peggy

Irregular heartbeats, palpitations, tachycardia, bradycardia

96 posts in this topic

I am not sure if this is related to menopause or withdrawal -or maybe both.

 

I experience irregular ectopic heart beats - they don't cause dizziness or pain, i just feel them as a thump thump. It is not tachycardia - (continual fast heart beat) and it is not related to any anxiety. I thought i would ask here before doing anything else - i have had them off and on over the years but haven't taken a lot of notice about whether or not they were occurring only during withdrawal. The only thing i have related them to is when my hot flashes are active (and that may or may not be related to withdrawal)..

 

I am hesitant to go to the doctor as if they did an ECG just my luck i wouldn't have any.

 

Has anyone else experienced this?

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Hi, Peggy: I think what you describe as ectopic beats are mitral valve prolapse symptoms. I, too have had these off and on for many years. When I had general anxiety disorder many years back, these " flutters" we're very common. Since I've topped ad's, they only visit once in a while. It is my understanding that they are more of an anxiety related phenomenon than an actual heart related issue. There must be a genetic component since my brother experienced them, too. So much so, he had a complete work up on his heart at Stanford university hospital, convinced he had some serious heart pathology. They found nothing wrong with his heart. I have had unrelenting hot flashes for six years now. Can't really say if they are related to wd. They do seem more intense in the evening, when cortisol levels drop(?). Does this help any?

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wow!

interestingly, my mother was diagnosed with a floppy mitral valve a few years back - however she gets a lot of breathlessness - i don't get any of that.

i actually don't feel any anxiety at the moment... i will keep aware of them to see how they change or not

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Yes ~ I've had that occasionally - a flutter feeling and not racing heart - I do have a heart murmur that Ive not had issues with and I'm not certain how that relates to MVP -

There is a condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome that is characterized by severe panic attacks often mistaken for heart attacks - last I knew this was treated with beta blocker drugs - NOT related to withdrawal that I'm aware of although it seems that several of us have reported a history of MVP -

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Irregular heart beats and palpitations are very common withdrawal symptoms.

 

If your symptom started during or after withdrawal, it is likely a withdrawal symptom and an indication you have tapered too fast.

 

Like other withdrawal symptoms, this goes away with time. Also, walking helps regularize autonomic function and heart rate. Make sure you get at least a half-hour of walking every day, if you can tolerate it.

 

Mitral valve prolapse is another one of those conditions that is vastly overdiagnosed, so take any MV diagnosis with a grain of salt.

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I was getting tons of palpitating, which is why I stopped taking Sam-e. Then it turned to related to anxiety that I would get them, and related to withdrawal. At five months out, I am happy to say they have gone down a lot to nearly nothing, maybe once every couple days I feel them. I have had them all my life but they really acted up in withdrawal. I do think it will calm down for you the further out you get from stopping meds. Caffeine is a big cause of them, so if you haven't already cut that out it could be contributing too. Even Claritin gives me palpitations, so you may be sensitive to something causing them, on top of withdrawal stuff, of course.

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I have doubts about how many docs really know how to use a stethoscope - I've been told I do have murmur by some and others say no -

Same skepticism on xrays -

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thanks for the thoughts.

i do get regular exercise in every day which i love.

I will add this to my symptom check list so i can monitor its comings and goings

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I am having some fairly serious problems with heart palpitations. After doing some research, I've increased my magnesium to 300mg per day, in 3 divided doses.

 

I'm sensitive to magnesium, I've very gradually increased my dosage from 75mg at a time.

 

It seems taurine might be good for palpitations, too, so perhaps magnesium taurate is the best form for this symptom.

 

Niacin might cause palpitations; if you get palpitations are taking niacin, you may wish to discontinue it.

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I ended up starting estrogen about 5 months ago and i am happy to report that both my hot flashes AND heart palpitations have disappeared. When i finally went to the GP she sent me for a 24hr monitor which showed lots of ectopic beats - sometimes i was unaware of them. So, then she sent me off for a stress test because she wouldn't start me on HRT without clearing it with a cardiologist - it was fine and he said many people have these ectopics and are not aware of them. So, i started the HRT and within 3 weeks they stopped (at lease the ones I was aware of anyway)

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Has anybody else experienced heart symptoms as a result of stopping celexa/ citalopram or lexapro / escitalopram?

 

I experienced bradycardia (slow pulse) and Arrythmia (irregular heart beat) as well as coronary artery spasm.

 

I was told that for the drug I was taking tachycardia (fast heart beat) was the more likely side effect, but even then unlikely.

