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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Heart rate drops when I stand up?!

 babymine - Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:05 am

I need some answers. When I was pregnant in 2006 I found I that I have low blood pressure. My OBGYN said it wasn't low enough to worry so I just ignored it. In 2007 I started having dizzy spells. One was so bad that my parents took me to the ER because the spinning in my head was causing me to vomit uncontrollably. They did a cat scan, gave me fluids, and put me on meds for nausea and dizziness. I only took the meds the first day because I couldn't care for my son and he's breastfed. They diagnosed me with vertigo and said they basically can't do anything for me.
I recently went to a chiropractor for a pinched nerve in my shoulder. The took my blood pressure and noticed it was low. Then they had me ly down and took it again, it was higher while lying down. They tested it out a few times and got the same result every time. My question is, is there anything I can do about this? My heart beats faster when I lay down, I can feel it pounding when I try to go to sleep. They when I stand up, I get SO dizzy sometimes I have to not move for a minute. I'm otherwise healthy as far as I know. I eat healthy and I'm young (22). I want to work out, but I can't because every time I try I feel as though I'm going to pass out. Then when I lay down to rest after a run, my heart rate goes up and I can't catch my breathe. I'm so confused! Why is this so backwards?! I hate this because I want more energy, I have a 2 year old so I need it!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:36 pm

User avatar Hi there -

It sounds as though you have a paradoxical situation going on that seems to happen more often in women than men, and which involves the baroreceptors in your neck just below your ears, as well as their partner nerves in the heart itself. This is inappropriate or "backward" regulation of the blood pressure and heart rate. While not dangerous it can be very disruptive (as you've obviously noticed). You may need to be seen by a cardiologist who will do a tilt-table test to establish the diagnosis. If you're positive in this test you have what's often now referred to as neurocardiogenic syncope or dysautonomia. It sounds very much like it from your description, and it often responds to medication. It's also compatable in most cases with a progressive exercise program, but one that starts out very slowly and works up to regular levels.

You may (or maybe have had) vertigo in the past, but what's happening now sounds a lot more like paradoxical baroreceptor behavior, which is exactly backward. The good news is it's not life-threatening, at least not directly (if you pass out you could, of course, strike your head, but most people are aware enough to avoid this happening), it is quite disruptive.

I hope you'll arrange for a cardiology consult with an eye toward the tilt-table test. I think this would probably clear up a lot of things and, with a proper diagnosis, you could have this managed and be able to get on with your normal life.

Hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you. Please keep us updated.

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