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I am terrified....why does this keep happening?
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I am terrified....why does this keep happening?

Last night, I had been in bed for approx. 15 minutes and was just at that stage where you are a little awake but drifting off to sleep and I jumped straight up, I was shaking all over and my heart was beating fast.  It wasn't skipping beats or going super fast but fast enough that I know it was above 100.  I think my husband had made a noise and it scared the **** out of me.

I have had this happen a few times in the last few months (minus the startling factor) and I am worried sick about it.  My heart rate goes back to normal after about 1 or 2 minutes but it take me an hour or more to get to sleep because I am so worried.

For those of you who have replied to my recent posts, you may remember I recently had an appt. with an EP.  He has scheduled me for a nuclear stress test, echo and holter next Thursday.  He said my QT intervals are slightly prolonged on my past EKG's and it's most likely due to some medications that I was taking at the time.

I know some forms of Long QT happen during sleep so I am so scared to wait until then to get my tests.  My husband thinks this is just my anxiety but how can you tell the difference?  

The Nurse Practitioner at the EP's office told me I can start taking Toprol XL if I want to but I have to stop it next week before the tests.  I am kind of hesitant to take it because my resting heart rate is usually pretty low (like in the 60's) and I'm worried the med will drop it too low.  But it may offer me some protection against dangerous arrythmias if I actually have one.

I know none of you are doctors but what would you do if you were in my shoes?
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to add....could these episodes be V-Tach? I am not sure what that feel like.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, I don't think it's v-tach.  It was probably that you were just scared.  I have been awakened at that stage of sleep before scared and my heart was beating like crazy, too!  You may be having some kind of nocturnal anxiety reaction - I have had full-on nocturnal panic attacks before where I wake from a dead sleep terrified to death and with my heart beating super fast.  I am sure you're OK.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your reply.  It is comforting to know I am not alone.  I just wish I could have a normal heart that doesn't do these crazy things.  I am sure I have anxiety but probably wouldn't if my heart would just settle down.

I wouldn't have been scared had this episode happened in response to a bad dream but practically jumping out of my skin because my husband made a little noise just doesn't seem right.
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97628_tn?1204465633
If little sounds cause you to react that way it's sounding pretty  adrenaline/anxiety related.

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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, I don't think mine is a panic attack either.  This is about the third time it has happened this year and it always happens within an hour or less of going to bed.  The other times, I just woke up without anything really startling me but last night, I am sure my husband threw the remote on top of the dresser and when I heard the clank, I just freaked out.  My heart rate felt steady, just fast and I was visibly shaking.  

I have also noticed a correlation with that time of the month so it's possibe there is a connection.
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Avatar_n_tn
I get pvcs frequently during the day and have never had tachycardia during waking hours, however, when I am in that stage of falling into a deep sleep - I think it's REM - I sometimes bolt upright and my heart is beating so hard and fast the entire bed is shaking and I am 100% sure I am dying. After a few minutes my heart goes back to normal. There was one time this happened and my heart continued to beat really fast even after I got up and walked around and I almost lost consciousness. I was put on a holter monitor and the doctor confirmed it was tachycardia but said there was no way to tell what triggered it. I find that this happens more to me right before my period and the really bad spell was premenstrual and also I had eaten a huge chinese dinner. Maybe this had nothing to do with it, but I felt it had triggered it. If you makes you feel any better, this has been going on with me periodically for several years and it has not come to anything serious. When I looked it up online, I read that some people when going into that REM stage of sleep, or deep sleep have these tachycardias triggered. I don't believe mine are nocturnal panic attacks, I don't know what it is but it has not killed me yet :)
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,
I had to respond to you because I just read about this in a book by the late famous therapist Dr Claire Weekes.... this particular paragraph may help you... take care :)

Dr Weekes: "An attack of alarmingly quickly beating heart may come, just as you are going off to sleep, or may even wake you from sleep.  Do not sit up in panic.  The more you panic, the more adrenalin is released.   So, relax to the best of your ability, take deep breaths, and let your heart do this until it chooses to calm down, it is a good heart, merely  temporarily over-stimulated.  Sensitized people have these sensations as a more or less constant background to their day. Do not shrink from it.  As acceptance calms your nerves the attacks will become less frequent, until they longer come. Do not get trapped in a cycle of fear-adrenalin-fear that constant apprehension brings.  


Her recovery steps are:

Facing
Face your thoughts and fears instead of trying to be rid of them by pushing or forcing them out.

Acceptance
Accept your condition
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