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Racing heart and Anemia
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Racing heart and Anemia

I would like to share my experience with you and your readers and I do have a question that I will ask later.

In the past, have experienced a racing heart on several occasions.  It happened once in my second pregancy (at age 25)and came back with a vengeance in my third (age 27) and fourth pregnancies (age 29).  After my last baby (the 4th one), I would experience these episodes about every 3-4 months.  Sometimes they would stop on their own, and other times I went to the hospital where they injected Verapamil to stop my heart from racing.  My episodes varied from a few minutes to no longer than 2 hours.  I began to notice a pattern.  These episodes would occur during stressful periods in my life and late in the evenings when I was most physically tired.  My heart would race when I would cough or if I strained (as in raising my arm over my head or reaching over to pick up something).  It would feel like my heart would "flip-flop", miss a beat, or "jump".  I would also have difficulty breathing and the blood felt as though it was draining from my upper back, shoulders and upper arms.  Sometimes this was accompanied by very short periods (2-3 seconds) of "unreality".  That is, I don't know if I'm going to fall down or not, and it almost felt as though I was in a dream.  I would not descibe it as dizziness or lightheadedness.

In February 1999, I had a very frightening experience that surpassed anything I had ever experienced before.  My heart raced for almost 31 hours straight at over 150 beats per minute.  I had moved to a new town and was unfamiliar with the doctors or the hospital, but I did go a doctor who had ordered a cardiogram that was performed during the episode.  Of course, the cardiogram showed that I had a strong heart and nothing irregular but the racing heart.  During this time, I had my first panic attack because I didn't understand what was happening.  I felt extremely weak and fatigued beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I felt very frightened and trapped.  I also felt as though no one understood what I was going through physically as well as emotionally.  I insisted on a complete physical and it was discovered that I was anemic (which was the result of a hormonal imbalance that caused extreme blood loss and which was subsequently treated).  This of course contributed to the extreme weakness and extreme fatigue I experienced and made the episode so much worse than it was because of the lack of oxygen I was receiving.

After that nasty episode, I experienced a floppy heart on a daily basis for almost 3 months and it would race occasionally.  I couldn't eat or sleep and I lost 31 lbs during this time.  It was the most awful experience I have ever gone through and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  During this time, I was put on birth control pills (and am still on them) to correct a hormonal imbalance.  I now weigh 212 lbs, and have maintained that weight since May.

Up until about 4 weeks ago I felt great, I had a new lease on life and experienced no symptoms at all.  The last time my heart raced was in April.  What concerns me is that I am beginning to feel weak and fatigued the same way I did before I had the February episode (blood draining, "unreal" short episodes, shortness of breath, panicky feeling).  Now, my left arm tingles and sometimes hurts.  I get numb in my hand, just above my thumb.  This is a new thing.  I'm trying my best not to be frightened and to get a lot of rest, but I am really worried.  Do you have any suggestions on why these symptoms are returning?  I would very much appreciate any information you can give me.
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Your symptoms could indicate quite a number of different things.  I couldn't really make a diagnosis based on the information here and would suggest returning to your doctor.  Hopefully this too will pass and you will return to your new lease on life.
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