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Post traumatic stress and adrenalin

Can anyone shed some light on Hyperbeta adrenergic syndrome.  I have been suffering from constant sinus tachycardia and with it high bp.  I have undergone extensive tests (including thyroids) and they can't find a cause, but it all kicked off after giving birth, I read an archive post on here from a lady called Roberta, she said her daughter had the same symptoms as me even down to the severe weight loss and that it was all after the birth, it stated that she had sinus tachy, with it high bp and that she had become very thin and weak like myself.  I read the posting on medhelp.com about a woman who's daughter of the same age as me had it in 1999 but there was not much mention of the condition of hyperbeta blah blah.  On wikipedia it is related to post traumatic stress.

I have adrenalin racing round me all the time, and am on beta blockers and have been prescribed SSRI's also.

I developed a fear of giving birth, then of course, I had to give birth, I was relieved after the birth but there was so much adrenalin whooshing round me that I literally could not sleep at all for three days after the birth, I had, on the first night conditioned myself not to sleep after the birth.  After that I started sleeping normally, but of course, was using babycentre forums to chat to other mums who had been supporting me and I supporting them through our pregnancies.  Then... one of the Mums got a nasty infection a few weeks after the birth, followed by another.  Then I got a tooth infection and had gone from fear of birth, to fear of infections.  I then stopped eating - fear of getting more food stuck down the gap where my wisdom tooth has not quite come through properly which has caused 5 infections through the pregnancy and that one after the birth.  I tried to eat on the other side but was so nervous that I couldn't swallow properly.  I would have literally a mouthful a night.

As well as that I then noticed I had got a womb infection like my friends and was "crapping myself" about it.  I was convinced it was bad, because I had looked up the name of the infection and saw what its complications were, I was ULTIMATELY terrified!  It was a nasty one.  I was given antibiotics and then took another swab test which said it was all clear.  But I was not convinced, I had developed other symptoms and was convinced it had become a secondary infection.  I noticed I was getting petechaie, flushing, my blood pressure was going up, and more and more symptoms arose.  I was getting severe pain in my pelvic area and was in and out of the doctor's on a daily basis in sheer panic.

I then caught a virus that was going round, shortly after I developed a painful rash on my legs, then the rash disappeared but I felt weak and drained.  I was still not eating.  I had not noticed that I had lost weight by this point.  

I then noticed my skin had gone very pale and transparent, I could see all my veins, I felt weak, my breathing was weak.  Something, to me, was very wrong.  I felt like my muscles were wasting.  I then caught another virus, a bad one this time, it was sinusitis with a throat thing.  I could not breathe properly.  I had also been crying a lot with anxiety.  One night I laid on the bed coughing and my lungs were literally spasming, forcing breath out, it was terrifiying.  I could feel the congestion daily working its way down onto my chest.  I had earache and my sinuses were heavy.  I could feel this tight band around my middle all day one day.  My mouth was full of sores when I had tried to eat.  I was in a mess.  I literally one night ran down to the doctors in fear and when he checked my bp and heart rate he immediately admitted me because they were both sky high.  Only to be told after lots of blood tests and chest x ray that my problem was psychiatric!

The heart rate never calmed down, I was diagnosed with sinus tachycardia, I then got lots of pvcs and pacs etc... and developed an arrhythmia also.  I was referred to the cardiologist who said it was stress but has booked me for an echo.  Meanwhile my symptoms got worse, I noticed the weight loss and I eventually weighed myself, I was 8 stone, from 10 and a half stone in 2 months!  I had lost all my body fat/muscle mass.  I was bony, pale and my veins were popping up all the time.  I had gone greyish white in colour, dark circles under my eyes.  I was back in and out of the doctor's convinced it was physical, my fingernails went bluish, I developed fungal infections in my toenails and feet, I was in pain all of the time in my joints (my joints even went red).  I was tested for everything and tests came back normal each time. (thyroids, blood counts, blood cultures, serum levels, electrolytes, esr, ACE, PTH, glucose, you name it) the only levels that have been out recently are my FSH and LH which are both elevated but that can happen in a normal cycle and I was due my period when I had them done so they have to be repeated.

I have since developed neurological symptoms and I am very scared, I have asked for an MRI but have been refused.  (I was granted a referral recently by another doctor but my doctor put a stop to it, insisting it is purely psychiatric).  I also have suspected ME which doesn't help.  

