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Heart beat feeling like it is pounding very hard...feeling and hearing each beat

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by soxfan, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I have had this problem for a while but it seems to be getting much worse. I think it is probably due to anxiety but not sure. Whenever I lay down afternoon or at night I can hear and feel my heart beating. It feels as though there is a sledge hammer in my chest pounding back and forth. It actually feels sometimes like it is making my body move. I can hear and feel every single beat. It makes it impossible to relax and rest. I am now having trouble going to sleep because of it.

    I have tried relaxation music..relaxation exercises like deep breating or imagining I am in a peaceful place. Nothing works because my heart is pounding so hard and loud that it distracts from this. I have no idea what to do about this...Does anyone else have this problem? This has been going on for about a year and is getting much worse...
  2. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    soxfan,

    Many of us have this symptom and/or similar symptoms. Don't be afraid. However, you do want to let your physician know, and possibly see a cardiologist. It may be something called POTS . I will post a link to an article later this evening for you...and others here will have many suggestions for you.

    Are you taking CoQ10 and LevoCarnitine? They are helpful for the heart muscle.

    Marian
    Allyson and KathySkes like this.
  3. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    This is called palpitations, and it can be totally benign (not concerning and not associated with any disease or pathology) or it can be associated with various heart and autonomic diseases, including, as Meg said, POTS (which many of us have).

    There's no way to tell without actually doing tests, but doctors won't necessarily do that unless you have other symptoms in addition to palpitations (for example, shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness).

    The anxiety thing could actually go either way--cause or effect, or anxiety could increase the effect of an underlying problem...

    Regardless, you should mention to your doctor, especially since the palpitations are so bothersome. There could be a simple medication that could help. Track your heart rate and, if possible, your blood pressure, now and then, to take with you to your appointment.

    taking Ribose is another thing you can do for yourself, that could potentially help.
  4. Lynne B

    Lynne B Senior Member

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    re hearing heart beat

    Soxfan, I've recently been to a cardiologist, who gave me a stress echo, where you are all wired up and the doctor can follow your blood pressure on a screen while you run on a treadmill. I was found to have reactive high blood pressure. It goes up when I climb steps or even when I'm reading a thriller. So I now take a low dose beta blocker to help lower it. I still feel my blood pounding in my right ear when lying on that side at night if I've had a big day, but it usually doesn't bother me anymore. My blood pressure is lower and I feel more energetic. So I strongly second the idea of going to see a cardiologist. Good luck, Lynne
  5. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    Soxfan,

    I highly recommend that you read this article/handout from Dr. Sarah Myhill. I am an RN with a sub-specialty in cardiology. (Dartmouth, close to you!) That is most likely why I am so intrigued by Dr Myhill's ideas and protocol. She has some very interresting ideas about how those of us with CFS, may need different tests than the normal heart patient and she suggests a group of supplements. She also speaks about beta-blockers and statin use with CFS. At LEAST, you could print out the article to show your PCP (Primary Care Physician) or cardiologist.

    http://www.cfids-cab.org/MESA/DrMyhill-373.pdf

    Whether it be "palpitations" or a simple, or even complex tachycardia (fast heart rate) the symptoms are very disturbing to many. We all get upset when ANYTHING happens to the good ole pump (heart).

    In nursing and medicine, we have two states of vigilence..."watch and worry" or "oh S__T"!!! I would put you in the "watch" state...meaning a trip to the doctor makes sense, for sure. But, unless you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or super high anxiety.....I think you will find peoples(the Forums) ideas and suggestions helpful. Of course, if you experience CP and/or shortness of breath, sweating, nausea...go to the ER...

    Hope you can get some rest....

    Meg
    KathySkes likes this.
  6. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone! The pounding heart feeling is very distracting...no matter if I am just sitting watching tv, reading or trying to rest it is disturbing. I don't have pain, shortness of breath, dizziness etc..I just feel as though my heart is going to beat out of my chest. I sometimes think it is beating fast but I have a finger heart and oxygen meter and it is usually around the 65 beats mark. The oxygen is usually 99 percent.
    I know that I have pretty bad anxiety and maybe I am focusing too much on this but it is very distracting. Sometimes I feel as though I am on a water bed when laying down..that is how forceful this feels to me. There are nights when even though taking sleep meds I will lay awake for hours because of this. It won't let me relax enough for the meds to work.

    I do have an appt. with the doctor ( Dr. Komaroff) on Friday and this will be my first topic of discussion. I want to mention I had an echocardiogram about 5 years ago when the doctor discovered I have a heart murmur ( I have actually had this since birth).

    The one symptom I seem to also be having more is episodes of sweating. It will last only a few minutes but my skin gets very red and I feel like I am burning up. I will only have this maybe 4 or 5 times a day especially when I am at work.
    I actually feel much better when I am on my feet because then I don't feel these sensations. I try to stay on my feet as much as possible because trying to relax is nearly impossible. I will let you all know what the doctor has to say about all this....

