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scared of palpitations
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scared of palpitations

Thanks for answering, it has been several years since I posted before.  I have had troble with anxiety with palpitations and chest pain for over 7 years.  I had a 24 hr monitor seven years ago that showed 4 ventricular ectopics(2 isolateds and 1 couplet) and 3595 Supraventricular ectopics(all isolateds).  I was then sent for an echo and they said everything was normal except trace mitral regurgitation, normal variance.  I have since had a stress test and another echo.  But it has been at least two years since those. I have read on the internet that people with anxiety problems are more prone to sudden death. And I am scared to death that I am going to die from this.  Do you think I should be seen again by another cardiologist.  I am currently taking Ativan for anxiety.  Some days I have palpitations up to probably 10 a minute.  Then some days I don't feel any.  I have had several ekgs recently but they only seem to pick up sinus tachardia.  Thank you for your help.








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pooh,

Thanks for asking.

It seems that you have had a pretty extensive cardiac workup, especially for someone your age.  

People with anxiety are NOT at increased risk for sudden death.  

You really should focus more on resolving your anxiety issues with a health professional and stop repeating your cardiac test. At age 29, and your work up thus far, you have a a higher likelyhood from having a test that is falsely positive from chance then it actually being a true positive test.

good luck
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I'm sorry I forgot to say that I am a 29 year old female, non-smoker and non-drinker.

Thanks
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I am not so sure that people with anxiety have any more increased predisposition to sudden death.  Sudden death from what I have researched and spoken to cardiologists is not so common even for people with anxiety. If it were then it would be very commonplace and I dont think they would be re-assuring those mainly with PVC that rarely degrade further in normal structural hearts.  I think most on this post suffer from anxiety and not sure how you wouldnt but I would not get overly worked up on this sudden death thing.  I would treat the anxiety and worry about the heart after ... at least this was my cardio advise. Treat the main cause not the symptoms. We tend to treat the symptoms and leave the root cause free to roam.

Thanks-
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I just wanted to offer my support in the daily PVC dilemma.  I started having them about four years ago and it's an up and down drama for me.  I will get comfort from an echo and holter monitor for a while, then a few months later when the symptoms are in overdrive I start to question if I need to start the testing all over again.  It can be all-consuming.  I've also found the stress aggravates them considerably, in fact when I'm in a bad episode just thinking about PVC's will make me have one!  I wish you all the luck.
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Thank you all so much.  It is nice to know there are others out there like me.  Just got back from my family dr. and she has put me back on Paxil and is referring me to a psychologist.  I did well on Paxil before so hopefully it will help again.  Thanks again for all the support.  It's nice to know I am not just going crazy.
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Try not to worry Poohbear. We all at some time or another live with that fear. I know even after many,many years of pvc and pacs and more, I still worry about that time to time. It is true in  many cases, the more you look for something, the more likely you will find something. Could be a good thing to find or not. It gets to be overkill after a while with tests also. If you trust your Dr. and/or have had second opinions you then need to think about whether you want to spend every minute worrying about something that may, more likely, will never happen. Anxiety is a very persistent and nasty guest. Never wants to leave and just fills you with the worst fears and negative feelings.

Have you tried to speak to a therapist or your Dr. about your fears? Sometimes reassurance goes a long way. Are you on any medication for the palpitations? Maybe a little bit of meds would help you to reduce the palpitations and reduce anxiety.  I hope you feel better...
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you definetly arent alone. just look up my post dated on 11/21
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You said you had four ventricular ectopic beats, did you mean in a row in no normal beats inbetween or just four single ones.
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It looks like at your age it is unlikely you are predisposed for problems.  That is very encouraging!!

I want you to know tho that I went thru a lot a repeat testing starting in  my early twenties, and none of it ever revealed my wolf parkinson's white (results in several minutes of rapid heart beat around 250bpm.) For me, wolf parkinsons was something I was born with; I am not even sure of when I became aware of having symptoms. Still, at that age and no positive test results (the rapid rythm was infrequent and evaded the monitors unfortunately), doctors concluded that nothing was out of the ordinary. Diligence finally paid off at 44, but even then, not until after seeing two doctors.

I am not suggesting at all that you start worrying again or become critical of your physisican, especially given everything.  WPW is not a cake walk, but it is rarely associated with sudden death. I just think that you could set for yourself and your doctors the goal of realsitically, systematically, and diligently assessing your feelings and symptoms as a whole, and then expect everyone on the list to achieve this goal. Why not? You are paying them, and owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself.

On the other hand, if you have diligently described your symptoms, and are satisfied with the cardiovascular assessment you receive, perhaps you would describe both physical and emotional aspects to your therapist, and expect more focus on the emotion for your own part.

Later...


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The 4 ectopics were 2 individual and 1 couplet.

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Great, now I am afraid it could be WPW....didn't your ekg's show the WPW.  I have had probably 100 ekgs, stress test, 2 echos and holter testing.  It looks like it would have showed up by now.

