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Rapid pulse wakes me from sleep, scared
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Rapid pulse wakes me from sleep, scared

Good morning, I am a little scared about what is going on and hope to get an answer before running off to the hospital for something that may be nothing. I am a 24 year old male who has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, that was diagnosed at age two via muscle biopsy. I use a power wheelchair nearly full time, but have had no other respiratory or other chronic conditions to speak of. Current resting heart approx. 83 bpm. 220 lbs, 6' 1" caucasian male.

Starting in February of 2009, I began to notice my pulse, could feel it in my hand and in my chest. At night I would feel it pound away. I went to the Doctor after about three days of symptoms, and had a chest x-ray, EKG, and blood tests done. Everything was fine, save for an elevated cholesterol level, which the Doctor recommended a diet and increased physical activity.

Since that time I have felt fine, until about four days ago. The rapid pulse rate has returned, but only does so at night. It wakes me up from the middle of sleep, usually as I start a dream. None of the dreams have seemed to me to be nightmares, yet when I am woken up by this abnormal pulse rate it feels like I have been working out for an hour. The problem keeps occuring, and I keep waking up at the same time every night, usually between 3 - 4 AM, after having gone to bed at an average time of 11:00 PM EST.

Its almost as if every time I am just entering REM sleep, my body jolts itself awake. Its starting to wear rather thin on me. I have cut out all cafeene since the onset of symptoms, and have limited what I have been eating, sticking to the bare nutrient essentials, thinking that it was food related. Nothing has helped. Am I experiencing a cardiac episode? I have no chest pain to speak of, no shortness of breath, nor any numbness in any extremity.

I have been slightly fatigued by the afternoons, but I suspect its due to my lack of good sleep. Is there a test that wasn't performed above that I should be thinking about having done?

The episode occured again last night (11 to 12 Nov 09), waking me up at 3:07 AM. I managed to fall back to sleep about 20 minutes later, but it happened again, a rapid heart beat that woke me up around 5:15. I had to get up and get ready for my day at 7 anyway, so I just stayed up. Needless to say I'm tired, but I'm afraid to have any sort of caffinated product, or do anything if this is serious. Please help, I don't have a dedicated Family Doctor yet, as I am about to head to grad school and am not covered by my father's insurance yet until I start school. Needless to say I'm a bit scared, despite my limited medical training through the CERT program. I hope you'll be able to respond to this inquiry.

I have been seeing the group of doctor's at the large walk-in clinic, where my records are now currently kept. My pediatric doctor had been seeing me until I was 21, due to his familiarity with neuromuscular diseases.

*Be advised that I came down with the flu about three weeks ago, and despite feeling better, I haven't necessarily felt great since that time. I don't have any specific symptoms to report, just a feeling that something just isn't quite right. Could this be a complication with my MD?*

**Be advised that for the last month or so I have switched my daily vitamin supplement to the new Centrum Cardio, which has plant phytosterols to help reduce cholesterol, thinking that this would be a good thing to try, as I don't get as much physical activity. The bottle says to take the vitamin twice daily. Could this be a side effect?**

***Be advised that I am a huge New York Yankees fan, and forced myself to watch most of the MLB playoffs. I tend to get into sports, getting my adrenaline up, and making myself a nervous wreck. Could the constant nightly stresses of the playoffs effect me in some way, now that the season has concluded?***

This discussion is related to Various cardiac symptoms.
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I don't fully understand your congenital physical problems, so what I say may not relate well.

First if you have a high cholesterol  I think you should be on a statin drug, there are generics that are not extremely expensive.  This I do think has any bearing on your HR symptoms, just a good health measure.

Second I don't see any relationship between vitamins and HR either - but I'm not expert there either.  I take a "senior" vitamin - and think it isn't what gives me AFib...which I do suffer from.

You may benefit from wearing a 24 hour monitor (some times call a Holter) which would record the details of you nighttime excitement.  Then a doctor could look at the details and my be able to diagnose something...  sorry diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean cure.

Good luck, let us know what you learn.  
correction:  make that ... do NOT think has any ...
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