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I am 43, have had shortness of breath pretty chronically since July. I went to my internist who ran lots of bloodwork and recently ordered a stress test to rule out cardiopulmonary problems. I am thin but haven't worked out in awhile except for keeping up with two toddlers. They also did an EKG in the GP office as well as a spirometry test to check lung function. Those were normal. They ruled out reflux as a cause for my shortness of breath and the bloodwork ruled out other things like thyroid, autoimmune issues, etc. Now we've been exploring the anxiety angle. I also have horrible insomnia that Ambien and Lunesta don't help. Coupled with my insomnia, my racing mind, and low level of chronic anxiety being home with two little ones, that seems logical.

When I went for the stress EKG, the Dr. scared the hell out of me. First of all, I was nervous so my resting hb was around 115/min. It fluctuated around there when they hooked my up to the machine. He commented on that right off the bat. They got me up to around 165/min. and I was winded but fine. My heart slowly went up to that pace. As he's talking to me and asking what other tests I've had (have I had a chest xray? etc), the fact that my heart rate was VERY fast and how he's going to order another echocardiogram (had one over 5 yrs ago to rule out a heart murmur - it was fine). So....I'm getting more anxious by the minute. My bp never shot up much (it's always on the low side and the diastolic didn't budge from 80) and he said I had a slow and steady increase in heart rate, although it didn't come down as quickly as he would've liked, ignoring the fact that our conversation was making me REALLY nervous. He seemed puzzled by the whole thing. I asked him what the problem could be and he said that some people just "run high" and that there's no explanation. I pressed for more and he said it could also indicate a weak heart, sometimes they're caused by viruses, etc. I asked him what you do for that and he mentioned something about just "hoping and praying" and then he said something about heart transplants, etc. Then he asked me if I ever saw the end of NYPD Blue when Jimmy Smits got killed off - evidently he had a bad heart. I was so freaked out by that point and wanted to keep my composure that I made an appt for an echo on Thurs. and walked out of there. The more questions I asked, the more worried I got.

I have two children under 3 and I'm freaking out. Yes, he did say it could be nothing but seemed really worried about my rapid heart rate and seemed to minimize the stress component. I just talked to my GP re: this visit and he tried to calm me and said maybe this guy was just speaking off the cuff (he didn't know him - new partner) and that my resting HR at his office was 100 but they attributed it to "white coat" during my visit. He didn't see anything that stuck out and tried to get me calm but did say to follow up with the echo. He just sent me for this stress test since he's trying to rule out other things. Interestingly, my breathing got better for a few days while I had a cold last week. Some weeks, I'll get a few days where it's much better. I never thought about my HR until now. I don't usually ever feel like I'm hyperventilating - just a constant feeling of anxiety. Great....something else to worry about.

I took my resting HR last night and today and it's in the 70s most of the time. Is it so unusual for it to shoot up so quickly and sustain at such a fast rate when anxious?

Any comments would be welcome! TIA...





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