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Fast Heart Beat

The other day while sitting at my computer, my heart starting beating so fast.  Very rarely does this occur, but this rapid beating lasted for well over an hour.  I had eaten some hummus and pita bread just prior to the palpatations.  Could this be a reaction to the food?
49 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear Tee,

In general food allergies do not cause rapid heart-beats.  There are many causes of tachycardia  (fast heart beat) and they can be divided roughly into sinus (originating from the sinus node or heart
Avatar universal
This was recently happening to me.

I wasn't really sure what was happening, it happened often. I took an EKG and it came out normal, and the 24h Holter Moniter came back as I have a few APCs in my sleep, which the doctor said was 'normal'.

During these 'spells' I had a shortness of breathe. The doctor also told me this could have been in my head, I came down with a Ear/Sinus infection, and after I got on Antibiotics it went away.

A few days ago I had a similar spell, sweating (was wearing a heavy coat), tighting breathing, but no palpatations. It died down after awhile when I could relax. I have a feeling it's all in my head, but I'm not really sure.

I'm currently on a prescription cough syrup because of a chestcold that I've been having. Cough and Phlem; which I was on a antibiotic for. I wanted to know how long prescription cough medication takes to work? I've been on it for about four days now, and my cough -seems- to be breaking up... breathing feels a bit more congested; I'm told that this is because it's breaking up.

Any help would be thankful!

Vitals: 16; Male; 265 pounds (I've went down from 285+ in the last month or so)
Avatar universal
I am a 22 year old female.  I have just finished posting a message on the respiratory page, but now I think I should have posted it here.  I've been having chest pains for 10 months, with some pressure on my chest. I've had 3 EKG's and a cardiac stress test. Everything was normal.  My chest pain comes whenever it wants, and can be sharp or dull. Lasts for a few seconds.  I don't have to sit down or lay down when I get it, but sometimes it cuts of my breath because its shocking, I don't know if that makes sense. I've developed an anxiety disorder over this, and I seriously believe that I am going to die young.  I constantly see my doctor at the university, and I'm fed up with being in constant worry that I'm having heart problems.  She has assured me that I am fine, and my heart is fine, but its in the back of my mind. My mother died when I was 14 from heart complications at 45, and it scares me that I could be next.
My sternum hurts to the touch, and this makes me feel better, that I can feel the pain.  I don't know what to do anymore! Because everything was normal on my EKG's and my stress test, does that mean that I am fine, and I should just start to relax and get back to normal when I didn't worry about these things? Please help me.
Avatar universal
Sweetie, dont worry so, this is very probably anxiety related, I should know, suffer from enough anxiety myself lol... If you had the tests and they are clear, then stop worrying.  Currently I've got stress related tachycardia, cos my girlfriend has been giving me the wrong sort of a hard time lol..apparently stress eventually can take out your regulatory system...anyone know anything about this ...

You'll be ok Krista


Avatar universal
JVB....your cough medicine could well contain a stimulant which could cause your heart rate to rise if you are sensitive to it.

Hankstar...interesting theory. Here in the UK they dont bother too much about us, in fact my local hospital in Romford Essex (oldchurch hospital) has one of the highest mortality rates in the whole of the UK...I think I'd better move house lol.
Avatar universal
Try using Robitussin DM for cough. It does not contain any stimulants. I can not use any other meds for cough because others contain stimulants and cause palpitations.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
That's what it seemed like; and I've been using cough medicine that hasn't done anything to me. (Robitussin DM is one of them)

Right now I'm still fighting this cough, feels like I've got deep chest congestion and my head still has some sinus pressure.

It's been like 1 1/2 months now, really frustrating, but I finally think it's breaking up.

It's just wierd, my breathing feels tight because of the congestion (atleast what the Dr. says). And the medicine I was on (just finished it) prescription version of Robitussin DM; I had constipation for awhile... which is one of the side effects (that I wasn't sure about).

I feel somewhat better; just want this chest-cold to go away!

