second update-panic/anxiety and heart symptoms

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stargazer77
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/30/2006 5:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I am so glad to have found this forum. I have suffered from mild anxiety and rare panic attacks (maybe 2-3 a year) for the past 3 years or so, but I feel like in the last year and especially last few weeks they have really gotten worse. Last year I went to the ER with a racing heartbeat (140-150), I don't really think that was panic (they thought it was thyroid at the time but it got better), but ever since then I have been anxious about my heart and have had a couple more spells of tachycardia. I don't know if they were caused by panic attacks or happened on their own. It is so confusing to separate physical symptoms from mental. I mean, I know that mental problems also cause physical symptoms, and that they are "real", but what I mean is, it is hard to tell whether there is really something wrong with my heart (I fear having a heart attack but I am just 29 yrs old and fairly healthy, so it is pretty unlikely) or if it is just anxiety making me feel like there is. It seems like the rapid heartbeat has become more frequent and is also accompanied by fear of dying. I think it is probably just panic/anxiety. 

It wasn't so bad until the last couple of weeks, and I'm not sure what set it off. I had one of my "spells" with my heart after drinking some iced tea at lunch a couple of weeks ago, then a few days later in church I just had this overwhelming sense of doom or that something was wrong with me and I was going to die, and nearly burst into tears. Ever since then I have been obsessively checking my pulse and wondering if my heart feels normal, is my breathing normal, etc, and of course it makes it not normal! Ugh. The last day or two have been bad, the sense of impending doom, fear of going crazy, heart racing, shortness of breath, light-headedness, kind of a burning feeling in my upper left chest (which of course makes me think of my heart too).
 
My dr. mentioned beta-blockers in the past when I had the first problem with tachycardia, and they mentioned it again when I went for something else and my heart was going about 110 during the exam. I am usually between 85-90 bpm, but during times of anxiety it can be 100-120. Like today I think it has been about 100 all day. I'm not sure about the BBs because my blood pressure is fairly low anyway and also I am kind of low energy already and I think they lower your energy level. But if it would help I would try it. I would rather manage it without medications if I could, just with counseling and relaxation techniques, but I don't know if I can anymore.  Does anyone know if you can take beta blockers (or other anxiety drugs) "as-needed", when you feel an attack coming on? I know people take BBs as needed on a one-time basis for performance anxiety, etc.
 
Sorry this was so long, it has made me feel better just to read these forums and see that other people have the same feelings I do, and they are not anything dangerous. I would appreciate help and advice and prayers though, this is kinda scary. As I'm sure all of you know. :-)   Thanks!

Post Edited (stargazer77) : 10/4/2006 8:18:51 AM (GMT-6)


shell67
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1268
   Posted 9/30/2006 5:44 PM (GMT -7)   
hi stargazer, and welcome to hw! a wonderful place of support. I too have the horrible rapid heart beats, when i did get diagnosed with p/a it was because i was in the er thinking i was having a heartattack. I also had the horrible pending doom, i couldnt explain it, still cannot, but its like something is very wrong, im not sure what it is, and i cant fix it. But, i am on a beat blocker, and it has helped tremendously. I dont have near the problems i did before, they arent gone completely, but almost and i feel so much more at ease about it. Actually, when it does take off, it really doesnt bother me now, cause i know what it is, and i know its not going to really hurt me. There are meds for you that you can take as needed, please go and talk to your doc soon, and he see what he thinks. There are many different types of relaxing excercises too, im sure more will come along and explain some better than i can, i use meditation for relaxation and it helps me much. Good luck, take care and keep us posted, hugs
shell
" Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy


Aussieangel
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 510
   Posted 9/30/2006 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi stargazer,

It sounds as though it is anxiety related but for peace of mind ask to see a specialist and get a few tests done. When they come back clear you'll have that as a weapon to fight with.

Good luck, my heart starts to race a bit but I generally get it more as a lump in the throat and when I check my pulse my heart is skipping beats.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 24686
   Posted 9/30/2006 9:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Stargazer and welcome! Rest assured, if you were in the ER, they certainly did an ekg on you and that would have shown any risk of heart attack. I too used to worry about my heart, but after a clean ekg I have felt much better (just the occasional lapse of health anxiety) :) See your doc just for peace of mind and press for a diagnoses. Once you hear that it is indeed anxiety two things will happen. You will feel better about the whole situation and know how to proceed i,e. therapy, meds or both. Best of luck to you and post again and let us know how you are doing.

