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Develop rapid heart rate while sleeping
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Develop rapid heart rate while sleeping

This discussion is related to Develop rapid heart rate while sleeping.


I am sorry that I am glad to hear of other folks with exactly my experience. My doctor suggested that I may be suffering from sleep apenia whereby my oxygen levels are reduced to a level while I'm asleep, that triggers a systemic panic response that results in the racing heart and panic attacks that I've been having at night. I have now completed two sleep studies and have be diagnosed with severe sleep apenia. I also read more on the health effects of sleep apenia and found that it's related to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other cardiac issues. I am starting using my CPAP machine tonight, ironically enough. I'll let you all know how it goes with my heart racing/panic attacks. Best, Liz
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457482_tn?1206407832
I also am suffering from night time tachycardia and it is very scary. Please keep this board posted as to how you are doing. I also have been awakened by rapid heart rate and am very scared. I am a 39 year old male nurse. I sleep fine and only when I am awakening do I find myself succesptable to tachycardia. This happens about 3 times per week. Example, I go to bed at 1130pm and then I sleep very well until 0300am, at which I awaken. While I am in the asleep/awake mode, if I move, turn over in bed, I go into tachycardia for about 5-15 minutes. It feels like my heart is beating out of my chest. I have called 911 twice only to turn them away as to the time they get here I feel fine. The only thing is as I am awakening I can feel my heart beating and it is slightly iregular. During the day it is not. I do feel the occasional irregular beat though. I had a cardiolyte stress test and It came back fine. The cardiologist told me I must have an electrical problem and gave me an event monitor. I will keep this board posted. My home email is nydhg.twcny.rr.com
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 29 year old male, non-smoker, non-coffee drinker, and a don't drink anything with caffeine.  I recently had the same situation.  It seemed like a dream I was having actually caused it though.  I was dreaming that I was running down a hill.  Then when I got to the bottom, I was breathing heavy and my heart was racing, as would normally happen.  Then I woke up and I was breathing heavy and my heart was racing.  It took me a few moments to realize I was actually awake and that this shouldn't be happening.  I got up and slowly I caught my breath and my heart rate went down.  But it really scared the heck out of me.  I dream all the time and I always remember them when I wake up.  But I had never awoken in this situation.  I suppose it is possible that some people were in fact dreaming and this was the cause.  But I also suspect that sleep apnea could be the culprit.  I have had numerous instances of rapid and/or irregular heartbeats.  But this was the only time it happened while I was asleep and woke me up.  I have had multiple ekgs, an ultrasound, a stress test, and have worn a halter monitor for a day.  And all of the results showed that I had a healthy heart.  The only thing I have is a slight amount of backflow in one of the valves(heart murmur) that they've told me is perfectly normal.  I have numerous instances where I feel my heart skip a beat, and then pound once and go back to normal.  Sometimes it only happens once or twice a day.  Other times it happens frequently, and is very discomforting.  The halter monitor didn't pick any of these up, so after that my doctor had me carry around a heart card for a month.  At the time I was also having a lot of unexplained rapid heart rates, usually when I wasn't active and just sitting on the couch or lying in bed.  Well I recorded a bunch of the rapid beatings, and I was actually able to catch one of the skipped beats and then the hard pound.  My doctor said that was just an early heartbeat, and it happens to everyone all the time.  But only some people notice them.  The rapid beating for no reason, especially while I was laying in bed and couldn't fall asleep, he chaulked up to anxiety.  So he gave me a prescription of Xanax.  I haven't had too many instances where I have needed the Xanax because of the rapid heart rate, rather I use it when I'm having anxiety accompanied by chest pains.  And it helps.  But I think it is in my best interest to get tested for sleep apnea to see if there is anything there.  I have read that a lot of people have it and don't know it, and it's a serious health risk.  And if you snore loud, you could very well have sleep apnea.  But I have a hard tie believing it is the cause of awakening with a rapid heart rate.  So I'll see what they say.  I'll let you know if there's something there.
Dave
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Avatar_f_tn
Thyroid disease can cause heart palpitations..and they happen when you are at rest because the thyroid is trying to splutter back to life and goes into overdrive.  See Hashitoxicosis.  I too thought it was my heart and all tests came back fine - but turned out was my thyroid.  
...Julia
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Avatar_m_tn
I hate to say it but I do have almost all the above symptoms - racing heart with elevated BP at 3-4am, moderate sleep apnea and slightly hypothyroid (TSH 3-9). And the condition usually occurs during or right after heavy dreaming and alleviated by getting up moving around but sometimes requiring a 0.5 mg Ativan dose. I am also a late sleeper fearing that the attack might occur earlier with earlier sleeping. It is annoying and robs you of vital sleep particularly the REM stage. I am however on Coreg 6.125mg and one of the side effects appears to be dreaming although the med insert does not list this. I do not wish to scare anyone but I have tried both C- and B-pap but could never tolerate any form even after several tries. I even used at great cost a special dental fitting which attempted to pull forward the lower jaw but also could not sleep with this. So for the time being I am on the getting-up and/or Ativan routine but would welcome any other comments or solutions to this virtual nightmare.
ChrisR
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Avatar_f_tn
I also experience some of these problems.  I am a 22 year old male, non smoker, in shape and my experiences seem to happen around the first half hour or hour of sleep i will awaken (usually not some horrible dream or at least that i can remember of) just out of no where and my heart will be thumping out of my chest at a rapid rate.  I will automatically get up and walk around (i guess my body's natural reaction) try to get some fresh air and it will usually go away a half hour later and i will fall back asleep no problems.  I went to the doctor and got checked for thyroid problems no go and got an Ekg and was said that i have a slow heart rate (but said to be somewhat normal for athletic people).  I wore a heart monitor for a couple of weeks and never really had the problem then yesturday it flared up again and seemed worse.  I feel it happens during periods where i try  to eat healthier and excercise
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Avatar_f_tn
I too have rapid heart beat while sleeping. This has been going on for about 6 months now.  I usually wake up about 2 or 3 in the morning with very rapid beating.  Sometimes I am very warm and perspiring - other times I just feel very warm. Once I get up and my body starts to feel cool - the rapid rate seems to go down - sometimes takes 15 minutes.  I have talked to my doctor about this and she does not seem very concerned - just gave me Xanex.  She indicated that it could be because of my age - 61 (maybe menopause) but I really don't think so.  Yes - this is very scary and I can relate to what everyone is saying. I too feel tired the next day and sometime take a nap at my lunch break. I am at a loss as to what is going on so perhaps testing for sleep apnea might be a good idea.

