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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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heart..no dizziness, no chest pain of any kind, no shortness of breath

Resolved Question:

As I've asked about before, I have a resting heart rate that seems to elevate sometimes - often once a day.

I'll be "resting" - which means I'm not actively exerting myself, usually sitting - and I'll notice my heart beating somewhat fast (when I take my pulse, it can be in the high 80s or even in the 90s; it doesn't get into the 100s unless I'm exercising). I don't have any other symptoms - no dizziness, no chest pain of any kind, no shortness of breath. I've wondered and worried that it is my heart, but I've had multiple ECGs, chest x-rays, blood tests, and a nuclear stress test, and all have come back completely fine.

I've noticed, though, other things about myself that I've had seemingly for years but that I've always just taken for granted as a part of my normal self; I'm extremely fidgety fairly regularly, I've always had something of a problem getting myself to sleep at night, I'm relatively hyper and anxious...Is it possible that my heart rate is part of all of these things? Could I have a hyper gland - thyriod? adrenal? - that is causing not only my heart rate going up every once in a while (and like I said, it might end up being once a day, with no other physical symptoms suggesting an actual heart problem, and with all heart-centered tests coming back negative).

It was suggested to me that I might just be having an anxiety reaction, and I do suffer from anxiety, but often my heart will be beating somewhat fast (90s bpm) with no conscious anxiety happening. But I'm constantly fidgeting - moving my foot, for example, rapidly, or my hands - and I'm a relatively hyper, anxious type. I'm wondering if it isn't something with my heart at all, but maybe something else? What should I be looking for?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Have you had any unexplained weight loss?
Diarrhea?
Sweating when other people are not hot?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No unexplained weight loss, no.

No regular diarrhea, though I seem to have food go through me quickly; I've always had a lot of gas (not as in passing gas, just very loud digestion and I often have to go to the bathroom relatively quicly after eating).

I don't often just break out into a sweat, but I do seem to tend to be warmer than the people around me; there are random times, like when I'm particularly noticing my heart rate and feeling hyper, that I'll feel a slight bit clammy, especially my hands.
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 3 years ago.
Ok, thank you...

As you have questioned, an overactive thyroid can cause an increase in heart rate. Other symptoms that may occur include weight loss, diarrhea, heat intolerance, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
I doubt that it is the cause of your fluctuating heart rate but it would be worthwhile having it checked given the fact that you have difficulty sleeping/anxiety/heat intolerance as well.

It would be highly unlikely that you have any problems with your adrenal glands without other symptoms (electrolyte imbalance, very low blood pressure or high blood pressure depending on what the issue is, etc).

Your heart rate is not abnormal...it is not abnormal for the heart rate to increase a bit during the day just as your blood pressure will vary.

The one test you can do that it appears you are lacking is a holter monitor. This records exactly what your heart rate is doing for 24 hours and will make sure that there are no worrisome heart beats.

With normal testing thus far, it is not likely you have any underlying heart disease.
This may be related to anxiety...if you drink caffeine, smoke or drink alcohol, this can also cause an increase in heart rate.

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have,

Dr Abby

If you are satisfied with my help, please remember to click accept. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello again!

I don't actually drink caffeine or smoke, nor do I generally drink alcohol.

I have had anxiety problems in the past, but generally these days I don't have actual anxiety attacks.

I suppose it's possible I'm having uncounscious anxiety?

My heart rate will seem to be beating faster/harder at seemingly random times (as in, times I am not being active); the only reason I notice it is because I notice every little thing about my body - every ache and twitch - and I've always suspected my noticing and focusing on it has made such a thing a little bit worse, as in it might make my somewhat faster heart rate seem faster/harder which makes me anxious.

But the fact that I am so terribly fidgety and hyper has made me lately wonder. And it seems like half the time during the week I can't get to sleep very easily. It could just be anxiety I guess, but I don't notice conscious anxiety symptoms.
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 3 years ago.
Being fidgety and feeling hyper can be symptoms of anxiety...these are definitely ways that anxiety manifests itself.

Perhaps taking an anti-anxiety medication would be helpful for you.

I do think that thinking about your heart rate and being conscious of it will cause it to go up...

It is easy for me to tell you not to worry...but I do think that you have nothing to be concerned about at this time with regards XXXXX XXXXX heart rate.


Dr Abby

If you are satisfied with my help, please remember to click accept. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks!

I'm always worried about it - being something of a hyperchondriac makes it so, and my cousin died of a heart defect (or, according to what I hear now, possibly due to being very overweight, which I am not), which means my hyperchondria is heart-focused. But after having EKGs, x-rays, and a nuclear stress test, it is difficult to be logically worried about my heart too much.

However, having my heart beat fast occassionally does bring on a little anxiety. But I've read that even in the 90s, this is within "normal" heart rates.

I can't really afford a Holter monitor at the moment (having no health insurance), but I assume it isn't something I've got to rush out to have done at the moment as I've had all of these other tests, including very recent 12-lead EKGs.

Thanks again for your helpful answers!
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 3 years ago.
You are welcome.

You don't need to rush out for a holter..

I am sorry about your cousin. I can understand why that would trigger a fear in you.

But, with normal tests, it is not something that is going to happen to you.

Dr Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience: Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby
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Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States