Heart Disease Forum
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Avatar universal


Hello and thanks for taking my question. I started having a heart rate that would go to 150's sometimes higher with some chest pain and sometimes shortness of breath and also with the lovely feeling of I was going to die. My doctor said it was panic attacks but I am not real comfortable with that diagnosis. I have so far had many EKG's even during the times of the racing heart and all come back normal with sinus tach. I have had all bloodwork including thyroid checked and that was also normal. Stress test that came back fine. I recently had an holter monitor and I am now waiting for the results on that. The problem I am having accepting this is...In the past month or so the chest pain seems to be more constant than not.  How can anxiety cause this chest pain all the time. I have also noticed that my heart has seemed to do this funny little jump. With all these tests that have been normal can I relax and accept this as anxiety and know it is not my heart. Would these tests have picked up whatever could have been wrong? I have been extremely worried about this. I dont think I have that much stress in my life.I am a 30 year old female, I just quit smoking last week,slightly overweight which I am also working on. I have 4 children 10,7,4 and 1. Thanks for any help you can give me.
25 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432

There are several keys to trying to answer this question.

1. you want to capture the arrythmia on a 12 lead ekg.  if it looks like sinus tachycardia -- like you wrote it did --

2. we need to record and document the initiation and/or termination of the rhythm.  Anxiety will look like a gradual acceleration and gradual termination.  An arrhythmia will usually start with a premature beat and sudden onset and sudden termination.  Hopefully this will be picked up by the holter monitor.

If this doesn't answer the question, they may want to do an EP study.  This is an invasive procedure where extra beats are electrically stimulated in  your heart to try to induce the arrhythmia.

I hope this helps answer your question and good luck.
Avatar universal
Hi, I am in exactly the same position as you.  I am 31 and gave birth in May 2004 for the first time.  I was admitted back to hospital two days after coming out because I had high BP, racing pulse and felt awful (I now know this was a panic attack - nothing else) but because of a careless comment by a midwife, I was left thinking something was wrong with my heart and since then, it has been a 24/7 obsession.  For the last 8 months I have suffered constant chest pains, racing heartbeat which comes from nowhere and those funny little flip heart skip things, which I now know are PVC's.  My doc also said it is anxiety, which I found hard to believe because the only thing I am anxious about is my heart and these symptoms!  So I too have had blood, thyroid, ECG, recent echo (all normal) and am due to have a 8 day holter very soon.  So it was originally a panic attack that caused my symptoms, and because I got so freaked out about it, I now notice every PVC I get and have to live with the chest pains.  They are gradually getting better as I learn to cope with the anxiety.  Feel free to email me if you want.  ***@****
Avatar universal

after having a long break of the same symtoms you are having now, they came back about 2 years ago. my heartrate went up and i have daily pvc and pac, rarely svt and short apisods of afib.
i took atenolol as needed and my heartrate went down, i dont take atenolol any more because i know i have a healty normal heart. my heartrate since last summer is normal now. i do still have chest pain and it still can throw me off, right now i take daily aspirin do to the discomfort. maybe your chestpain is muscular since you have a 1 year old child which you may carry a lot. i have 2 children and i think its a lot of work (i also work part time) i personally cant imagine to take care of 4 kids without feeling overwhelmed at times. good luck to you
Avatar universal

Just wanted to let you know that as unfortunate as it is I think alot of these symptoms come from motherhood. I have six children 21, 18, 16, 12, 3, & 1. I started obsesing over my heart durring my last pregnancy. I had my son in January 2004 and it has took me until recently to come to grips and say okay this is anxiety calm down you'll be okay. From my first month of my pregnancy I had PVCs (I had never had them before or just didn't feel them). All of the sudden my world went out of control I felt everyone of them. I had chest pain, trouble breathing, insomnia due to the extreme worry. All I could think of was something is wrong with my heart what will happen to my children.
My regular doctor had me wear a holter monitor and diagnosed me with PVC's brought on by the hormones. All through my pregnancy I had myself convinced it was something more. By the end of pregnancy I was sure I had Postpartum cardiomyopthia. After delivery my blood pressure was elevated to 150/98. My OB wanted to put me on meds but, my internist insured me it was all the stress, worry, and the physical strain of labor. I know where your comming from. If you want to talk email me ***@****.
Avatar universal
Sorry but I also forgot to mention the pain and sometimes numbness down left arm. I also forgot to mention I have had 3 chest xrays and a ct scan...thanks again.
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for your comments. I just don't understand how anxiety could do this to you. It's absolutely outrageous. I didn't start this until July of 2004. I do carry my little one around alot. So that could very well be part of it. Once more thanks again!! Traci
Avatar universal
i too am having the same problems as what everyone else has written on the post, i am fixated with the possibility that something is wrong with my heart and noone is finding it and soon it is going to be too late.  i don't have regular pvc's but i just have the aches and pains on my left side that lead me to believe that it is heart related. i have had all the tests, blood work, stress, but no event monitor. i also have a 14 month old that i stay home with which only adds to my stress of please don't let something happen to me when i am alone with her.  i hurt into my back and down my left arm and sometime chest pain and shortness of breath (light smoker) but i can't tell if it is my heart or just muscloskeletal it happens at random times of the day just sitting on the couch or washing dishes so that is the only thing that makes me think that it is not my heart because i am not doing anything strenuous or stressful. i pick my baby and carry in my left arm so that is also why i am saying it is not a heart issue.   i am going to the dr once again on monday to see if it is anything heart related. i haven't had the chance to post a question to the dr on this forum lucky you for getting to. look forward to what the forum dr says
38309 tn?1270893703
Trust your instincts. If you feel that something's not right, then don't hesitate to get a second opinion from a cardiologist. Anxiety and heart problems go hand-in-hand. Don't discount your symptoms, or fear embarrassment. Have confidence in yourself. Internists do NOT have the same clincal experience or education as specialists.

