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Avatar universal

Very rapid heart rate

     I suffer from major anxiety.  I am 29 years old.   I have worried about a lot of different health problems that have came and went.  The new one is a rapid heart rate.  I really thought I had something wrong with my heart, but now I am not so sure.  

Brief history i have had a 24 hour holter monitor about 4 years ago.  Everything was ok according to the doctor.

    Just an example of my problem.  I feel slightly tense, and i go walk to the store, i start checking my pulse as im walking and its fast,  all of the sudden it gets insanely fast, in a regular rhythm but like a drum.  I get even more nervous and turn back hoping i do not collapse.  My  heart is flying now.  

  When I wake up in the morning my resting heart rate is very low.  Like 60 beats a min.   Everyone tells me its my anxiety not my heart,  I am not sure.   Because today i decided to take my blood pressure and pulse while standing up.   and as i put the cuff on my wrist for some reason i felt very nervous, I felt like an anxiety come over me as the pressure cuff squeezed.   I felt like i was in an anxiety mode.  And i just closed my eyes like HOLY CRAP its gonna be off the charts.  And it was.   my pressure was 122/92.  Usually im like 117\75.    My pulse was a staggering 140 beats a min.   as soon as i took the cuff off and relaxed a bit i felt my pulse rate immediately drop.   This episode of 140 bpm  seemed to stem solely from panic and anxiety at the time of taking the blood pressure.  Is this even more evidence that it is anxiety induced?  Just wanted to hear your opinions.

5 Responses
1137980 tn?1281289046
Yep my money is on anxiety.  Your B/P was pretty great even tho you took it standing up which you are actually supposed to be sitting down so it should have actually read a little higher than it did.  As far as your pulse rate went...yep it was high at the time but dropped back down to a normal rate once you calmed down.  A "staggering" rate at 140 is high but definately not "staggering".  Staggering would be in the upper 200's and even into the 300's.  Bear in mind a normal pulse for a non athlete is between 70 and 120.  You seem to have some sort of fear factor going on with you that may need to be addressed so that you can go back to living a life for yourself and not turn back with completing simple tasks like walking to a store without fear.  A very normal B/P would run you about 120/60+ and the upper number is the most important number so relax a little my friend.  It may be time for you to make a visit with someone that you can talk to openly about your fears......your health from what you've described leads me to say you are a very lucky person to have the readings that you did....time to bite the bullet and sit down with a professional to take back control of your life.......good luck
Avatar universal
Thank you cindy,  your reply sounds very logical, and it meant a lot to me.  I appreciate it.   anxiety is a terrible disorder, and I will admit it rules most of my life right now.  

995271 tn?1463927859
Those numbers are not staggering.  They're good.  They're well within the range of what anxiety can produce.  BP is fine, responding to an elevated heart rate as it should.  Anxiety focused on heart rate is a strong feedback loop.  

1.  Think you're HR is not normal
2.  get anxious
3.  HR naturally goes up and you feel it
4.  go back to 1

You body has learned this behavior, time to unlearn it.

The way you overcome these phobias is to ignore them and keep doing your activity.  In the world of behavior therapy, what you did when you turned around from going to the store is you reinforced the behavior.  When faced with the stimulus (HR), you ran for cover by turning around.  Of course the HR came down eventually so you've reinforced this behavior.

The way you break it is to continue going to the store.  Don't stop.  Eventually the HR will come down on its own.  Since you didn't reward the fear, you will eventually unlearn it.  

This has worked wonders for me.  I lived with anxiety disorder in my early 30s and I got control of it this way.  I still have it once in a while but this coping strategy always gets me through.  When you do this right, it's like an epiphany, kinda spiritual.  I actually look forward to getting to this level so it becomes something I look forward to, which further diffuses the situation.

Remember this, one of favorite quotes

"I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Frank Herbert, Dune

Hey, thanks for your helpful comments. I have one question:
Have you completely overcome your anxiety disorder? Mine is centered around my heart rate. I've had panic attacks where my HR reached 180 for 2-3 minutes on a few occasions and since then I am totally fixated on my HR.
I don't want to travel on the highway in case my HR increases that high and there isn't a hospital around. I can't even think flying with a plane no more. I am just checking my HR all the time and don't know what to do. Feels like my life is completely ruined.
Of course, I had all the cardiac work up - many ECGs, 5 times holters (never experienced the high HR then), 3 stress tests, 3 echos - all negative, apart from PVCs and 3 PVCs in a row on one of the holters, which also freaked me out.
I've seen 5 different cardiologists & 3 different EPs, all of them said - live your life, you have a healthy heart.
But I still can't do anything but think about my HR and if it will go high. I avoind going anywhere because of that and it ruins my life.
This is why I ask - have you overcame your anxiety disorder? Do you travel/fly and actually enjoy it, without fearing anything?
194555 tn?1264290523
Amazing reply!!  Thanks for that.

I have same as you op. Same age too, feel free to message me. X x
Avatar universal
   Yeah you make excellent sense, and i know that is the right thing, to ignore it and face your fears.  But the problem with me doing that, is that there is a level of uncertainty in me.   There is always a what if, in the back of my mind that dominates, and my heart rate was a little too fast for me to ignore.   A quick pulse is no big deal, but it really got up there at the store.   The time i recorded the 140 beats per min, that didnt even feel as fast or as forceful as the time I went to the store.  I really felt that if i continued I might have collapsed.    I was not strong enough mentally to take that risk.  Perhaps if I got a thorough checkup and they said my heart was fine, I would be more brave to keep walking with a heart rate that felt like atrial fibrillation or something.
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