I got health anxiety close to 3 months ago, due to the death of a friend, and started having hypochondriac-like obsessions because of my slight risk factor of dying of a heart attack like she did.
After having anxiety for three months, I'm now learning, that my risk for a heart attack or cardiac event is EXTREMELY low. But it seems like it's too late.
The worst symptom of this anxiety are these ectopic beats/palpitations/pvcs which drive my off the deep end. They make me toss and turn and prevent me from relaxing, because that's when I get them the most.
Generic Alphrazolam seemed to help them somewhat, but I don't want to be dependent on a benzo to stay calm, because they're highly addictive. The doctor put me on a 0.5mg dose, and it's extended release. I'm apprehensive about taking it, although I was given a 0.5mg dose of regular Xanax by the ER, and didn't find myself craving it.
I just want the palps to go away. The anxiety would be so much more manageable if I didn't have them. It's not a fast or slow heart rate. It just feels like my heart is being squeezed for like 3 seconds, then a strong beat afterwards.
Been tested, no heart problems, and everything is normal. I didn't have any of these symptoms before I got anxiety, so how do I make them go away?
I'm seeing a therapist, but it seems like it's not quite helping yet with the symptoms.
I'm petrified that I'll be stuck like this forever, and will have to rely in medication to "cope" with it. I just want my normal life back.
Everyone is so pessimistic.
Help me, please!!
Tell me how I can conquer these symptoms. The SYMPTOMS.
Hi Dahrol and welcome to our forum!
Before we get into the anxiety you're dealing with, I want you to go over to our Heart Rhythm Forum and post your message there. I want you to get a very in-depth understanding of what is going on with your heart. Once the wonderful folks over there have educated you about palps and PVC's and PAC's............then come back to us and we'll get into your other issues. Deal?
I'm also very sorry to hear about your friend.
I'll be watching for you!
I knew they would send you back to us as soon as anxiety was brought into the equation. But before they suggested that, I was hoping they would give you more information on the causes and what can possibly be done for palps.
If heart rhythm problems have been ruled out by your doctor, (is he a cardiologist?) then the causes of heart palps can usually be traced to anxiety/panic, some thyroid issues, too many stimulants, (coffee/nicotine) and a few other triggers.
I have included a link to the MayoClinic on heart palps and hopefully that will give you a starting place to begin researching them.
I have had heart palps for over 40 years and I'm fine. One does eventually get used to them, believe it or not. They are perfectly harmless, as your doctor no doubt told you. I have to agree with the folks over on the HRF and say that to the best of my knowledge, there is no cure for garden variety palps. If you have tachycardia, which is a rapid heartbeat or bradycardia, which is a too slow heartbeat, there is medication for that, but the infrequent heart palp may be annoying, even scary, but does not require medication.
Perhaps if you dealt with your anxiety through talk therapy and possibly a mild antianxiety medication, your heart palps MAY stop. You would need a cardiologist to tell you if that is even possible.
I'm sorry you interpreted the responses on the Heart Rhythm Forum as "pessimistic." I see it as a shot of reality and sometimes we don't want to hear that.
One you might ask your doctor, and since you're freaked out by this, I suggest you get a cardiologist, talk to him/her about having you wear a Holter Monitor, which is like a miniature EKG, for at least 24-48 hours. It will record every single beat of your heart and when you feel a palp, you push a button which records the time it happened. Keep a record of what you were doing and thinking and feeling at that time. It is an incredible tool for the docs to learn about the triggers of your palps.
It seems your heart anxiety began when your friend died of a heart attack. Was she as young as you? Anxiety is a very common reaction to that situation. Your thinking becomes focused on "if it can happen to her, it can happen to me!" But the incident of heart attack in people your age IS incredibly rare and it would be my guess that your friend had some sort of heart problems, possibly from birth.
Talk therapy will help you get things back into perspective and while I can't promise your heart palps will go away, they might, once your anxiety has been dealth with.
But I can promise you that the longer you sit around and focus on yourself, the worse it will get.
I wish you the very best
You hit the nail right on the head about my friend. That's EXACTLY what I was thinking. She was 46, but not as big as me, and was ACTIVE. I've been slightly sedentary with my lifestyle, and at the time weighed 408 pounds. I've been told all my life that if I didn't lose weight, I'd die young of a heart attack, but I always ignored them, or didn't care, until she died. Now simply the words "heart attack" give me anxiety.
