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Link between rapid pulse and anemia?
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Link between rapid pulse and anemia?
I have had a problem with my heart for 10 years, since I was 15.  I am slightly overweight, and I smoke, but I drink rarely and otherwise am healthy.

When I was 15, I was in marching band.  I would have spells of lightheadedness and dizziness accompanied by my vision and hearing "graying" out and eventually passing out cold while I was in practice and even at a few football games.  I was not "locking" my knees, which was the first assumption, and I was not exerting myself.  It only happened when I was standing "at front," meaning completely still, straight and tall, looking straight forward.  

This has continued, in spells of months at a time on and off, for ten years.

In a nutshell, here are the symptoms I'm experiencing:

Anytime I stand up straight, without moving, for longer than 5 or 10 seconds, I get light-headed and start to gray out.  It seems to be exaggerated by caffiene and nicotine, and even more so in a hot shower (I take evening showers) or hot bath.  Heat in general seems to aggravate it.  It is sometimes accompanied and/or followed by a severe tension headache (the back of the scalp and neck muscles hurt) and a deep, bony and severe ache in my collarbones (usually when heat is present).

I've had the following tests, by both specialists and the GP, and all turned up nothing unusual, other than an increased heart rate.

CAT scan
Sleep-deprived EEG
regular and fasting glucose tests
Holter monitor
Thyroid tests

Blood pressure is unchanged at all three positions: supine, sitting up, and standing up.  Heart rates go like this: Supine (80-90 bpm, BP 110/65), Sitting up (110-120, BP 110/65) and standing for more than 5 or 10 seconds (120-180, depending on how long I'm standing and the severity of the attack, BP 110/65).  

The following conditions have been therorized and proven wrong:

Heat exhaustion
physical heart problems
Hypo and Hyper Thyroidism
Blood pooling in the feet

My GP put me on beta blockers, and they helped for a little while, but quit working after a few weeks.  He said the only thing he could figure out was maybe my blood pooled in my feet, causing the heart to beat faster to compensate -- but he said my BP being the same did not fit that scenario.

Other measures usually utilized during SVT attacks have been tried (diving reflex, bearing down, etc..) and have no effect on the heart rate.

SOOO, all that to say this:  I am also anemic, and always have been.  I read in a medical journal that sometimes anemia can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, and wondered if it was linked to this unexplained problem with my heart.

Any information on this? Or other theories about what could be wrong?

Thanks for the information.

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1 Answers
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Anemia can cause dizziness and a fast heart rate. Usually, this happens in severe degrees of anemia, and I would think that your doctors would have checked for this along the way. A tilt table test, performed by a cardiac electrophysiologist, may be useful in determining what is causing your symptoms.
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