Painful Palpitations

gaylee51March 5, 2007

I am a couple of years post-meno and have been having heart palps for about 10 years. Went to ER a few times, had them checked by Cardio and was told to just ignore them. Yeah, right!

I was put on Toprol 6 weeks ago for high BP and my doc said that this would also help with the palps and anxiety. It hasn't, in fact I think they have gotten worse.

I am also having "twinges" in my chest with the palps and sometimes a feeling like a mild cramp radiating from my collar bone downward. Of course this scares me, so I then get an anxiety attack.

I noticed this pain about 6 weeks ago...could it be a Toprol side effect??? Anxiety/Panic ??? or just plain Meno related???

I have a prescript for Activelle, but want to wait for a stretch off from work in case I have initial side effects.

I'm so nervous and scared. I'm beginning to become afraid of everything! :(


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Hi Gayle,
All I can say is what my experience with Toprol actually made my irregular beats worse, at a certain dosage. I was at 75mg and getting a ton of irregular beats. I slowly went down to 50mg, and alot of the ectopy went away. One time, after I had gone down on the dosage, I had to have a root canal, and took more for a couple days before the appointment (for anxiety)......and my irregular beats returned! So even though it supposedly works on irregular beats, I know it caused more of them in me.
Also.....when it makes your heart beat slower, your heart then increases its contractility, and when you DO have an irregular beat, it has more time to fill, and the next beat is REALLY strong. Maybe you're possibly feeling those "starling" beats. (the one after the pause of a premature beat).
I, too, can have pain when some irregular beats. I've been tested too, and my heart is fine.
Are you on any calcium and magnesium? Those 2 minerals have really helped my irregular beats.
I'm off my Toprol completely now, and my irregular beats are much softer, but I do still get a little pain with some of them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 5:28PM
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Thanks so much for your reply...I'm really in a bad way today, palps, anxiety, crying. I believe that my "symptoms" have gotten worse since taking the toprol (I just increased the dose to 50mg last week per Dr's order, but I will be calling her back about how I'm feeling.

I had no idea that Meno would be like this for mother breezed through it! I have had some life difficulties and downright traumas over the past 8 years as well as some big positive changes. I wonder if my poor adrenals are just exhausted and can't kick in to take over for my menopause hormonal needs.

I actually have a filled prescription for Activella in my hot little hands as I speak. Part of me is screaming for it, with hope of getting some relief, but my anxiety roars it's ugly head and I am scared to take it. I have Xanax, but I'm afraid to take that too! I feel like I'm falling apart emotionally here; perhaps it's time for an AD ???

I just need some initial relief to get me to a point where I can do more to take care of myself through this. The person I was seems to be nowhere in sight right now.

I had started the ball rolling for a menopause support group in my town, but have turned it over to a friend because I don't have the energy to cope with the details. Usually I shine in organizing things like this. Will the pre-meno me ever come back?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:46PM
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Hi Gayle,
Sorry you're having such a rough time. I can sure relate to it though!
Some people just can't tolerate Toprol. If you do stop it, don't stop it suddenly though. That can cause pounding heart and anxiety. Take a week or 2 to slowly come down on it.
I was on it for 5 years, and it took 2 months after stopping it for my heartrate to come back down.
Why are you afraid to take the xanax? I have a fear of meds and what they might do to me, so maybe that's how you're feeling.
What dosage is your xanax? I take 1 mg when the world gets to be too much for me, and that puts me to sleep for about 4 hours.
For you, I would start at about 1/2 mg and see how that goes. Don't drive though. You could even start out at 1/4mg if you're really scared about using it.
For me, the xanax sort of "reboots" my brain, and allows me to start over, with less anxiety.
My husband used to have panic attacks and would be afraid to take the xanax.......but I would force him to take it, and you wouldn't believe how much it helped him.
We can all be very irrational when we're in a panic.
Would you feel better starting a medication, when your family was around you? on a weekend? I know for myself, I'm less afraid if I know my family will be there to help me, if I get scared.
The thing about HRT is that you WILL have to come off of it some day, and you may get these symptoms back then, but maybe not quite so bad. But that's also true of I guess you have to decide which way to go.
How often did your doc say to take the xanax?
I'm thinking if I were you, I would go with an AD, rather than HRT.......but I've never had to make that choice.
Please try to have faith that this horrible time WILL pass. It may take awhile, but you will find ways to cope with it, until it passes.
How about seeing a therapist for awhile? Would that help?
I think the first thing you need to do is accept that you are going to be different than you used to least for awhile. Sometimes we fight this change so hard, that we make it even worse.
Its okay to be scared and anxious, and not be who you used to be. Its okay.
What kinds of things can calm you down? Make yourself do those things every day.
Hang in there Gayle. Things will get better, but you might have to ride out the storm for awhile.
Take just part of the xanax, and see how you feel. then slowly work the dosage up to where you feel relaxed.
Doing this slowly gives you a feeling of control.
I'm very sensitive to meds, and the xanax never gave me bad feelings.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 11:54AM
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Hi Catherinet,

