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Question: Heart beats and panic

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 delsoto - Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:56 pm

I am having a problem with my heart beats. It started for me when I was sitting and relaxing and I felt a weird heart beat, I have had these before and they never really seemed to bother me. But this time I felt my pulse and didn't find one. I am sure that it was there but I did not locate it right away and immediately went into a panic. I was convinced I was having some kind of heart attack and my heart just raced. It took me a while to calm down but I eventually did. That night my heart beat at a normal rate but very heavily. This went on for a week or two very difficult to sleep because of such a heavy beat in my chest and hot feeling in my chest. I can also feel a particualr spot just in the area between my chest and my side. I could relieve the feelings by sitting up and slept in my easy chair for the next two weeks. I had an episode about a week later where I got anxious about something and it started my heart racing again but this time it did not go away. I counted my heart rate around 145 for about 30 mins while trying to relax and called a friend who is a doctor. He told me I may want to go to the ER just in case. They hooked me up to do an ECG which turned out normal and did a chect xray (normal) but had to pump about 4 big shots of something to get my heart rate back down. I was told to see a specialist. I had a halter monitor 24 hr and 30 day as well as an echo and both were ok. The doctor put me on lopressor which made me feel absoultely horrible. After waiting 30 days to get back to see the doctor he put me on nadolol instead. This doesn't help either. I still have this same problem although I have learned to relax and control the tachycardia I cannot seem to get past this heavy heartbeat and same hot sensation in my chest. I also have very mild chast pains at times. This is wrecking my quality of life. My doctor is convinced there is nothing wrong but I cannot get past this. I need help in a desperate way.....what can I do??

Thank you very much for your time as I know this post was long.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Wed Dec 29, 2004 11:01 pm

User avatar Dear Delsoto,

Even though you make it sound like a panic attack, sometimes, panic attacks may be caused by diseases.

There are certain diseases that are known to come in bursts and cause tachycardia, increase in blood pressure and feeling of apprehension. If you have increased blood pressure as well during these episodes then i would suggest that you discuss this possiblity with your doctor. These diseases are rare so most of the doctors think of them last. Examples include a tumour called pheochromocytoma and a disease called carcinoid syndrome.

Personally, before pinning any symptoms or disease process on a psychiatric process, i like to exhaust all possibilites and make sure that there is really nothing organic that is causing this disease.

i would suggest starting by the simplest blood test and that is a thyroid blood test if not already done and if your doctor thinks that there is a possibility that this might not be a psychiatric problem that needs to be addressed through professional help, then i think your should be referred to an endocrinologist.

Now before doing all of this, there are a few things that you should refrain from doing mainly smoking and chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages and you should have enough sleep and get enough rest. Many times, these simple measures, believe it or not, get rid of the problem.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 delsoto - Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:02 am

I forgot to mention I have had blood tests and the tachy... really seems not to be a problem as I have learned to keep calm and it goes away usually quickly if the rate does rise. The large problem is the heavy beat of my heart. Nobody seems to be able to figure it out.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Fri Dec 31, 2004 9:48 am

User avatar Dear Delsoto,

Thank you very much for the update.

The feeling of strong heart beats can stay for a while after tachycardia i think because when you can feel your heart beating as fast, it is usually (but not all the time) a feeling of weak rapid heart beats but once the rate is slower, the feeling changes to slow(er) and strong(er) heart beats, so this is a relative thing, i think you should not be worried about it and as you learnt to control your feelings and calm down, i think you will be able to learn to ignore this feeling of strong heart beats as well.

Please, discuss the fact that this could be secondary to a disease with your doctor. Being able to calm down could just be the fact that the attack or burst is gone and that's why you think you are able to control the rate.

Stop chewing tobacco, smoking, drinking any amount of alcohol and caffeinated beverages and please get enough sleep.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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