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rapid heartbeat
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rapid heartbeat

I have had three seperate episodes on different nights of falling asleep or being asleep and waking suddenly with a very fast heartbeat. I actually get out of bed because I am so frightened by the rate and lie on the floor and try to calm myself. I have been diagnosed with panic attacks, pvc's and pac's. I was worried it could be atrial fibrillation. When it occurred last night my pulse was rapid but seemed regular. They last less then a minute and I just try to calm myself. I was just wondering what you thought it could be and why it happens at night?
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230125_tn?1193369457
It sounds like a panic attack.  Panic attacks usually happen in people with anxiety as well and it sounds like you might have some problems with anxiety.  The reason I say this is because you never mentioned that you have atrial fibrillation before.  When you have a fast heart rate and know you have panic attacks it is more likely that this tachycardia resulting from something you are known to have  (panic attacks and anxiety) rather than something that you have never had documented episodes of (atrial fibrillation).  If the episodes are daily, a Holter monitor will help.  If it is less frequent, an event monitor for 30 days is more likely to help.

atrial fibrillation is an irregularly irregular rhythm.

I hope this answers you question and thanks for posting.
10 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
by the way I am a 35 y.o. female.
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187666_tn?1331176945
I've heard a-fib is not a steady rate - it keeps changing. There's no way to tell what triggered your fast heart rate - could have been lingering tension from the day or a bad dream that you don't remember. Did your pulse slow down gradually or just click over from fast to normal? That's important for a doctor to know. Next time you wake up like that try slow, deep breathing and see if your heart slows down more quickly.
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Avatar_f_tn
Actually, i laid down and tried to calm myself and I could feel my pulse beating so hard and fast and then it slowly came down; it felt like it did within a few minutes. It is strange because I have had panic attacks but this starts like a dreaded feeling and I know it is going to happen and then my heart starts to beat REALLY fast~ it is very strange.

thanks for your post.
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272728_tn?1194744403
I have Panic Disorder and have done considerable research on this topic. What you are actually experiencing is nocturnal panic attacks, which is when a panic attack hits you while you are asleep. They believe it is because of your body's overreaction to going from stage 2 to stage 3 of sleep, and the person wakes up scared with a rapid heart rate.

The reason why your heart starts to beat REALLY fast when you get that dreaded feeling is because your thoughts bring on panic attacks. You're telling yourself you are going to have this happen to you again, and this arouses your body, your heart starts pounding, then you get scared of your heart, which makes it go even faster, etc in a vicious cycle. This is essentially called fear of fear, and it is the hallmark of panic disorder.

Moral of the story:don't worry, tell yourself you're fine, do deep controlled breathing, and you'll calm down and your heart rate will decrease again. It happened to me just the other night :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks your posts helped. it is so wierd right before it happens I know it is going to start and then bam it does. I need to continue to work on my thoughts and breathing:)
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Avatar_n_tn
I have suffered from panic attacks always at night. I feel like my body is being taken over by some force I can't control. My blood pressure shoots up, my face and ears turn red and are HOT. They always feel like I am having a heart attack, I hurt all over. the next day I am drained and weak. I have been told I also now have a leaking heart valve. I often wonder if the leaking valve causes the panic attacks, or if the panic attacks have contrubitied to the leaking valve.
I handle the attacks by getting out of bed,and walking around to make sure I am awake and I hollar out NO YOU CAN'T HAVE ME , LEAVE MY BODY !! I WILL NOT HAVE A PANIC ATTACK, I sometimes try singing a happy song LOUD ha ha.  Its like if I can occupy my mind with something It gets better pretty fast. It sounds funny but it does seem to help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your post; maybe will try your ideas:)
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Avatar_n_tn
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, at the most quiet hour of the "day" (night) my heart will quicken when I have just lain down. 'Go figure...  It is very disconcerting.  I usually have to get up and just concentrate on calming down.  I may even microwave 8 oz. of skim milk, which I believe has tryptophan in its chemistry...'just like eating turkey and getting calm/sleepy!

Please note that I have been diagnosed w/ RVOT-VT; and am taking a beta blocker e/o day.  I experienced an attack (of irregular and RAPID hearbeats) that I thought was a stress-induced Panic Attack.  I eventually found an electrophysiologist that diagnosed me.  However, I still think STRESS is the demon behind all of this?!  

'just some thoughts for you...
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