Avatar universal
well my problems all started when i was 18 and now im 30. i was diagnosed with a fast heart rate. tacyacardia and sinus tacycardia. then they put me on a beta blocker that i have took for around 4 yrs. since then they also said i have anxiety and panic disorder... to me i panic because i feel my heart going crazy and feeling funny. im so aware of every little wrong beat that it does. i have had so many test done. recently i went and had a stress test and have had echo done and they  turned out ok. but what concerns me the most is that in 1999 it says in my records that i had 2 ventricular beats. and im scared to death now. the cardioligist i seen is my new doctor and he was very concerned about this. thats when he ran these t est. also had a 24 holter monitor. and wouldnt you know nothng showed up on the test none of them. so he says he sees what they are saying but there is no proof so he cant besue that it is there. so im scared they are messing something becasue i feel terrible. and i worry constantly about dying. my father was 34 with his first heart attack. about the tacycardia the doctor said it was no big deal the one i have went to for the last few years.. so i took him at his word and just took a beta blocker now this new doctor which is a cardioligist cant find nothing so he dont know how to treat me. my heart beat is constantly up.. usually around 120 and sometimes up to 150 and im scared to death. and plus the palpatations... those scare me silly. so im living in fear.. not know if someting is really wrong with me or if its just tachyacardia by anxiety or what...any answers would be appreciated...christi
Avatar universal
i am 27 years old,and have been diagnosed with panic and anxiety disorder.one of the first things i became anxious about was my hear racing at times.sometimes it is accompanied with chest pain,sweating and dizziness.also,sometimes my heart skips beats which has me worried all the time.i went to several doctors and they ran every test including a heart echo-all tests came back fine.but for some reason i cannot get past the fact that something must be wrong with me-everyday i panic from these symptoms.heart disease or high blood pressure does not run in my family,and i am only in my 20's-there is no reason for me to keep worrying,but i just can't seem to stop.life has become very miserable as i am always worried about dying.anyway,i just wanted to say that at least i'm not alone in feeling this way.thank you.
Avatar universal
i read your posts and can certaintly empathize. 17 yrs ago i had my first tachycardic episode. shortly after this i developed panic disorder which was a living hell. it is the most terrifying thing to live with because it begins to control you at every level of your life. after i had my first child 13 years ago my symptoms became so much worse and i also developed pvcs which scared me so much. after an echo was done i was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse with moderate reguritation. after reading about mvp i discovered that many people with it also develope panic disorder because of a kink in the nervous system. i was so glad to hear that i was not causing the panic disorder. that it was not all in my head..it was very real. after the birth of my son 3 yrs ago i developed an arrithymia and put on quinidine. then 9 months later i had my last child and things got really bad. it is so frightening to feel like you are about to die at any minute. things are better now but i still have lots of pvcs. my new electrophysiologist wants to perform an ablation on me but i do not have medical insurance so that's out of the question.

when i first became symptomatic, i too developed a preoccupation with my symptoms which i know made them seem worse. it is not an easy thing to ignore the fast or wierd thumping in your chest or the dizziness, sweating, spaced out feeling, or the intense fear that can consume you. i have been panic free for 6 years now but i still feel the wierd symptoms i felt with it but without the fear or panic. i took paxil for 2 years and have not had one panic episode since.

i hope you two will begin to feel better again. my heart goes out to you because the fear you are feeling is very real.

Avatar universal
thanks alot for that comment.it does make me feel better to know that i'm not alone.the worst thing for me is that even though my heart does skip beats-physically there is nothing wrong with me.i've so many tests done and they all came back normal.doctor told me to just ignore the skipped heartbeats because it's nothing to be concerned with.`
  i think my problem is that with the panic and anxiety came a dreadful feeling that i would have an heart attack(even though there is no reason for me to think this).so,with the skipped heart beats-my mind races and i do the "what if" scenerio.
   anyway,i have alot of sympathy for what you are going through,and i feel bad because my prob are all in my head.i hope everything works out for you.congrats for being panic attack free for so long....there is hope for me too.thanks again and take care.
Avatar universal
hi adrew,

why do you think your problems are all in your head? panic disorder can be caused by a chemical imbalance (serotonin) or from a kink in the autonomic nervous system. for the first 11 years that i suffered with severe panic disorder, which came out of the blue, i too thought i was somehow causing it. it is easy to believe you are responsible for the panic attacks when the drs can find nothing physically wrong. after living in torment for 11 years i contemplated suicide because the thought of living in constant overwhelming fear was just too much to bear. thankfully, i did not go through with it. i finally mustered up the courage to see a pyschiatrist. i was so ashamed to do so, but i had no reason to be ashamed. after explaining to him that i thought i was going crazy, the constant fear i felt and the loss of desire to live he told me that i was suffering from chemical imbalance and depression. he prescribed paxil and told me that i should be feeling better soon. he was right. for the first time in yrs i heard myself laughing. i took it for two yrs and weaned myself off it. i have been panic free since. i am not sure what paxil did for me, but i know God heard my prayers when i thought i could bear no more.

please don't feel that you are some how causing your panic attacks. i know what it feel like to be swallowed up by an all consuming fear. no one could be capable of causing that to themselves. it is almost impossible to sit back and ignore the waves of fear without help.

have you asked your dr about an taking an ssri such as paxil?

please let me know how you are doing!

