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waking with heart racing at night (Read 9405 times)
MOLLY35
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waking with heart racing at night
Aug 06th, 2010, 11:57am
 
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The other night i woke up and realised my heart was totally racing,i started to really panic about it and then i broke out in sweats ,i was overbreathing getting cramps in my chest.i was so scared i called a ambulance they took my pulse and it was 160 per minute ,they said they thought it was panic attack,they took me to hospital and they gave me ecg and said all satisfactory and doc said it was panic attack.But my point is i only started panicing when i realised my heart was racing.I tried to calm it down myself but it wouldnt work .I didnt feel in anyway paniced when i woke up i just paniced when i realised my heart was out of control.It was terryifying.I have sufferd panic and anxiety for many years with ectopics flutters you name it.But i really dont think this was panic attack i think it was my heart racing for no reason,i was sleeping ,now i cant even do that without the anxiety affecting that aswell as my daily life.Has anyone else had this kind regards molly
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jothenurse
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #1 - Aug 6th, 2010, 4:07pm
 
I have had this happen to me.  I have been in the past in the ER a few times with a pulse up to 160 per minute.  I usually have just driven  myself to the ER.  Each time it was sinus tachycardia caused by a panic attack.  I do wake up at night with hot flashes, with an increased pulse, and I really need to keep calm to not have it go way up.  I used to be on a beta-blocker, which helped some.  Now I just take a little ativan daily.  When the palpitations start, I try to distract myself and ignore it (which is difficult), but it does usually work.
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George
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #2 - Aug 6th, 2010, 8:05pm
 
I have had many panic attacks and most of them have resulted in me going off to hospital in an ambulence with wires strapped all over my chest and limbs. Not once have I ever been kept in after an initial examination by a doctor and I doubt I ever will. 160 beats a minute is nothing to worry about really and almost all of my panic attacks have resulted in a heart rate of over 200 beats a minute and many times I have found myself in a situation where the panic continues to spiral out of control until my heart rate is beating at its maximum (probably 220-230), so 160 is just a cruise.

My 'worst' panic attack was over a year ago. I was in a state of high anxiety all day (heart rate mid 90s since waking). Then in the evening my heart rate was sitting at just over 100 at rest, which escalated in to panic and resulted in a heart rate of over 200. I called an ambulence and my heart rate was literally resting at 170. I couldn't believe it, my resting heart rate was 170 BMP! Then it slowed to 130 but quickly rose back to 170 after I began to panic more and more. I went in to hospital and my heart was slowly coming down and eventually they let me go once it reached about 100.

Also, the fact that you had a panic attack is quite a clear indication that you have an issue controlling your emotions, plus you have a history of anxiety and panic attacks. Rationally speaking, there is no reason why a heart rate of 160 poses any immediate danger. Think about those tour de france guys out on their bikes all day, or long distance runners. How fast do you think their hearts are beating for such extended periods? Probably easily in the region of 160 or more. Unless you have some form of pre-existing heart issue then surely you're not going to suffer any consequence?

You can also look at it from an evolutionary point of view; the mammalian heart evolved from very simple circulatory systems in fish and invertabrates hundreds of millions of years ago in to the more complex system that all mammals have (4 chambered heart and complex vascular system) and it only has one funtion: to pump blood. It didn't evolve in to a weak little muscle that can barely perform the work that it is given, maybe just enough to survive. Rather, it adapted to meet the needs of the host organism. Our ancient ancestors did not have the luxury of living a comfortable life like we do today and consequently their hearts would have been doing much more work than ours, on average. They would have been on their feet all day, hunting, foraging, fending off wild beasts and running for their lives from lions and tigers. Imagine how many 'panic attcks' (fight or flight responses) those ancient people must have had in a day? My point is, the heart is there to do its job and it won't just give in on you just because you have a moment of panic. It isn't there just to beat at 60 beats a minute when you're resting, it is also there to beat at 200 beats a minute or more when you need it to and can beat at accelerated rates for extended periods without suffering any consequence. This is not medical advice, just a fact. That's what it is meant to do. Also, I want to make one more note on this evolutionary thing: if hearts had indeed evolved as weak little pumps barely able to perform, our average lifespan would be hugely reduced and the human race may very well have died out as a result many hundreds of thousands of years ago due to the fact that we wouldn't live long enough to successfully raise offspring. Since this is not the case, we can assume the opposite is true.

