Heart Rhythm Community
12.1k Members
Avatar universal

Anxiety vs heart problems tricky

I know i suffer from anxiety.. that is a given.. it has ruined my life for many years now.. I am never quite certain sometimes if there is more going on than just anxiety..

i hope someone reads this. . lately its been happening only to me right when im trying to sleep.. all of the sudden i will feel like gas or something.. I notice it happens more when i eat snacks at night laying down.. than when i go to sleep that night, i can't explain it.. ill feel a little bloated .. and than ill start feeling a nervous feeling i can't control... ill start sweating. my heart speeds up, than it goes into like a drum beat really fast mode.. soon as that happens lately for some reason i calm myself down pretty fast.. and than the really fast heart rate stops.. im not sure if it it stops suddenly or not..  i guess my main question is.. can you feel SVT coming on before it goes into the super race mode? i don't think it happens with me where im laying there fine. and than my heart starts pounding away immediately.. i feel something coming on, start sweating.. and it is like an escalating feeling.. and If i can't fight it.. it jumps into a super fast heart rate that seems abnormal..  sometimes I feel like I have the ability to control whether or not it turns into the fast heart rate..sometimes ill feel it coming... get really hot..and enter into this weird battle in my mind where im at the fringes of going into this heart race mod.. and sometimes i win, but once it kicks into gear its like a machine ... doesn't last very long.. maybe 10 seconds, to 1 minute.. but it again its not like im sitting there than all of the sudden within that instant my hearts pounding.. I can always feel it coming on.. and i get these hot flashes.. my breathing changes.. and i feel dread... that all seems to happen before my heart goes racing away.   I used to get this more often but it stopped.. now is been happening again only when im trying to go to sleep.   i just recently started taking symbicort, asthma medicine..  I also almost feel like my stomach has something to do with it.. something with gas turbulence hitting certain nerves or something .. i know that sounds crazy.. but it seems when i have an empty stomach at night, this usually doesn't happen..
22 Responses
1464004 tn?1384139333
You are right about a few things. A full stomach can aggravate the vagus nerve which can aggravate rhythm problems. I am in the very same boat as you, I suffer anxiety attacks. I also have PVCs PACs and PSVT. The way I tell the difference between a panic attack and SVT,is that my SVT starts and stops pretty much on a dime. When it takes awhile to ramp up it's usually panic. In addition my PSVT rates are usually much higher than my panic attacks, 230 bpm vs around 110-150. The only way to get a good diagnosis for PSVT or SVT (same thing) is of course by a doc and usually only when they catch you in it by wearing a monitor or like mine catching at the ER. Hope this helps and hope you feel better soon!
Avatar universal
  thanks for the info.. Yeah they don't start on a dime like in a split second.. I can always feel it coming and I get weird feelings first.. than i get hot and start to sweat..  etc.. than my heart goes into a mode... I already know i suffer from anxiety problems.. I have had tests like ekg's, 24 hour monitor, chest xray.. echocardiogram.  no one found anything.. although I never had any symptoms when taking any of these tests
1423357 tn?1511089042
Ramping up and then slowly returning to normal is NOT a  symptom of SVT which starts within one beat to sometimes three to four times the normal rate.  The return to normal rhythm is usually accompanied by a little bump.  It's unmistakable the feeling of returning to normal rhythm as there's suddenly a "quietness" within your body.  Episodes can be accompanied by an anxious feeling,  I know as I had 54 years of SVT events, and I felt anxious during each one.

If you do have anxiety, have you consulted a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist?  There are many drugs available, things like SSRI's and SNRI's that work miracles for anxiety.  My wife had years of severe anxiety and panic attacks. A psychologist specializing in anxiety neurosis, together with a small dose of Paxil (an SSRI) helped her beat it. Today she leads a normal life, working, traveling, and enjoying the grandchildren.  If you indeed suffer from anxiety problems and not a heart issue, there is no reason why you should have to go through life enduring the symptoms of anxiety and panic,  There are answers out there.  You just have to seek them out.
Avatar universal
The attacks end usually by all of the sudden feeling calmer. lately they don't last too long.. soon as im in that fast heart rate mode.. i calm myself.. maybe its a condition responsed that i developed.. and once that calm feeling comes than the heart racing doesn't last too long.. I am not sure if i remember a thump or bump when it ends.

