weird heartbeat issue-Ahhhhhhhhhh!

andrelaplume2October 14, 2008

This started 2 weeks ago when (40+ yr old male) noticed my heart beating 'inside my chest', at night, after sitting in my recliner. It was annoying at first but the sensation did not last long. It happened again the next night too. I just went up to bed and noticed the need to take deep breaths for 10 minutes or so and a few yawns.

I noticed on a Friday (while looking at my 401K!) the deep breaths appearing at work! I googled and read about anxiety. I was dubious this could be the cause but after reading about anxiety the deep breaths went away.

The weird 'feel my heart beat' continued during evening hours almost every night as soon as I hit that chair. Sometimes lasting minutes, sometimes longer. At times I could feel it towards my left side. It would feel like a normal heartbeet but I could 'feel' it in my chest. Other times I'd notice it more towards the center of my chest and felt like more rapid beats. Its almost always in the evening when I sit to watch tv though. On a Saturday I did my grass and dug out a chest pain or anything. The senstaion returned that night though. Now I was getting nervous and decided to see my Doc.

I saw my doc who sent me for blood work that came back 100% normal. She sensed my nerves were freyed and set me up to get an echocardiagram and Holter montior to rule anything out. She offered no opinion as to what it could be, just scheduled a follow up a week after the echo. That test is coming soon.

I have been told by everyone its probably nerves and sometimes I think it might be. Sunday I kept my self busy even after I sat in my reliner, was logging what was happening to me. No symptoms! Last night though, when I sat they started again. It actually made me mad at first. I moved around and they stopped after 30+minutes. I then thought what if it never stops! Of course I got to bed and it started and I freaked that it would not stop. Eventually I fell alseep.

The best way to describe is one of 3 things: 1) a normal heartbeet but you can feel it rather annoying when this happens. 2) A quicker heartbeat in the center of the chest...whether it is really quicker I am unsure. This feels a bit more before going to the dentist. 3) Perhaps a normal heart beat but more intense. When this occurs its freaky because it feels someone is shaking me from the inside. When it occurs I of course become worried. Worst is trying to make it stop.

I have tried to check my pulse when this stuff occurs. Its usually 84 or less. Sometimes it feels normal...sometimes the pulse feels like its perhaps skipping a beat. Other times it seams erratic. I just read breathing can affect the pulse rate so I may be checking it wrong or at the wrong times.

Needless to say I find myself anxious and on edge and even lightheaded worrying about this....(or is the lightheadedness from the heart!) To be honest I am getting a little light headed just writing this!

The deep breath thing returned for a few hours yesterday morning but once I was ingrained in my project at work it went away.

I am a logical person who likes to think things thru. I find it hard to believe one could worry themsleves into feeling their heart beating or beating erratically inside their chest. More so, if it were nerves and you realized you were nervous, wouldn't it stop. Thus I have convinced myself I have a blockage or swelled heart that hits my chest bone or who knows what.

I am starting to lose my sense of reality! I felt a strange pulling from my center chest early on, under my arm and around my back...........heart issue or from swinging that axe to remove the stump? A funny feeling in my chest after I eat, gas or the get the idea.

At this point I almost wish it is just nerves but man I can't belive nerves could physically do this.

Any thoughts, echo is soon and I am terrified of the results. Will they see something immediately and keep me they look at it later in the day and call me back...a day or so later....if I do not hear from them for a few days can I assume I am ok. Agains I don't to see my doc until a week after the echo.

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I'm sorry you are going through this. I experienced similar symptoms years ago. Had tons of tests and in the end it was determined that I was simply drinking too much coffee/caffiene.

My 2 cups per morning habit had gradually turned into a 10 cup a day habit. Switched to decaf and voila, cured!

I hope it's something as simple as that for you.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:54AM
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ME too...I do not drink coffee though and have limited soda...I do indulge the sweets.....I am getting older and maybe the body processes that stuff differently with age....

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:21AM
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I'm guessing they checked you for an irregular heart beat.

Is it happening at night when you are lying down? It could be a case of reflux/gerd. Do you realize how strong/fast your heart beats when you vomit... just think of that, but keep the stuff inside your body. Your heart may be taking a beating if you are having a reflux issue and you may not even realize that is what it is.

It does also seem like it could be anxiety/panic attacks. Did your doctor rule this our? Possibly trying some anxiety medicine to rule it in or out could be an option. And, yes, cutting down on coffee or caffeine would probably help that too.

Do you have low blood pressure? That can often cause a tachycardia problem. There are other autonomic disorders that can cause problems too, but if you don't think your heart rate is that fast, I'm not sure if they could be causing the heart feeling sensation.