Avatar universal
hi again.
  i think i may have caused a misunderstanding about that statement,"it's in my head".what i meant was my overwhelming fear of having a heart attack.i know deep down that i'm not going to have one(especially since i've had every test done).it's in my head-for me i think it is more of an emotional or mental state more than physical.i have been on paxil before,for almost a year,but i didn't like the side effects.actually,this was the time i started to notice the skipped heart beats.i took myself off it and all the panic and anxiety that the paxil had surpressed came rushing forth.now it's like i almost look for reasons to think something is physically wrong with me.i don't know,maybe i feel better if it was something physical that they could treat.having panic and anxiety depresses me to the point where i don't enjoy life anymore.it sounds crazy,but everyday i think i may have a heart attack.and then somedays i'll feel fine and i'll get a wierd pain or my heart will skip a beat,and then i'm back feeling anxious again.i hope u can understand this,i think u can.i'm going back to a phyciatrist this month-hopefully they can help me.today was a good day-not too much worry or anxiety.i'm glad to know i'm not alone with this.thanks so much for your answers.and i do look forward to hearing from u again.
Avatar universal
hi andrew,
glad to hear you had a better day today. i do hope the psychiatrist will be able to help you. i first developed the fast heart rate and skipped beats then i developed panic disorder. after a while it was very difficult for me to distinquish if the panic disorder was causing my symptoms or if it was the other way around. either way, i became hypervigilent to the slightest changes in my body. one of the worse things i did was to become conscience of my breathing. this caused me to alter my normal breathing pattern which then caused me to hyperventilate. i also use to constantly take my pulse. which of course made me very aware of my heart rate etc. i use to also take my blood pressure over and over again because i was so fearful it would be high and that i would have a stroke. i use to also avoid any place that i had experienced a panic attack. soon there weren't many places i could go to. just the thought of getting into the car and driving sent me into an intense panic. i literally became a prisoner in my own home. i had to quit college three times because the panic was so severe i couldn't concentrate. i was certain i would collapse at school or worse make a total fool of myself. it became a torture trying to sit during class because the whole time all i could feel was my heart thumping wildly and erratically in my chest, my hands sweating profusely and my head spinning to the point i felt i would pass out. i remember every time i experienced chest pain, palpitations, flushing, dizziness, blurred vision , tachycardia etc. i thought i would have a heart attack. in fact i would not go anywhere if i knew an ambulance could not reach me immediately. i always felt better if someone was with me, but of course people have lives so that was not always possible.

i am sure you can relate to some of things i mentioned. it certaintly is a terrible way to live. i use to get so angry to think of all the valuable years i lost to this disorder. but i stopped thinking that way because it was only robbing more of my time.

let me know how you are doing. hopefully, the drs will be able to provide you with some help.

Avatar universal

I've just been reading some of the anxiety comments. I understand what you mean by thinking its in your head. Like I said I am very fearful of having a heart attack. I am 22, and have had a few tests and everything is normal, but sometimes my whole left arm hurts, my left shoulder or even my chest. I get constant pressure on my chest most of the time. I know how horrible anxiety can be, thankfully I can still go outside and to different places, although every slight pain or weird feeling can make my mind do the 'what if' thing.
I'm on paxil as well. When my mother first died, they put me on paxil because I was slightly depressed. I took it for about 2 weeks, and noticed that I couldn't breath normally, or sleep. I'm on it again about 5 years later, and now I feel like I can't breath normally...would this have anything to do with the paxil, or is it something that I should ask more about. I've told my doctor about my breathing problems, but she isn't concerned about it.
Avatar universal
hi again.i was reading your last comment and it totall sounded like me.i always feel safe if i'm with someone in case anything were to happen.i also constantly take my pulse,which has become pretty bad.and i'm always checking my blood pressure to make sure i won't have a stroke or heart attack.i know it sounds crazy,but i truely can't stop doing these thins.it's like they're now an habit.i'm so relieved that i'm not the only person who does these things.i also get the sweating,dizziness,worried feeling,tingling in my hands.my heart didn't skip beats alot today-that i know of anyway.
    i don't think i want to get back on paxil,but we'll see what doctors.sometimes, iknow that nothing physically is wrong with me,but it only takes 1 negative thought to change that.or some kind of annoying pain,and like we discussed,my mind starts doing the "what if",thing.
   anyway,thanks so much for all your help,and hope everything is good with you.till next time-take care.
Avatar universal
You are probably aware that there is a discussion going on a bit further down on the relationship between anxiety, stress and palpitations. Just wanted to remind you there are other medications out there than Paxil (seroxat). In fact there are numerous SSRI's and people react differently to them. If Paxil doesn't work or give you bad side effects, tell your physician, and I'm sure he or she will try another. When I started on Paxil I felt my body was catching fire, it was horrific. Effexor however has given me a new life with no side effects. It seems like doctors always first start with Paxil, I don't know why?
Avatar universal
I have the same problems..anyone interested in a e-mail buddy may reach me at ***@****
Blessedx4 I went through all of that as well, chronic pulse checking,bp monitoring..
it can be quite dehabilating..
Avatar universal
when I have these 'anxiety' attacks, they are not really attacks...I seriously do not feel anxious, I just feel like I can't breath. Its a weird sensation in my chest that I get all the time. What I meant by paxil, is that I don't know if I"m having side effects, I have talked to my doctor about them, but they seem to be of no concern. I was just wondering if paxil can cause chest pressure, or it could be something else.
Avatar universal

