When should tachycardia be checked out?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 1744
   Posted 10/17/2006 8:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all.  I've never posted on this forum; I usually post on the arthritis and lupus forums, but I'm sure you guys can answer this question more so than some of the other forums.  When is tachycardia a problem that needs to be checked out by a doctor.  Over the last few years, I've had episodes of very rapid heartbeats, temperature spikes, and dyspnea leading to light-headedness.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's pretty scary.  The first time it happened was a couple of years ago.  I was outside walking in the heat and humidity. I suddenly got so weak, dizzy, with the heart palpitations etc... that I had sit down in the middle of a pedestrian foot bridge.  I was waiting for someone to come by, but no one did.  After about 15 minutes, I was able to get up and walk back to my car, but remained shaky for several hours afterwards.  It happened again last night--I was cooking dinner and all of a sudden got heart palpitations, a temperature spike, and short of breath.  I happened to be standing over a pot of boiling water--I was directly breathing in the steam and humidity.  I mention this because I believe humidity is a trigger.  I get very short of breath in humidity, and I'm currently consulting a pulmonologist for possible lung disease.  One of the problems that resulted in a referral to a pulmonologist was an abnormal chest x-ray that showed bilateral peribronchial cuffing.  Peribronchial cuffing is often associated with heart problems, although it's also implicated in lung problems.  I'm wondering if I should go visit my primary about this issue sooner rather than later.  I see my pulmonologist in a couple of weeks, but I'm certain I could get an appointment right away with my primary if there was need.  I should also mention that I do wake up in the middle of the night with these heart palpitations occassionally. 
I've hesitated to tell anyone about these episodes, including my husband, because they can also be related to anxiety.  If they are anxiety-related, I wouldn't medicate anyway.  They're also relatively infrequent.  It's just that in the context of my lung issues, I'm wondering if it's significant.  I've never had an EKG, so I don't know if I have any heart issues (although chest x-ray and hrct scan show a normal size heart).  What do you think?
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: UCTD/Early Lupus
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 297
   Posted 10/17/2006 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Elcamino!

I think that it is worth talking to your primary about. He can determine if you need furthter testing and he could at least do an EKG to have a base reading on you. Often EKGs are compared to see if you have had a change which can be significant or not. However it can't hurt for your primary to have a base reading for you to compare to future EKGs. Also as you have stated, lung and heart issues can be interrelated. So it doesn't hurt anything to check it out. You would want to find out sooner rather than later.

I do not think it shows anxiety to ask your doctor about this. It is simple proactive and preventative. If they do the testing and it shows nothing, they may try to chalk it up to anxiety. You don't have to take medication though if you don't want to. Just say to your doctor, "Thanks. It is good to know it is just anxiety. I will practice deep breathing and relaxation when this feeling hits me and learn to talk myself down to a calmer state." You don't Have to take anti-anxiety medication If YOU choose not to.

There are plenty of people who learn to deal with anxiety without medication. There is nothing wrong with chosing this route; just as there is nothing wrong with those who chose to take medication to help. It is a personal choice.

If you chose to not take meds and it is just anxiety, you'll need to learn techniques to help you deal with the anxeity. This takes work but can be done with practice. However if it is heart related, you'll definately want to work with your doctor to have a good outcome and that might mean meds.

Let us know what you decide and how it all turn out. :-)   God Bless.

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