Waking up to a rapid heartbeat

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/5/2017 5:33 PM (GMT -6)   
I am 48 yo women, mostly in good health. I do not smoke, drink, drink alot of caffeine or taking any other illegal substance. I have been waking up in the middle of the night or early morning hours to a rapid heartbeat. I wouldn't say over 200 beats but maybe 140-160. I believe I am sensitive to my heart and feel it when it either skips beats, or pauses or rapid beating, than many others. I have been pretty much my adult life. I do have anxiety and have had it for many years but mainly its been under control until the last month or so. My life has become more stressful and overwhelming at times. I have been taking a anxiety med that seems to help and not sure if this may be the cause. When my heart beats hard and fast like that, it creates the anxiety or they go hand in hand and then I get worried and scared. I have tried a few techniques I have learned over the years but this past Friday night I woke up about 2am with the rapid heart beat and tried everything and it would not slow down. It probably lasted about 20 minutes. I am sure my anxiety kicked in and made things worse. I am going to my cardiologist actually tomorrow. But just wondered if anyone else has this experience and what has worked best with them.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 1417
   Posted 4/6/2017 6:33 AM (GMT -6)   
If your heartbeat was truly 140-160 (tachycardia), then going to see your cardiologist is the right move. Sometimes it "seems" like your heart is beating fast, but in reality it's not. Once you rule out heart issues, you can concentrate on the anxiety issues. You may need your medication adjusted or switched to something that may work better for you. Good luck, and let us know how your appointment goes today.


New Member

Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/7/2017 1:16 AM (GMT -6)   
My appointment today went pretty good. I had an EKG which came back normal. My cardiologist feels it is stress related as I expected. But he wanted me to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours. Just to rule out anything else. He doesn't believe the medication is the cause.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/1/2017 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
As a high anxiety person myself I can relate. I often wake up the same way. How badly do you snore? I get shortness of breath very easily and have become hypersensitive to that sensation. I suspect that I have sleep apnea and with my high anxiety a rush of adrenaline kicks in even when I am sleeping. Even a dream can cause this too, (I dream that I am running or something). I started to record myself sleeping to figure out a pattern. Sometimes my sinuses drip and I start coughing badly. I wake up not realizing what happened only know my heart is racing. Often it is impossible to fall back asleep without getting up and walking off some of that adrenalin. Usually a very slow walk at that because with my heart racing at 160 I am already out of breath.

In my case though my heart rate will jump to 130-160 for no reason during the day also. Usually it is when I exert myself and I am at this point unable to exercise. I found the techniques learned for anxiety useless and also wonder if something else is going on. I have a tendency to self monitor my feelings though.

Recently I was diagnosed with a PFO. My understanding is that a big enough one can cause symptoms like shortness of breath and rapid heart rate but it is not common? I am trying to get answers myself and am not sure of this. My doctor downplayed this finding, the size of mine is unknown and I don't trust her. I would suggest that you get a bubble study done if you get your heart checked out. I was to the ER many times over years. Stress tests, EKG's, 48 hour monitors, echo for years, even as a child in elementary school to now at the age of 44. All that testing over the years and I just found out a few months ago that I have a hole in my heart all my life thanks to my first bubble study.

I don't know if I have an anxiety problem that makes me feel like crud or something underlying that shoots my anxiety up because I notice everything that feels wrong. If I find out though I will shout it out loud on these message boards. I have been searching for a long time for answers and only getting worse as time goes by.

I suggest you let the doctors do tests, just make sure they are thorough because test done half way don't give correct answers. I don't think mine have been thorough. They tell me "your heart is great and healthy" all these years. I tell them I feel like crud. I finally find out about a PFO and they say it's nothing. Well I am making an appointment to find out how big it is because why suffer if it can be fixed. If it's small and insignificant why worry about it? The size matters so tell me what is going on. This has always been my luck with doctors. I was told that I was fine, it's anxiety, and the next day they set me up for emergency removal of my gallbladder.

Good luck. Don't be a spaz like me though. Don't overthink things. Trust is important in your doctor's or your anxiety will make things worse. Unfortunately I have been unlucky with my choice of doctors.
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