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Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

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Old 04-19-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
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pinkblossom HB User
Unhappy Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

Hi, I am new to this site so please bear with me if I make any mistakes. I am a 38 year old woman with a long history of depression and anxiety (was recently diagnosed with a personality disorder which upset me as I dont display many of the features of that diagnosis and have been told that it is sometimes a convenient label for a psychiatrist to use if they are unsure of a firm diagnosis).
I have felt exhausted and have had pains in my muscles and joints for as long as I can remember. There is never a day when I dont feel physically ill. I suffer hot sweats on exertion and get breathless easily. Recently my knees have ached when I bend down and stand up. I achieve very little in a day due to my fatigue. I also suffer horrendous episodes of racing heart which dont seem to have any particular trigger and can happen at any time of day or night. My husband and I have clocked my heart rate at 165bpm. Whe it is as fast as this I get terrible indigestion and yes, I do get scared! These episodes usually last about 15 minutes before my heart gradually returns to normal, say 80bpm. My doctor ordered a 24 hour heart monitor and an ecg which both came up normal as I didnt experience an episode during those tests. Now I feel as though my doctor is brushing me off (the other docs in the practice are the same), saying that its all down to my anxiety and that I need to take it easy. I have a horrible hunch that all my symptoms could be linked and do worry that I will die during one of the heart episodes. Also my constant fatigue isnt normal. I would go to see a cardiologist privately but I cant afford it. Does anyone have any experience of this kind of thing who could possibly offer some advice?
Many thanks, P.

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sjb (04-19-2013)
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:29 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2013
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rfs728 HB User
Re: Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

did your doctor do an electrocardiogram to check for a prolapsed mitral valve?

I ask because I have this condition, and one of the symptoms is the racing heart. You should ask him about it.

I've also found cutting out salt and caffeine to drastically decrease the frequency of the episodes.

When I do get a racing heart, I drink chamomille tea, and do some simple rhythmic exercise, like toe touches. For some reason this seems to get my heartbeat back on an even keel.

and yeah, when I first started experiencing symptoms, the doctor at the hospital told me it was just a stress attack, but they sent me to a cardiologist anyway who diagnosed me...

Last edited by rfs728; 04-20-2013 at 06:32 PM. Reason: addditional comment

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pinkblossom (04-21-2013)
Old 04-21-2013, 01:17 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
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pinkblossom HB User
Re: Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

Hi, thanks for your reply. My doctor has never mentioned a prolapsed mitral valve but Iwill certainly mention it to her the next time I have an appointment. I had an echo almost 20 years ago and my doctor keeps referring to this, saying I have a structurally normal heart and not to worry. At that time I was also diagnosed with a benign murmur.20 years is a long time though and I didnt have the racing heart then, only severe pvc's. I feel trapped because of my mental health diagnosis. Thanks for your reply.

Old 04-21-2013, 01:38 AM   #4
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Re: Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

I agree that your symptoms of fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and heart issues may be related. A rate of 165 is certainly not normal, and no one should pass that off as being caused by anxiety. I would ask Dr to order an event monitor for you. It is like a holter monitor, except that you don't wear it all the time, you put it on and record during the tachycardia episodes to capture it on paper (and prove your point!) If it usually lasts 15 minutes or so, that's long enough to get it started and record the episode. One illness that can cause these combined symptoms is lupus, an autoimmune disorder that affects many women. The other thing worth checking is your thyroid hormone levels, as an overactive thyroid can cause tachycardia, exhaustion, shortness of breath and muscle pain, weakness. These are blood tests, so simple to do. I would consider seeing a new Dr to ask for these, as your Dr seems to be dismissing how you feel and not taking the tachycardia seriously. I wouldn't even mention the anxiety/depression to the new Dr initially. Those can be symptoms also of both lupus and thyroid problems. Just so you don't get labeled again as a hypochondriac or anxious, neurotic female. You can bring those issues up later after you've developed some rapport and gotten physical reasons for your symptoms checked out. There are meds that can prevent tachycardia too, so you don't experience these episodes. In meantime, try to avoid all caffeine and stimulants like Sudafed that may trigger fast heart rates.

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pinkblossom (04-23-2013)
Old 04-23-2013, 09:40 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2013
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pinkblossom HB User
Smile Re: Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

Hi, thank you very much for your reply. My thyroid function was checked recently and came up as normal. I am on quite a bit of psychiatric medication which I am keen to come off as it isnt doing anything as far as I can ascertain to relieve/improve my anxiety/ dissociation. I did mention to my gp about an event monitor being more useful than a holter monitor as my symptoms can be fairly infrequent or they can be very regular, I can never tell. She was very dismissive of an event monitor, saying they had to be issued by a cardiologist and that she wasnt prepared to refer me to a cardiologist. Does anyone know if quality event monitors can be purchased online? I would be more than happy to buy one as it is very important to me that an episode is caught and can be presented at a hospital. I have also recently started suffering from very regular colds where my eyes feel as if they have been in a chlorinated pool and my nose not sure whether to think this is linked in with my heart problem? Today I did woodwork for 3 hours at a friend's studio and afterwards every joint, muscle and bone in my legs were aching. Im sitting down now trying to rest I am 38 not 88! Something really isnt right here. As far as Lupus, that is something ive not mentioned to my doctornext time i see her. I certainly have many of the symptoms thanks so much again and any further advice from anyone is needed and appreciated.

Old 05-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #6
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BurtG HB User
Re: Frightening racing heart and exhaustion.

Hi pinkblossom
Well I suffered a racing heart which caused heaps of issues for me during my last baby back in 2000 and 2001 I was tested for all sorts of stuff and finally got sent to a heart specialist who did lab study's. after I had my baby he conducted study's on me which took just over 5 hours shocking the heart and burning flaps off the heart which caused the heart the race. He repaired 80% but could not repair the 20% without putting a pacemaker in. The whole time I was awake and The outcome of the study's was that I had tachycardia. It has been 12 years now and I have had no issues and take no medication.

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