  Yeah anxiety really has ruined my life for many years.. i am a sad victim of anxiety.. Since 2009 it has devastated me with all different kinds of symptoms that change form to something else and even more scary soon as i get over the previous symptoms. The heart racing is the worst.  the only thing i can tell you is that the nervous feeling of dread and hot flashes always comes before the heart goes into bat **** mode.  To you I must sound like a big fool.. a moron.. but my anxiety is really tricky and confusing.. It isn't as obvious as you think.. I could be laying down calm and peaceful not thinking of anything, than all of the sudden ill feel like a weird sensation and panic and doom in an instant all at the same time.. start sweating, and than immediately after my heart takes off.
Avatar universal
You say

" but my anxiety is really tricky and confusing.. It isn't as obvious as you think.. I could be laying down calm and peaceful not thinking of anything, than all of the sudden ill feel like a weird sensation and panic and doom in an instant all at the same time.. start sweating, and than immediately after my heart takes off."

Nah, you don't sound like an idiot to me.  I have experienced this for years.  It's called 'Panic Attacks' and you can google the term, which might help you understand and handle it.  

For some people--probably like you and me--these things come totally out of the blue.  You don't have to be feeling anxious or stressed at all; heck, you can even be sound asleep (and believe me, 'nocturnal panic attacks' are something else!).

I've got a good shrink, and even he has never been able to find a cause or 'trigger' (other than possibly the change of seasons for me).  The odds are that the tendency is genetic, and that if I went around taking a family history, I'd find other relatives that also experience panic attacks--and have been too embarrassed to talk about them with anyone.

Why not research 'panic attacks' and see if you recognize anything?  If you do, a good shrink can be a TREMENDOUS help.  Interestingly, when the panic is under control, I find I am less likely to be aware of or even to experience the heartbeat problem.
Avatar universal
  I have read about panic attacks and heart disorders for years.. and i still don't know 100 percent one way or the other.. i know i have anxiety.. that is certain, but i don't know which came first the chicken or the egg.. Or if i have two different things happening which trigger each other or not..  Its funny you said nocturnal.. just today.. I woke up in the morning,, not sure if something startled me and woke me up or not, but soon i as i woke up.. I felt like this intense buttery fly feeling.. and knew i was going into that rapid beat.. I feel that feeling and pretty quickly i get hot and my pulse takes off.. it beats like a drum steady and fast.. but soon as that happens i learned not to panic.. it seems like it feels the worst BEFORE my heart takes off,, once my heart takes off... I start feeling better.. and its like my heart is on its own system beating away..  I tried feeling more relaxed and focused on my beat without being afraid of it.. and it feels like if i stay calm it stops. pretty fast.  I really don't know many.. im sorry to type so much.. this problem has ruined my life for years.. Im not sure if i feel nervous and terrible buttery flys and sweating and my adrenaline is dumping out and once it does my heart takes off and i feel a little better. or im going into some kind of arythmia and i just happen to be the few that can sense and feel it coming on.. I have no idea. .. I also notice stuff like this also seems to be tied to gas and my stomach.. if im not going to the bathroom regularly .. the only peace of mind I have is to tell myself,, ive had an echo in the past, ekgs, chest xray.. and they all came out normal.. so even if i have an arrhythmia ... they don't last that long and my heart is structurally ok.
1423357 tn?1511089042
"....To you I must sound like a big fool.. a moron.. but my anxiety is really tricky and confusing....."

No, you don't sound like that to me.  I watched my wife of 42 years go thru this.  Now, I can't fully appreciate the feeling because I never experienced a full blown panic attack.  But I know what my wife felt was very real to her.  I've seen her jump up from the church pew and dash out for no apparent (to me) reason.  I've seen buckets of tears shed. I've the feeling of dread on her face, her wide, beautiful blue eyes filled with tears, and darting around looking for a "safe place" to hide until it passes.  I've also seen the tremendous weight of shame that she felt because she felt that no one would understand her.  We'd encounter a friend on acquaintance who would perhaps reveal their encounter with panic, and my wife would plead to me to not breathe a word of her own anxiety neurosis.

So I understand exactly what you're going through.  Again I'll say that there is no reason why you should endure this.  Panic Disorder is much better understood that in was 25 to 30 years ago when my wife was in the throes of her panic disorder.  A chance viewing of TV news interview with a psychologist talking about anxiety was the turning point for my wife.  This got her into a weekly group encounter to talk about and then confront what she initially thought was agoraphobia.  This led us to a psychologist who specialized in Panic Disorder, and through a lot of visits the root of why she experienced panic attacks was discovered, and confronted head on.  At the same time, our physician prescribed a low dose of Paxil, an SSRI medication.  Armed now with knowledge of how to confront the crux of her problem, and with a little assistance, she forged ahead.  If she was in a situation that made her anxious, she had skills to eliminate them.