    Thanks for the article...very interesting.
  7. lucy

    lucy Senior Member

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    I also have sometimes these strong beats upon lying down. In the beggining I thought it was the bed itself moving, then I realised it is consistent with my beat. They improve with omega3(big doses) for me.
  8. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    The feeling of the bed moving is consistant with the beating. It gets into a rhythm and then it becomes more and more pronounced. I am now waking up with the heart pounding in the night. It use to stop when I feel asleep and that would be it until the next day. It is more constant now. I do take omega3 but not in huge doses. I take 2,400mg daily. Maybe I should up the dose?
    It took me 3 hours last night to finally fall asleep and 4 the night prior.

    I seem to be having a salt depletion problem now too. It happened in NC on vacation 2 weeks ago and I had it again yesterday while picking strawberries. I am not sure what is happening but I have never has these problems in 7 years....
  9. MEG

    MEG Senior Member

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    soxfan

    Dr Komaroff....EXCELLENT

    ditto on the sweating....let me know if you find out anything about that. my docs have no answer.
  10. bedman

    bedman

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    i have these palpitation too. been too several cardiologists, but echos didnt show anything. they say it must be any virus or, of course, psychological.
  11. Francelle

    Francelle Senior Member

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    I have had M.E. for approx. 4 years now. In the beginning I didn't have the pounding heart/palpitations/breathlessness/missed beats/rapid HR but this symptom started in earnest early this year.

    I vehemently disavow that in my case it was anxiety as I am not anxious or depressed. I started low dose beta-blockers about two months ago and the difference has been simply amazing. I don't think I have had one episode of these horrible symptoms in that time. The effect of the beta-blockers was almost immediate even tho' I had no idea how I would respond.

    I hope you get some relief as it is an awful feeling which you can't really distract yourself from.
  12. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    It is an awful feeling...I am going to talk with my doctor about it next week. Although I must say that is has been better in the past week. I am weaning off Wellbutrin because I am pretty sure it was causing my anxiety to become worse. I am also sleeping better not taking the afternoon dose of Wellbutrin but still waking up terribly tired. I am thinking that I still might need to take something to help with this symptom. I didn't have it in the beginning either but it has become worse in the past year or so....
  13. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    soxfan, I've had this same symptom on and off for over 20 years, even before my CFS became a serious problem. Over that time I have learned a lot, and been evaluated many times. In fact just had an EKG last week again. And no serious heart problems. However I do have some clues from all the different attempts at treatment. Beta blockers help but are not curative. I don't like being on the drugs due to the side effects. The most helpful thing I have learned/found was from studying Dr Bell's research and most recently Prof. Pall's hypothesis about nitric oxide (NO) problems in CFS (NO helps regulate blood pressure/volume, among other things). To make a long story short, CFS can involve low blood volume (hypovolemia), in some CFS patients it is lower than the level at which healthy people die of shock from blood loss. As the blood volume goes down, the heart must work harder to keep circulation levels required to sustain life. Bell and Pall believe this is caused by a regulation mechanism failure involving barorecepters (pressure/stretch sensing nerves in the arteries and some veins). There may be other explanations, but regardless of the cause, this is a normal part of CFS for some of us. It is nothing to get alarmed about, but you can do things to help treat the problem. Rehydration drinks that you can tolerate are important (keep up blood volume), managing stress and exertion levels (both of which appear to cause blood vessels to clamp down in CFS and thus lower blood volume), and finding ways to treat the strange hypertension we seem to have (wired but tired). I have found a number of natural treatments that seem to help with NO management and work as well as any BP medication I have ever tried, in fact some natural substances work for me better than beta blockers. I don't think there is a universal treatment, you have to study and find what works for you. In my case bioflavonoids make a huge difference as some are vasodilators, just for example. And I make my own rehydration drink, so I can control the ingredients and make sure I tolerate it well. Some supplements I use help calm my nerves and that makes a difference. Also I use a multi B12 supplement protocol that is similar to Pall's recommends and seems to help manage the NO/ONOO- situation he describes. And practicing mold avoidance really has helped reduce this particular symptom, mold must aggravate the NO/ONOO- problem, or something related to blood volume.

    There are ways to help this situation, but most doctors are not going to go beyond trying a few drugs, which is not enough for this type of pathology in my opinion. Fortunately my primary care doc knows enough about CFS to respect its complexity, but I've had docs before who did not and frankly were dangerous. Hope you find some help.
  14. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    kurt i have this exact problem and did try beta blockers in low dose but they dropped my BP too low. can you please tell me specifically the natural things you use to get your blood volume up. i would be VERY appreciative...as this has turned into my worst probs at this stage in my disease.