 

On another forum I know of one lady with bradycardia as a result of taking escitalopram with the cardiologists attributing the possible cause to escitalopram, but I have not heard of anyone else to date.

 

Escitalopram is far more expensive than citalopram, and when I started taking it 10 years ago (withdrew 5 years ago) there was very little data or patient experiences to draw upon. This is still the case in the UK, but I'm wondering if there has been more extensive use of this drug, and therefore more patient experiences in in US and other countries.

 

I would be grateful to hear of any experiences with heart symptoms, no matter how slight.

 

thank you

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Many of us have had problems with heart rhythm after going off psychiatric drugs.

 

Antidepressants lengthen the heart's QT interval, interfering with the natural rhythm.

 

Palpitations and fast heartbeat are very common withdrawal symptoms, brachycardia and arrhythmia less so, but certainly reported by others.

 

Over time, the cardiac symptoms go away for most people.

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Hi Altostrata,

Thank you for your reply.

My cardiologists waited for 12 months but the symptoms would not go away and I was at danger of stroke.

I now have a pacemaker. Don't think it will ever be removed....

Should I have waited for things to improve do you think?

The cardiologist said that he didn't want to put a pacemaker into what was essentially a healthy heart, but I felt that there were too many risks.

I am finding this hard to come to terms with. Have I made the wrong decision do you think?

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I don't know, Marmite. What's done is done, don't blame yourself. Quietly shut that door and look ahead to what you can do to make yourself stronger, healthier, and happier now.

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Marmite,

 

I was admitted to hospital for monitoring of bradycardia but my HR never got below 30s and was only for a short time. Even at that, a pacemaker was mentioned.

 

My understanding is that your HR was much lower and symptoms far more severe. I'm certain that i would have gotten a pacemaker in your circumstance.

 

This doesn't make your situation any easier, but hope it offers a little bit of comfort.

 

Hugs.

B

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My bradycardia continued for a year. Even when exercising my heart would not go above 48 bpm....my legs tired very quickly. At night it went below 10bpm, but during the day it was variable....40-45 bpm was average. Having an arrythmia too made it dangerous. I had 3 hospital admissions and was told each time that I was at risk of stroke.

I insisted they try a pacemaker after a year of this. I just don't know if I did the right thing, because I'm stuck with it now.

 

I don't know anyone else who has had this for so long and it hasn't improved.

I also looked into Prinzmetals Angina which produces coronary artery spasm if there is intense anxiety and/or certain medications. I'd like to ask a cardiologist but no longer have one. I was having spasms during the angiogram, (anxious again) and had them once more when I was very anxious after the pacemaker was put in.

 

The first time I had a positive troponin test and the second time, because I had a pacemaker, the wires cut into the heart muscle and it hurt like hell.

Unfortunately, by then, I was too depressed to report it and just suffered at home for the few minutes it squeezed for.

 

The only time that the spasm was recorded was during the angiogram, as the consultant couldn't move the catheter forward as the artery walls gripped it.

However, he said that this can sometimes happen during an angiogram and can be a reaction to the catheter invading the artery.

 

It's all so vague and no one can really tell me what is going on.

Every time I'm anxious now, I worry about spasm and have started avoiding conflict or situations where I have to stand up for myself for fear of it happening. This is making my anxiety even worse, because the avoidance reinforces the fear....grrr I feel so angry about it all.

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Has anybody else experienced heart symptoms as a result of stopping celexa/ citalopram or lexapro / escitalopram?

 

I experienced bradycardia (slow pulse) and Arrythmia (irregular heart beat) as well as coronary artery spasm.

 

I was told that for the drug I was taking tachycardia (fast heart beat) was the more likely side effect, but even then unlikely.

 

On another forum I know of one lady with bradycardia as a result of taking escitalopram with the cardiologists attributing the possible cause to escitalopram, but I have not heard of anyone else to date.

 

Escitalopram is far more expensive than citalopram, and when I started taking it 10 years ago (withdrew 5 years ago) there was very little data or patient experiences to draw upon. This is still the case in the UK, but I'm wondering if there has been more extensive use of this drug, and therefore more patient experiences in in US and other countries.

 

I would be grateful to hear of any experiences with heart symptoms, no matter how slight.

 

thank you

 

Not sure about the others but I had a very slow pulse and very low blood pressure. Not much was made of it. I still struggle with low blood pressure off and on since quitting prozac.

