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Reflux Causing Rapid Heart Rate or Simply Anxiety? Your Thoughts?

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  • Reflux Causing Rapid Heart Rate or Simply Anxiety? Your Thoughts?

    Last night I had a VERY strange episode happen to me.

    First let me so that I do have an anxiety disorder; however, it does not "show" itself in this manner. I also get a rapid heart rate from time to time that I know is exacerbated when my GERD is acting up.

    So, last night I decided to take my kids to a movie. I had a small dinner before I left (only because my dinner was so bad). I ate an ice cream bar also (I do this every night with no problem). We get to the movies and I guess I had been watching the movie for about an hour when I got hit with a wave of nausea. It happened a few times. It occurred to me that I *think* I was getting "motion sickness" from the movie (hey, it's happened before), so I had to stop looking at the screen. That helped a bit but I was still getting queasy. Then I started belching (and it was VERY acidy). I really wanted to leave but my daughter and her friend were in a different area of the theater. I toughed it out for another 45 minutes or so as I continued to feel worse. With each wave of nausea, I could feel my heart rate increase and then it would drop down.

    Finally, the movie was over and I figured I'd start to feel better once I got out of the theater. WRONG. I just felt awful on the way home. I had the shakes a bit and kept feeling like I needed to vomit. It was then I thought that maybe I was getting a virus.

    When I got home I ran up to lay in the bed. I had "whooshing" in my ears. Lots of acid was refluxing up. The nausea seemed to subside. It was when I got home that I started to feel a bit panicky. Then my heart rate started to increase (as did the acid). I started taking Xanax which didn't help. I also have some beta blocker meds and I took a larger dosage than I normally need to finally start working. In total this whole episode lasted several hours. I probably did not fall asleep until about 2:00 a.m. I feel like I have a hangover now!

    So, now I am pondering what this was. It certainly seemed "panicky" but the fact that my meds wouldn't control it well makes me wonder if my acid reflux caused this (and then my own panic set in).

    Can anyone shed some light on reflux and the heart rate?

  • #2
    Hi Christine,
    Acid reflux can irritate the vegas nerve which has an impact on the heart...but when you are dealing with anxiety it would be a very hard call to make as to which, if not both, was causing your increased heartrate. I know just small amounts of worry or fear (like why am I getting this nausea) can set off surges of adrenalin. It could be attributed to your worry and anxiety exacerbating the situation. I just started taking a beta blocker and my doctor told me that anxiety can override the effects in some cases.

    If it happens again then see your doctor but try not to obsess on it and just consider it a "bad day".


    • #3
      Sounds very familiar. I had similar attacks but taking Nexium got it under control.


      • #4
        Originally posted by KathyT View Post
        Sounds very familiar. I had similar attacks but taking Nexium got it under control.


        Can you describe some of your attacks?

        I am on Prilosec 20 mg (the old prescription kind, not the OTC) and it "pretty well" keeps things okay but I do get some breakthrough occasionally. Nexium works for me too, but sometimes I feel like I get some anxiety when I take Nexium. I've never really been able to say for sure though. I just feel like I get more side effects from Nexium.


        • #5
          oh yikes Christine... and at the movies!! you poor thing... That was the kind of stuff I was doing before my gallbladder came out... I would burp up acid into my mouth... get a whooshing sound in my ears along with a 'crazy headed' feeling in my head... not dizzy but strange... that all went away when the gb went away... my heart would race like crazy too... scared me to death... my heart does a small flutter every once in awhile now but NOTHING like before.... and ohhhh the nausea... anywhere from right after eating to an hr after.... depended on how much fat was in what I ate... PPI's didn't help me much at all back then... I got a little nauseous when I tried to go off the nexium but no heart palps or crazy head feeling.. and no more lots of burping and bringing up acid....

          sure hope you figure out what is going gallbladderless?? or do ya still have it??... ice cream bout did me in...


          • #6
            Oh God, please don't let me have to worry about my gallbladder!!

            Yes, I still have my gallbladder. I thought gallbladder attacks caused severe pain (at least from what I've read). Not reflux, acid, and rapid heart rate.

            This is what I had for dinner that night:

            A few bites of steak
            Some Kraft Mac & Cheese
            A few bites of mashed potatoes

            My dinner turned out so bad, I was still hungry. So, I ate a Dove Bar (which I eat every night). I also drank a bottle of Orangina (carbonated orange drink).

            I was refluxing a mixture of Orangina and Dove Bar all night but it didn't start until approximately 3 hours after eating.


            • #7
              LOL... I was just telling you what I was doing before my gb came out... haha not trying to say it might be your gb ... I kinda think my uncontrolled GERD junk made my GB go wonky.. dunno... I wasn't in 'severe' pain.. it was more constant and dull .. would kick up if I ate more than 2 or 3 grams of fat at a time... everything got to where it hurt... what you mentioned you ate would have made me VERY SICK... nauseous with terrible pain all across my sternum area... with a pinched feeling just off to the right under my ribs.... I wish now I had tried Nexium for longer than a couple of weeks.... maybe two months or so BEFORE I let them take my gb... but I had gotten so bad that I was eating around 600 calories a day if that... I had lost 25 lbs... I'm a very big eater... so when I started eating practically nothing because of the pain and nausea my husb knew there was something wrong. I can count on one hand what I could eat with minimal discomfort... ALL very low fat stuff... I could eat oranges with no trouble... stuff that would usually kill a GERD person... so I really think it was my GB... no stones or sludge just a very poor functioning gb covered in adhesions.. swollen and inflamed.... I still have GERD and am still on Nexium once a day... (hope to one day get off that!) but I'm taking probiotics now and a cleansing product that is helping a bunch.. just bought some liquid vitamins today... I KNOW the probiotics is helping me the most...

              speaking of those DOVE bars you eat... there is NO way I could have eaten that pre-gb removal.. even now with the GERD... it would hurt though... even though I'm doing better on the probiotics... choc still at times bothers me.. as does dairy of ANY kind.... sometimes not though...

              keep a food diary and jot down how you feel after you eat... even hrs after... see what is bothering you... good luck..


              • #8
                Christine, before I was diagnosed with GERD, I thought I had a panic disorder, but later found out it was caused by esophaghitis and acid affecting the Vagus nerve. Attacks started out with a strange feeling followed by rapid heartbeat and nausea. Yes, Nexium does make me feel anxious a few hours after I take it, but then the feeling passes. Getting your reflux under control is the key. Take care.