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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?
Well, here's my bad news: I am wearing the King of Hearts monitor again for a MONTH! Sheesh! I'm so upset that my heart is behaving wonky. Ya'll might recall that taking magnesium was really working to silence the night time extrasystoles. Well, those are still fine but I am now having bad flutter. I will be really upset if I have to take anything for this. FLFLOWERGIRL, I'm like you, I HAAAAATE pharmaceuticals.

Anyway, the shortness of breath was awful when I had it, but mostly frightening time with anemia was the tachycardia. I don't think this heart business has anything to do with anemia, but maybe perhaps it's the supplementing, or even the time of day when I take my supplements. Who knows?

Maybe the anxiety is coming back. I just don't know.
Christine, you won't be shocked when I tell you what I KNOW is causing mine.


It's been like a constant 5-alarm fire around my house and my work studio lately.

For me, it was the opposite. I was almost sort of used to the flutters and thuds and extra beats. The tachycardia got my attention pronto and I called 911. I never want to feel that again. That's when my ferritin was in the basement. But I do remember so well when I first had the flutters years ago. The doctor had to look me in the eye and say "you aren't going to die from THIS", because it just doesn't feel right to have your heart feel like a trapped bird in your chest.

Back to working on my anxiety, I guess.

flowergirl, when I had my lowest ferritin levels and low serum iron, I had an episode of tachycardia (which is an extremely fast heart beat) after climbing a flight of stairs in a parking garage. I called 911 because my heart has NEVER gone that fast before. Anemia basically causes your heart especially to work extra hard because there isn't enough oxygen in your cells to fuel your organs. Anemia is very hard on your heart and organs which is why I mentioned to you that it (anemia) is worrisome on its own and must be treated.

Christine and I have an additional condition called extrasystoles which is a heart arrhythmia but it's benign, though very nerve racking. Anemia has nothing to do with it. I also have a murmur which could be contributing to it. Most people's are benign, but doctors like to check it out anyway in case it isn't. My cardiologist years ago told me college students (who seldom physically rest or stop moving and never sleep) and moonlighters frequently get extrasystoles.

What is your doctor's plan with regard to your EKG? I don't know if anemia (which by the way is defined as iron deficiency) is related to your EKG changes, but it certainly won't help a heart that is already working extra hard.

Not surprisingly, when I started to learn about all this, anxiety became a problem and there are others here that can tell you about anxiety with this as well. It's scary and in my case, I had anger because I felt like many doctors over many years let me walk around like this until I nearly fainted in a parking garage. I'm just telling you in case you experience anxiety, it's all part of it. I can't tell you how this board has helped me for all of this.

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.


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