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Stress/Anxiety Leading to Tachycardia?
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Stress/Anxiety Leading to Tachycardia?

I am an otherwise healthy 39 Yr old male. Non-smoker. No drugs.

For about 20 yrs I have noticed (very rare cases) where I would have a run of skipped or extra beats (3-5 seconds). Generally I recall/attribute it to being stressed out/had more than a few cups of coffee and/or serious lack of sleep.

Earlier this year (after a string of very stressful events /lots of trouble sleeping) noticed more skipped/ extra beats. The one day I had a very scary run of extra or skipped beats which made me feel dizzy. But in this case, I felt more extra or skipped beats on and off for almost 45 minutes.  A trip to the ER documented a short run of V-tach.

Ended up in one of NY's leading heart hosps. A cardiac cath showed my arteries big and open.  The Electro Phys study found nothing specific, but the DR. noted "irritable tissue."  The Dr. was able to induce V-tach. MRI and Echo also done. Normal overall size/ shape/structure, but Dr's noted a septal buldge and mitro valve, all in all the conclusion was that I was "fine" and a beta blocker and ICD ("just in case - insurance policy") would suffice.

No V-tach since, but still have PVCs/pairs, even some PACs.

A prominent physchologist, who I now see, says my experiences are "way off the charts" in terms of mutliple stressful events reported by a patient (in a few months: worked in World Trade Ctr 9/11, death of parent, sibling with cancer, etc.)

Which leads me to wonder: What is really known about role stress plays to create these extra/skipped beats and maybe even more serious things like short runs of V-tach?

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
JohnP,

Sorry to read of your troubles.  Stress can have a dramatic impact on our health. For instance, the Earthquake in San Francisco in 1989 was followed in short order by a significant rise in the number of heart attacks in the bay area.

Similiarly, a person's perception of symptoms can be altered by stress such that pain is heightened and previously ignored phenomenon, such as PVCs, are perceived.

There is no debate amongst cardiologists that stress, lack of sleep, caffeine ingestion, and other catecholamine excess states can certainly precipitate PVCs and short runs of VT.

The standard therapy for short runs of VT in an otherwise normal heart is Beta-blocker medication.  The ICD decision sounds like a very conservative decision, but one that might give you peace of mind now that it is implanted.

Hope that helps.
17 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi all.  My question concerns sudden runs of pulse just before going to sleep at night or trying to have a cat-nap in the afternoon.  Just as I'm about to fall asleep I experience a sudden, very alarming, jolt followed by rapid heart rate.  Any one else experience this?  I can't remember the last time I had a relaxing nap in the afternoon due to the above problem.  

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Avatar_n_tn
For years I had tachycardia while at rest; sometimes while lying in bed at night.  Last year I went to outpatients because of an odd lump in my throat.  Turns out that I had an overactive thyroid, which was also responsible for my tachycardia.  Since iodine radiation treatment and daily synthroid pills, I have no longer had any problems with tachycardia.
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Avatar_n_tn
For years I had tachycardia while at rest; sometimes while lying in bed at night.  Last year I went to outpatients because of an odd lump in my throat.  Turns out that I had an overactive thyroid, which was also responsible for my tachycardia.  Since iodine radiation treatment and daily synthroid pills, I have no longer had any problems with tachycardia.
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Avatar_n_tn
The jolts just before going to sleep are likely to be sleep jerks, and are down to anxiety.  I've experienced these jerks for several years and I know how annoying they can be.  I find that by eating a banana or a slice of bread before going to bed really helps.

If you doctor shares the same view that it is just anxiety it might just be a case of trial and error to find what works for you.