So, after babbling on like that (sorry), is there a chance that it actually IS psychiatric?  Has my living in constant fear caused this?  Is my adrenalin whooshing round all day every day?

Before birth, my normal bp was 100/60 the highest it went was 110/60.  It has always been like that.  Now, on the beta blockers, it's 130/80!  

Can someone give me some advice?
5 Responses
213375 tn?1202403800
I'm sorry to hear you've had such a tough time lately!  Our stories sound so similar!  I really don't have any advice for you as I have sought medical help for these same exact "symptoms" (and many more) for several years now and have been told every time that it's anxiety.  Just wanted you to know you're not alone and I wish you luck!  I hope you felt well today, you are in my thoughts.
Avatar universal
Did you also have every test under the sun too?  

I recently wrote to a MD in the states who told me that anxiety CAN cause constant sinus tachycardia, is that right?  What is the best thing I can do to calm the heart rate down?  I have tried relaxation techniques and breathing exercises, it just doesn't seem to calm it.  I can be sat down watching the TV late in the evening and it feels like the beta blocker has worn off and the heart rate goes nuts!  This has only been recent, usually the beta blocker works pretty well, but more recently I have had to take another half a beta blocker at night.  

I had asked this doctor if merely thought and emotion can keep it going mad and he said yes, and that subconcious thought can also do it, so I may not be physically thinking about it but because it is something I have been thinking about all the time it psychosomatically goes mad all of the time.

I can feel the adrenalin though, I admit that, but my breathing etc... will be normal when the rate goes mad so I don't think it's panic attacks.  My bp also goes up.  I have recently had to do a test for pheochromocytoma (adrenal tumor), the 24 hr urine test to check my adrenalin.  We shall see what that comes up with.  

But, did you get the same as me after giving birth?  I heard that birth injury may cause it too but I don't know what kind of injuries.  I had a natural birth and my husband said it looked shocking when I was delivering the baby, I don't know what he saw, but he said the baby came out so fast.  I was induced.  Before the tachy started I do remember still getting severe pelvic pain at night.
213375 tn?1202403800
I too gave birth naturally!  OUCH!  :-(  My baby came quickly as well, however I wasn't induced.  I didn't experience an pelvic pain after delivery, just pain from episiotomy, but I began to experience a transient slow heart rate.  My doctors were leaning towards lowered levels of hormones as the culprit.  I accepted thier explaination and hope they are right.  I wonder if your hormones are out of whack, on top of the anxiety, could maybe explain your tachy???  Just a thought, and remember, I'm no doctor!  I have read that people can experience tachy during a panic attack, but am unfamiliar with sustained tachy.  I get an "elevated" heart rate after eating heavy meals or anything that has sugar in it.  I say elevated because my normal resting heart rate is between 60-72 BPM (just sitting around) and always around 80 BPM while cooking cleaning etc, but when I ingest things that trigger my heart rate increase my sitting heart rate is usually around 80 BPM and jumps up to 120 BPM or a little higher while up walking around, accompanied by heart pounding.  It will last around three hours and then return to normal.  Does this sound like what you experience?

Yes I too have had almost every test under the sun!  Over the last seven years I have had atleast twelve EKG's (mostly in ER, and at cardiologist), echocardiogram, stress test, event recorder, atleast 6 chest X-rays, a chest CT scan, an abdominal CT scan, an upper GI, a brain MRI, and three series of blood work.  Everything always comes back normal.  I have chronic low-normal blood pressure, at times symptomatic (dizziness, orthostatic hypotension), and fear taking beta blockers for the side effects they can have on BP.

I know that I haven't been able to give you much advice but I hope this helps you!

I hope you felt well today!

Cori
Avatar universal
Hi Ryan,

Unfortunately, I have had all the tests done to rule that out.  Coagulation etc... is normal.  Had the autoimmune tests.  I have LITERALLY had every blood test you could think of to rule out the symptoms.  Every level is perfect apart from my FSH and LH which were both elevated.  But they can elevate just before your period and I was due on my period when I had the tests for hormones.  Blood counts were normal, haemoglobin, coagulation etc... it was all fine.  