    thanks, navid
  15. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    Thanks Kurt...luckily the doctor I am seeing is very alternative and will probably have some great ideas for me when I see him next week. I would rather not go on any more prescription medications right now. I drink alot of rehyrdration beverages specifically smartwater and powerade Ion. I also already have low bp and I don't want to make it get any lower. This symptom I only have in a resting position whether it be laying down or sitting down. I don't get it when I am standing even for periods of time or moving around.
    I think the reason it happens when I am trying to rest is that I am overstimulated and my body is trying to slow down but has a hard time trying to relax. Then my heart starts pounding...I never feel skipped beats, fast beats or any of that. Just the loud pounding sound. I have had many EKG's when I was in treatment for Lyme and also had an Echo and there isn't a problem with my heart. In fact I am not even concerned that I have a heart problem. It is just very annoying when I am trying to sleep at night.
    Thanks again for all your information on this. It all makes sense and hopefully my doctor can come up with something other than prescription meds. He does understand CFS quite well thankfully.
  16. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    PM or email me for the specific supplements I am using. I am not ready to post this yet.
  17. TinyT

    TinyT Senior Member

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    I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) so I get tachycardia with a change in postural position (from lying/sitting to standing). My HR often goes from 70-80bpm resting to over 130bpm within 5 mins. I started a low-dose beta blocker (propranolol- 20mg split dose am/afternoon) and find it VERY beneficial. I was finding the constant tachycardia very fatiguing.

    If you are getting tachy while lying down it could be Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia or something similar. Definately ask you doctor and you might benefit from a holter monitor to see over 24hrs what is going on. POTS is normally not tachy while at rest, only due to postural change/standing (from my understanding).

    Good idea to keep on to the relaxation strategies also if you also experience problems with anxiety.

    Make sure you are staying well hydrated, 2-3litres of water each day. If you have normal blood pressure (not hypertensive- check with your doc) adding salt to your foods in liberal amounts and drinking sports/rehydration drinks will help to increase your blood volume.

    Licorice root is meant to help increase your blood volume & stimulate your adrenal glands (like fludrocortisone does). You have to get Glycyrrhiza glabra, as this is what helps to increase blood volume. So avoid products that say "non-DGL' licorice. Keep an eye on your blood pressure if you take this.

    Good luck with the doc
  18. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    The doctor put me on florinef last week thinking it might help. I don't have any symptoms of POTS but he thought I should try it anyway. Within 3 days I became very bloated in my lower abdomen and gained 3 pounds. I stopped it immediately.
    I have always felt better standing up because laying down is when If feel the heart pounding and it is exhausting while trying to rest. I am not sure if it is because I am very tired by the time I lay down and my body is trying to recoup.

    I have a bpm moniter for my finger and I have tested myself several times from resting to standing etc....my heart rate never goes above 80's. When in the resting position it hovers around the mid 60's. I just don't know.

    I will ask about licorice root and I would rather stay away from prescriptions. They always seem to make me worse some how. Thanks for the tips!
  19. TinyT

    TinyT Senior Member

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    No worries!

    How do you go if your upper body/head up propped up by pillows? have you tried raising the height of your bed?

    Florinef is also commonly prescribed for orthostatic intolerance and orthostatic hypotension. Increasing blood volume can help in all conditions. I was on florinef about 2 weeks and put on 1 kg (about 2-3 pounds? which is just fluid retention). The first week was great and I had better standing tolerance and less chest pain/tightness. The second week I had daily migraines and TMJ pain so had to go off the florinef. Which is why I'm about to try licorice.

    If you dont have much trouble with low BP or fluctuating BP, then increased fluids may help alone if you are just dehydrated.

    If it is a condition like IST or SVT (inappropriate sinus tachycardia or supraventrical tachycardia) then its a part of the heart that is causing abnormal electrical activity and you'll have to see what a cardiologist recommends.

    Your HR changes don't sound like POTS. POTS diagnostic criteria is a HR increase of 30bpm or more &/or over 120 beats with postural change. http://www.dinet.org/ is a great website about different forms of dysautonomia (including POTS).

    Cardiac investigations like an electrocardiogram (EKG) or holter should detect SVT or IST. Here is a pubmed page if you want to have a look http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001235/

    Re- sweating, I also experience night sweats frequently and poor temperature regulation. I know this is a symptom/sign of ME (as per canadian consensus guidelines anyway) and also a sign of dysautonomia. It makes sense that if there is poor autonomic system functioning in ME that you may experience problems with sweating too much or too little!
  20. Kat426

    Kat426

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    Hello. I have been experiencing strong heart pounding in my chest for about 2 weeks. Sometimes I feel my blood ressure rise, a few times I went and had it taken. It ranged from 80/50 to 149/99. Of course, the higher one was new to me. I am 46 year old female, I have smoked most of my life, but have slowed down the last few years and since this started, I quit. I was supposed to see my doctor for this in 4 days, however, I had such a scary day I went to the hospital and they have admitted me. My tests start this morning. They are doing an ultrasound, stress, some box thing?? Don't know much more about that one. Secondary, they are checking my thyroid as it, too, can cause this heart pounding?? I don't know. Sounds like it could make sense. Well, I will keep you updated after my tests today. Maybe it will help?
    Wish me luck!

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