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Rapid Heartbeat
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Rapid Heartbeat

I am a 48-year old male, and I am beginning to experience a rapid heartrate when I am not active.  I have no symptoms during the hours that I am awake and active.  For the past six months, I have experienced this problem as much as 4 times per month.  I have experienced a rapid heartbeat that wakes me up in the middle of the night.  I exercise every day by walking 3-4 miles.  I weigh 200 pounds and I am 6 feet tall.  My cholesteral levels are around 215 -220, possible lower.  My resting heartrate is normally between 76 - 84 beats per minute.  I only experience a rapid pulse and noteable heartbeat after I have gone to bed and I awake during my sleep.  During these episodes my heartrate is elevated between 120 and 140  beats per minute and it takes anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes for my heartrate to return to normal.  This never happens during the hours that I am awake.  Could this be from stress or anxiety, or could this signify a medical condition that I should be concerned about?
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Dear Larry,

It is difficult to say what these rapid heart rates are caused from.  I would bring this to the attention of your physician and consider the use of a holter monitor to determine the exact cause of these episodes.  

At your age, this may represent an atrial arrhythmia that may often be associated with hypertension, alcohol use or caffeine use.
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