momothepeach

Heart palpitations keep me awake at night

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Hello, this is my first time ever posting here. I feel so desperate and I just need to get things out. I am in my late 20's and since high school I have had phases where I suffer from bouts of heart palpitations. My palpitations feel like a pause followed by a strong thump and usually several beats in a row. Sometimes they are occasional and sometimes they feel continuous.  Most recently I had a period of time where I felt them for a period of about 15 hours before I had any respite. Since I have had them for so long, most of the time I can shrug them off. I have had two holter monitors a few years apart with the most recent one a couple years ago coming back clean and just being told I just have a mild and benign arrythmia. I also very recently had an echocardiogram with my doctor saying I "passed with flying colors". 

This is all well and good and it has brought me some comfort to know that these tests have come back clean but within the past year things have seemed to reach a breaking point with the palpitations keeping me awake or waking me up in the middle of the night. It has just wrecked me, my sleep is so terrible and no matter the position I lay in I feel hyper aware of my heart and every strange beat. These heart problems have seemed to caused me to fixate on all different types of health problems too, making me aware and terrified of every little ache and pain in my body on top of my doctor's current theory that I have developed IBS. I try to tell myself that I will be ok and that all the other nights that I have been certain I am on the verge of death that I have always woken up or made it through the night. But it has gotten so bad this past year or so that I have been having some dark thoughts over them like I would at this point rather just have a heart attack and it end than keep having nights like this (I am very sorry if mentioning this is insensitive but I am just at my wits end). I am so tired and desperate. I have put my husband and I into debt over all the hospital and doctor visits which causes me a lot of distress, though we are slowly taking care of it, it always makes me hesitant to go to the doctor or ER. I do plan to go to a cardiologist soon that my GP has suggested and just bite the bullet of the cost. I know this is typical but I always end up thinking that because these palpitations are so severe that my GP must be missing something. As a side note it may not help that I have not built much trust with my GP as his bedside manner is a bit poor and just seems to wave every symptom off as "you are young so don't worry." Which I understand but that does not mean the symptoms I am having aren't real or causing real distress just because I am young. 

Honestly there is a lot more, I recently tried Zoloft which caused some awful symptoms so the doctor's office told me to stop taking it (I had only taken one pill), and I know there is just a lot of deep seeded issues that I need to deal with if I want to fix my anxious mind. I am sorry with how long this post is, or if it didn't make any sense, I am currently in the early morning hours of a sleepless night because of these palpitations. I guess I am just hoping to hear that I am not alone in this. I have many wonderful and supportive people in my life, most of all my sweet husband, but not really anyone who has gone through this sort of thing so I feel alone in that way like I am going insane. Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this.

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Since you've had tests done to address these palpitations, and you've been given the all clear, I imagine you do not need to worry. I would recommend visiting the cardiologist, as they obviously specialize in diseases and diseases of a cardiac nature. This the type of stuff they see every single day. That's not to say that you can't trust your GP; you probably can. But sometimes a cardiologist is more well equipped to diagnose underlying issues with the heart. *IF* there is any underlying cause. I think it'd be a good idea to see the cardiologist, just for the sake of knowing that you are being proactive.

If the cardiologist clears you, do you think you will accept it?

I'll share my own experiences with this stuff. I'm 31, male. Early heart disease runs on mom's side of the family. I do worry about heart health way more than I should, but I also know I'm at a higher risk compared to someone without family history or lifestyle (smoking).

I began experiencing regular palpitations as well as tachycardia four or five years ago, when my anxiety became overwhelming. I don't recall ever experiencing them before. I went to the doctor for a physical - for the first time in over a decade - in 2015 (28 years old). My doc had me wear a holter monitor for seven days. When it was all said and done, he said the holter only showed some benign PVCs / PACs. The rest of my physical was also well, and I was "a very healthy 28yr old man with obvious anxiety."

He put me on a beta blocker for the tachycardia and mildly elevated BP. I've felt much better since, for the most part. BP runs normal. I still definitely experience palpitations, sometimes for a day or two at a time, if I'm particularly anxious. This is not abnormal, apparently.

