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Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps (Read 1723 times)
rachel young
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Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps
Apr 02nd, 2011, 5:38pm
 
I'm getting so desperate..

My heart palpitations are honestly ruining my life.


I'm a 21 y/o female, moderately active..


I've had heart palpitations for as long as I can remember.. But in the past they would always be like, one random one every few months..

The last few years have been out of control. I'd have palpitations every week.. Now it seems like every single day.


My symptoms:  

-A large, sudden beat that feels "out of place" and makes me cough, and stop whatever I'm doing, sends adrenaline and panic through my body
-Difficulty sleeping, as soon as I start to drift of I'm suddenly awake with a big start and panic, adrenaline.
-Palpitations seem to come out of nowhere. Usually after walking/exercise/drinking/being out in cold but can happen randomly at any time of the day, for no apparent reason

Test done:
-Many ECGs
-Holter monitor 24hours (did not experience palpitation during this time)
-Echocardiogram  (apparantly normal)


No one can find a reason for this... I've currently being diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder but honest to god - I have palpitations when I'm not anxious in the LEAST. Also, why after exercise?


Today I had 3 while walking in the supermarket with my boyfriend. I had another 4 afterwards while sitting in the car. We had fun plans for tonight but I've canceled them as all I can do is sit in bed in fear of another attack of palpitations.


They feel -so- bad. I'm in tears right now, I wish someone could help me. If anyone has ANY advice or similar issues.. PLEASE SHARE!


This has gotten out of control.. I can't believe my life is being controlled by these palpitations.



And no, I do not drink caffine.
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rachel young
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Re: Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps
Reply #1 - Apr 2nd, 2011, 5:56pm
 
Also: I don't know if this is related but whenever I'm laying down or sitting quietly I can heart my heart pounding in my ears.. I don't know what this is about - but if it's dead quiet in a room it can be extremely loud and frustrating.
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themoabird
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Re: Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps
Reply #2 - Apr 2nd, 2011, 8:28pm
 
Rachel

Pretty much everybody on this board has exactly the same symptoms as you. They are benign.

I had more than 300 palpitations caught on my holter monitor; and I happily run marathons, etc. (And this has been going on for nearly 30 years!)

Dr Hilary Jones - who is a celebrity doctor in the UK - has 7000 palpitations a day. He says he has the ECG traces to prove it. But they're harmless, and he doesn't let them affect him.

Also, the anxiety thing as a causal factor is a chronic problem. In other words, it isn't whether you're feeling anxious at any particular moment. It has to do with the fact that your nervous system has been generally "ramped up", which makes these events more likely. It takes a while for it to return to normal. (I'm sure a medical person would be able to express that idea in much better language, but that is the essence of it.)
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martinpetersen
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Re: Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps
Reply #3 - Apr 2nd, 2011, 11:51pm
 
Hi Rachel

I know your situation, I've been there, and every now and then I'm close to getting there again.

I've been getting great relief from reading doctor RLR's answers in this forum. Especially this description of benign palps, which they ARE when you have been tested and nothing found:
(summary by me)

Benign palps come from OUTSIDE the heart. Like themoabird says: when you nervous system is a bit "ramped up" you more often get "inappropriate" nervous (electrical) impulses in the autonomic nervous system.
These might by the way of the vagus nerve reach the heart and "tell" it to make an extra beat. This extra beat feels different according to where in the cardiac cycle they appear. Like butterflies or like a thud, many variations can be experienced.
For me it has been soothing to know that this is not something that happens within the heart nor is due to any defect in the heart.

I know palps can affect your mood a lot, but I do think it is important NOT to let them make you cancel things or in other ways run your life.

Having said that palps are harmless, they might still be very annoying. And apart from really understanding with you brain and heart that they ARE benign, you can of course also test out other "technical" methods to reduce them. Some of these work for some people:  Reduce caffeine, reduce alcohol, don't overeat late (or ever ...) take deep breaths with your stomach/diaphragm, do relaxation excersises (it's good for you body now and then to get down in a conditions where you are really deeply reaxed). And do something - therapy or whatever - about your anxiety. Sing loud or talk to people, might make you "forget" the palps. There are probably many others.

Oops, I just had one ... I better go down and do the dishes ...

Good luck.

Martin
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RLR
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Re: Please help me.. I feel so hopeless. Heart palps
Reply #4 - Apr 3rd, 2011, 5:00pm
 
Okay, welcome to the forum. I've read your postings and complaint.

It's important to realize that you are so fearful because you are misinterpreting what is actually taking place. Many people who experience the very same symptoms interpret them to be signs of disease, in particular heart disease. In actuality, the palpitations are actually the mere inappropriate stimulation of the heart by the vagus nerve. It's the equivalent of a muscle twitch elsewhere in the body except in this instances, it's producing a twitch of sorts in the heart muscle. The events are entirely harmless and do not have the capacity to cause any type of sudden cardiac event and are certainly incapable of being life-threatening.

The characterization of the palpitations is based upon when the signal reaches the heart during the cardiac cycle. They can manifest as light fluttering, intense thumps and even what appears to be the absence of a heart beat altogether. Regardless, the events are entirely harmless in nature.

It's also very important to distinguish between the effects of mere situational anxiety and anxiety with somatoform. Many people exclaim "How can it be due to anxiety? I don't feel anxious!" What patients are saying here is that they recognize situational anxiety but that what is happening to them is entirely unfamiliar and feels more like a symptom that something is wrong with them. This is because anxiety with somatoform actually produces physiological changes that are misconstrued by the patient. So anxiety has several forms, not merely situational anxiety.

The sudden awakenings are known as hypnogogic events and are entirely harmless. They result from responding to stimulus by the brain during the brief period between wakefulness and sleep and are most common in persons who are either experiencing sleep difficulty or are exhausted.  

The sound in your ears is known as pulsatile tinnitus and is very common in persons with anxiety. It is merely due to tension in the neck that causes tendons and muscle to tighten in the proximity of the auditory nerve, creating a situation much like the surface of a drum.

When blood moves through the internal carotid, it can be detected by the auditory nerve under these conditions and you hear it as a whooshing sound. It does not have anything to do with your blood pressure and does not constitute a symptom that anything is wrong.

You're going to be just fine and there's nothing actually wrong with you other than anxiety with somatoform features.

The change in frequency of palpitations can often be linked to changes in a person's life such as college, loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a new job and other major life events. Regardless, you're not going to suffer heart attack and there is no underlying disease causing the problem.

Best regards,

Rutheford Rane, MD (ret.)
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Best Regards and Good Health
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