I guess this is classic anxiety, where I'm even becoming afraid to take meds. I do take my Xanax, but not nearly enough and probably not often enough. I might take 1/2 tablet 2 or 3 times a week, usually before bed when I'm having a particularly tough time.

I know that my poor body is trying to adjust to my low post menopausal estrogen levels: It's almost like every other day or 2 that I feel so anxious. Yesterday, for instance was a horrible day, and today I was fine. BUT, I held off till late afternoon to take my Toprol, so who knows?

It certainly is a ride and I'm holding on tight! Although Claire Weeks (I just read one of her books) says that we should "let go , accept, and float through it". I never was one who could hold her arms in the air on the roller coaster rides! It was always white knuckles for me!

I so appreciate the support that I receive from women like you on this forum. I moved to the country 2 & 1/2 years ago and while I love my new home, I am fairly isolated.
This has helped me so much.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 9:30PM
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Hi Gayle,
Like I said.......I can sooooooo relate to what you're going through.
I was wondering......I live out in the country too, and I'm pretty much a hermit. I am married and have a son still living at home.
I have really started realizing that I just have to FORCE myself to go out. Whether its Walmart or the grocery, or to take recycling, etc., I HAVE to get out, to help break my cycles of anxiety and depression.
When we feel awful, the last thing we want to do is go out in the world. But for me, if I force myself, it actually helps me later in the day. There's just something about changing location for awhile that helps to "reboot" me. Do you think that might help you?
The challenge is forcing yourself to go out when you don't want to. But maybe this is something you can work on.
About your Toprol.........I have discovered that people just aren't made the same. What helps one person can hurt another person. I hate it when a doctor says to me "That isn't a side-effect. Nobody gets that side-effect from this medication".......because I DO GET THAT SIDE-EFFECT!
So if you really think the Toprol is making you anxious, then come down on it. You were on it for the irregular beats, right? And it sounds like its not really helping why stay on it?
Are you married? If so, does your spouse comfort you much?
Are you taking Calcium, magnesium and B12? I have found that those 3 supplements help my irregular beats more than anything.
Irregular beats can make me really anxious too.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 8:02AM
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Any chance you have a prolapse valve? I ask only because I do - was diagnosed at age 37 after wondering for years about the palpitations. One in 8 women suffer from it. Of course now that I am 56 - and still in peri-menopause, I am about to have other issues. Hope you manage to resolve your health problems.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 1:01PM
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I also have mitral valve prolapse. It makes my heartbeat so irregular at times that I think I might flop over dead at any moment. I've been on Xanax (.5mg) for 12 years now, because the mitral valve prolapse triggered panic attacks that have not gone away - not even when my heart is beating regularly. So I guess I have to learn to live with it. I was very frightened to take the Xanax at first too. I tried three different anti depressants, and couldn't tolerate any of them, so then developed a fear of taking drugs I haven't had before. I still struggle with that fear, and its been over 10 years! So I know what it feels like. Xanax rarely ever causes problems for anyone. It helps me like you wouldn't believe. Like another poster said, it "reboots" you into a more positive frame of mind. Nothing is more horrible than living with severe anxiety and panic attacks day after day. I even got them in the middle of the night! My doctor told me that about one third of all people who have mitral valve prolapse have panic attacks. Interesting, huh? Have you been checked for it? Sure could explain a lot of your symptoms.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 1:56PM
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Been having nonstop anxiety and my heart feels like it's going to come out of my chest. I don't sleep well anymore. I constantly wake up in the middle of the night. To deal with it, I pretend I'm putting my arms around a large pole and hold on until it passes.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 10:42AM
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I was on Metoprolol for a couple of years to control tachycardia and did well on it. Then my doc changed my prescript to Toprol, because he said it lasted longer since it was "time release", but I did terrible on it.
Toprol made my heart rhythm much worse!
Apparently, some people's bodies don't process what ever it is that makes it "time release" properly.
I found that anxiety can make me feel like I have heart problems, but also, when the heart was beating badly, it made me feel horribly anxious!

