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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: extreme heart palpitations only during exercise

 raisingtwins - Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:27 pm

Please help. I am a 35 year old woman, ex-smoker, 5 ft 4 and about 135 lbs. I don not have any diagnosed medical conditions and I"m not taking any medications.

I've been walking on my treadmill 6-7 days a week for almost 3 years. In the last year I've gotten to the point of being able to walk at 4.3 mph on inclines all the way to 12 and running a mile at a time at 6.0. Every day I would go for 60 minutes. I had been very pleased with my progress and it's become part of my day.
2 months ago while exercising I felt my heart 'hiccup', my legs went ice cold and my heart rate flew to over 185 bpm, I was dizzy, saw stars and felt sick and weak for hours afterwards.( no pain though) One month later it happened again and scared me badly. I have decreased the time and intensity of my workouts over the last few weeks, but now it is happening almost every second day or more. I've tried to keep track and it seems like if I go longer than 30 minutes, OR if I go over an incline of 6%, OR if I run faster than 5.2 for more than 5 minutes. It's happening so frequently now that I do feel it coming on , so I take steps to slow down immediately, I've purchased a heart rate monitor that I wear on my wrist. I'm just devastated - I had planned to run for a cause this summer, but now I"m so scared to even work up a sweat after all these months of training - something's gone wrong. Now I"m also worrying about it which is making me feel more anxious etc - I've stopped all together on the treadmill because the last time ( 2 days ago) I was only walking on a flat surface at 4.0 and my heart took off racing again. I've just been doing yoga instead.
My doctor is extremely hard to talk to and will tell me the worst and prescribe drugs without listening to me. So thank you for listening. What could be wrong? I don't want to stop exercising - it's my stress relief and now it's become my stress!
 Dr. A. Madia - Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:18 am

User avatar Hi,

First of all congratulation on quitting smoking. It just possibly could lead to undue tachycardia [ fast heart rate].

When a person exercises, heart rate increases. At fast rates the Ventricles have less time to collect blood which it will pump out in next contraction. A very fast heart rate thus may lead to a stuation where cardiac out put goes down, one feels dizzy and some pins and needle all over.

If you are now becoming tachycardic even at low work load, there could be some situations like a supra ventricular tachtcardia or Atrial fibrillation. These are of some concern and they must be diagnosed or ruled out.

The best course of action in my view is to go for a treadmill stress EKG. This is the same as you do daily and in addition a monitor is tagged along. This will give a precise picture of what is happening when you exercise, whether there is Sinus tachycardia [normal], or SVT or AF. Check out with your doctor if you are an appropriate candidate for this test and there are no contraindications.

take care,


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