If it is any comfort, I've had the symptom picture that you describe, and in my case I can assure you that it was all caused by anxiety. A feeling of breathlessness is very common and commonly caused by hyperventilation. Your O2/CO2 ratio gets to high because your breathing pattern is 'wrong'. It turns out that we anxious people often breath with our chest and not our stomach and this is a bad habit that makes us hyperventilate. Chest-breathing also strains our chest muscles, a common cause for chestpains. I would also like to add that anxiety is well-known to cause almost any somatic symptom you can think of, I don't think there is any limit to what it can cause. If you are dead-afraid of a heart attack (like I used to be), thrust me you can think-on the symptoms (chest pain, sweating, pain in your arm, palpitations, I've had them all). If you are afraid of a brain tumor, you can get headache and dizzyness and so on. If you still have the negative destructive thought pattern while on Paxil it can mean that this is not the right medication for you. There are so many SSRI's out there, and you may respond much better to another one. From my own experience, SSRI's work best in addition to good councelling. I wish you the best of luck and I understand how terrible you feel. Just don't forget that anxiety is highly treatable!
Avatar universal

  Thank you, your comment does make me feel a bit better. Since you said you've experienced anxiety, I was wondering can it be there all the time? The sensations that I feel all day are just a result of my anxiety?
Avatar universal
That is how I feel about anxiety and panic..sensations everyday..its hard to accept..
Avatar universal
Hello Krista,

Believe me that anxiety can be there day and night. In my case, I couldn't get my thaughts away from that there was something wrong with my heart. Those thaughts completely ruled my life and seriously prevented me from doing what I liked to do. I've been to numerous doctors both here in the US and in Norway and they all gave my heart an A+. Nevertheless, I couldn't believe it and I kept feeling for palpitations. And, why did I do that, because I was CONSTANTLY ANXIOUS that there was something wrong. This anxious state gave me of course more palpitations, it made me constantly lightheaded/dizzy and fatigued. I am convinced that anxiety is the problem for many of us palp sufferers and I have read much about it. I have read and my therapist have told me that if you constantly have negative and destructive thaughts your brain chemistry gets out of balance, in particular your serotonin levels become too low. There are two ways you can fix this. A therapist can help you change your pattern of thinking so that you think more positively and reject/correct your negative thaughts whenever they occur. If you can do this your serotonin level will gradually rise. This is in my experience difficult if you have been worried for your health for a long time. The best in my opinion is to find a SSRI THAT WORKS WELL FOR YOU, in combination with councelling. A SSRI makes it easier for you to change your negative thaughts into positive. This way both will help get your brain chemistry back to normal. I think it is very important to understand this.
That is also wy I almost never use xanax, valium or klonopin. They do nothing to restore the chemical balance in your brain (unless you have good councelling that works) and when you stop using them your brain chemistry is still out of balance and it all starts over again.

Right now, I'm on Effexor and it helps me alot. Understand that being on Effexor doesn't mean that I never experience palpitations and think destructively. The important thing is that because Effexor changes my brain chemistry it so helps me to refuse and reject the bad thaughts. On Effexor I never allow them to take control, and please realise that is how a SSRI is supposed to work. These meds will almost never remove all your anxiety (which is caused by your way of thinking negatively), but YOU will be able to stop the negative thinking spiral. Thereby I can live a normal life, not being afraid and avoiding things I like to do, I can exercise very vigorously again like I love to do. But on the medication it is of outmost importance that you are always alert and ALWAYS use the strength you have to reject the negative thaughts. For me it has also helped to realise that sooner or (hopefully!) later I'm gonna die and the world is going to continue just fine without me being around

Be aware that anxiety can mimic almost any disease, it basically depends on what you beleive is wrong with you. However, it is of course important that your doctor(s) come to this conclusion. Nobody should assume anxiety without first getting a medical exam.

Tell me if I you want any further info from me, and I'll be happy to help you
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