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Avatar universal

Irregular and racing heart rate at rest

I am a 21 yr old woman, and I'm starting to be worried about a few problems I have and I'm wondering what to do and if they are all related.  Seeing doctors is not easy because of my "healthy age" and because I have other immediate health issues that take precedence (kidney stones).  I have a history of a bit of anxiety following a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.  I was also diagnosed with insomnia at that time (last year) and was given trazodone to help regulate my sleeping patterns.  I was concerned about the effects it may have on my heart, since almost every family member has a heart illness.  (My mother had a serious heart attack and a double bipass at the age of 36, and her twin had the same when she was 35...but had to endure two open heart surgeries.  Their illness is a very rare one...only 6 persons in north america have ever survived it, and my mother and aunt are two of those people.  Since it is so rare and the causes are unknown, I can't have tests done.)  

Not long after starting the medication, I developped sleep apnea.  I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, as if my body stops realising it needs to breathe.  I study psychology and sleep illnesses, and I believe this is called central sleep apnea.  It's very frightening, and even prevented me from wanted to sleep, in fear of not waking up.  A year has passed, and I've been able to restore my sleep and stopped taking the trazodone within a month or two because of the effects.  Since then, every once in a while I've noticed a very irregular and racing heart rate, especially at night when I'm lying down in bed. This is worse if I've had a glass or two of red wine.  I also have problems with physical activity...I used to be a runner, and now I find myself unable to run because I feel that my heart is racing too fast and too quickly, and I feel very faint.  Because of this, I've been tending to avoid too much physical activity, which is not good for heart health in the long run.

I am also very concerned because I have a serious food allergy to nuts and peanuts, and in the last two years I've had many reactions (one needing injections of epinephrine, which caused my heart rate to race over 140).  Will this be an issue in the future if I have heart disease?  What are the risks?
5 Responses
187666 tn?1331176945
I know how irritating it is to have a doctor look at you and say you're too young to have heart problems. That is so untrue. But considering your family history, it would be to your benefit to push for a full work up.

As for the racing heart, any idea how fast the rate? Have you ever worn a heart monitor for a period of time (either a Holter for 24 hours or an event monitor for a month)? Those are great for picking up erratic heart rhythms that don't show up on a standard EKG done at the doctor's office. Too often you go in and they'll do an EKG strip while your heart is acting quite normal and then they say you're fine. But you know you aren't.

As for wine, I never drink wine because it causes my arrhythmias to kick in. Occasionally I can tolerate a 1/2 of a beer and that's it.

Again, you should ask about wearing a monitor since your symptoms occur sporadically. I hope you get some answers soon.
Avatar universal
It is very irritating.  Some doctors this I have hypochondria, but I know that I'm just very in tune with my body, and I have real health issues (and not imagined ones).

It has been difficult to get an accurate heart rate since its also very irregular when it races, but it's somewhere around 100bpm when I'm lying in bed during an episode.  I had one last night, and I remember that I very dizzy and faint before bed.  I also get this when I'm working out, I can't seem to catch my breath, my heart races with hardly any effort, and I'm not sure what the best way to describe this is...but I feel like my eyes are swelling and I have trouble seeing.

My mother has worn monitors countless times, but I haven't ever worn one. Again, doctors think I'm "too young" to have health issues. :(    Does this kind of monitor have to be provided by a doctor?  And I agree, because in most cases, I find my heart acts up at night, not during the day when the doctors offices are open.

Thank you for sharing this with me!  It really helps!
187666 tn?1331176945
Yes, a monitor needs to be ordered by the doctor. Typically I have to go to another health facility to pick it up.

100 bpm a minute is not that fast fortunately. Many people go well over that while playing sports or working out at the gym. When my heart decides to pop into tachy, it ranges from 150 - 198 bpm. And even at that rate, I've never passed out. So I wonder what else is going on with your body.

I don't have any great suggestions at this stage. All you can do is keep asking, keep a record of your symptoms and gather as much tangible information as you can (like heart rate, times you've passed out, etc.). Then present that. Also keep an eye on your blood pressure. My daughter has been having pretty low BP since she's been pregnant. Hers is now running about 90/55. She was passing out or nearly so until she learned to recognize the problem and sit down first.

Take care.
1137980 tn?1281289046
Hey Nat.....I agree w. Ireneo......100 BPM is within normal limits and you may just be super sensitive because of your family history but def. w. good reason because if any of us has any family member that has had a heart attack before the age of 50 we're supposed to be checked once a year.  I'm not saying that you are predisposed to this just keep an eye out and speaking of which when you feel like your eyes are gonna pop its because your blood pressure is rising is all.  You need to see a heart doc not a GP and tell them you would just feel better on a holter monitor for say 24-48 hours because it tracks your heart via recorded ECG/EKG and maybe you can rest a little easier.  The monitor tracks your heart even while you sleep and the doc will catch everything. Yeah i know it feels scary Natalie but you're  buckling under the fear of the what ifs and thats not good for any of us.  Before i had my ablation done my heart rate went up into the upper 200's and i'm still here to blog about it....but it sounds to me like you're scaring yourself....get the answers you need...write down the questions for the doc and get pro active and take back control of your life.....you'll be soooooo happy you did.....
Avatar universal
I have one thing to add to all the wonderful advice you have gotten.  Sleep apnea can be a cause of heart rhythm problems.  That's what my cardiologist thinks is going on with me.  You may consider having a sleep study to make sure that's gone?
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