Fast forward to 2016, I woke up in the middle of the night choking on acid (reflux). Threw me into a violent coughing fit. The violent coughing and intense anxiety, having awakened to this, were the perfect storm. My heart rhythm was out of whack. I knew something was wrong. It did not feel like normal palpitations or anxiety. Called 911. Sure enough, I was in afib. At that point, I knew the doc had been wrong, and that something was wrong with my heart.

Guess what? That's not true! The subsequent echo and stress test (which I had to not take the beta blocker before) checked out perfectly! Wow, how did that happen? Well, like I said, all the right conditions were met to create a rhythm disturbance (afib). My heart rate at that time was 220 BPM! Yikes!

Since then, I saw the cardiologist once more. He said even with family history, but because of the two tests he did, he did not need to see me for another 10-15 years ... AT LEAST. He said I'm definitely not going to have a heart attack any time soon. And the palpitations I experience "believe it or not, are normal."

So yeah, it's still possible that you are dealing with a very much benign issue. Hang in there. Try to relax, practice mindfulness. See the cardiologist for peace of mind. Feel well soon!

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This is my first time on this website please excuse my grammer lol. I had to make an account just to reply to you because this is something I have dealt with for about 6 years. I wore a holter montior for 2 days first and that ruled it out to be tachycardia ,which gave me some peace of mind but with anxiety I couldn't accept that there was nothing wrong when I had palpitations that would cause my heart rate to sky rocket. So  just recently I wore a different heart monitor for 2 weeks. The cardiologist said it's inappropriate tachycardia and it is common for women with hormones. With my anxiety he had to reassure me that my heart is fine and I was not going to die.. I understand all to well how scary and draining it can be. I would follow up with the cardiologist just to be sure and to give you some peace in mind. I still deal with my anxiety trying to get the best of me and scare me into a panic attack what I find really helps me.. is breathing exercises and getting my mind occupied on something else. Stay strong. I know I am a complete stranger but I am and always be here to reply to you because this is something I have been through and still go through today. I hope you feel better soon!

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Thank you both for your very kind words, I spent today with a friend and even managed to get a small about 2 hour nap in. Heart palpitations are still here but I am coping a little better after some sleep. I also ended up going to the doctor for some other health issues I have been having with stomach and abdominal pain and my GP was actually a bit more kind than usual. I think he saw how ragged and tired I was haha. Because of some tests I will need to get for this current issue, we will need to save some money before I can visit the cardiologist, but I do intend to still do that, and I think that would give me some peace of mind. Thank you both for sharing your stories with me also, it is so nice to know that there are others out there who have experienced similar things. Bin, I'm glad you were able to find peace by speaking with your cardiologist, that gives me hope. And Christianna, thank you for those kind words and I hope you are able to continue to find peace with your heart issues as well. Thank you both again. :)

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During a stressful bought of palpitations years ago my dr told me that the heart is the whipping boy for stress. 

It made SO much sense to me I've never forgotten it. 

Stress causes palpitations and palpitations cause stress. An endless cycle of misery. 

I hope you have a good rapport with the cardiologist and that you can trust his word so that you can begin to break the cycle. 

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I often have the exact same palpitations are you describe. Had them for years now. I also had ecg. All fine and I’m sure they are anxiety, caffeine related. Sounds to me like anxiety. If you try meditation it might help. 

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Yes, I believe mine are anxiety, hormone, and hydration related. Glad you didn't have any underlying problems with your heart!

On the note of meditation and such I actually have a question for those of you who have had anxiety related to your heart:

So I seem to fixate on my heart even when it is not palpitating. Like when I was exercising earlier I suddenly had the realization of a sort of light feeling in my chest, like there wasn't a weight there like usual, and i checked my pulse and it was a pretty even beat like 80 bpm. So i thought to myself that that was pretty low for exercising so i thought maybe something was wrong. Since then my heart rate has been normal with very few palpitations, so that's great! But I am a bit discouraged that i can't even have a regular heartbeat without fixating on it. One thing i know that i need to stop doing is checking my pulse, sometimes it makes me feel better but more often I over analyze and freak out and end up obsessively checking it. So my question is what sort of relaxation techniques do y'all use to relax to stop fixating on your heart? When I have tried breathing techniques it seems to make me feel my heartbeat even more which causes me to freak out, similar with certain ways of meditating that I have tried. Do you just power through or are there other techniques that y'all use?

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