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Hi all,

Boy, am I an old pro at this topic!! My racing heart beat was the main focus for me in my panic attacks, and in general. OH MY! I would go around feeling my pulse and "monitoring" myself constantly. I spent many tears and fears in this department.

I have felt ALL those things, and continue to have those symptoms/sensations.

Yes, anxiety (even low levels of anxiety on a daily basis) can keep your heart rate elevated for days, weeks, and even months. The heart muscle is geared for this, so a person can go for long periods of time with an elevated heart rate if it's anxiety related. It does not "wear your heart out", even though sometimes I used to feel sorry for my good old heart because it was chugging along so fast that I thought it was working too hard.

Yes, I also have periods where I experience feeling a "faint" pulse in my wrist. This doesn't necessarily mean anything horrible is going on. Sometimes when I am feeling "weak" or "faint (pale), and my pulse is not as noticeable, I will have something salty, which raises the blood pressure in a natural way.

Yes, I also feel out of breath and dizzy sometimes. Part of that IS from your elevated heart rate, and part of that is probably from being overwhelmed with your current situation and anxiety.

Hilery, You did the right thing by having your heart rate and rhythm monitored, and by going to your doctor to have yourself checked out. There are certain things your doctor looks for both on a physical exam and on the holter exam to ensure that you have a healthy heart. How blessed you are that you have a healthy heart that races from anxiety only. :)

Yes, you do certainly have a reason to feel stressed out Hilery! Whether you FEEL you are having anxiety can be different from actually having it. Your anxiety is probably coming out by this scary symptom. Even a low level of anxiety every day can add adrenaline to your system, which is going to elevate your heart rate. And thinking about your heart rate, or worrying about it will add stress on top of that!

An FYI that I have (what some people might call abnormally) low blood pressure. But actually, low blood pressure is excellent to have, and what may be low for some people, is normal for others. I am considered normal for me, but I have had my BP taken by other doctors who were a bit concerned. Their concern made me concerned!

Also, dehydration can give you a rapid heart beat. I'm not suggesting that you start drinking gallons of water every day, but usually a nice tall glass of water at least twice a day will ensure that you are hydrated well.

What did I do to combat the fear of my racing pulse?
1. I got myself a thorough exam by a cardiologist. I was so panicked that seeing my regular doctor wasn't enough for me to calm down. I needed to see a HEART SPECIALIST.
2. Once I received a clean bill of health, and this included reassurance by taking ALL my worry questions with me to my examination, I knew that I had to accept this diagnosis and trust in my doctor. Acceptance for me is what made the most difference.
3. I got a very helpful book (as part of learning to cope with my high anxiety) called "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weekes. There is a section devoted to the racing heart, the palpitating heart, the shaking heart, etc. I ear-marked that section, and whenever I was very bothered or panicked by my racing heart sensations, I would re-read that section over and over. The book is small enough to fit in a purse or glove box. It is important to not only accept the symptoms as harmless, but to make your BODY accept them too. Re-reading or re-affirming yourself is a good way to do this.
4. Speaking of re-affirming, every time I was in a situation where I was experiencing these symptoms, I would say "I have a healthy heart" over and over again. This calmed me down and reassured myself internally that I was okay. Sometimes it takes a while for mind and body to catch up and believe the same thing!
5. I would give my heart "permission" to beat fast. Every time my heart would race, I would say to myself something like, "okay, my heart is really racing. I'm okay, and it's going to be like this for a while, so go to it". Basically, I stopped fighting it.
6. I stopped physically monitoring my pulse for strength and beats. I was a slave to my pulse. Taking it constantly! I could still feel my heart beating in my body (chest, head, etc.) but I stopped deliberately monitoring it. I can still 'quietly self-monitor' just by sitting sit and "listening" to my body, but it was necessary to make the decision to stop taking my pulse as part of accepting that things were okay.
7. I started doing the things I normally would do, despite my fear of my heart breaking or beating out of control or going really fast. Things like normal exercise scared me because that MADE my heart rate increase. But that's a good thing!

Also, for people who are slender (slight of build), it's not abnormal to see a higher heart rate.

Sometimes drinking a SUPER-cold glass of water helps, because when the cold water passes through your throat, it cools the major artery, which slows the heart rate, too. It doesn't always work, especially if you are really anxious.

Deep breathing is wonderful too, because it relaxes you from the inside, out. The only thing is, when you deep breath, it can elevate your heart rate as it is normally supposed to do! But I strongly recommend deep breathing as a relaxing tool. I owe most of my initial recovery from anxiety to that.

There are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms, but I am phobic about taking a lot of medications, so I opted to go "au natural" and cope through things like I mentioned above. Also, counseling is a good thing when a little extra support is needed!

You really are okay. Please post back. Wishing everyone a wonderful day. :)

[This message has been edited by Wowwweee (edited 07-30-2003).]

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