One time when I went to doctor she wanted to give me Coreg for my BP.  I told her I wanted to try to get it down myself and started taking liquid magnesium.  I was able to get it down about 10 points and she was happy with that.
I stopped taking it because I forgot to take it so I think I'm going to try that again before the test.  I also have had 1/2 of thyroid removed so I guess it could be that also.  I just want answers and there are none at this time.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 25yr old male. I don't smoke, or drink heavily. I have experienced some of the symptoms listed here. I've woken up with an irregular heartbeat and breathing as well as sweaty feet & palms. Sometimes shaking uncontrollable as if I am cold, but i'm not. I've felt my heart and it feels like it is about to jump out of my chest. I've been to the ER a few times, and by the time i get there, it has subsided. One thing they recommended was to lie as still as I could, and take slow, deep breathes. When your heart races, you breath heavier & faster; which in turn burns your oxygen faster. Not enough oxygen in the blood stream causes alot of issues. I can't say that I suffer from anxiety or high stress levels. I have many mornings where i've woken up and have felt exhausted, but do not remember waking up or having the heart racing symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 33 year old over weight male. I found out about 6 years ago that I had real bad hypertension.  Back then I was smoking, drinking and eating whatever until I was hospitalized. Even after hospitilization I still didn't take everything that was goin on to serious because I fugured the Meds they put me on would take care of everything. Aside from the occasional spike in blood pressure I was fine, but weighing a lifetime largest 420 lbs.  About 2 years ago I looked at my 2 kids and decided I was willing to do whatever it takes to live a longer life for them and I changed my eating habits, started workiong out 3 times a week and I did the impossible, stopped smoking and drinking. I'm down to 350 right now and I still have a long way to go but it seems like the better I feel in the daytime the worst I feel at night.  I'm on about 6 different medications for angina and hypertension and all day long I feel fine. No complications at the gym or all day at work. At one point I was going through what you guys were going through with the rapid heartbeat while sleeping but mine would go a step furthe and I would also have an elevated blood pressure.  Some nights it would go as high as 180/110. After realizing a lot of the reasons that was happening was because I ate kind of late at night and also I took my meds in the morning.  After implementing a no meals clause after 7 and changing my meds to nightime consumption I did fine for about 6 months.  Now a new problem has arisen.  Now when I lay down, I have difficulty cathcing my breath and pains running through my chest, stomach and left side.  If I do manage to fall asleep I awake almost struggling for air with a slowly increasing heartbeat.  If I sit up I feel fine but once I lay back down again it comes right back.  It's an almost indescribable feeling, like your about to die.  I thought it might have been my pressure spiking but when I take it it's fine.  My wife thinks I'm paranoid or stressed out but that's not it either.  Although I have some stress, it's no worse than any average husband and father.  Everytime I see my doctor he does some blood work and everything comes back normal.  He even reducec the dosage of one of my medications because of the progress I have made with my weight loss.  This last week has been the worse because I have gotten approximately 20 hours of sleep in the last 7 days.  I'm afarid to go to sleep and I don't wnat to keep running up my insurance to be told the same thing.  Could digestion issues such as reflux and gerd cause these symptoms? Please someone help!!!
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554610_tn?1215905711
Hope you still watch this forum.
Your story is mine exactly.  Have had this for over a year, nearly every night.
Only thing found is adrenal adenoma, not thought to cause the problem.
Have had every test imaginable.  Still given no reason other than possibly
sinus tachycardic syndrome....  Just wondering if you have found
any solution.  Only thing I take is 25mg metoprolol at night.  Does not stop