Be sure to keep your doctor appointments and call them with any concerns. I know you just want answers, but heart problems are nothing to guess at. Let us know if they (or you) ever figure out what is causing it.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 11:41AM
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Well I seldom vomit or have indegestion though a month or two ago I did have a spell.....I think it was of all things allergy related...phlem...I had trouble swallowing. The allerist got me back on my allergy meds and they increased my shots from once a month to every two weeks until the first frost occurs. My allergies have been noticbly better. I probably should mention that to my doc.

Anxiety attics...possible...not sure what brough it on but I have never been so axious in my life as I am worrying about this. The doc said my bp was good and its also checked a few times a year at the allergist so I assume that is not an issue. She said the beat sounded good. She had blood wrok showed nothing.

Next up is the echo....and Holter, which I am quite worked up about...not the test just what they find....

Sometimes the beat feels fast but I usually count 72- 88 beats a minute. That assumes I am checking my pulse correctly. Now and then it seems to miss a beat or be all over the place...I could be checking wrong or inhaling exhaling a lot while checking my pulse which I read could cause rythm changes.

It just a creepy feeling inside that makes me shaky when I feel the heart beating like that. Its like I become sensative to it in different parts of my body.

I will post what the verdict is...I never thought I'd say this but I am hoping for nerves!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:14PM
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How much caffeine are you taking in daily??? It is a well known fact that both skipped heartbeats and tachycardia can be caused by too much coffee, tea, no-doze, etc. Try giving up all caffeine for a few days and see if it goes away.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:46PM
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Sounds like it could be a case of atrial fibrilation. Not uncommon, but does need to be treated.

Try and relax and just have the echo and wear the holter. follow instructions very carefully when wearing the holter and then get the results.

Also remember that caffeine is hidden in a lot of things, including some brands of tonic that you would not think have the caffeine.
Some brands of root beer and orange tonic have caffeine added to it.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:19PM
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But don't go cold turkey if you do take in a lot of caffeine. The withdrawl/headaches could 'kill' you ;-)

I'm still betting on anxiety, but since you mentioned alleries, I wouldn't rule out reflux. People with allergies are very susceptible to gerd. Most people think gerd/reflux only present like indigestion and that they know they'll have it or have typical symptoms, but some people are silent refluxers and it doesn't present as expected. Check out the below link under the "non-cardiac chect pain section". You may also read up on the silent symptoms to see if those match you at all.

Below is another link you may like to read. And, one important thing... don't just focus on cutting out caffeine, but you may want to try cutting out all food and a few hours before bed (like don't eat at all after dinner) to see if that helps you at all. Oh, and if it is related to gerd, try to cut out all softdrinks during the entire day, not just caffinated ones; it's often the carbonation than can bother you too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Allergy/reflux link

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:22PM
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I drink little soda, no coffee and only occasional ice tea. The GORD stuff I just read does not seam to fit with my symptoms but who knows. The atrial stuff...sounds more like what I have been experiencing but no pain and why does it only happen at night. Its scary thought from what I read....I still think I'll take the nerves...though I am not sure I believe it.

The need to take deep breaths has surfaced 3 times. Thats spooky too. That may be anxiety I guess from worrying about the heart. I do not think the breath issue and heart beat issue ever occured at the same time.

It sounds like the echo should identify the I guess I will find out Wed.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Hi Andre,
I'm soon after eating do you sit in your recliner? My heart is weird. If I have much food or gas in my stomach and it rests up against my heart, my heart pushes back with irregular beats.
I have also learned over the years that when I eat, whatever enzymes/hormones,etc are released for digestion, seem to have an effect on my heart. I think its the adrenalin that gets released with the insulin. About 16 years ago, I went through several weeks, where the minute I would eat dinner, the irregular beats would start up. Then it got so that just sitting down to eat would cause it........That's when I thought it was probably something to do with the enzymes, etc., released when we see and eat food. I was on a Holter monitor and it showed them starting up at dinner time and fading throughout the evening.
I also have GERD, and have spells of having alot of irregular beats when my esophagus is irritated. My heart is exceptionally sensitive to caffeine too. The vagus nerve runs alongside the esophagus, and when it gets irritated, it can give us irregular beats, since it goes onto the heart too.
Are you getting a stress echo? Hopefully that's what you're having and not just an echo. They need to see what your heart does when it has to work harder.
My cardiologist told me that some people have alot of irregular beats and it doesn't mean anything. He said some of us are just very sensitive to feeling them. They are very disconcerting, though, aren't they??!
Sometimes I would get them when I laid down, and if I changed position it would help.
It also helps for me to take Gas-X when I get irregular beats, when its gas pressing on my heart.
Good luck and keep us posted. I'm glad you're ruling out a heart problem, even though you don't have pain.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 5:16PM
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had my test and they let me go so I guess nothing was so bad as to keep me...of course I do not know if the dude doing the test was a doc any way. So we will see....