More than likely, the symptoms -- palpitations, chest pain or SOB -- will gradually dissipate after pregnancy but sometimes medication is advisable to help your quality of life and protect your health in the interim.

If you have high BP, then consider yourself at high-risk for damaging your heart, or worse. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet etc. helps, but so can taking BP meds.

Pregnancy changes you, don't kid yourself or let someone tell you that what you're feeling isn't real. Giving life is a beautiful thing but it has physical trade-offs.

You've come a long way baby, but the field of Medicine has not caught up with female heart disease.

-- from someone who has been there.
Avatar universal
Hi.  Just wanted to add my two cents, and say that I echo what carolina03 had to say regarding specialists and pursuing answers. We have come a long way, but we have a little further to go.
It makes me a bit frustrated when I hear the label "anxiety" attached to every female who has cardiac symptoms.  I'd definately have a cardio evaluate me if I didn't feel satisfied with my internist's diagnosis, or continued to have problems.

There are some on this forum who were thought to have "anxiety"  and it turned out to be something else.  They regret that now. I'm thankful for my internist who had enough humility to say "I think we need to send you to a cardiologist." After a few tests and a fresh pair of ears and eyes, a correct diagnosis was made as well as a treatment plan that has yeilded very good results.

I'm not sayin it's a heart related problem, and I'm no Dr.  If they do the EKG, echo, holter, stress test and it all comes back fine, than  you can rest assurred that it's not your heart.  But I would encourage you to not readily be labeled as "anxiety" or "hormonal" if you keep experiencing concerning symptoms.  

Sure, pregnancy and child rearing is exhausting work, but sometimes it's an easy label for us women.

I wish you all the best on your quest for optimum health.
Avatar universal
Actually my blood pressure is really good. It's been a little high during a few of those episodes but in general it is usually around 118/75 when up and about and 105/60 when laying and resting. The second time at the er I had woken up and my heart was just racing. Went to er and they at first though vtac(i think thats what they said) anyway, they had me on the ekg and were watching it going no that's not right and gave me a shot of ativan to calm me. Within two minutes the numbers started slowly dropping until my heart was back to normal. Doc said if it was true vtac that ativan would not have brought it back to normal. I am just very confused right now about it all. I know my hormones are changing right now because I am finally losing all the extra hair that being pregnant gives you. I keep hoping that all this is related to my hormones readjusting. Thanks for all your input. All of you have been wonderful.
Avatar universal
It is hard not to fixate on your heart when its doing things that you know does not usually happen. Would anyone happen to know what your heart rate can get up to with a panic/anxiety attack? Thanks all, Traci
Avatar universal
It's easy to understand how so many of you are worried about your heart as I've also had anxiety in the past. However, I do suffer from a cardiac condition. I would suggest not wasting anymore time on these heart obsessions. Anyone of us could die at any given time, why worry about what you don't have control over?

If you are having symptoms that prevent you from living a normal life, I would suggest having a good look over (ECG, ECHO, HOLTER, and BLOOD WORK). If those studies are normal, look into other causes for your pain. Some people suffer from inappropriate sinus tachycardia, a condition that is interrelated with panic attacks and a host of other symptoms. Also be sure to look over your family history for both cardiac and mental disorders.