Ultimately, it got to the point where no drug worked and an ablation took care of my tachycardia.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 10:02AM
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Yeah, I really suspect that the Toprol is contributing to my palps. And the palps to the anxiety. What type of ablation are you speaking of?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:45PM
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Cardiac ablation - where they zap the problem area of the heart that is interrupting the electrical pathway of the beat. This restores the normal beat pathway.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:48PM
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Hi girls i am new to this web and not so new to the symptoms of perimenopause. Please excuse my typing but i am not a computer user! I would like to tell you all about my terror filled journey! I suffered from severe panic attacks for years then some depression I tried celexa for a couple of years then I felt asif I was better so got of that was no easy feat with brain tremors and all,but nothing compared to the "flat line" feelings and no sex drive whatsoever! Then all was going along until BLAM... I was blindsided with severe middle of the night wake up from sound sleep panic anxiety,flip flop palpitations!! I would lay there paralyzed with fear,I couldn't move. If igot up I felt chest tightness trembling felt like i would pass out and of course that i was dying! I kind of knew it was as panic attack but it started coming on every night around 3 am or so and that was the end of my sleep. I got scared to go to sleep so I went back to the DR. tests all negative for heart etc. I do have mitral valve prolapse diagnosed in my 20's I am now 50. She put me on xanax and that helped take the edge off the anxiety but I can't use tht all the time I refused to go on another antdepressant at which the DR. just shook her head. I modified my diet very strictly I now eat only fruits vegetables and whole grains and drink only water or seltzer I started taking calcium and magnesium (a blood test came back high for calcium?? has anyone ever heard of to much calcium in a womans body?)I also take some of every other vitamin known to man but yet I still had occasional bouts of racing heart and anxiety.Sometimes even appearing during the day so I could hardly work. Then I started exercising again and lo and behold I am cautiously opptomistic ,but so far so good.It has been a few days now (the calm before the storm?) but I am sleeping through the night and have eiter none or very light palps but no anxiety.I also am practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises. This whole process is exhausting and frightening.I also have aaaaasthma and high blood pressure. I am on 2 meds for the BP none for the asthma except singulair. Wish I would have taken better care of myself as a young woman,seems I did every bad and wrong thing,now i'm paying the price! This website was the first time I haven't felt so alone. My Husband and kids are not very supportive and am glad to have found others who are also in the same wagon.Bless you all and feel free to answer me.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 5:16PM
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Welcome Stressed! Exercise is a great thing. Even if it doesnt get rid of anything but help burn fat and run the heart. I am sorry your husband and kids arent supportive. But we are here. Peace, Shotzy

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 5:24PM
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Hi gals.
Palpitations can really take over a person's life. Been there, done that!I've had palpitations all of my adult life, from tachycardia to pvc's to pac's. I suffered from bigeminal pvc' extra heart beat with every other regular beat, for a few years during peri-menopause. The only thing that helped was the Toprol. But not until they hit the right dose which was 200 mg! So it sounds like you've been on a very low dose. I took 150 mg, then 175, now the 200 for the past three or four years. I too was diagnosed with MVP when I was in my early twenties, but then had another echo done when I was 40 and there were no signs of MVP. Now they're saying that when I first was diagnosed, there was an "overdiagnosis" of people with MVP.Go I've dealt with major anxiety over the years.......from the palps. Then the anxiety would make the palps worse.....a horrible cycle! I even got anorexic from the palps at one point. It seemed that a full stomach used to make the palps worse....therefore I developed a fear of eating! If only I could develope that fear NOW. lol Here's something to think about...I started getting bad palpitations when I was 20. I'm now 54 and still I do still fear those nasty things though.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 3:48PM
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Harvard physician, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends hawthorne berries for heart palpitations. As well, look up LoveNewLife dot com for a few other things that could help you. There is a ROOT cause for this condition ... if you understand it, you can get rid of it. Kind thoughts to you.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:18PM
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