It makes sense that the palps are because of the anxiety, because when all this started happening, I was making myself believe that I had a heart problem, and I could feel it. The more I thought about it, the more my chest got numb, my heart got numb, it was speed up, sometimes I wouldn't feel my heartbeat and panic. But I knew NOTHING about anxiety, so that made me believe something was wrong. That's what caused it. I wasn't knowledgeable about anxiety, so instead of pointing to that as the cause, in my mind, I was in danger of dying, which is my worst fear.
I continue to believe the palps will go away some day.
They seem to be triggered by panic attacks, or panicing in general, and although "panic away" has helped me deal with panic attacks, they happen so rarely. But the palpitations drag on after each one.
The first time I had a run in with palps, it was because of constant panic attacks and panic attack symptoms like a hot chest, back, and unease. But, I managed to work through that, and those symptoms are gone.
The palps were starting to diminish, and get dull in strength, to the point that I started barely feeling them, and then BAM! I read something about a heart attack and had a heart quiver which sent me into instant panic attack. After that, the palps came right back, stronger than they were before. My heart was squeezing so tight with every palp that it literally felt like someone had taken their fist and squeezed with all their might. Then it felt like someone kicked me hard in my chest. I had those for about a week, then they started diminishing in strength, and became more copable. Got real dull, then sorta came back a tiny bit strong again, but now they seem to be dulling down as long as I don't panic.
But, it's hard. It seems like I live from palpitation to palpitation, and I can't enjoy the 10 or 20 minutes I go without one before the next one hits. I'm sitting there waiting for it to hit, bracing myself for the impact. That's how I've lived for the past 3 months.
I sit there and think, "had I have rationalized my fear to begin with, NONE of this would be happening now, and I'd be leading a happy and productive life."
Thinking that makes me cry, alot. I'd give anything to go back to the way I was. I haven't been able to relax because of these things, because that's when they happen. If I'm walkin around or moving around, they don't happen. But the second I try to relax or meditate, BAM!
The good news is, since I took my doctor prescribed 0.5mg of Generic Xanax XR, I've not felt on edge, and can handle the palps better.
I have heard that benzos are addictive, but they assure me that number one, it's for people who are on the high dosages, number 2, it's for people who already have addictive behavior and drink or whatnot, and number 3, it's for people who have taken it for a looooong period of time.
They said I'm on a baby dose, so it should be just fine, as long as I take it as prescribed, which I have no problem doing.
There was a lady I talked to who works at the hospital who said she had anxiety and palps, and was able to cure herself with therapy and the baby dose of xanax, and she rarely gets palps now, so I'm hoping that can be me.
I need to hear more stories like that to give me hope.
If you weigh 400 pounds at the age of 19, you absolutely MUST lose that weight. If you are older than 19, then it becomes imperative that the weight goes. The stress you are putting on your heart, if you do weigh that much, will indeed predispose you to having an MI.
I think you would benefit greatly by working with a cardiologist, a personal trainer at a gym to lose that weight, and a therapist to deal with your anxiety. It may seem like a lot, but it's not only for your peace of mind, it's for your life.
Exercise is very good for anxiety, and the less anxiety you have the less apt you are to have this problem. You don't need a personal trainer or gym to get in shape, just start by walking. Increase how far your walk on a regular basis, and it doesn't have to be fast.
Eat several small meals a day instead of 3 big ones, watch your carbs and sugar intake. You may have been using food to comfort yourself all these years and losing your friend really blew your anxiety up! It's probably been there all along. Because you are so young you can turn everything around, and not end up with heart disease or diabetes when older. Do this in honor of your friend, she would not only be very happy for you, she would be proud! Journal your feelings and thoughts, this is very therapeutic and acts as a form of release for you. Take it one day at a time, don't think about how much weight you need to lose, concentrate on the day you're in. Otherwise it becomes very overwhelming for you. When you want something to eat, ask yourself if you are hungry or just want to eat something, we often use boredom as a reason to eat. Hopefully, by getting busy with doing this, your anxiety will ease and so will your symptoms. Also, do things you are passionate about, so you aren't able to think about this so much, keep yourself busy emotionally and physically. I am so sorry about your friend, but she was much older and it all caught up with her. Turn this around now, and live a happier healthier life. We're all rooting for you, and wish you all the best. Make getting healthy a tribute to your friend, she would want this for YOU! Take care.
To answer your question, losing the weight and exercising will definitely help with the anxiety and many of it's symptoms, but if it will specifically stop you from having palps, only a cardilogist can answer that.
In all our correspondence, you have NEVER said that you experience pain when you have palpitations! Palp's, PVC's and PAC's should not hurt. You need to talk to your doctor and see if he wants to refer you to a cardiologist for further testing!