Best of luck to you all
Avatar universal
I understand your point, but all the hype from articles, TV, medical info on the Internet and yes, even from some doctors you can't blame people for getting "obsessive" about their conditions as you call it.  For example:  We are constantly bombarded with stuff like "high blood pressure the silent killer", "if you get PVC's during exercise it can mean "sudden death", with some doctors if a person's cholesterol is over 150, and god forbid over 200 but less than 220 they tell you that you are a "walking time bomb" (My husband was told that when his cholesterol was 206 and no cardiac problems, all cardiac tests checked out o.k. including an angiogram, yet he was a "walking time bomb") Fortunately my husband and people like him can laugh that off, but everybody is different.  Some people would take that literally and very serious and would constantly worry about statements like that.  Once a person is over 55 he/she will hear often from doctors "at your age" like you have one foot in the grave and one on the banana peel.  Give me a break.  The last time I had a doctor's appointment and waited for him in the treatment room half of the wall was covered with a poster telling people about the new guidlines for BP i.e. if you have a reading of 120/80 you are now "pre-hypertensive" and on the bottom in big letters was the name of the drug company saying "ask your doctor if this medication is right for you".  Every time you turn around there is a new research with new guidelines for some people to worry about which means new meds or stronger meds and more side effects.
Avatar universal
hi there.

i have the same problem. i am 34 yr old female and i have a fast heart beat. my blood pressure was taken and i have had 3 ECGs to trace my heart and both have been normal. my heart rate was 133 bpm about a month ago. doctor says its stress but i am worrying myself silly that its something more serious. so my GP has referred me to see a cardiologist. i am on beta blockers and now my heart rate is 62 bpm but i am so down in the dumps with it all. i dont know who to turn to. i have 3 daughters and my boyfriend but i dont want to burden them with my problems. so i completely understand. i dont want to go out the house lately and i have trouble sleeping. i cant seem to settle. feel so alone lately too but im glad i am not alone here. thank you all.
Avatar universal
I have a history of anxiety/panic attacks and low-grade depression. Those things have led to a variety of physical symtoms including skipped heart beats, lightheadedness, headaches, stomach aches and what not...
However, this past summer, I started experiencing chest tightness,especially upon exertion, but sometimes just spontaneously...a sensation of paused heart beats and chest discomfort/pain. I don't like to go to the doctor, but these symptoms forced my hand, so to speak. In addition to other symptoms, I had some chest wall tenderness in between the ribs on the right side and a nurse friend of mine suggested possible costochondritis, which the doctor was suspicious of too, but there was no offical diagnosis. I made the mistake of talking about my history with anxiety, even going so far as to wonder outloud if my cardiac-type symtoms were related to panic/anxiety. I say mistake, because the course of the visit changed dramatically thereafter. He did order an EKG(which was WNL) and some blood work, as well as a chest x-ray, but he also discussed GERD as a possibility(which I had few to no sypmtoms of) and prescribed Pepcid. He also gave me an Rx for Xanax and told me to go home, take two and get some sleep!
At my follow up visit two weeks later, he stated something like : "last time you were in here you were in a huff"...huh?? I was scared!! Hello!? He reviewed my test results curtly. The chest x-ray was WNL and the blood work was fairly normal, although my cholesetrol was 212 and HDL 145. He totally blew off my results, stating they were "no big deal". I am 45 and slightly(maybe 15-20# max) overweight, am on ERT (since 96) lead a stressful, yet somewhat sedentary lifestyle. No family history of heart disease,although my father has a hx of high chol. Obviously though, doc thought I was low to no risk for cardiac problems.
I explained to him that the last thing I wanted was soemthing to be wrong, but I continued to be concerned with symptoms, including angina type stuff that would crop up after a big meal, walking, etc. The doc ordered a 24 hour Holter. I went through all the inconvenience of thet and the cardiologist and doc did not even tell me the results! Granted, I suppose if they saw somehting suspicious, they would call? However, my doc's last words were "We will get to the bottom of this"! Yeah right!
Meanwhile, I continue to have "angina-type" feelings. I get off/on lightheaded, too and sometimes feel arm and back pain (both sides).
But... I am hestitant to persue further because to date, I seem to have been written off as a "head case"??  
In sum, I can relate to some of you about the obsessiveness.
I don't want to dwell on every little thing, but I can't help despite the stressors in my life, wonder if I have clogged arteries, ya know?
Avatar universal
I understand how you feel.  All the hype and medical info on the internet, TV etc can make a "head case" out of anyobody.  If we ask to many questions some of the doctors act like we're  hyperchondriacs, if we take a symptom/condition lightly some of them get mad.  I log on medical sites on the Internet to get info because doctors never have enough time to answer all the questions, but when you say you got this or that info from the internet some of them get mad.
Avatar universal
I, too, have anxiety and have had chest pains for almost 2 years.  I used to have them every day and all day long, but they have gotten better, although I still have them.  I've had all the tests run...stress, EKG, echo, CRP-Protein, chest x-ray, CT Scan of chest -- even endoscopy of stomach and gall bladder ultrasound -- all normal.  I have normal BP, normal cholestoral, not overweight, non-smoker, etc.  My dad had heart disease, but he also had his own risk factor (smoking since age of 14 and being overweight).