I'm soon after eating do you sit in your recliner?

It usuaually a 2 hours or so later, sometimes up to 3 hours.

I also have GERD, and have spells of having alot of irregular beats when my esophagus is irritated.

Still not real up on the whole GERD thing though I if I have it I may not recognize it.

My heart is exceptionally sensitive to caffeine too.

I have never been a big cafine head...other than chocolate, ie I do not drink tea or cofee and do not have a lot of soda.

Are you getting a stress echo? Hopefully that's what you're having and not just an echo. They need to see what your heart does when it has to work harder.

I do not think it was a stress one; is that the one where you go on the treadmill? I have spent a little time outside over the past few weeks and did not seem to expereince anything unusual with instance I was hacking away at a stump with and axe for an hour.

My cardiologist told me that some people have alot of irregular beats and it doesn't mean anything. He said some of us are just very sensitive to feeling them. They are very disconcerting, though, aren't they??!

I am not sure if they are irregular or normal, I just know I feel them inside me and sometimes intensely. It is disturbing. It usually happens at night but I swear I am now more in tune with my body and at any given point in time I think I can feel them if I think about it. Again, its mostly something I notice only at night...though I can feel it now as I was a stressfull morning for me though...I would not says its irregular right now...just that I can feel they seem to come from my lower middle instead of upper left....not intense though.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Humm. still wouldn't rule out GERD especially since it is happening in the evening when resting, but I just reread your posts.

Do your allergy medicines or shots list 'heart palpitaions' as a side effect? Possibly the increased dosage is causing the problem?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Hi again Andre,
I sure wish they'd given you a stress echo.
Also....did they do an EKG? Have they seen any of your irregular beats?
Do you ever feel your pulse when they are happening?
Is it possible what you're feeling is twitches in your intestines??? I have fibromyalgia and have experienced just about everything there is to have!! For awhile, I would have weird sensations like pressure in my chest that would suddenly decrease. It would feel like my heart, but yet not.
I went through 7 months once, when I had to sleep upright in a chair because the pressure in my chest and neck was too great to lie down. I would have feelings that my diaphragm was contracting. It was the strangest thing. Is that the sensation you thought you had around to your back? Swinging an axe all day could definitely cause some muscle spasms for you.
Here's something that helps me with twitches/cramps and also irregular heartbeats: I take sublinqual B12 every day. Can you get some of that and try it? It can't hurt anything.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:47PM
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Alcohol is also well known to influence irregular heart beats. And alcohol is hidden in some over the counter medications. You mentioned chocolate -- well, it contains caffeine. Try giving it up altogether and see if that helps. If you have pulled a muscle in your chest, it could be causing a great deal of discomfort that can also be frightening, until the muscle heals.

They used to tell us to breathe into a paper bag when we got panic attacks. If may sound crazy, but you may need to slow down your breathing and not hyperventilate (which many do when under stress). you may be unconsciously holding your breath, if you are stressed, also. Yoga helps this, if you could try it....

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 10:11AM
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I did have an EKG at the doc's office. Looked good she said. I do not drink.

I turned in my holter today. I did experinece the sensation last night in my chair, not intensly, it felt like a regular beat (my pulse seemed normal) but I could feel it beating inside me. I guess the monitor should have picked it up. I noted the time I felt it in my log. If the monitor shows nothing but a regular beat then I am perplexed as to how / why I felt it.

Some have mentioned GERD. I likley should look more into that. The night before the echo I was nervous. I ate a smaller dinner and nothing after that. That was the night I felt nothing weird at all. Last night, having made it thru the test I ate a larger dinner and a big bowl of ice cream while sitting in my chair. Perhaps it is a food/diet issue. I did notice myself burping a bit too though not painfull or bringing anything up. A nurse friend suggested GERD and that I get scoped! I almost fainted but perhaps that is part of the issue. I do snack lot after dinner in that chair since we moved to our new home with it open concept family room open to kitchen.

I think I will try to avoid eating after dinner the next few nights and see what happens.

Do they need to scope you for the GERD thing? I was told they knock you out and go down your throat...I'd like to avoid that.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 1:38PM
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Hi Andre,
I'm here to tell you that for years, I felt like I had a small animal living in my chest. I saw several doctors and had alot of tests. I have GERD, but its under control. You might need an endoscopy, just to make sure your esophogus isn't erroded, but I don't think its necessary at this point.
I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). My intestines are very weird, fluctuating between diarrhea and constipation, gas, tons of pressure, burping, and constant activity/noise in my intestines.
For me, my chest seems to be the focal point of my intestinal craziness. That's what I mean about feeling like I have a small animal living in my chest. I think some of us are very sensitive to internal sensations. I think some of us feel gas/food moving in our intestines, and it can be transmitted up into our chest. Our stomach is really very high up in our chests and many times, its easy to confuse feelings occurring in the stomach, with feelings in our heart/chest. I'm wondering if that's what you're feeling.