You say you need a way past these palpitations and I say you need to make absolutely sure that palpitations are what you're actually dealing with.
Medication is the only thing at this point to control them, IF anxiety is indeed what is causing them. None of us like having to take medications, but sometimes there is no alternatives, and this may be where you are. Anxiety is like any other medical condition that requires daily medication to control the symptoms. We often get too caught up in feeling because it's a mental condition that we should be able to control it on our own, but we often can't.
Not really pain pain, but you know, discomfort. I say it hurts, but it's more of that feeling like something has hit you in your chest.
They were painful before, after my panic attacks, but the painful ones are behind me. They're just kinda strong now, and take me by surprise, because I can't control them.
The fact that they happen on their own is what drives me nuts, because I never know exactly when they're gonna hit, and they seem to do it when I let my guard down, and try to relax. And they're still quite forceful.
If they were a little somethin somethin I could "feel" but blow it off, my life woulds be so much better. But as for now, it's a constant thud like every 5 to 10 to 20 minutes.
All heart problems have been ruled out, and doctors say, even with my weight, the odds of having cardiac problems are slim to none. They even did an ultrasound, and from what they could see, it looked beautiful. My cholesterol is beautiful, as for everything else in the blood tests.
I have stage 2 hypertension, but that's partly because of anxiety.
I am losing weight though, and I've been eating healthier for months, eating more fruits and veggies, having a banana and an orange a day.
No soda. Just strictly water, milk, or 100% fruit juice, mostly apple.
I'm more active, and try to sit around as little as possible, since I can't relax, and I don't get palps when I'm up and moving around.
At this point, Dahrol, I recommend you get into therapy for your heart/health anxiety. Since there is apparently absolutely nothing wrong with your heart, then it's your head.
The Xanax will help with your anxiety, but whether or not it will help with your palps is anybodies guess. I take Xanax and I still get a great many palpitations and PVC's. Since you yourself say you are a mess, go see someone who can help clean it up.
I don't think I have much more to offer you.
I wish you the very best in your quest for health.
But that's what you're not getting, Dahrol, I'm NOT going through the same thing you are.
I made peace with my PTSD and my panic attacks and my palpitations and PVC's YEARS ago, through many years of therapy, one medical specialist after another, and many different medications, which I still take. These issues are simply a part of my life, of who I am, just like my arthritis and my migraines and my CAD and my GERD...........I accept these things and deal with them as best I can.
I know you like having someone to talk to who understands what you're going through, we ALL do, and that IS what we're here for, but I am not a therapist, Dahrol, I can't play that role for you. You need a REAL professional to talk to.
If you get into therapy, you will learn so much about yourself and accepting the things we can't change.
You are not bothering us! You can talk to most of us, even if we don't suffer from the exact same thing as you, we have anxiety and can relate to the frustrations of all of it. I do understand the loneliness and how pessimistic we can feel at times, and it's always good to know that there are others out here going thru the same thing or something similar who can relate to you. It's good to talk about it, so feel free to PM me any time, even if just to vent. I always have the time to listen and help in any way I can. You're not alone with this, and hopefully some others will jump on here with support. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care!
while i don't have those very often, i do notice that like anxiety caffeine makes it worse. And do keep posting, all the different thoughts and ideas not only help you but possibly others as well cuz if there is one thing i have learned is that there doesn't seem to be a symptom that someone else hasn't also experienced. i had no idea until my therapist advised me to go look for a forum how many people can suffer what you do, and i felt so alone!!
Heart palps and our rythms can be as unique as a finger print in my opinion. I can feel my PVCs sometimes and I have also been tested. Heck, my resting EKG always says that I have had a prior MI, but it actually turns out I just have a slow and strong heartbeat because I have ran distance for most of my life. So, my point is, what is abnormal for someone else may be perfectly normal for me.
My original concern with anxiety came from concerns about my heart. I became so aware of everything going around I could feel myself rocking to the beat and feeling every little blip, pain, twinge, etc.
I also believe that therapy for your anxiety could really help you. It did for me and I still notice PVCs once in awhile, but remember that they can be exacerbated from stress and many other things as well and in the vast majority of cases they are completely benign. If you have been checked out by your doctor and you have a clean bill of health then trust him/her.
Exercise has helped my anxiety tremendously. Not only is it good for me, it helps keep grounded and feeling good both mentally and physically.
Realize that you are not alone in what you are going through....many of us have been through it which means you will get through it as well...keep us posted!