it but the bp does settle.  Can wake up with bp 170/105 Pulse 115.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too wake up with a rapid heart beat mostly from a dream!  I can wake up with my heart beating 200 beats per minute and when your sleeping heart rate like mine is in the 40's this really *****.  I have been told it is not something to worry about but I am hard fought to think going from 45 to 200 in a split second a couple times a week is good for my heart.  I have wore the monitors and had everything checked out all we can tell is that it's anxiety and stress related but nobody is 100% sure.  The scary thing is I think mine is changing I now notice all day long my heart rate moves up and down non stop.  If I am sitting and I even change positions it spikes 15-20 beats per minutes if I get up from sittting down it's even worse 20-25 beats per minute.  Has anyone else seen anything like this or heard of it.  I am 33 years old 6'1'' 160 lbs and from all the tests they have done I am healthy though I don't feel like it.  Thanks so much, Shane  
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554610_tn?1215905711
Hi Shane,
Mine seems to spike upon movement from deep sleep at night.  Always around 2-3 am.
Sometimes dreaming often not.  The only way I could ease it off was to get up and walk around until the BP settled, then try and sleep again, but if I went into a deep sleep it would start again on waking.  This happened through the day too.  I did have pericarditis in the middle of all this and high noradrenaline levels (adrenal gland).  Doctors at the time thought the adrenaline levels were causing it.  Activity raises adrenaline.
Had holters, ecg's, mri, sleep study.  Found I was getting First Degree Heart Block when the pericarditis was involved.  That has gone now.   Pulse normally goes up and down with activity.  After having it for over a year now and nothing showing as a reason, I don't stress about it but find it frustrating not to sleep through the night.  I am currently trying sleeping with the bed raised a bit under the pillow area and that has helped a bit.
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457482_tn?1206407832
I am taking Atenolol 25 mg at night and this has controlled my night time sinus tach really well. When I would wake up before and I my heart was racing I used to panic and that would send me over the edge. Several times would call 911 but by the time they arrived I was ok. Now if I wake up and I am a little tachy I just say to myself everything is ok just relax and I lay in bed and don't move. If I stay calm then I am ok. If I jump out of bed and say oh my god it's happing again then it will happen again. With my new medication and staying calm I am much better. Also I have lost a little weight.
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Avatar_f_tn
I read your post on this subject and felt compelled to write. I suffered terribly from an anxiety disorder and recovered completely without any medication (I don't condemn medication, I just personally could not take it without serious side effects). One symptom I had was waking up from a deep sleep with a very rapid heart rate. I wanted you to know that the way to my recovery was through education that these symptoms are harmless, and then when they would happen to me I no longer felt nervous or dreaded them. One thing I found is that anxiety caused my blood sugar to get low, so I would drink orange juice and my heart rate would return to normal. I recommend a few sites with great information from people who themselves have recovered: paniccure.com, and anxietynomore.co.uk Dr. Burns' book called When Panic Attacks is also helpful. You can and will recover! Just accept that your brain and body need to heal from all the worry and adrenaline you've been feeding it with, and when you stop worrying and obsessing about your symptoms you will be amazed how quickly you start to gain freedom. Anxiety and panic turned out to be a real gift to me, because I have a very different perspective on life and think about things in a much different way now. Best wishes to you!
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have problems with skipping beats, then it beating hard to make up for it.  Have been told it's sinus brychardia and that it's fine. I also sometimes wake up with my heart racing and beating so hard I feel like I cannot catch my breath and that I'm going to kill over.  It is the scariest feeling I can imagine... I haven't been able to link it to anxiety or stress because it's happend during stressful times and very peaceful times of my life.  I have not been checked for sleep apenia but after reading this I might.  It would be wonderful to know the cause so I can stop trying to convince myself that it is mental (according to doctors), when I know it's not. I used to take xanax for it, but it did nothing but make me messed up.  I think when doctors don't know what something is, they automatically link it to stress.