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I've had a flare of bradycardia since Sunday and can't pinpoint a trigger. My heart rate is running in high 30s to low 40s, lowest in morning. I felt good on Saturday, went out to lunch with a friend and had a fairly vigorous massage afterward. On Sunday, i went out for about an hour and became so weak and sleepy, i rushed home and directly to bed. I've been the same every day since. Mood has been significantly lower.

 

This coincided with the change to Daylight Savings Time which i understand some people are very sensitive to. I have no set schedule or alarm to wake to, so it seems unlikely this would effect me.

 

I have been drinking alot of chamomile tea which is calming.

 

My heart rate and blood pressure had been running on the low normal side prior to this week.

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Hi Barb,

Sorry to hear this. How did you pick it up - did you feel dizzy, faint?

None of the things you mention sound like triggers. Have you been checked over?

35bpm was the trigger for doctors thinking there was a problem in my case...but perhaps this is transient?

 

What about your blood pressure? That can pull your heart rate down, as can an arrythmia.

Check your pulse and bp and if all OK maybe you should have a check up?

 

Please take care Barb.

x

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Marmite,

 

I had been feeling relatively energetic for several weeks, then extremely weak and very depressed on Sunday. Friend mentioned how change to DST messes with her circadian rhythm which got me thinking. I have heard about mood changes with time change, but learned that there's an increase in cardiac events for ~2 weeks following time change. I normally would take that with a grain of salt, but we're ultra sensitive to cortisol triggers and chances from these drugs, so it seems plausible though still not probable.

 

Also, I confirmed that chamomile does have a slight effect on heart rate:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/103400-factors-affect-heart-rate-besides/

 

Wow. Just noticed this point about dehydration in article on chamomile:

. "It is a sign of severe dehydration, which occurs if your body's water supply is depleted by 5 percent."

The previous week, i was at a pharmacy that has machine that takes BP and HR. This particular one also did weight/BMI and told me I'm 5% dehydrated ( not vouching for accuracy!). I didnt think much of 5% until just this moment. Dehydration increases heart rate. I've increased my fluid intake significantly with several cups of tea/day. I previously drank Coke Classic which probably increases HR via caffeine.

 

Sorry for that tangent!

 

I have the same hollow feeling in my chest that i had last summer when admitted for bradycardia. That was probably what prompted me to check.

 

I've been using 2 apps on my phone to check heart rate (Azumio and Cardiograph - not vouching for accuracy!).

 

I haven't checked BP.

 

It was the sudden change from Saturday to Sunday that struck me and thinking about triggers.

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Another article of interest:

 

Factors that Effect Heart Rate

 

http://www.heartmonitors.com/exercisetips/changing_heartrate.htm

 

The massage therapist did deep work on my upper neck and base of skull (always tight on me). Not sure if it's possible to have effected parasympathetic area that lowers HR..? (a huge assumption, i realize!)

 

"The parasympathetic nervous system located in the brain stem and upper or sacral portion of the spinal cord slows heart rate. The parasympathetic components decrease heart rate. These neurons release the neurohormone acetylcholine, which inhibits heart rate. The slowing of heart rate is called bradycardia."

 

Perhaps we should be called.... The Brady Bunch ;)

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Sorry Barb,

I missed your reply. I hope that your heart rate has improved.

I used licorice as a supplement. You can use the root for tea - quite nice taste!

Licorice increases blood pressure. For me that was an aim of treatment.

 

not sure if that is helpful at all...but keep an eye on that heart rate hun!

I don't think it's down to anything like circadian rhythms...more cardiac rhythms I suspect!

x

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I'm holding in the low 60s this week but still quite tired. I will try licorice tea. Thanks for the tip!

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I've been looking into the ectopic heartbeats issue -- mine has become fairly serious -- and found the 3 main supplements to help this are fish oil, magnesium, and potassium.

 

No calcium supplements, use sea salt

Also, do NOT take additional calcium at all. This competes with magnesium in calming the heart. (If you use salt at all, use sea salt or other natural salts, which contain small amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-healthy-salt-recommendations )

 

From http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-when-salt-reduction-may-be-warranted

 

In fact, calcium supplementation has been associated with a 30% increased risk of heart attack, and is potentially dangerous for those at risk for heart disease. (15) For those looking to protect themselves against hypertension and subsequent cardiovascular disease, a calcium-rich diet should suffice, with no supplementation required or recommended. (And of course, remember to keep vitamin K2 intake adequate as well!)

Go carefully when increasing potassium!

Potassium supplementation is tricky because too much can upset your electrolytes, causing serious problems.

 

(Warning: People with kidney problems need to be very careful about adding potassium. If you already have low sodium but normal potassium, do not add additional potassium -- you could develop hyponatremia or low sodium.)