Hello, I just read your posts and i understand a lot of whats going on. Health anxiety is my #1 issue. And i also experience irregular beats of my heart and you said something like you feel like your heart is being squeezed for a few seconds then it beats really, really hard. That happens to me ALL the time. It is a big symptom of my anxiety.
I can relate to you, but in a different way. And i hope you can find support in this. I have severe anxiety of throw up, have since I was 2. Because i fear this sooo much when i get anxiety it creates a huge cycle for me, because my #1 symptom of anxiety is nausia. So when i feel nausious for whatever reason, it starts my anxiety which makes me nausious, which makes the anxiety worse and so on.
It sounds like since you have anxiety with issues relating to heart troubles (I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend) that your symptom of heart palpitations is acting up more than any other symptom. For me, since I have anxiety of throwing up, my symptom of nausia acts up more than any other. I know medication is not the way you want to go and im certainly not telling you that you need it, but it really does help. Meds combined with therapy works really well to stop anxiety. I have had health anxiety for 15 years (im 17). Right now, after being on medication for around 6-7 weeks and in therapy..my anxiety is 95% gone. My point is...there is HOPE! I know its so hard to stay positive, and for so long people would tell me there was hope and I would be able to overcome my anxiety and i just kept saying to myself, "my anxiety is so bad, theres no way i can ever fight it and win." well now i completely understand what those people meant, and i was wrong! I fought off my terrible anxiety and you can too!
And you are causing no one trouble by posting on here! Its GREAT that you are. This site has helped me tremendously and i hope it does the same for you. I'm glad to read your posts, and never feel discouraged to ask questions or ask for support.
Its great your going to look into going to therapy. I think it will really help you.
Keep your head high and I can assure you, there is nothing wrong with your heart! You are currently living a healthy lifestyle, and you have your whole life ahead of you! You WILL beat this anxiety, and you will come out a stronger, healthier, and happier person because of it.
Good luck to you! :)
Vent away, we all understand and care. Please know there is help and you can feel better. Most of us have been where you are, and with professional help we are living fuller, happier lives. Stay strong, you're going to be fine.
Anxiety can be very complex, and it's best to work on what is causing them than to try and figure it all out. It often makes no sense and can be very frustrationg...as you know. Work on the cause, and go from there.
The more you can relax during these the better. You don't have to feel anxious to be anxious. It may still be your anxiety that creates this and then your anxiety builds even more. You've survived so many of these that you now know they are not going to hurt you, so try to just go with them and not get upset and see what happens.
It's not that I believe they're going to hurt me. I know that they won't.
They're just so sudden, and strong, that when I relax, it catches me by surprise, when I least expect it.
It's like someone walking along, and then out of nowhere, someone jumps out from around the corner.
Yeah, you could get used to that, but not if it keeps happening when you're not expecting it. You're walking and walking and it doesn't happen for a while, so you start to relax and continue your walk, and then BAM! Someone else jumps out from around another corner and it startles you again because you weren't expecting it.
I feel like, if I'm not on high guard all the time, then they're gonna be worse at scaring me. Once I'm startled, it takes quite a bit of time for me to calm back down again, and I become reluctant to do so if I'm just gonna be startled again.
And it's even worse because the intensity is never constant. Sometimes, I get the soft ones, and I'm like, "That wasn't so bad." and then out of nowhere, BAM! The strong ones hit.
I understand, they're like panic attacks that hit us out of the blue and scares the heck out of us. This is where the problem lies, we know another will hit at any moment and are always waiting for it. This keeps the momentum of anxiety going strong, thus creating another panic attack. We need to break the cycle by lowering our fears and worrying, and this is where therapy and medication can be a big help.
We can have bad anxiety and not know it. I think you need to get into therapy to determine where all this stems from. I used panic attacks as an example of what people who do have them endure. We have to seek therapy and learn how to overcome them. You need to now address this with a therapist to teach you coping and relaxation skills, it does help. Plus, you need to decide whether you want to take medication or live like this for the rest of your life! None of us prefer to take the medication, but like any other medical condition, we need it to control our symptoms. If your cardiologist said this was your heart and gave you medication, you wouldn't think twice about taking it. Anxiety is no different! You have choices here, and one is to take the medication that will help you with these, maybe even make them go away! Anxiety IS A MEDICAL CAUSE......accept this. If you don't get help, you can't get better, and life is too short and worthwhile to not do whatever it takes to make the best of it. You're life is passing you by all because you don't want to take the medication....if you get a headache, do you not take something for it?
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