I've been given the anxiety diagnosis (which I have but I don't think can cause every day chest pain) as well as acid reflux (but the meds they gave me did not help).  I've seen 2 cardiologist, 2 general doctors, and an internist who have all told me it is not my heart.

Well, then they should try having chest pains for 2 years with no known cause!!  Something has got to be up!  And now that the chest pains aren't present everyday (and have never been related to exercise at all), I get some tightness or heaviness while sitting on my couch watching TV.  I also get pains in my left armpit area.  The only constant thing I do all day is type -- there is no way typing can cause pain in your armpit or strain the muscles in your chest -- so what gives?

I'm at a loss -- I worry about it constantly.  I've become a hypochondriac b/c of this.  I can't accept an anxiety diagnosis without someone giving me an angiogram or something!

Avatar universal
wow.. ladies we must be in this together.. i am a 28 yr old female and been fighting these damn panic attacks since 2001!! now i know for a fact it can make you feel pain in the chest and feel the sensation of a bad heart but with the proper testing we cant do anything but let it die down as it is nothing more then an "attack". i know easier said then done but i have recently taken on the PVC'S and that is freaking me out.... bad.. i go to the cardio friday for a nother work up and to see what we can do to stop these from happening. hope you have a nice and peaceful day/night. add me on messengers if you have them we can talk more about anxiety and what is going on with us..

yahoo messenger name   cr8zy4jj
aol messegner name     jjntricia407

Avatar universal

I don't have messenger but feel free to email me.
***@**** several others already have and we have have some interesting conversations.
Avatar universal
I HAVE ANXIETY AND HAVE CHEST PAIN EVERYDAY!I'VE HAD ALL THE TEST DONE AND ALL COMES BACK OK.I like many of you worry about my heart 24/7.I take xanax 3x aday.It helps but I still have some break through anxiety seems to come about the sametime everyday.All I can come up with is this anxiety takes on many forms.Some have health anxiety(like myself)I worry about my heart and have pvc's. since 1998 I have had stress test,stress echo,cardio lite stress test,event holter.more ekgs than I can count,blood work for every thing.All comes back heathy as a horse. I do have high BP controled by meds.This anxiety is a terrible thing.
Avatar universal
Hammerhead you're not alone.  Only people who really have been there know what people with anxiety, panic attacks and phobias are going through really understand.
Avatar universal
Hey Marcin, sounds like a really bad case of anxiety...you need to tough it out and see your doctor about maybe a SSRI. Paxil or Zoloft to help get it under control. Good Luck to you. I know what your feeling. You are going to feel your heart beating when you think about it and being that we are both thinking about our hearts all the time I think thats why we are so aware of what it is doing. Try side tracking yourself. You still need to go and get some tests run just to be sure. Good Luck and Take care.
Avatar universal
Hello. I am a 22 year old male.  I am in very good health (I think because I feel) but I have racing heart when I am at the doctor's office (140!) and a very high bp there as well, in fact the nurse got scared. But as soon as I left (left before seeing the doctor because I got too nervous) HR went down to around 64 (average for me) and BP down to 118-65 (average for me).

Now on to the real concern for me.

Since about 7-8 months, I've been feeling a strong heartbeat. I run every other day for one hour (and do not feel it while I run). I can feel the strong beating when my heart beats slow and I am relaxed. The more I worry about it, the harder I feel it beat. Sometimes I don't because I don't think about it, but its almost always there... always. I have no other symptoms and am very healthy. I am a hypochondriac... so I tend to worry about my health a lot
Avatar universal
Barbarell which book of hers did you read?Ihave read all the books on anxiety I can find and none seem to help.I try not to think about it but I get my pvc's after I eat or drink something.Then bam anxiety and panic attacks set in and I have to try with all my might to wait them out.As I type this I'm having pvc's it about 9:30 Texas time and they have been non stop for about 2 hours.I'm 42 male all this started about when I was 37yr old.I'm to the point I'll try almost anything. My e-mail is ***@****. if any one has any suggestions. Thanks!!!!!!!
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