Scaredy Cat
"Courage is not the absence of fear...it is being afraid, and doing it anyway!"


stargazer77
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 10/1/2006 5:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for the support. Yes, last year (about a year and a half ago) when I went to the ER they did an EKG and blood work, and then the next day when I went to my regular Dr., he had me wear a holter monitor for 24 hrs.  All it showed was plain ol' tachycardia. So yes, no heart problems. I guess my fear is just that if it continues to beat fast periodically it will damage it or make a blood clot or something. I don't know. That was when they mentioned beta blockers but at the time I was also getting over mono, so he didn't really want to give me anything that would make me more tired. My thyroid hormone was slightly high, but then they retested it and it was low, and retested again and it was normal, he thought my body might have just been out of whack with the mono. I guess it is just hard to know if there is something wrong that makes my heart beat fast which then causes a panic attack or if I have PAs out of the blue for no reason which causes my heart to beat fast. confused    I will probably go to the dr this week. I am leaving for vacation on Wednesday for a week so I don't know if they want to run tests or anything if I will be able to get it done before I leave, but I will at least go and discuss it with him early this week. I feel like I am trying to talk myself out of it, because generally it doesn't happen often enough that I thought it was a problem. Once every couple of months or so. But like I said, the last couple of weeks it seems like I have had more issues, 2-3 times just in the last 2 weeks. And then yesterday I just felt scared and not myself all day. So I guess I'd better just go! Thanks for all the kind words, it is good to have people who understand. BTW, I do feel better today, normal heartrate and no panicky feeling so far. I will update when I see my Dr and find out what he says.

hopeful82
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 10/1/2006 7:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi stargazer :) I too had pretty bad heart symptoms when my anxiety was at its worse. My doctor had me go on atenolol (a beta blocker) that really didn't do much at all. You can't take it as needed, you have to take it everyday. So I stopped taking the atenolol and started on a combo of antidepressants and klonopin. The klonopin is a benzodiazepine that you can definitly take as needed, which is what I did.

In order to rule out any heart problems, my doctor not only ordered an EKG and holter monitor, but also an echocardiogram. It will give a cardiologist a look inside your heart to make sure the valves and everything are working properly and that there are no physical abnormalities. This might make you feel a little bit better to have this done, although its very costly and it probably unecessary in your case. But sometimes it helps for peace of mind. As for the racing heart rate, I used to get that all the time too - just take deep breaths and lay down and remember that it will go away. Thats what I used to do. Then when I started taking Klonopin, I'd just put a half pill under my tongue to help calm me down too.

You can make the symptoms of anxiety go away, but its a lot better if you work to make the anxiety itself go away by seeing a therapist. Doing regular cognitive beharioval therapy (CBT) with a therapist has helped so many people on this board, including myself. I hope can find the right treatments that help you too :)
ali
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
 
"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful." - Marie Curie
 
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
 
 