I could see a change in my wife.  She began to branch out, become more independent.  She got her driver's license at 35. We moved from the inner city to the suburbs.  Then to edge of a rural town 250 miles from where we had lived our entire lives only miles from where we were both born.  Today she's like a renaissance woman.  She works, has interests, travels and does things that I never dreamed possible.  The point of this "pouring out" is to let you know that if my wife can  overcome it, then you certainly can.  My wife was as sheltered, and as innocent as they came.  She went from depending on me to provide everything for her; food, money, transportation etc. to being able to do it for herself..... and that couldn't make me more proud.  You can conquer your own anxiety issues.  The tools are out there. But it's up to you to make the first move.  I wish you well!
Avatar universal
thank you for sharing that story.. I guess my first step is to acknowledge that what I feel is purely anxiety.. I think it sticks around because I don't know for sure..  I have xanax but its a very low dose and i barely take it.. sometimes it doesn't help so much.. I probably need professional help.. or a good cardiologist or something..  I was looking into taking magnesium supplements.  Thanks again for sharing your wifes story.. I am happy that she has made progress.. it really can destroy the quality of life.
Avatar universal
God last night was really bad.. Usually when i get into that fast heart rate.. things cool off quick, but this time it lasted which made me more nervous.. and it continued going faster and i was sweating like a pig. If it didn't go away i would have ended up in the ER..  realistically i can't see the whole episode being longer than 10 mins.. I wouldn't be surprised if it was like five mins.. but it felt longer..

   Is svt like that?  Do you feel it coming on at all?  and start sweating and **** than BAM the svt goes into a racing mode.. or is it always that ur totally fine.. and ur heart just starts pounding way before you even have a chance to get nervous or feeling anything at all??
1464004 tn?1384139333
I always know when mines coming, ok not 100% of the time but most cause I feel a run of PVCs or PACs first, then the dread then off to the races. So they do stop and start pretty much instantly but the skipped beats are the warning. When they start slow and then get faster and faster, I know it's panic.  Sometimes I can tell days ahead of time that an episode is coming cause my rythym is just, well it just feels "off" somehow. It's hard to describe and I know it doesn't sound like I'm making much sense. I too have anxiety and panic attacks ( I think I mentioned that before) but I can definitely tell the difference between my panic attacks and SVT.  Also if I'm in SVT and scared, I do get more reentry PVCs and PACs. It's feels like my heart is slowing more gradually but that's only because fear has ramped up the beat even more and it's calming down. Also, according to my doc, since I have panic, it's possible that an episode of PSVT can trigger a panic attack so I can have everything going on at once. I'm sorry to be rambling and I hope at least some of this makes sense! Lol
Avatar universal
  No I really appreciate your response.. I really do.. some things i can relate too.. like "feeling your heart is off".. I call it feeling volatile.  I notice if i have indigestion or stomach gas.. it can feel like my heart is volatile and can be set off..  It seems a lot of people get a run of premature beats or some kind of flutter before an svt as their warning..  and mostly their panic attacks come during or after the SVT starts.   I think I am pretty sensitive to pvc's and pacs and feel when they happen.  I don't think i ever get any before my heart takes off.. I just feel dread and weird, than i start getting hot and more nervous, and than my heart starts taking off from a regular beat, not from any grouping of skipped beats.. I know ive had panic attacks and i know i have anxiety..  I am going to try and take a .25 mg low dose xanax before i go to sleep.. since around that time is when I seem more vulnerable to attacks these days.. God i hate problems with the heart / anxiety.. its like a nightmare..  I wish myself and everyone here health, happiness and peace of mind.. sometimes i think physical pain is better thant his ****
Avatar universal
Now my brain is thinking vtach lol.. Im gonna drive myself nuts with my anxiety and reading online..  I would imagine vtach must feel different.. its basically PVCS in a row..  I don't know anymore man.. just last night, I got it again.. it happens as im trying to fall asleep.. but i stayed calm and it didn't last long.. I tried to keep track of my heart rate and there was no sudden BOOM and than it stopped.. it  seemed to decelerate.. From a fast rate to slower.. It wasn't a sudden abrupt stop into normal rhythm.  Most people with SVT and stuff always talk about these big thuds that start and stop with their SVT.. i don't get any thuds or skipped heartbeat feeling.. its just a nervousness that starts to rapidly increase my heart quickly than it slows down .. I always feel it coming.. I never just get a thud and fast heart rate, or a heart rate instantly.. Its always a process.. of feeling nervous and getting hot first than the heart takes off...  HOpefully someone doesn't mind giving me their input. :(
Have an Answer?
Top Arrhythmias Answerers
1807132 tn?1318747197
Chicago, IL
1423357 tn?1511089042
Central, MA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
Salt in food can hurt your heart.
Get answers to your top questions about this common — but scary — symptom
How to know when chest pain may be a sign of something else
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.