Home / Understanding Panic and Agoraphobia / constantly checking my pulse

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Ashley - Health Educator Jul 09, 2009 (09:22 AM)  

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James e,
 
Many, many people with panic worry about their health.  It is very common.  If you have been diagnosed with panic and your doctor says you are fine then I would not worry about it.  Everything I have read from you leads me to believe that you have panic.
 
Panic is difficult to understand.  That is why it is important for you to educate yourself.  Read through the program and read all the information you can find.  You will find that what you are experiencing is what many people with panic disorder are experiencing.
 
Panic is difficult but with work you can lead a completely normal life and control the panic.  It seems to me that you have started off great. You are seeing a counsellor and coming on this site.  Keep up the great work.  You will get this under control.
 
 
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james e Jul 09, 2009 (03:16 AM)  

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HI ASHLEY, THANKS FOR REPLYING
WELL I DONT REALLY HAVE CHEST PAIN I JUST USED IT AS AN EX.AMLE  BUT A HEART ATTACK IS SOMETHING THAT REALLY BOTHERS ME AND YEAH YOUR DEFINANTLY RIGHT WORYING ABOUT IT MAKES IT THAT MUCH WORSE ITS JUST A VICIOUS CYCLE. I HAVE HAD CHECK UPS AND EVERYTHING AND MY HEART AND STUFF CHECKED OUT FINE I DONT KNOW I HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PANIC DISORDER BUT I ALWAYS WORRY MAYBE MY CONSELER WAS WRONG LIKE MAYBE I DONT HAVE PANIC DISORDER BUT A FATAL DISEASE. BUT WHEN I SEE THE DOCTOR HE SAYS IM FINE IDK. I REALLY DONT UNDERSTAND THIS DISEASE OR WHAT MY TRIGGERS ARE BUT I KNOW ITS SOMETHING TO DO WITH MY HEALTH  HAVE YOU TALKED TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE ALSO SCARRED FOR THERE HEALTH

Ashley - Health Educator Jul 08, 2009 (10:00 AM)  

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Hi James e,
 
It is important to consult your doctor if you are worried about your health.  I know you are scared but he will probably be able to reassure you that nothing is wrong.  If there is something wrong it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 
 
HOWEVER, understand that chest pains and heart palpitations are a very common side effect of panic.  The pain can vary in severity but in most cases if you reduce the anxiety the chest pain decreases or stops.  Worrying about the chest pain is probably making it worse. 
 
Has any other members experiences chest pain?
 
 
Ashley, Health Educator

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james e Jul 08, 2009 (01:33 AM)  

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I ALSO FEEL LIGHT HEADINESS AND CHECK MY PULSE ALOT. WOW I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER HEARING THAT ALOT OF PEOPLE ON HERE FEEL LIGHT HEADED I THOUGHT MAYBE I HAD A BRAIN TUMOR.
 
BUT I JUST DONT KNOW HOW TO TELL IF WHAT I FEEL IS REAL OR IS IT ALWAYS IN MY HEAD
I KNOW NOT ALL OF MY SYMPTOMS ARE ANXIETY LIKE WHEN IM SICK I FEEL SICK BUT IF I FEEL PAIN IN MY CHEST IS IT ALWAYS PANIC OR COULD IT BE A HEART PROBLEM I AM  SO AFRAID TO GO TO A DOCTOR THEY ALWAYS RUN TEST AND IM SCARRED THEY WLL TELL ME IM DYING.
 
SOMEONE PLEASE REPLY

trixie Apr 15, 2009 (01:25 PM)  

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Well that's good that you checked out okay!  Honestly, the fear of embarrassment has kept me in check quite a few times.  One of the things that I enjoy is watching "What About Bob?", that Bill Murray film.  It helps me to laugh about all this and keep my perspective.  It's a guilty pleasure.  


Seriously, though, sounds like your thinking is on the right track.  You're a nonsmoker now, aren't you?  There will be changes that you might be feeling right now because of that, and we're all pretty sensitive to changes in our body, aren't we?  The good news is that you'll be getting a lot more oxygen from now on.. but at first you might not recognize what that feels like.  Drink plenty of water for a the next few weeks while everything is getting out of your system. you'll feel like a million bucks pretty soon.  

barbika Apr 14, 2009 (08:19 PM)  

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thanks guys,
 
also i visited the emergency room today because i felt fainty and i could hardly walk straight and the whole panic ordeal started. After 5 minutes of evaluation they kicked me out...:) so i guess soon i will realize how ridiculous i am in these situation i put myself into...and finally i can understand that theres nothing wrong with me. Besides that I live in New York City, so it's a tough job here forgetting about panic...lol
 
Anyways back to excersize and staying positive, it's good for me...:)
 
take care everyone and thanks for reading hopefully we can all learn from each other...
 
love

trixie Apr 14, 2009 (07:10 PM)  

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That's wonderful!  Good for you! 

Joey Apr 14, 2009 (06:19 PM)  

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  That's great news. 

barbika Apr 14, 2009 (01:09 PM)  

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i stopped checking my pulse...i really think it was a ridiculous habit...i feel better

Joey Apr 10, 2009 (06:29 PM)  

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i actually should know better ... i was in the lvn program and my girlfriend is a nurse .... it helps in the way that when i feel that i can't breathe ... to see that my o2 sats are up like 98 so then i know that i'm fine so my pulse will immediately start to go down.

barbika Apr 10, 2009 (06:27 PM)  

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Hi
 
Thank you guys for taking you time to reply to my message.
I have been to the doctor last October when my panic started and i have been checked with my pulse, blood pressure, thyroid and blood sugar, and found nothing wrong with me. And i felt fine for a while.
 