good luck

Simon
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Avatar_n_tn
Sort of an unrelated question.  Do any of you experience higher heart rates along with eating a large meal.  I notice often that after a large meal for about an hour, more or less, that my heart rate increases.  I know smoking can do this, but didnt know a great deal about food connection..
just curious
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had this for many many years...
they are called sleep starts as another poster mentioned..
look up hypnic jerks...sleep stars..
I still get them and they are still scary...
I have learned not to bolt up in state of panic anymore..
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Avatar_n_tn
anyone notice a noticeable increase in heart rate when getting up from a squatting or sitting position?  This is annoying, but sometimes have to wait for a minute or two before i can get up, especially after a large meal and laying down for a period.  Also does anyone notice a connection to eating a large meal and heart rate at all?
thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello I have just found this forum.. it has made me feel a bit better... Shelly every time I eat a big meal I feel my heart rate increase big time.. I usually also feel a bit "fuzzy" if you know what I mean. Anyone know why?
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Hello.. when I tried to make a new comment it like, tried to charge me money =o! Anyway ^.^  I am a slight hypochondriac and I just need someone to tell me I am ok (Yes, a Doctor would be best.. but I hate going to the Doctor.. but I will if I really feel I need to..) but anyway I am a 17 year old female very lazy and slightylt out of shape (I do color guard in marching band it keeps me somewhat in shape) a little overweight (but not obese or anything) I have anxiety/panic attacks ... i always think theres something wrong with me.. I may have issues but I am not crazy ;). Anyway I was wondering if you thought that there really was somethign wrong with me.. my resting heart rate is hard to get because whenever I think about taking it I get nervous and anxious.. stupid I know but its how I am..but its usually 90-120 (usually 100 or a bit under if I am relaxed). I take no medication except an asprin a day and usually sinus medicane like sinutab(I can not breathe well outside, I get mucus all in my head, etc.. pretty sure thats sinuses.) I really have no other problems.. I feel tired a lot but that is just laziness.. if I go swimming I usually feel fine.... I get a little dizzy sometimes but I think it could be my new glasses perscription.. or sinuses etc. I think my "illness" is brought about by myself.. so could a normal 17 yr old girl have a fast resting heart rate and be ok? Is there a real need to go to the doctor? Thanks
Christie
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Avatar_n_tn
And also.. I always feel really yucky after I eat a big meal and also standing up .. just like shelly.. lately I have been very gassy and had a very much increased heart rate after I eat .. is this reason for concern?
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Avatar_n_tn
you sound soooooo much like me, i bet we share alot of the same symptoms.  i have had a lot of tests, etc, and panic attacks for years, woul be interested in talking to you about your rexperiences and sharing if you want.  feel free to email me at shelley676123, or add me to msn messenger if you use it.
thanks
anyone else is free as well
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Avatar_n_tn
Have any of you read or heard of a link between intake of Nutrisweet and palpitations? I have been very symptomatic with SVT and had an unsucessful ablation and now am on meds. I recently gave up Nutrisweet which I had used a lot and am significantly better. Not sure if the two are related, so I'm curious if anyone else has heard of this...
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Poohbear,
Yes, it can be the Nutrasweet.
It is the aspartame in it.
Can cause very many healthproblems!
Look under http://www.dorway.com/  and you will not believe your eyes!!
Good luck!
***Ianna-Ria***
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, everybody! Sounds like a group of hypochondriacs/anxiety ridden people...just like me! I'll tell you I have had PVC's and PSVT's and panic attacks for years... you would think I would be used to them by now but they still scare the heck out of me! When I eat a big meal, especially high in carbs I get a faster, harder heart beat that can keep me awake for hours. Lately I have been waking up to a fast heartbeat 100+ beats a minute which naturally scares me... I think my anxiety causes it to start with then I panic and make it last longer and get faster. Anyone with any advice? Thanks! I like this site because for years I thought I was the only one with these problems, but I see we are an army! If we pull together, think of all the power we could command! I'd be satisfied just to feel normal...
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, Ianna. I checked out that site and had seen several others with similar info. I have been off Nutri-sweet for almost 3 weeks and have had fewer episodes of tachycardia. It would be nice if it were that simple, but I plan to stay on medication and see what happens over time. Good luck to us all!
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Avatar_n_tn
Anyone wake up with rapid heartbeat? I have recently had to change my shift so I wake up at 3 AM. A couple of times recently I woke up with a fast heartbeat (more than 100 bpm) and it took quite a while for it to calm down. I was startled by the alarm, and after it happened once I believe subsequent attacks were anxiety fueled. But still, it freaked me out. Any suggestions or comments? I had no other symptoms, and by the time I got to work everything was fine.
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