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Palpitations/ectopic beats - why?

(27 Posts)
stupidbutsoscared Fri 17-May-19 15:13:40

I have had palpitations since I was 11 or 12 or so . Never had any reason for them other than anxiety . I have had a 72 hour monitor , a 24 hour monitor, an echo , a stress test , dozens of ECGs and all normal except for sinus tachycardia , PVCs and PACs (apparently more of the latter) . GP says these are totally normal .

I find them terrifying as I’m scared with each time I’ll collapse. I have gradually stopped doing anything that triggers them . I avoid laughing , exercising, big meals . Even just standing up and walking to the toilet . Anything that causes adrenaline or an increase in my heart rate I find I get another one and I panic .

I’ve had short runs of 3-5 before . Most recent a fortnight or so ago, 111 sent an ambulance round who said normal ecg and no worries.

My first panic attack was in a building with a defib and I think it’s become an obsession . A relative of mine got told he has inherited condition too and that’s frightened me as well . Cardiologist told me they aren’t concerned as my tests normal . But online it says that condition needs an mri .

I’m aware a major part of the problem is anxiety and possibly I’m not fit enough with having stopped exercise but I am spending 24/7 panicking . I don’t know how to reassure myself . I’m hardly living now because I’m so scared 24/7 :-(

If there’s any reassurance at all would really appreciate it :-(

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Lightsabre Fri 17-May-19 15:44:36

I'm not medically qualified but I have heard that palpitations are quite common. Perhaps make an appt to see the GP and discuss your anxiety or look up health anxiety. They have some techniques that can help to lessen the effects it's having on your life.

HoozTurnIsIt Fri 17-May-19 17:07:01

I have these but in addition to SVT. Ectopics are weird but harmless. My cardiologist told me that I should not curtail activity because of fear of an attack and that I should gradually increase my exercise. I've done this and feel so much better.
It sounds like your main medical problem is anxiety rather than ectopics and I agree that you should see your GP about the anxiety.

Rosielee93 Fri 17-May-19 18:11:15

Sorry op i have no advice but just wanted to say i could have literally wrote this!! Sorry you're going through this i live right next to a defib machine every time i walk past it i get panicky.
Actually i do have advice.. have you tried propranolol i take it for health anxiety. It slows my heart rate down to 60-70 beats and i rarely get palpitations now. You can take up to 3 a day but usually 1 is enough for me.

Fortheloveofscience Fri 17-May-19 18:18:12

You need to speak to the GP about your anxiety, sounds like you need CBT, medication or both if worry about palpitations is occupying your mind 24 hours a day.

FWIW, I’ve had them since about the same age and have had none of the tests you mention above. I have none of the flags that suggest it’s something dangerous so when the GP says not to worry about it I believe them.

howwudufeel Fri 17-May-19 18:19:29

I started with these when I started the menopause.

wineandsunshine Fri 17-May-19 20:48:40

I could have written your exact post too.

I recently had a blood test and my ferritin levels were very low so I'm trying iron tablets (apparently that can cause palpitations).

Maybe worth checking?

If not, ablation is possible - I am going to ask about it in the next few months if I can't get them to settle down as they make me so anxious it's horrible.

stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 15:33:31

Thanks for the replies 💕 I’m sorry I’m not the only one experiencing this - it’s so horrible . I don’t sleep properly because I’m so worried . You hear of people having loads of tests and never receiving a diagnosis , I’m convinced there is something I should be worried about .

Re anxiety help . I’ve had CBT before but it doesn’t work for this - I think partly because I genuinely believe I should be concerned and because it’s been going on so long (six years now) .

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stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 15:34:11

I wrote that wrong , I mean they eventually get a diagnosis and they should have been worried all along .

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Silvercatowner Sat 18-May-19 17:02:08

Your conviction that there is something wrong is most likely the main cause of your symptoms. You need support to get over your health anxiety.

Gintonic Sat 18-May-19 17:09:38

Would it help to speak to a charity like the British heart Foundation?

They might help you get the problem in perspective and will be able to tell you whether you are actually at increased risk of a heart attack and how best to manage it.

SirVixofVixHall Sat 18-May-19 17:16:15

Have you had your thyroid checked, as well as your iron ?
I get palpitations and have had ectopics too. They really frighten me, and also put me off exercise, so I sympathise op.
In my case it seems to be a thyroid issue, as they worsen when my thyroid function drops. Before I was diagnosed I couldn’t walk up the hill without getting them , each time I thought I might collapse.
My tracers have shown episodes of nocturnal tachycardia.
Ask for a full thyroid check.

Blobbyweeble Sat 18-May-19 17:18:54

I’ve had ectopics for probably about 30 years. I do have slightly more now, especially if I drink any alcohol and they’ve always been worse if I have the temerity to have a hangover. A run of them normally lasts about 15 minutes but occasionally they’ll go on for an hour or so. Apart from an ecg every now and then I’ve not had any tests.
I take propranolol for an unrelated condition but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.
They’re much more noticeable when I’m relaxed but I’m sure I get short runs that I don’t notice. Over the course of 30 years nothing bad has happened so I think I’m reasonably safe.

stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 18:32:12

I haven’t had thyroid checked in a while no , nor iron . GP keeps saying I need an FBC but I’m too bloody scared to walk to the surgery so it’s never been done, I just cancel the appointment .