 

Chris Kresser says http://chriskresser.com/naturally-treating-heartburn-infant-reflux-and-stroke-prevention

 

I like the potassium gluconate form, and the dose would depend on how much you’re getting from food, but they usually come in 99 mg tablets, and you might try doing one three times a day or two three times a day. You don’t want to go overboard with potassium supplementation because all the minerals should exist in a balance in our body. If you take too much of any one mineral for too long, that can cause some difficulties, and if you are supplementing with potassium, you probably want to make sure you’re supplementing a little bit with magnesium too, which I recommend for most people anyhow because it’s pretty hard to get from the diet.

Please note that potassium can cause stomach irritation; I would titrate by half a tablet (50mg) at a time.

 

Make sure to increase your intake of magnesium before increasing potassium.

 

Also see http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-the-human-need-for-salt The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone hormonal system Chris Kresser refers to affect heart rate as well.

 

Food: The safest way to increase potassium

Probably the safest way to increase your potassium levels is to eat the delicious foods that contain high amounts of potassium.

http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-when-salt-reduction-may-be-warranted

 

Research suggests that increased intake of potassium, found in fruits and vegetables, may be more effective than, and possibly synergistic with, moderately restricting dietary NaCl in reducing not only the renal excretion of calcium, but also the level of blood pressure, the expression of hypertension, and the development of osteoporosis and kidney stones. (11) Therefore, a diet high in potassium-rich plant foods is crucial to preventing the negative outcomes typically associated with a high salt intake....

Potassium-rich foods

From http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/potassium-sources-and-benefits?page=2

Here’s how many milligrams (mg) of potassium you'll get from these potassium-rich foods:

    [*]Winter squash, cubed, 1 cup, cooked: 896 mg

    [*]Sweet potato, medium, baked with skin: 694 mg

    [*]Potato, medium, baked with skin: 610 mg

    [*]White beans, canned, drained, half cup: 595 mg

    [*]Yogurt, fat-free, 1 cup: 579 mg

    [*]Halibut, 3 ounces, cooked: 490 mg

    [*]100% orange juice, 8 ounces: 496 mg

    [*]Broccoli, 1 cup, cooked: 457 mg

    [*]Cantaloupe, cubed, 1 cup: 431 mg

    [*]Banana, 1 medium: 422 mg

    [*]Pork tenderloin, 3 ounces, cooked: 382 mg

    [*]Lentils, half cup, cooked: 366 mg

    [*]Milk, 1% low fat, 8 ounces: 366 mg

    [*]Salmon, farmed Atlantic, 3 ounces, cooked: 326 mg

    [*]Pistachios, shelled, 1 ounce, dry roasted: 295 mg

    [*]Raisins, quarter cup: 250 mg

    [*]Chicken breast, 3 ounces, cooked: 218 mg

    [*]Tuna, light, canned, drained, 3 ounces: 201 mg

A more extensive list of potassium in foods http://dietgrail.com/potassium/

 

(Good news, cocoa is high in potassium!)

 

Keep digestion calm

There also seems to be a connection between palpitations and digestion problems (the vagus nerve connects the stomach and heart), so you'll want to keep your stomach calm, too. See our topics on diet, probiotics, and other ways to reduce turmoil in the gut.

Edited by Altostrata
updated and expanded

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Thanks, Alto, for ALL you do. I hope you get this resolved and are feeling better soon.

 

On somewhat related note, my low heartrate and low BP seem to have stabilized (without treatment) since last year when I was hospitalized for cardiac monitoring. Running around 120/80 and 60-70bpm now. Hopefully, typical autonomic dysfunction from tapering Pristiq too rapidly.

 

B

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Thanks, Barb. Good to hear your HR and BP are a lot more normal now. I was worried for you.

 

Yes, the autonomic nervous system tends to heal, if we let it.

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About two months after fluoxetine cold turkey I started having frequent palpitations. Went to a cardiologist who diagnosed atrial fibrillation (a-fib). This can cause stroke, I was told. I am now taking metoprolol (a beta blocker), which is very helpful. Both FP and cardiologist thought I was nuts when I suggested this might have something to do with Prozac w/drawal. Don't know who's right, but you all can consider this a report. Apparently others have had irregular heart beat following AD cessation. Mine last from between 1 hr and 2 days, so can be pretty scary.

 

I should add that I've had very occasional palpitations for decades and that my dad had a-fib for the last 20 years of his life.

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Palpitations are a recognized withdrawal symptom.