And then the panic disorder persisted and the same symptoms came back, which are light-headedness, feeling fainty, racy or slow heart beat drove me to start checking my pulse. I was afraid of a possible heart attack or low,high blood pressure.
 
I actually went to the doctor again today, and will be going for the same blood tests as before. The doctor didn't seem to concerned about me as my vital signs were normal and healthy and didn't even send me to an EKG. I requested the doctor to rule out if this is something i should worry about or is it just the panic causing these symptoms. So i can finally put it behind me and work on lowering my anxiety and work on it until it completely fades and i feel safe again.
 
Thank you again and i wish everyone a positive outlook and keep your hopes high.
 
Smiley days

trixie Apr 10, 2009 (04:17 PM)  

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I have not engaged in pulse-checking, or blood pressure checking. There was a time, when I was coming off of medication that was given to me after a minor surgery, where I was obsessing about heart palpitations and found myself paying too close attention to my heartbeat.  I stopped doing that eventually, when I was distracted by life and wasn't sitting there listening to my heart.  


I do wonder what the point is of checking your pulse and blood pressure constantly? I mean that question sincerely. What are you looking for when you check it? Is it evidence that you're stressed? Or is it fear that there is something wrong with you? I'm not sure, based upon your post and Joey's owning a pulse oximeter in the car.   Once you've had a doctor rule out any issues for you, it is helpful to remember that checking your pulse and bp probably makes it higher.  The fear of what you might find out is probably driving it up.  I know this for a fact because I have "white coat bp syndrome." I hate having my bp checked, so I tend to stress it when they put on that cuff (I have thin arms so the cuff makes my arm fall asleep and bruise when they do that.)   My docs have learned to do the bp after the appointment, so I've calmed down a bit.. and once my chiropractor took it and said "I"d be more concerned due to the fact that your resting bp is low, not high."   I know that I create the bp problems because of the stress I put on myself.  

I own a meditation/bio feedback program that works with my computer. I love it because it helps you use guided meditation and relaxation techniques.  While my pulse may be racing when I'm feeling anxious or in a doctor's office, I can tell you that it's low to normal when I'm sitting around in my house, and goes to almost a zen-like number when I've meditated.   When you've ruled out any medical condition (which I suspect would be the case),  then you'll come to understand that you are creating those symptoms you're worried about. 

If you haven't done this program of CBT here, I urge you to jump into it.  In the few short weeks I've been here doing the CBT, I've made great strides.  The work seems to really engage your rational mind, challenging and replacing those irrational thoughts that drive a lot of the behavior you describe.  It's not easy, but it's not overly difficult.   All I can advise from a fellow panic suffer, is to do the CBT work with the same dedication you're using to monitor your health.  Checking your pulse to see if it's elevated as a way to gauge an impending panic attack causes panic, because it requires the thought of an impending attack, and sets your mind on that fast track -- looking for supporting evidence that you're going to panic, instead of looking for reasons why you wont (or even avoiding the thought in the first place.) 

I hope that was helpful in some way.  I hope you feel better soon.

Joey Apr 10, 2009 (12:58 PM)  

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i have a $200 dollar pulse oximeter in my car.

Ashley - Health Educator Apr 10, 2009 (10:19 AM)  

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Barbika,
 
Thank you for sharing.  First of all if you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing please pay a visit to a health care professional.
 
I find something you said to be very interesting.  First of all, I thought about your enhanced senses.  Since you say you are going threw a panic attack when this happens it could be your body's flight or fight response.  When the human body goes into stress mode our instinctual reaction is to "fight or flight"  More blood circulates through the body and our senses are heightened in order to prepare for the flight or fight reaction.  So what you are experiencing seems to be a normal biological process.  However the panic you are experiencing does not have an evolutionary purpose as the flight or fight response does. In your situation it may be inappropriate to "fight or flight"  in fact it may even add to the problem!
 
 Another thing you said that was interesting is that you find it "so draining to constantly worry about my health to avoid panic" 
If you are worried about your health please see your doctor. However an increased heart rate is also a symptom of panic.  It seems to me that you constantly worrying about your health could actually be making your panic worse and in turn making your health worse.  Talk to your doctor, if he says everything is ok then stop checking your pulse and try to stop worrying.  I know it will be difficult.  Try to work your way through the program.  I think it would be very helpful for you.  It can teach you relaxation techniques and methods to re frame your thinking.  Keep us posted on how you are doing.
 
Members have you ever been in a similar situation? Where you worry about your health?  If so what coping strategies did you use?
 
 
Ashley, Health Educator

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barbika Apr 09, 2009 (09:53 PM)  

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Hi everyone
 
Due to my feeling of light headedness everyday , i developed a habit of constantly checking my pulse. Is there anyone who is doing the same? I also started to go to the pharmacy to check my blood pressure and again pulse.
 
I also at times i feel like i'm hearing much clearer then normal, meaning my hearing sharpens to the point that at times i have to wear earplugs. When this happens it's usually on a subway path and experiencing a panic.
 
One more weird thing is that often times i smell so sharp, i can smell parfume and smell of chemical.
 
Anyways these are the things that drive me nuts, everyday...My hopes are high but it is so draining to constantly worry about my health to avoid panic. I feel like i'm developing some form of sickness phobia...i hope not!!!

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