It feels like this is my whole life and it’s made me so very unhappy . I can’t figure out how to fix it as if I try to go for a walk , I get the palpitations and I panic and I can’t wait to get back in and sit down . I’m so unfit now that getting out and walking does make me feel ill . I look for signs when I’m in a panic - eg ambulance siren , someone who works for nhs , patterns of things , that convince me I should be worried . Drive myself mad and very, very unhappy and lonely .

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SirVixofVixHall Sat 18-May-19 18:44:29

Op, this anxiety and the palpiations can also be a feature of peri-menopause, how old are you ?
I do think it could be a thyroid issue though.

stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 19:07:02

I’m 27 . Periods have gone a bit off of late though - I’m getting 45/50 day gaps all of a sudden , which isn’t my normal , usually very regular . I’ve got PCOS and endometriosis though .

I’ve had these worries since I was about 16 though I think , I’ve certainly had anxiety for years and years - just comes and goes every so often . Latest bad episode has been going for about nine/ten months . My granda died last summer very suddenly in his sleep , he just went to bed and didn’t get up , and that frightened me , as I was every involved with things like the will, death certificate , funeral director .

And shortly after DM paid for her funeral , and did all her paperwork and that , it’s all left me in a panic . I grew up catholic and the idea of the heaven and hell and eternal punishment I was taught about scares me silly . Even though I’m 27 and should be able to cope better !!

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SirVixofVixHall Sat 18-May-19 19:11:25

Thyroid problems affect periods. Stress does too, you could have hormonal problems. I think you need to talk it through with your GP, and ask for a full check. Don’t be fobbed off with “stress” though, make sure they have ruled out physical causes.
I do understand how dealing with death makes any anxiety about health worse too.

stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 22:17:00

Thing is if I look up thyroid symptoms I match half for under active and half for overactive ... I’m very overweight and dry skin (my nipples are often flaky and sore for instance) - and very tired - but fast HR . V confusing !

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stupidbutsoscared Sat 18-May-19 22:17:32

I’ve got GP on Monday so will ask but while thing terrifies me :-( . I just want a break from worrying .

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MiseryLoves Sat 18-May-19 22:23:00

I’ve had palpitations and pvcs on and off for a good 10 years. Looking back it’s always Coinciding with a period of depression/anxiety. Had all the same tests as you which picked up the pvcs.
Something reassuring - The doctor said they don’t generally worry unless you get more than 20,000 per day. I was getting about 450 at my worst.

SirVixofVixHall Sat 18-May-19 23:27:46

I get far worse palpitations when under than over, something my GP still refuses to believe, as they are usually down as being part of hyperthyroidism, not hypo.
It could simply be anxiety causing them, but you do need all the other possibles checked out.
Good luck op, I hope the GP is helpful and understanding.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 18-May-19 23:41:43

Annecdotal stories aren't always helpful but here's mine.

I had these, still do on occasion and yeah it was pretty bloody scary. I was convinced i was dying and i remember going on holiday on an alcohol, chocolate and caffeine ban shock i was also told not to go anywhere remote as i hadnt had the 24hr trace and they didn't kniw what it was. Bit of a shit as we were walking in the highlands! Anyway - i should say that this was 16 years ago and my trace showed ectopic beats and was of no concern. I got terrible palpitations on my holiday -in june (relevant). Then as we moved into late summer they settled down. As did my hayfever!! I was taking beconase nasal spray and im pretty sure that was the cause. I also can't take night nurse as that sets off some humdingers!!

I get them occasionally now but don't find them especially worrying. Which is odd as i have severe anxiety. Apparently everyone gets these but most people don't notice them or have enough to bother about.

As i said, annecdotal, but that was my experience. Not suggesting yours is the same - just a thought. Could you keep a diary of anything that changes eg medication, coffee etc when you get them?

SirVixofVixHall Wed 22-May-19 15:24:07

I get a racing heart and palpitations on antihistamines ( the non drowsy type, the others knock me out ) .
How are you op ? Have you seen your GP ?

Whoops75 Thu 23-May-19 14:01:28

I get these and have to cough hard to stop them.
I used to worry but I do t anymore,the anxiety was more debilitating than the palpitations.

stupidbutsoscared Sat 25-May-19 14:08:30

Just a wee update ... had another episode yesterday .. similar to one about four weeks ago - sitting eating lunch/drinking irn bru when suddenly felt very faint and strange for about 30 seconds , like a huge adrenaline rush , and felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me . Pulse thingy on phone said HR was 114 . Didn’t feel any palpitations but not sure as chest didn’t feel right . Previous time I did feel palpitations - had about 15 seconds of fluttering . I didn’t faint either time , I was able to carry on talking and sit up etc , just felt strange...

Phoned GP surgery who said no idea what it was , but if it happens again ring 999 ... reassuring ! I’m hoping it’s just a reaction to medication , I’m on Di hydro codeine for pain relief and that was the same last time . I did get an ecg taken last time within 10 mins (as GP receptionist said to phone 999 then too) and it was totally normal , no changes .

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