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I have been having problems with a rapid heartbeat beginning five years ago. My heart rate was in 130s (even at rest) and it was pounding hard. I also had trouble breathing and had chest pains. I was lightheaded, suffered head pain and was always exhausted. Even though I was tired all the time I couldn't sleep at night and could remain awake for days. I had to quit my retail job because the activity was too much for me to take.

I saw the cardiologist and they ran a battery of tests, all results came back normal. The only thing that the Dr. could confirm was my rapid heartbeat. Because the cardiologist couldn't find anything wrong with my overall physiology I saw a therapist. The psychologist thought I had anxiety/ panic disorder. The problem was, however, that my symptoms were 24 hours a day I felt constant fluttering in my chest. My symptoms did not last between 20 minutes to two hours as was the case for those with anxiety and panic disorder. The cardiologist recommended beta blockers for my heart rate but the side-effects would've caused other problems and I did not want to go on medication when the cardiologist could not find a "problem" with my heart. I remained in this miserable state for 5 years until June 2007 when a simple blood test diagnosed me with anemia and a low iron level store of 4. I started eating red meat and greens and took two iron pills, one vitamin pill, one ensure vitamin drink and one carnitine pill a day. After about one month I started feeling severe nausea and stomach pain. I had to lessen my vitamin intake. My iron stores went up slowly, as of March my iron stores were at 39not yet at the 50 iron level. I have just been retested but have not gotten the results back yet.

Although my symptoms have lessened greatly in intensity and I'm much better than I've been these past five years, I still feel chest pressure and it is very difficult to take full breaths. I no longer feel the constant heart fluttering in my chest as I once did. But, I still get fatigued overall and often, even if I've slept the night before. This is preventing me from having an active lifestyle.

I do not know if there is any connection between anemia/low iron levels and breathing, I will have to wait until my blood results come back. I hope that I do not have some other medical issue that has caused these problems. I wanted to share my story just to let others know that they are not alone if they have these issues. Any thoughts? comments? ideas?
Chickie, :)

this board has been extremely helpful. How lucky we all are to be able to come here for an advice and support!

As for your question, my heart has sustained some damage. Certain agents (such as my meds) seem to make things worse sometimes. I've had many episodes of chest pain, tachycardia, bradycardia and palpitations. I also have a heart murmur..Some of these episodes arose from the interactions of my meds, or during my attempts to discontinue them. I am sure that having low iron has not helped the matters. My last ECG (done in a hospital lab) was different from the previous one, which is why I had to be re-tested in the ER. What is considered "normal" for me is abnormal for others. Any deviations from my "abnormal normal" could be worrisome. I hope there's a simple explanation for the iron loss/deficiency, such as not enough dietary iron. That would be the best case scenario and could well turn out to be the case. Admittedly, I don't eat ANY liver and only very little red meat due to my dietary restrictions. However, I eat tons of fruit & veggies. I agree with you that anxiety is not good for us and only makes everything worse. I am not going to worry about it. Thanks for your help.

[QUOTE]So you see you can have low iron levels (iron serum or decreased/lowered ferritin) and not be anemic. Hope that helps.[/QUOTE]

It sure does! :)

It has also left me more confused. The bottom line is that I might not have anemia, which sounds good to me! I checked some of the other lab values and though some are within normal range, a few are borderline. We'll just have to wait. Time will tell. Thank you for your help!


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