I used to be very athletic. I played football, basketball, ran track in high school. Earlier this year in January at my university, I was working out in the gym and after I had finished doing a set on my legs my heart felt like it was beating out of control going like 180bpm. When I get to the nurse it was around 92bpm so it was ok. But this has triggered a very severe case of anxiety for me. I am scared to do the things I used to do; I will not work out, run, or do anything streneous. This has been going on for 8 months now and I hope it passes. I am very skinny for my age and height and I think that has something to do with it... don't know, just speculating. I can barely make it up the stairs sometimes because of this anxiety. I hope that's all it is, anxiety. I've had numerous tests done, everything is normal so I really hope this is all in my head and that it will pass.

     
    Old 07-30-2003, 12:30 PM   #9
    Wowwweee
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    Hi all,

    Boy, am I an old pro at this topic!! My racing heart beat was the main focus for me in my panic attacks, and in general. OH MY! I would go around feeling my pulse and "monitoring" myself constantly. I spent many tears and fears in this department.

    I have felt ALL those things, and continue to have those symptoms/sensations.

    Yes, anxiety (even low levels of anxiety on a daily basis) can keep your heart rate elevated for days, weeks, and even months. The heart muscle is geared for this, so a person can go for long periods of time with an elevated heart rate if it's anxiety related. It does not "wear your heart out", even though sometimes I used to feel sorry for my good old heart because it was chugging along so fast that I thought it was working too hard.

    Yes, I also have periods where I experience feeling a "faint" pulse in my wrist. This doesn't necessarily mean anything horrible is going on. Sometimes when I am feeling "weak" or "faint (pale), and my pulse is not as noticeable, I will have something salty, which raises the blood pressure in a natural way.

    Yes, I also feel out of breath and dizzy sometimes. Part of that IS from your elevated heart rate, and part of that is probably from being overwhelmed with your current situation and anxiety.

    Hilery, You did the right thing by having your heart rate and rhythm monitored, and by going to your doctor to have yourself checked out. There are certain things your doctor looks for both on a physical exam and on the holter exam to ensure that you have a healthy heart. How blessed you are that you have a healthy heart that races from anxiety only.

    Yes, you do certainly have a reason to feel stressed out Hilery! Whether you FEEL you are having anxiety can be different from actually having it. Your anxiety is probably coming out by this scary symptom. Even a low level of anxiety every day can add adrenaline to your system, which is going to elevate your heart rate. And thinking about your heart rate, or worrying about it will add stress on top of that!

    An FYI that I have (what some people might call abnormally) low blood pressure. But actually, low blood pressure is excellent to have, and what may be low for some people, is normal for others. I am considered normal for me, but I have had my BP taken by other doctors who were a bit concerned. Their concern made me concerned!

    Also, dehydration can give you a rapid heart beat. I'm not suggesting that you start drinking gallons of water every day, but usually a nice tall glass of water at least twice a day will ensure that you are hydrated well.

    What did I do to combat the fear of my racing pulse?
    1. I got myself a thorough exam by a cardiologist. I was so panicked that seeing my regular doctor wasn't enough for me to calm down. I needed to see a HEART SPECIALIST.
    2. Once I received a clean bill of health, and this included reassurance by taking ALL my worry questions with me to my examination, I knew that I had to accept this diagnosis and trust in my doctor. Acceptance for me is what made the most difference.
    3. I got a very helpful book (as part of learning to cope with my high anxiety) called "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weekes. There is a section devoted to the racing heart, the palpitating heart, the shaking heart, etc. I ear-marked that section, and whenever I was very bothered or panicked by my racing heart sensations, I would re-read that section over and over. The book is small enough to fit in a purse or glove box. It is important to not only accept the symptoms as harmless, but to make your BODY accept them too. Re-reading or re-affirming yourself is a good way to do this.
    4. Speaking of re-affirming, every time I was in a situation where I was experiencing these symptoms, I would say "I have a healthy heart" over and over again. This calmed me down and reassured myself internally that I was okay. Sometimes it takes a while for mind and body to catch up and believe the same thing!
    5. I would give my heart "permission" to beat fast. Every time my heart would race, I would say to myself something like, "okay, my heart is really racing. I'm okay, and it's going to be like this for a while, so go to it". Basically, I stopped fighting it.
    6. I stopped physically monitoring my pulse for strength and beats. I was a slave to my pulse. Taking it constantly! I could still feel my heart beating in my body (chest, head, etc.) but I stopped deliberately monitoring it. I can still 'quietly self-monitor' just by sitting sit and "listening" to my body, but it was necessary to make the decision to stop taking my pulse as part of accepting that things were okay.
    7. I started doing the things I normally would do, despite my fear of my heart breaking or beating out of control or going really fast. Things like normal exercise scared me because that MADE my heart rate increase. But that's a good thing!

    Also, for people who are slender (slight of build), it's not abnormal to see a higher heart rate.

    Sometimes drinking a SUPER-cold glass of water helps, because when the cold water passes through your throat, it cools the major artery, which slows the heart rate, too. It doesn't always work, especially if you are really anxious.

