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Feeling fatigue, anxiety and fast heart beat. What is going on?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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after a bad month of unfortunate episodes. I feel a general ill feeling and fatigue and I feel my heart beating fast almost like im having an anxiety attack or something. Do u have any idea what may be the cause?
Posted Wed, 28 Nov 2012 in Heart Rate and Rhythm Disorders
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Palpitations is basically described as the feeling of abnormal beating of the heart.The rate of the heart can be affected and it can beat too fast or too slow or the rhythm can be abnormal.
Normally when the heart beats, the 'electrical current' that flows through the heart starts at a specific point in the heart and flows along a certain pathway.Palpitations occur if there is excess or decreased stimulation of the area where the current starts or if there are any abnormalities along any aspect of the pathway.
Some common causes of a fast heart beat would be: anemia (low red cell mass is associated with palpitations and fatigue.Some persons may also have shortness of breath)
(2) abnormal levels of thyroid hormones- elevated thyroid hormones is also a cause of the palpitations.May also cause other symptoms such as tremor, abnormal menstrual cycle, weight loss
(3) side effect of medications-some medications may cause palpitations as a side effect . This would include medications such as asthma medications
(4)heart failure, high blood pressure , disease of the mitral valve and alcohol use may also have these complications
(5)anxiety can also cause all of the symptoms that you mentioned but it is only considered when all the other causes are ruled out.

You may want to consider visiting your doctor to obtain a specific diagnosis.To determine the cause he or she will take a history to find out when the symptoms started, the associated symptoms, any progression , any factors that make it worse or better, how long the episodes lasts,medication history.
Examination would be first general (looking for pallor, tremor, checking weight) and then zoom in on the cardiac system.
Blood tests checking your blood count (to check for the anemia), thyroid levels and electrolyte levels will likely be necessary.Additional tests would be an ECG (to check the rhythm of the heart for a short period of time) and maybe a holter (a 24 hr ECG)

The treatment would be depend on the cause and type of abnormal rhythm that is detected.

I hope this answers your question, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feeling fatigue, anxiety and fast heart beat. What is going on? 36 hours later
Thank for responding, I had another important question. What about my sleeping disorder? I have not slept in weeks. I have this headache that has not gone away, its been at the back of my head on the left side and I am still feeling ill like and weak especially when I am laying down. I can't sleep and I m not sure why. I also had a tingling around my left upper arm. I was already checked by my doctor for that. She said their were no signs of a lump or swollen gland. I did get nausea last night after I tried to massage the headache away. Its interesting that u mention abnormal period because I am still on my period when I'm usually off after 7 seven days.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later

Sleeping disorders are common, there are actually different types of sleep disorders.
The sleep disorder can be primary where there is no obvious cause or it can be secondary to a medical or psychological illness like anxiety or depression.
If your doctor believes that it is as a result of another condition then that is treated first.

Since sleep is extremely important you may want to consider visiting your doctor for an evaluation to determine if there are any secondary causes or whether it is primary sleep disorder.
When evaluating a person with these complaints a doctor may suggest checking some blood tests such as thyroid test, blood count, your blood gases which check the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
There are some screening tools that ask a variety of questions that may be done to check for depression and to determine the severity of the sleep disturbance.
He or she may also ask you to complete a sleep diary and to do a sleep study.

All these investigations would determine the type of sleep disorder.

In general the following is recommended: (1) use the bed for sleep and sex only, do not read or watch tv in the bed
(2)exercise daily
(3) do not drink caffeine late in the day, avoid any stimulating activity late in the day
(4)practice relaxation techniques late in the day before bed such as XXXXXXX breathing and muscle relaxation
(5)avoid day time naps
(6)maintain a regular sleep wake cycle
(7)do not watch the clock while in bed
(8)if you are in bed for 20 mins and do not fall asleep then get up and do something relaxing till feel sleepy again

hope this info helps you
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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