Did you know that a chicken heart beats at around 250bmp, and a hummingbird heart can beat at over 1000 beats per minute?! (and some species may live nearly a decade).

On a final note, nobody can tell you why your heart was racing when you woke up but I don't think its uncommon to wake up with a racing heart, especially in cases where anxiety and panic attacks are present. Perhaps you had a bad dream or a night terror (panic attack while sleeping), or maybe you were just getting hot? Do you actually know how fast your heart was beating when you felt it 'racing'? It was probably nowhere near 160, since 160 is the rate it was measured after you had panicked indicating that it had risen to that level.

Good luck,

George.
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« Last Edit: Aug 7th, 2010, 6:01am by George »  

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Typer
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #3 - Aug 7th, 2010, 3:20am
 
Molly its happened to me a few times, although not when lying down. I have woken in the night and when off to visit the loo, it goes so fast and hard it knocks me off my feet and I have to sit down and deep breath
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MOLLY35
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #4 - Aug 7th, 2010, 4:40am
 
Thank you for your replies i am very gratefull for all your feedback.I just wish i could live a life without the fear of all the different palps i get i just cant stand it .Im sure all the srtess will one day cause a heart attack .kind regards moll;y
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jothenurse
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #5 - Aug 7th, 2010, 4:53am
 
You'll be fine.  I know it is hard, because I get panicky every time I feel my pulse going up or wake up with my hot flashes in the middle of the night and can feel my pulse fast.  If I start to get scared, my pulse escalates even more and then I get more scared and then it goes faster.  This doesn't take very long either, seconds for it to happen.  So, the best thing is to calm yourself (I know very hard), slow your breathing, and I find watching tv (which I have on in my bedroom all night), or doing a crossword puzzle and going on my computer will help.  Distract yourself and you will find that it eventually starts to calm.  I know this is difficult and it has taken me a long time to be able to do this.  And I am not always successful and end up taking a little ativan, which helps.  But if your doctor says it's a panic attack and your heart is ok, the sooner you trust that, the sooner things will calm down.
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DianaJJ
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #6 - Aug 7th, 2010, 6:39am
 
I've had exactly the same thing.  Almost every night for about 1 1/2 years when my hormones were out of wack, I would wake to a pounding heart and anxiety.  Sometime I would just be resting and it would start.  I would jump up and pace because I couldn't stay still.

It seems to me that it is an adrenaline rush that has very little to do with your emotions at that time.  Of course, when you feel your heart beating so fast and hard, it makes it so much worse because you panic.  If you can keep calm (almost impossible) and do some breathing exercises, you can get your heart to slow down.

Now that I'm past that period of my life, I never have that problem.  Sure, I still have the palpitations occasionally but not the rapid heartbeat at night.

Hope that helps,
DianaJJ
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Re: waking with heart racing at night
Reply #7 - Aug 8th, 2010, 4:23am
 
These events are known as night terrors and several conditions can set them in motion. In persons with panic disorder, it's basically a panic threshold which occurs during sleep and brings the individual to a sudden awakened state. The second most common cause is gastroesophageal reflux disease, which permits acidic chyme from the stomach to enter the esophageal corridor where it reacts quite dramatically with the mucous membrane tissues which are not suited well at all with direct contact of highly acidic stomach content.

The last most common cause for night terrors is sleep apnea. When a person experiences an apnec event, it decreases oxygen content and blood gases are altered. If O2 starvation is extensive enough, the body will respond by increasing heart rate and respiration and these events typically produce a sudden awakened state. Individuals feel short of breath and the awakening typically produces sinus tachycardia.

The symptoms being described would not be consistent with any type of cardiac event or trouble with the heart. It is a physiological response to other conditions taking place as mentioned above.

Best regards and Good Health
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Best Regards and Good Health
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