Please let me know if your test, or any tests any of you have done for sleep apnea show a connection.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been experiencing the same for about 3 months. It is after I have slept that I wake up with a super-fast heartbeat. I can literally feel the racing pulse on my throat and wrist. However, it goes down and after a while I am again asleep. Looks like this happens after I exercise. Or could be I had too much salt in my diet. I smoke as well (3-4 cigs/day). I will not attribute it to smoking though since many in the forum are non smokers and still dealing with the same issue.

Regards,
DP
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554610_tn?1215905711
Update for me, after four years of this, I am diagnosed with Pheochromocytoma.
Situation got worse with sweats, higher BP (on 2 meds), headaches, now left flank pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, dizziness, rapid heart rate, tachy, heart pounding.  All on the side of the adrenal with the growth on it.  Heading for surgery next few weeks.  Previously had sleep study, conn's syndrome, electrical, angiogram, and most other tests you can think of with no results.  Dismissed by most doctors I saw some concerned, some could not care less.  Finally a cardiologist put it together.
So.......persevere if you have a feeling something is wrong.    
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976897_tn?1379171202
I'm glad they resolved your problem, but I have to admit I am somewhat confused. I 'assume' your problems were not only evident during sleep? I just can't see why the adrenal glands would be affected by a growth when you are asleep and not when awake?
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1618806_tn?1304738077
I do hope this forum is still open, I too experience this and the doctors can't find anything wrong with my heart or my thyroid. I'm 5 feet tall and weigh 130 pounds, I eat a vegetarian diet and exercise regularly.Because I'm a veggie, I've had myself checked for anemia and it turned out normal too. I'm jerked out of a sound sleep 3 to 4 times a week with my heart pounding!! Only I don't have elevated blood pressure when it happens. I have a blood pressure monitor and check it as I'm having these episodes. When it first started happening, I went to the ER but eventually stopped because they kept wanting to give me narcotics (Lorazepam) to control it!! I've NEVER had an anxiety attack in my life nor am I an anxious person. It doesn't make sense, and it scares the hell out of me!!
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Avatar_f_tn
do any of you get horrible headaches with this???
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Avatar_m_tn
Did any doctor check if you have sleep apnea at all. I am 208 lbs female 5' 5 " tall and i i have mild obstructive sleep apnea (my apnea index score is 9). the more heavier you are the more severe your apnea will be. Check it out with your doctor. Also do some research on the dangers of sleep apnea so that you can act fast.