I know that when I quit eating in the evening, I didn't spend the night with funky things going on inside me, and I would also get a better night's sleep.
I think it would be a very good habit for you to get into, to quit eating after dinner. I know its hard, but I think you'd feel alot better......and sleep better.
Did you know that our intestines are called "the second brain" because they secrete alot of neurochemicals, just like our brain does? When your intestines are working all night to digest the food you ate all evening........its going to keep you awake.
I'm a compulsive eater, but seem to have gotten it under control most of the time. What's interesting is that when I overeat, or eat too many carbs, or eat in the evening, my CPAP machine shows that I don't sleep well.......even if I'm not aware of it.
Anyhow.......sorry to get off on a tangent. But I just wanted to mention how sensitive some of us are to the goings-on in our intestines. Some of those sensations can feel like they are coming from the heart/chest.
It should be interesting if an irregular beat showed up on the holter, when you sensed something.
There are lots of things to do for GERD that don't even involve any tests or even seeing a doctor. Do an internet search on it, and you'll learn all the things you can do to lessen it. Also check out IBS and see if you have any of those symptoms.
You also might be developing an intolerance to dairy or wheat. Try cutting back on your carbs.
Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 2:27PM
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Thanks! I'd be suprised if it were my seems to be in rythm with by heart beat but who knows....

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 4:39PM
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Did you get the results of your Holter yet? I've just begun having similar issues, but my pulse is in the high nineties. We think that my problem stems from the Thyroid medication doesage that the endocrinologist has me on. BTW my blood tests were normal too. But the Holter picked up Premature Atrial Contractions (PAC's). Something that is benign and normal, but certainly feels weird! Yes, overeating can bring it on too, but many times it occurs in the early -mid morning.
We're bringing down my thryroid med dose and they do seem to be lessoning, but I know that they do flair when I'm stressed.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 7:06AM
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I'm noticing something about caffeine. If I drink one small glass of coke a day, it gives me irregular heartbeats. But when I quit drinking takes 4-5 days for the irregular beats to go away. The caffeine seems to stay in my system a long time, for some reason.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 7:44AM
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I just had the followup with my doc on my echo and holter. Everything is as normal as it can be on the echo...or so I was told. The holter did pick up some some missed beats, ironically NOT at the time I indicated something was feeling funny! The number of missed or skipped beats was not a level of concern. So.....I have been trying not eat after dinner and to sit in the recliner or lay down immediately after eating. I started a week or so ago to also try to cut out some fast food and chocolate. Coincidence or not my symptoms were almost gone until Wed when I ate a whopper, fries and some rings. I then immediately layed down for 15 minutes. It started...not very intensly though.

So she left me with this....loose some weight (I have put on 10 - 15 pounds over the last few years), eat better, do not lay done after eating etc etc. Maybe that will eliminate it. She said if it gets bad enough she could perscribe a pill or something.

No doubt nerves made the whole thing worse.

Hopefully it goes away because it was an incredible annoying feeling.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 11:31AM
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Hi Andre,
Glad to hear your heart sounds pretty good. I do tend to have more irregular beats when my reflux acts up.
I agree.....even though I've had a ton of tests and my heart is fine, I just hate that sensation. I think it freaks my body out, thinking something is wrong.
I'm a carb addict........and its always a struggle to stay away from them. I feel sooooo good when I stay away from them. Then I get overly confident in being able to control eating too much of them and have something sweet, or yummy french bread, and I immediately fall off the wagon.
I think it will be a lifetime struggle for me. Hopefully you can lose that weight. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:30PM
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wow this site has been alot of im 15 and i have been getting some irregular heartbeatsonly when i lay down. im quite active and fit. but i recently have been drinking more root beer and the day it started i had a bit of chocolate (im not a candy lover but these things are and i think that that could be the source of my troubles. i think im goin to give them both up for a while and see if it gets better

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:39PM
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Hey Will,

The original poster did talk to a doctor to run tests and rule out a bigger heart problem. Your heart is not something to guess at and I don't think heartburn/GERD is all that common in kids your age that are fit. It's generally more of a baby or midlife adult problem. So, be sure to tell your parents what is going on with your irregular heartbeats. They may want to have a doctor take a look at you. It may have absolutely nothing to do with your diet.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:09PM
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