THanks,
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Try and not stress.  I know easier said than done.  I think the test thats best for wpw is a single averaged ekg.  Its an ekg they take for a lot longer than normal ekgs.  However I could be wrong about that statement. However if you worried over this now you may check with your dr and see what he thinks about testing for it.
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I have been nervous all day and my heart has been skipping all day.  I have a few more questions about WPW .  Does anxiety usally bring on an attack?  and what test finally diagnosed you? I have been to two cardioligist and none of them have ever mentioned this disease. WHne I am on Paxil for anxiety I do not usually have the palpitaions.

Thanks,
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I looked for your post but cannot seem to find it.  Where is it at?  I probably just missed it.


Thanks
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Hi Pooh.   Its not to worry about, even if you have the symptoms.

Also, you cant fool yourself into having it:  my symptoms included a heart rate of 250bpm --- continuously --- for 5 minutes. There was a feeling like the blood in my head had half drained. I was a bit winded while this was going on and felt like I needed to take a time out and go sit down for a while.  Then almost at once, it would convert back to a normal heart beat, and all symptoms were gone...

To the best of my knowledge, anxiety never brought this on. It was always brought on after 5-10 minutes of running.  And even then, only on the first or second run of the season. That is why testing never caught it on an electrogram in the lab. I caught it while I was carrying a heart card during one of my runs.

I was born with this. I can not say when I began to realize that there was something wrong. Perhaps I never thought to mention some of these symptoms to my doctors...

Sorry if I upset you with my previous post.
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I took diazepam (similar to ativan) for YEARS to help with my anxiety about my palpitations but really they didn't help, they only help for the moment and then leave you feeling tired and worse.  I believe, looking back, diazepam sent me deeper into that black hole, made me feel so drained, less able to cope.
Speaking of my own experiences I have found anti depressants much more effective, well, fantastic really, in tackling my anxiety, and it's been such an unexpected and most delightful surprise.  I've given up valium altogether, it hasn't been the slightest effort as I don't feel the need for it as I feel so much better.
I am bearing in mind what Cindy on the heart forum has said and am not meaning to tell people what drugs to take it's just that I had such a miserable and desperate time with palpitations and genuinely want to help others going through that same hell.
It's terrible being out in the wilderness and generally feeling stupid with what I consider to be a very terrifying condition that we have to prove we have.  It's so hard to know what to take and what not to take, what to believe in, what not to believe in. All I can say is that palpitations would scare absolutely anybody, we mustn't feel ashamed of being scared and we mustn't be ashamed in getting help like anti-depressants to help us deal with the condition.
Good luck to all.
Happy New Year.
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Hey poohbear,

I totally understand what you're going through concerning anxiety, palpitations etc.  I've been there and still am at times.  I've been suffering from panic attacks (now 90% under control without meds) palpitations, PVC's, severe white coat syndrome since the age of 15.  I'm now 61, and I'm still kicking.  I had severe palpitations, PVC's skipping every beat, severe high BP from anxiety that caused me to end up in the ER three times.  If anxiety would cause people to drop dead I'd have dropped dead by now.  I know this wont get you over your anxiety immediately, but maybe it will get some of the fear out of you about "dropping dead".  I used to be afraid of that, but not anymore, but the anxiety/panic at times especially at night is still horrible even after all these years.  BTW, Ativan never helped me nor did any of the other tranquelizers, I get more relaxation if I eat a bag of M+M's :) :)
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no problem. here it is. I copy and pasted it for you!Subject: still worried
Topic Area: Palpitation
Forum: The Heart Forum
Question Posted By: jennifer79 on Sunday, November 21, 2004


I started a thread going on 2 months ago titled "heart flutters". I am 25 yr. old female, have been having these for about 9 years. My pvc's feel like flutters in my chest. They only last a second or two and I get one about once or twice a week. I realize that I am lucky for having them so few and far inbetween which brings me to ask is pvc's really what im having or could it be something else? Hearing about other peoples symptoms it seems like they have them much more in frequency. I have been to 2 doctors,and a cardiologist just last month. I have had ekg's,bloodwork,echocardiogram,and 24 hour holter monitor. Everything came back normal. The cardiologist did say that on the 24 hr. holter it showed a "few extra beats" he said that this was nothing to worry about.I told him that I have read and been told that unless you feel one of the flutters(have symptoms) while wearing the holter then they can not fully diagnose you. He said that this is true but since I am on toprol xl and it seems to be helping,and because of my age,etc.. that I have nothing to worry about.But I still do. My question is this.. Should I seek into further testing or just learn to live with these things and stop worrying so much? This has greatly affected my life as I worry that there is something else out there that I need to do. Thank you very much for taking my question. I was a little leery of posting as I have seen all the commotion lately over pvc postings.

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Answer Posted By: CCF-M.D.-MJM on Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hi Jennifer,

1. Should I seek into further testing or just learn to live with these things and stop worrying so much?

The next test is an event monitor. I will order this test in cases like yours if you need the information for reassurance. Based on your age and normal test results(and a few PVCs is normal), you need to understand that you are not dealing with a fatal heart problem, but worrying abou them could seriously affect your quality of life. If you need the test for reassurance, I would ask for the test. I would not get another opinion--work with the doctors that already know your situation.