Dillon
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 10/1/2006 9:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Stargazer,
I have almost the exact same symptoms as you do and have ended up in the hospital so many times it is not funny actually it's somewhat embarassing. I have had all the test from blood test to EKG to chest X-ray to ultra sound of my heart to holter moniter and a stress test with dye and all is well except for the slightly fast beat 120 during the attacks But even though I know in my head that there is actually nothing wrong with my heart every time I get a chest pain of any kind it is almost always instant panic because I think "What If". What if they made a mistake, What if this time is different, What if they missed something. If I get a bad headache I think What if my blood pressure is up that can cause heart problems or stroke. Crazy huh ? I do not take BB's but i do take a .05 xanex half in the morning and half at night that seems to help. I try and tell myself "You are OK you have been here before and nothing happened to you and nothing will happen to you this time. It is an anxiety attack. If you have had the heart test and been dignosed with anxiety and panic then that is more than likely exactly what it is. The book "Don't Panic" is really good and they have a really good website at www.anxieties.com. I hope you have someone there that will support you and try and understand that helps a lot too. If not we're glad you are here.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 10/2/2006 2:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to all the new peeps yes please stay around see the support and feel the caring in everyone here .We all look after one another here anare glad you are aboard
Most of us deal with Health Anxiety so you are not alone in this at all thats for sure
take care and please post again
Lyn
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         Don't Comprimise Yourself :you are all you have    
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stargazer77
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 10/2/2006 12:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again for the welcome and help. I just wanted to update, I went to the Dr today, she did an EKG and drew some blood to see if my thyroid could be out of whack again and also to check other stuff in my blood. I'm wearing a holter monitor now, for 24 hrs, and I'm supposed to do a stress test tomorrow. The EKG was normal, just fast. It is better now though, it has been 90-100 today, well it was about 115 for a while at the dr., but of course I was stressed from being there and talking about it.  She went ahead and wrote a prescription for a low dose of beta blockers, but said not to fill it and take it until my tests were done and we had talked. It's just that I am leaving for vacation Wednesday and I guess she wanted it to be ready to go if I wanted to start taking it. I told her that I had been having panic attacks, but it seemed to me that the panic started after my heart started racing, rather than the pa being what starts it to begin with. So I expected her to say something about anti-anxiety meds or therapy or something, but she didn't. Which may be fine, this is really the only thing I have bad anxiety about, so I think if the BBs stop my heart racing episodes I probably won't have PAs anymore. Or at least very rarely. (Knock on wood) I still wonder if maybe I do need some kind of therapy program, I do often have health-related anxiety, always thinking that something minor that is wrong is the worst case scenario. But the heart thing is the only one that sends me into full-blown panic mode. Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know what had happened. Thanks again for the support! cool

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 10/2/2006 12:44 PM (GMT -7)   
So great to have the update .........I think your doc is doing a good job with you and I hope you will keep us all posted in the meantime in whats going on with you .There have been a few on here that have had the Monitors on and I am sure they will no doubt be able to give you answers if you need any
There is an online free Cognitive behavioural Course that might be something to look into if you are interested......MoodGyms.Training Program and this helps you to change your thinking patterns and what not .many peeps have great success with CBT
i have done and still am working on this and for me it has helped
I am happy you have found the support here as I knew you would it is the best there is and the people here REALLY do care and know what you are talking about and going thru
be well and keep posting
Lyn
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
         Don't Comprimise Yourself :you are all you have    
 Never Give up on Yourself ,Your True friends nor your Dignity
   


Twiggygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 924
   Posted 10/2/2006 11:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey! I was having that obsession with checking my pulse too, I don't do it so often anymore, maybe like 3 times a day, but seriously, my heart starts racing like a mad woman. I was in panic mode a couple weeks ago and my sis checked my pulse and it was literally 110 beats a minute or so, so I had to take an Ativan to calm down. See a specialist but I'm guessing it has something to do with panic/anxiety.

Have you had anything bad happen recently to you, something traumatizing? Maybe that's what's fueling your panic, because that's what started my panic disorder all over again was an incident a few months ago where I was trapped in a room and had to keep the door locked because a drunk and high roommate was trying to break in to steal the car keys... well anyways it's a long story...

but I'm on meds and it seems to be helping, my heart races a lot sometimes, sometimes when I don't feel panicy, but that may be the drugs blocking the feeling of the anxiety. I'm not sure.

But best of luck to yoU! :)

stressed-out
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/3/2006 5:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello,
My name is Ollie and i have had anxiety for 10 years now. It was so bad for the first few years and now i have learned to deal with it.
First thing you should do is get proper heart tests, i.e. stress test, ecg, etc just to put your mind at ease. The I think the best thing you can do is to start doing weights, after 4 weeks you feel so much more positive and you will feel really good. Weight training really takes alot of the anxiety away without using drugs!!!!!!!!!!!! good luck!!!!!!

normalsnofun
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 2500
   Posted 10/3/2006 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome Stressed out. Thanks for the input.
--Michelle

...I dont want the world to see me, 'cause I dont think that they'd understand
When everythings made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am..."
--Goo Goo Dolls

"Those who are different change the world,
Those who are the same keep it that way."


stargazer77
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 10/4/2006 7:18 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the advice, stressed-out. I know exercise does help. I do walk (although not as much as I should) and had actually been planning on starting some light weight training soon. I'm sure it helps both with physical and mental health.

