Hello all! I'm new to this site and read some of the posts, current and many years old, and feel better already.
My experience last night (and a couple of other times, perhaps within the past year or so) was that I was tired, stayed up WAY too late on the computer and watching TV, and went to sleep, quickly, when I hit the pillow. Had a weird, not scary but quite startling, dream that I guess woke me up just 25 minutes later (or it was the rapid heartbeats) but when I awoke I felt like I was shaking. I wasn't -- it was rapid heart beat. After a couple of minutes of deep breathing and making myself 'cough' but getting no relief I got up and took my BP/pulse. Other than the rapid pulse, I felt perfectly fine.
BP was fine -- took it twice -- approx. 107 over 68. That's high for night-time for ME, but certainly not high. Pulse was higher than normal for me in recent years, first time was 93 and second time was 94.
Years ago when I was in late thirties/early forties, my normal pulse rate was 96 and I never felt like it was too rapid. That was before anxiety/panic/ and many migraines set in .....
One time in a shopping mall some nurses were doing free BP/pulse tests and I, in an increasingly anxiety ridden state -- got one. The nurse said, "Wow, tachycardia!!!" When I explained how nervous/anxious I was and that minutes earlier I had been fine, she settled down. I WAS fine -- the thought (and fear) of taking the test pushed my pulse rate sky high.
I'm one of the many anxiety/panic sufferers (I note some of you are here on this thread) but haven't had any big issues in eons. Some 15 years ago I saw an electrophysiologist (sp?) who couldn't find anything but 'benign sinus tachy.' He is an excellent specialist.
I was on the Holter monitor, event monitor for two weeks, had EKGs and stress 'echo.' I failed the 'echo' as many women do, but cardiologist just said, "You're out of shape - get exercise and drop a few pounds.' I started a walking regimin (back then) and dropped some weight and felt much better.
My internist had put me on Atenolol 25 before I saw the rhythm doc and this rhythm doc said that's fine but you don't NEED it -- just take it (daily) if it makes you feel better. I have taken it in the a.m. with a little Xanax and added a little Xanax now and then throughout the day now and then for all these years now. I actually take very little Xanax -- crumbs, at times.
MY BP is generally low during the day and recently my internist said cut the Atenolol in half! I did that for nearly a year but may go back to the full pill daily -- just 25 mgs. I think I'll take it at NIGHT instead of daytime, though. My understanding is that BP goes up at night and in early a.m. so taking it at night, as many do, would be best.
I note that some people have awakened, felt the palps/heart rate increase,panicked, and called 911 or gone to ER only to basically learn nothing much at all. Frustrating, isn't it?
Yes, some people, including me, may have digestive issues affiliated with all of this, too -- heartburn, etc... and even sleep apnea in a few cases.
Just thought I'd check in here with my lengthy and recent story as so many have reported similar issues to mine -- let me reassure you all (some of you are so young!) that you probably ARE quite fine -- heart rhythm issues, panic and anxiety are super common and related.
I might make an appointment to see that heart specialist as it's been a long time since I've seen him. My internist listens to my heart twice a year as I am on a very very low dose statin (Zocor generic 5 mg. nightly) and have to go in for liver tests to make sure it doesn't damage the liver every six months. At 66, no changes in my 'diagnosis' thus far.
Like a few others mentioned on this thread, smoking, drinking and salt/caffeine intake can also be part of the problem, not to mention the often unrecognized stress/anxiety . Last night I'd eaten at a Chinese restaurant and later, because I was hungry (such a cliche') I ate at least 8 saltines! Think I got my 'sodium' overload for the day? Had a couple of 'swigs' of a Coke, too... mistake...
Everyone take care -- look forward to your posts.