Good luck---you'll be fine.
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Thank you everyone.  I feel much better today.  

Thanks,
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i am a 54 yo male with palps/pvcs on and off for over 10 years. recently 9mos or so i have been experiencing a change in my pvc's. usually i would get the skipped beat followed by the hard beat. the best way i can describe them now is a galloping feeling where there will be normal beat followed by hard one in succession which can last 20-40 sec and takes my breath away. anyone experience this or know what the medical term is? they usually occur daily at different times mostly at night and sometimes not for days. i have seen an ep and have had several 24hr holters but each time they would not appear. i am taking 25 mg of atenol and 600mg of mexilitene but i feel it really does not help and would like to discontinue the meds.
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That is exactly what my NSVT feels like.
wmac
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Hi, I have just joined the forum. It is very helpful when you are stressed out by the sensations in you chest.I am 64 reasonably fit and still working. I have been getting them on and off for about three years. What scares me most is that I get tingling fingers and a bit of chest pain, and always feel fatigued after the event. My doctor says dont worry but thats easy for him to say. I have been to emergency dept aboyr 5 times usually resolves in hour or so, only once had to stay for 6 hours. Does anyone else get the other symptons. I feel dizzy and unwell after I get palpitations, especially if I get a few in a row. Am very anxious especially at night as I live on my own. Its very frustrating as I used to be so independant and solve most of my problems. I guess I am afraid of dying...silly I know as I will either know about it when I do...wake up in heavan?...and that would be fabulous or it will all just end and I want know anything. I think we are afraid of the fear itself. Who has had good results with anti anxiety meds...and do they effect the heart beat? Thanks for reading. Look forward to hearing from you all over here in Oz!
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I know how you feel about the part when it comes to "dying", the older we get the more some of us think about it.  Even though anybody can die at any age any time.  

Anxiety meds never done anything for me, but left me totally fatigue and washed out.  I used to suffer from severe panic attacks out of the blue, I've been on tranquelizers, bio feedback, therapy, group therapy,  nothing helped until I saw an advertisement about a book who was written by an Australien lady doctor/Psychiatrist. She knew exactly how to deal with people who suffer from panic attacks.  I read all her books several times and am now about 90% panic attack free. The 10% I still experience are always at night which to me is more horrible than during the day.

About the palpitations, I used to have PVC's (skipped beats) real bad, and right before they started I felt real fatigue, they lasted for days and weeks at times, it was horrible.  I was on a beta blocker which made them even worse and on top of that my heartbeat went down to 30 beats per minute (my resting pulse was always 60 bpm before meds) from the beta blockers and my heart still skipped, not as much, but enough to scare the hell out of me.  I was taken off the beta blockers.  When I landed in the ER because of severy white coat syndrome, and the Cardiologist thought that my severe high BP was not just white coat and I was put on BP meds my PVC's/palpitations almost stopped after 4 months on the meds, I still get them but very little.
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Hi-your situation reminds me a little of mine.  I am 35 and have been very anxious since about 18.  I have tried anti-depressants and benzodiazepines for anxiety - the anti-depressants helped a bit, but the side effects weren't worth it.  I am taking ativan now, maybe .25 mg per day, sometimes none, sometimes a little more.  My sister thinks these pills actually cause anxiety and I am starting to believe her.  What do you think?  I am desperate to live a fuller life - I have a few panic attacks per week, usually during the day but some at night.  I work, am married with two kids.  I am fearful that I am letting life pass me by being so anxious.  I get exercise related PVC's too, which have made me very heart-phobic, for lack of a better term.  No one I know except for my closest family members know I have this panic disorder - I seem "normal", I suppose - whatever that is.  But I don't feel normal.  I am also starting to wonder how many other people are walking around feeling nervous like me.  I think it's a lot more than anyone knows.  Life is stressful and hard, but still good!  Please tell me how you got to be 90% panic attack free. Also, did you have generalized anxiety disorder?  Any phobias?  (I have an elevator phobia-duh!)  I hope I haven't asked you too many questions - any advice you can give on beating this at least partially would be so appreciated.  And by the way, congratulations to you for getting over it!
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I'm going to my cardiologist on the 18th of this month and I'm going to ask him to take me off of Toprol XL.  I don't like the way I feel with it and I'm going to ask him about "Catapres" and ask him about Minoxidil.

I also get very anxious when going to doctor for routine exam and worry about the tests until I get the results.

I can't believe how many people suffer with palps.  I am the only person that I know that has them-- except for the people on this forum.

I still get hot flashes.  I took myself off of the hormones years ago because I wasn't comfortable taking them and then a few years letter all the information came about about them not being safe.

No-- I didn't know that stress could raise cholesterol.

Thanks, again and I will look for your helpful comments on the forums.
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