 

It's important to taper slowly enough to avoid this. Doctors tend to brush them off as trivial, but they're a sign of nervous system distress.

 

A magnesium-based drink might help, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/?p=53698

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Hello, I am new to this site and feel a little weird posting a reply but I feel it might be important after reading these posts about heart irregularities. I was on Effexor Cr ( i think it was called cr.) for a year or so (have a hard time remembering my history.) before I was switched to cymbalta. I just realized that is not in my signature. I was in the hospital for something that had nothing to do with my heart and they did an ekg which came back abnormal. They call it Left bundle branch block. I was referred to a heart doctor who tested me and said that i did have that and he didn't know why. Apparently it's not too serious because it is on the left side. It has something to do with the timing is off in the beating of your heart. I asked my psychiatrist if it could be caused by any of the drugs I am on and he said no. Also I asked the heart doctor and he said no.  Out of curiosity I asked the pharmacist for the drug sheet that is supposed to come with each prescription but never does. The one from the manufacturer. Lo and behold under cardiac side effects it says under rare side effects- Left Bundle branch block! hmmm. why did none of the doctors know that effexor could cause this? I am not on effexor anymore but have not been back to the heart doctor to see if I still have this L B B B. I will go back and find out now and if anyone wants to know I will report back. Dazygirl

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Can you feel arrhythmias?

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Hello, I am new to this site and feel a little weird posting a reply but I feel it might be important after reading these posts about heart irregularities. I was on Effexor Cr ( i think it was called cr.) for a year or so (have a hard time remembering my history.) before I was switched to cymbalta. I just realized that is not in my signature. I was in the hospital for something that had nothing to do with my heart and they did an ekg which came back abnormal. They call it Left bundle branch block. I was referred to a heart doctor who tested me and said that i did have that and he didn't know why. Apparently it's not too serious because it is on the left side. It has something to do with the timing is off in the beating of your heart. I asked my psychiatrist if it could be caused by any of the drugs I am on and he said no. Also I asked the heart doctor and he said no.  Out of curiosity I asked the pharmacist for the drug sheet that is supposed to come with each prescription but never does. The one from the manufacturer. Lo and behold under cardiac side effects it says under rare side effects- Left Bundle branch block! hmmm. why did none of the doctors know that effexor could cause this? I am not on effexor anymore but have not been back to the heart doctor to see if I still have this L B B B. I will go back and find out now and if anyone wants to know I will report back. Dazygirl

 

Don't know about how things work in the US, but, if it's anything like how things work in Canada, pharmacists are much more knowledgeable about "side" effects and other drug issues like contraindications than doctors are.

 

Not that that is an excuse--he should have a reference book (PDR I believe) in his office that he could have checked to see if it was listed.

 

I hope it clears up for you.  I have had irregular heartbeats and bouts where it felt like my heart was speeding up, but heart tests found nothing.  Over time this has improved.

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i can't remember when mine started but lately i've been getting palpitations more frequently and lasting longer. i used to notice them for about 15 months once a week but lately they are lasting an hour and a few times a day.  I'm at 15 months since my last dose of an ssri. is it common for this to start this late in the game? 

i had a doctor's appt the other day and my BP was nice and low but my resting HR was 98. i actually felt pretty relaxed so i knew it wasn't anxiety related. i am curious if i should relax when the palpitations are doing its thing or if they are harmless and i should just carry on as usual/exercise. also, I'm not sure when i should worry and see a doctor, or just wait for my body to regular. i feel normal and fine when its doing it, i just feel the strong pounding.

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Apart from real heart issues, I think it's from too much adrenaline. At least mine is. If you have too much cortisol, you likely have too much adrenaline. I have learned a lot from really paying attention to what has been going on before they start. Found I have a lot more food allergies than I thought. But I still have them in late evening, craving my benzo. Now my pulse is about 80, used to be about 100.

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In addition to white coat hypertension, I seemed to also have had white coat tachycardia.   Did a 24 halter monitor test that conformed this wasn't an issue.

 

I have noticed certain foods will raise my HR also.  And the Temazepam that I have taken on a PRN basis also causes it.

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i see it being cortisol/adrenaline related when I'm waking up and feel it, or when i reach for something up in the closet, or after exercise but sometimes it happens when I'm just sitting calm and not anxious. maybe i should pay attention to food.

should i be careful when its happening and take it easy or just do business as usual? I'm 40 and in good shape. i had an ekg in feb that came out fine but during withdrawal my heart will sometimes beat faster or slower. i just wonder if there are dangers to this that i should watch for, or just carry on and wait for it to regulate.

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