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Avatar_m_tn
Did any doctor check if you have sleep apnea at all. I am 208 lbs female 5' 5 " tall and i i have mild obstructive sleep apnea (my apnea index score is 9). the more heavier you are the more severe your apnea will be. Check it out with your doctor. Also do some research on the dangers of sleep apnea so that you can act fast.

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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, I do (get horrible headaches with this.) I wake up suddenly, sometimes from a dream, with the racing heart and I imagine a high BP.  I feel pressure in the front of my head, and a headache. The headache, a general achiness, and tiredness are with me the next day. And my doctor also told me it is not serious.

By background, I am 58 yrs old, post menopausal female, overweight, but otherwise healthy.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, I have had this type of problem on and off for 26 years. I cannot speak for everyone here. You all should consult professionals. But for those of you who have, I can relate: I came up negative on all the heart tests, etc...

My suggestion is to take a look at your digestive tract. You may have some issues with your upper gastro intestinal tract. I am convinced that my issues are related to this.

For example, when I have woken up with a racing heart, I have tried for many years to make a connection. Yes, there have been times of stress, but not always. But what I have found in every single case is discomfort in my digestive tract, either previously, or during these events. Also, excessive drinking or eating late has exponentially increased the chances of this type of event for me.

I do not believe it is apnea related or low blood oxygen related. Of course, everyone is a little different. But I am completely convinced through 26 years of this that it is a cascade reaction:

Something about my upper GI sends an alarm to my brain. My brain goes into a relexive panic mode, I wake up, I get an adrenaline rush and a rapid heart rate for a few minutes, I wake up more thoroughly and use the higher parts of my brain to understand that I am not in mortal danger, my body gets the signal that this was a false alarm, everything goes back to normal. In a half hour to 45 minutes, I am back to sleep.

HOWEVER, if I have upper GI issues, this process may repeat. For me, I have had to address my GI tract- Maalox, Camomille tea, sitting propped up in bed instead of lying flat etc... Then it's fine.

For many of you, this is an avenue to explore. You may have a hiatal hernia or other issues that are inflaming your upper GI. For me, when my GI tract is off, it can cause rapid heart rate after eating and waking up like described. Ask your physician to check the GI tract or go to a specialist and see what they have to say. It may help you understand the mystery or, at least, rule out or rule IN a cause and effect that is not normally drawn.
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Avatar_m_tn
And to clarify and add- I do not have issues during the day- most likely because I am sitting up or walking or running upright.

When you lie down, this can manifest. Many of you are reporting no issues during the day but happening at night. Again- look at the fact that you are lying down and you may have acid reflux or acid stimulating nerves in your upper GI. I would like to know if this helps anyone. Please post back if you make progress. Good luck!
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554610_tn?1215905711
Find your comment interesting as I had a sleep study with nothing abnormal at all.  Have had monitors and all the rest.  Now found to have a thyroid cyst against my carotid artery which at 13mm surgeon refused to remove.  I am thinking that this is causing my problem as when the gp put me on bp meds, it sent my heart too slow.  Since going off them it has eased, but problem still remains.  Thyroid tests usually ignored unless a result is out of range completely.  
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