So, anyway, an update - my EKG was normal, stress test was normal, holter monitor showed sinus tachycardia, but no abnormal rhythm. Blood work- thyroid, etc, was normal. So that's all good. But I still wonder what causes it? I avoid caffiene, don't smoke, etc. Maybe it just comes from having kind of a nervous/anxious temperment.

The only bad thing was, they were supposed to do an echocardiogram at the cardiology place in addition to the stress test and they didn't do it! I don't know if it wasn't on the order that they sent over, or if it was and they forgot to do it....I know it was just a mistake but I am a little aggravated, if they had told me at my regular dr. everything they were going to do at the cardio place, I would have known and said, hey, I need an echo too, before I left the cardio office. So she says they will schedule it for next week after I get back from vacation. So you know me, after we get off the phone I start thinking about it and call back to see if there is any way to do it today before I leave. Of course I can't actually talk to her, she is supposed to call me back, and in the meantime I decide to just call the cardio place myself to see if they can fit me in. Which they couldn't. But they are reassuring me at the cardio place on the phone that all the other tests are normal, and everything is fine, don't worry, and then my regular dr. calls back and says that she doesn't expect to see anything on the echo and don't worry about it. lol. Obviously they have picked up on my nature to worry. I think with the echo they are mostly looking for mitral valve prolapse, which can cause a lot of the same symptoms I have, and that is not a dangerous condition even if I did have it, so I know I shouldn't worry. I just wish they could have gotten everything done all at once for peace of mind.

She said to go ahead and start taking the beta blocker, it is a low dose, I'm not sure which one, I've already dropped the rx off at the pharmacy and haven't picked up. So hopefully that will go ok, she said it could make me tired, which I don't need, I am already a little low energy, but she said since it was a low dose maybe it wouldn't. 

I am trying not to be stressed out about it, in my head I know everything is ok, and I feel mostly good about it, but I know that subconsciously I must be worried because every time I talk about it I cry! So I think I still have some anxiety about the whole thing. I am mostly relieved though, and do feel better physically and mentally.


shell67
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1268
   Posted 10/4/2006 8:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi stargazer, im proud of you you seem to be handling this well! The beta blocker hopefully wont make you to tired, mine wasnt bad, so good luck with that part. But i hope it helps the palps, even when you know they wont hurt you, they can still scare you. Im glad you are feeling better and are more relieved. Keep us posted and take care!!
shell
" Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy


slgttc
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 10/4/2006 9:57 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a lot of heart related issues too. I get tachycardia and premature beats enough to drive you wild. One night my heart went up to almost 200bpm had to call squad. Of course they couldn't tell me what it was because they didn't catch the rythm on ekg. My heart usually starts going fast if I do anything and I mean as little as walk across the room. The least little bit of excitement sends it through the roof. I used to take beta blocker quit because i'm a med phobic but am seriously thinking about going back on them to slow my heart down. I really think that adrenaline rather it comes from anxiety, exercise or excitement effect some people's heart a little more strongly and causes the tachycardia but that's just my opinion and seems to go along with my symtpoms

thewulasvegas
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 67
   Posted 12/17/2010 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
I hope the original poster still checks this, I wanted to say I do the same thing. I have a long line of heart disease in my family and for a long time i believed it was going to get me too. I conditioned myself to believe it and I now suffer A/P because of it. The left pec pain out of nowhere scares me, then I check my pulse, I feel my palps start to kick in and the cycle begins. I had ALL the cardiac tests done and I'm clean accross the board. i just wanted to share.
Diagnosed- Panic attack sufferer, mild anxiety with moderate symptoms

Zoloft 50 mg- 6 weeks strong, no major side effects except WILD dreams

CBT - 5 weeks strong

Carly18
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 12/17/2010 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I always think about a post someone wrote once that we who have had all these tests are probably healthier than some who haven't because if there was something wrong with us it would have been caught. Panic attacks are hard and only those who have had them understand. I continue to go in and out of them for no apparent reason. Now with the holidays knocking on my door I'm feeling those old feelings again but I am trying to stay calm and not over do and I keep reminding myself, I'm okay.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/17/2010 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
 
This thread is 4 years old.  It was kind of you to respond to it but rather then pull up an old thread please feel free to post a new topic.
 
I am going to lock this thread.
 
Kindly,
Kitt

~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
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