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Jumping out of sleep & heart problems

For the past couple of years, with frequency increasing lately, I have been jumping out of my sleep several times throughout the night. Most times, it occurs within the first couple of hours of sleep. It occurs in a variety of ways: I'll experience brain zaps; I gasp for breath; I woke up choking (although I credit that to acid reflux); I feel a heavy feeling in my chest and shiver out of sleep. All of this results in short-term panic and an extremely rapid heart rate.

A little background about me: I am a 25 year old male, 6'0" 200 pounds, although I work out 4 times a week and I am more muscular than overweight. My only real medical issues have been heart palpitations in the past, usually brought on by anxiety, stress, or post-drinking. I also have severe allergies. Moreover, years ago, I had surgery for a deviated septum, but now, I feel like I breathe worse. My nose is continually clogged. No real mental issues, but sometimes I experience anxiety and I have an extreme unfounded fear of death, which usually comes out more so at night.

I don't have medical insurance at this point, but when I get it, I will surely get a sleep study. At this point, my self-diagnosis is part sleep apnea, part anxiety. I imagine my shortness of breath during sleep leads me to gasp for air and my subconscious anxiety manifests the fear of death, causing my mind to panic and heart to race, as I initially think I'm dying.

My question: does this sound like it could be an accurate assessment? Or does it sound like I'm leaning more towards either sleep apnea or anxiety issues that prevent me from sleeping? And finally, will waking up several times throughout the night with a rapidly beating heart increase my risk for heart disease? And is there any actual potential of having a heart attack from such a rapid beat?

4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello (Hello Hello)

Echo (Echo Echo)
Avatar universal
I went through 6 years of horrible migraines, hair falling out, horrible nightmares when I could sleep, insomnia, awful sense of doom and huge adrenline surges that did wake me up.  I'd have horrible feelings of doom and would pass out alot, mostly when I was sitting, or hot, or under alot of stress.  Chest pain always followed the fainting. Many MD and ER visits, EKGS that were deemed not significant, a treadmill that wasn't "significant either" and of course they all thought i was crazy.  did the Xanax and antidepressant thing.  Had low BP, low pulse and was told I had the heart of an athelete for years.  I walked 1 hour a day about 5 days a week.  During a run one day I collapsed.  Went to ER was almost ready to be discharged and dismissed (again) when another nurses aide took my pulse, called a new nurse and they called a cardiologist.  Turned out I had Sick Sinus Syndrome, Orthostatic Intolerance (Dysautonomia) and Orthostatic Hypotension.  I was 44 years old.  Ended up with a pacemaker and have had to make some life changes.  I do still throw PVCs and PACs a couple of times when exercising and about 3 short SVT episodes since it was implanted 2 years ago, but life is so different., so much better now.  Your stories sound so familir, so please don't give up, find an "electrician" cardiologist who can look into other causes for you.  If you are in the California call Dr. Christopher Oh at Central Coast Cardiology in Monterey, CA  to see if he will talk to you.  Hang in there, God bless you!!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
I forgot to add, other wierd symptoms or problems I had with the disorders were problems "sipping" soup or drinking through a straw, fainting while drinking ice water, bowel problems/IBS for  years.  When I'd have the horrible nightmares, I'd wake up with a huge gasp and sit straight up and scare my husband.  My resting Heart Rate would average 45 BPM but when my disorders were finally caught in the ER it was between 35-43 and my head had to be elevated and they would't let me sleep until the pacemaker implant.  I was not an ironman athelete so pulling off a 45 BPM pulse was NOT normal as many docs had told me before.  My cardio doc said it was the adrenaline kicking in to save myself.  Dysautonomia is a strange disorder.  With the pacemaker implant for the sick sinus syndrome all of those symptoms eventually disappeared.  With your young age as with mine at the time,i was told that is why I was dismissed by all the MDs and ER docs for not thinking there was something wrong with me.  Plus I was female.
Avatar universal
I don't know if you will still see this. I hope you are still OK.  I have bee. Experiencing this same exact thing and because I run marathons, though older, the ER and Drs dismiss me too.  I have a loop heart monitor implanted but no pace. Maker, and my heart rate went as low as 14, but usually is at 43 BPM.  Nobody knows why I get chest pains and faint.  I am female too.  They say I have a runners heart so It dips too low with an abnormal EKG.  I live in CT, on the other side of the country and am 50, but still run daily.  Do I need a pace maker?
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