    Deep breathing is wonderful too, because it relaxes you from the inside, out. The only thing is, when you deep breath, it can elevate your heart rate as it is normally supposed to do! But I strongly recommend deep breathing as a relaxing tool. I owe most of my initial recovery from anxiety to that.

    There are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms, but I am phobic about taking a lot of medications, so I opted to go "au natural" and cope through things like I mentioned above. Also, counseling is a good thing when a little extra support is needed!

    You really are okay. Please post back. Wishing everyone a wonderful day.




    [This message has been edited by Wowwweee (edited 07-30-2003).]

     
    Old 07-30-2003, 12:47 PM   #10
    slyJohn
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    yep im going through the same thing. i monitor my pulse 24/7. and i always put a hand on m chest to make sure my heart is beating ok and steady and my family and girlfriend notice it. a funny thing happened today on my way to the financial aid office at school. walking uphill and up the stairs will raise my pulse really fast. well i was walking up this rather long case of stairs and when i got to the top my heart was beating very fast and i felt faint so i tried to walk back down and go back to my car but i stopped halfway and tried to relax. then i tried to go back up and i got halfway up and just was overwhelmed by anxiety. i wussed out and went back to my car and left. i have been really mad at myself since i got home. i wanted to throw things and yell at myself but i got on here and read this thread and relaxed a bit. my pcp has given me many antianxiety meds but like the poster above, i am all for natural remedies. i feel as if i am too conscious about myself for meds like that to even work. i wont even take tylenol. anyhow, i have a number of other anxiety symptoms but the racing heart is my primary concern since i used to be an athelete. i am just hoping that as time progresses my body will realize itself once again. i feel as if i am going through a stage of adulthood but i dont know. there is one concern as to why i may be getting these attacks. i had a tumor in my adrenal gland when i was 8 (pheochromocytoma) and they(the gland and tumor) were removed and i had a successful recovery. this illness has been known to cause very bad anxiety in adults. i have been tested for this disease again but i am ok, but perhaps my body has become sensitive to adrenaline from this disease, but im just speculating. im not a doctor. anyhow, i have faith in every one of us here and believe there is a brighter future for all of us.

     
    Old 07-30-2003, 01:34 PM   #11
    Wowwweee
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    Hi John,

    I'm really glad that you found a little relief in reading my post. I understand completely where you are with your anxiety and the frustration that comes along with it. Don't beat yourself up too much - part of anxiety is learning ways to cope, and sometimes it just takes a while to find something that works the best for you. It doesn't mean you're a failure or a baby, it just means simply that you haven't found your niche yet.

    Maybe you could try not monitoring your pulse for the first 15 minutes of each hour? That's how I started, and then I was like, well, what's another 15 minutes....and so on.

    ANY movement will cause your heart rate to speed up! It's only after we suddenly become fearful and more aware of our heart rate that we do our best to do anything (even if that means doing not much of anything) to NOT make it beat faster/harder.

    You're an athlete, so you understand that it's healthy for your heart to be challenged (exercised).

    A rapid heart rate can make a person feel faint, but people rarely faint from that sensation. I would bet that you are feeling faint more from the thoughts and fear and knowing your heart is beating fast - than the actual heart rate itself.

    Think about the things you did as an athlete - before you had ANXIETY related to exercise, I bet you were running all over the place. You know, whether your heart races from anxiety or whether your heart races from exercise is irrelevant because it's the same type of elevation - it's how you THINK about it that makes the difference.

    Do you know that some therapy for treating anxiety issues related to racing heart beat is actually exercising in the middle of an attack? I remember one woman telling the story that she was driving and suddenly her heart just started racing. She panicked (of course), but decided to do what her therapist had told her, so she pulled over to the side of the road, got out of her car, and proceded to do jumping jacks until she calmed down.

    In the long run, exercise will decrease the heart rate (a healthy side effect).

    I'm glad you have had a successful recovery from pheochromocytoma, and happy for you to know that you are healthy in that respect. It sounds like you could use a bit more of medical reassurance. Since this is definitely impacting your daily routines, and the worry is making you miserable, I would give your doctor a call and let him/her know exactly how you are feeling. Go in and get a check-up. I'm sure you may feel a bit embarrassed about "admitting" to some anxiety (most people do), but 20 minutes worth of embarrassment is nothing compared to feeling reassured that you're healthy.

    Please post back and let me know your thoughts.

    PS - Take you hand off your chest! Easier said than done, but I know you can do it.

    [This message has been edited by Wowwweee (edited 07-30-2003).]

     
    Old 08-03-2003, 06:14 PM   #12
    hilery79
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    Thanks for all of your replys!

    Wowwweee, I found your post very helpful. I'll start trying some of your techniques.
    I got an electric bp machine over a month ago and use it constantly to check my bp and pulse. Sometimes I'll check it several times an hour. My husband is threatening to throw it away. Now, I think I will throw it away myself! I'm making myself go crazy!

    Thanks again,
    Hilery


     
    Old 08-27-2003, 08:56 AM   #13
    Soodle
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    My resting pulse is fine, but as soon as I get up to do anything my pulse races - and when I exercise it just goes mad. Can anxiety have this affect (sometimes I don't even feel anxious and it does it). I've had the tests done but am still worried. Also constantly short of breath.


     
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