I used to be a regular blood donor, and had never had any problems passing the health examination that is compulsory for all donors. Then about two years ago, the nurse that was assessing me informed me that my heart rate was too high (over 100 beats per minute at resting), and that my heart rate increased upon inhalation and decreased notably when I exhaled. Because of these points, I was informed that it was unsafe for me to go through with a donation.
Concerned, I went to my GP to ask for his advice, and he listened to my heart and agreed that it was in the fast end of normal but not in the danger zone, and that for someone my age it was not uncommon for my one's heart rate to increase and decrease with respirations. I asked him if it was because I was overweight for my height, and he told me it was likely a contributing factor. Basically, he told me not to worry, and I went away feeling somewhat reassured.
However, soon I became aware of something that gave me some alarm. When I'm in bed and trying to drift off to sleep, all of a sudden my heart beat feels too strong, like it's pounding against my ribcage. When I'm sitting or standing upright I can't feel it, but as soon as I lie down it's so strong that it's distracting and is difficult to ignore. I've experienced no discomfort or dizziness, but it's undeniably feeling too strong.
Tonight, although exhausted from work and very little sleep over the new year period, I could not fall asleep. All I could feel was my overly strong heart beat, and the sudden awareness of my pulse being too rapid for being at resting. I know that the increased pulse rate may be because of my sudden awareness and anxiety about my heart, but I'm worried that it's something more than a simple adrenaline reaction that's responsible for both concerns.
It is not uncommon to feel strong heart beats, and it is also not uncommon to notice strong heart beats as you drift off to sleep. The presence of strong heart beats, or palpitations, is a symptom of several conditions, not necessarily a serious matter. In fact, palpitations are quite often not a serious matter at all, (especially if you are not experiencing other symptoms with it, such as chest pain or dizziness.)
Yes, it is always best to consult your doctor about everything, but it is unlikely that you are at risk, and more than likely that you are just experiencing benign palpitations. Lot's of people have 'em, and they are noticable when you lay down or drift off to sleep. My suggestion would be to talk yourself out of your state of alarm so that you can get some rest, and stop obsessing about this. Then go back and see your doctor so that your palpitations can be properly diagnosed. A proper diagnosis generally involves wearing a heart monitor for a period of time, but your doctor will know what to do after talking to you about all of you symptoms.
In the meantime, you might as well get started on the lifestyle modifications you know the doctor is going to remind you about . Eat right, exercise (as directed by your doctor of course), reduce alcohol and caffeinne, no smoking, etc, etc, you know the drill. Eliminating a few factors in advance can be helpful in terms of making the diagnosis you want.
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