My rates are strange, while on 25mg Atenolol a day, which IS a low dose, it is about 60 resting and about 80 when walking about.  Without it is wierd, it can be 90-100 resting and can go way up to 140 when I get up from sitting.  So it is pretty much postural but still elevated at resting too.  It is worse when I have eaten a meal.  It starts pounding after a meal and sometimes does not calm down, it gets faster and faster.  Then I have to take another Atenolol just to calm it.  But I do feel a buzzing sensation around my body when it races up and up, like adrenalin rushing.  

I contacted a cardiologist on Allexperts.com, an MD and he said anxiety CAN cause constant tachycardia.  He said it was subconcious thought doing it.  I am still not sure that it is anxiety, however, I had tested negative for autoimmune diseases.  I have recently done a test for pheochromocytoma which does give you elevated bp and tachy.  I am waiting for the results.  

The nails thing is so strange - they were normal until I was told that if there was something wrong they would be a funny colour, then a week later they started changing from normal to red and blotchy in the nail beds, now they change colour a lot, they will look bluish when I'm outside and it's cold, they will be dark pink when I am warm.  They are darker pink at the bottom and pale at the tops.  

THe doctors seem to believe I am in constant fight or flight.  When I get the tachy I do get symptoms of mild panic, like tension and butterflies.  I can wake up with butterflies for no reason.  Sometimes I wake up in tears as well as having pins and needles down both arms on waking.  

The doctor has refused me an MRI or CT scan until the 24 hr urine test comes back.  But, the other tests I had done were perfect - textbook perfect levels.  They have suggested it might be ME/CFS.  

2 yrs ago I had the petechaie after having a virus.  I got similar symptoms but not the tachy or the bp, but the rest of it like the pins and needles, muscle pain, fatigue, other rashes.  I started noticing petechaie then.  I also bruised really easliy.  My husband and I had a play fight one night and he squeezed my leg, the next morning there was a bruise in the shape of his hand print on my leg.  Then the symptoms disappeared a few months later and I was healthy again.  Then I had a healthy pregnancy.  Then I got two infections, then two viruses (all one after the other) then during the 4th virus which was a kind of sinusitis, I developed high bp and tachy.  It never calmed down.  The night the tachy started I had a lot of petechaie on my arms but nowhere else.  I underwent investigative tests and the only thing was that my white cells were slightly elevated but only by a tiny bit.  I had blood cultures done that night too and there was no infection, giving them the conclusion that it was anxiety mixed with a very bad sinus cold.  

The tachy never calmed down after that.  It could be dysautonomia - reason I say that is because when I was rushing to the doctors that night I felt a tight sensation in my legs as I walked down to the practice.  Then I noticed that night that my hands were very flushed.  A few days before that I had a tight band sensation around my middle.  And days before that I felt a sensation like there was a stocking on my arm.  I was told that they are symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.  Before the tachy etc... started I was having constant anxiety about my health.  I was convinced there was something wrong with me even without symptoms, I just kept saying to the doctor that I felt "infected" with something but didn't know what.  I just felt like there was something invading me quickly.  I was convinced I had blood poisoning to start with, I thought it was secondary to my womb infection because it was strep in my womb.  But I'd had antibiotics but just didn't seem to emotionally/mentally grasp that concept.  I was convinced something was very wrong.  

Because I am thinking about my health all of the time, literally, then perhaps the constant tachy is because I am constantly worried.  I am usually thinking about my health when it starts.  I then get butterflies in my belly and the rate goes up and up.  

I became kinda hypochondriac about it all, one week it was one thing then another week it was another.  I was on a mission to find out why my rate was always up and why I felt so bad.  I was in and out of the doctor's office demanding more tests.  Tests for things like sarcoidosis, ms, infections, I had my thyroids checked 4 times, glucose tests, you name it I was tested.  My chest x ray was normal.  ECG was normal apart from the tachy and a slight RBBB which I was told is something that young women can get.  Before all of these symptoms I was under too much emotional stress for anyone to handle in one time.  I had marriage problems, my best friend died, I became a mum for the first time, I had financial problems, family problems, you name it.  Each day I dreaded the mail.  I'd wake up irritable.  I'd lose my temper within 5 minutes of waking up.  If I didn't do that I'd lose my rag when I saw the mail on the door mat waiting for me.  

So, it could be stress.  What I do know, is that the symptoms didn't start until I became anxious about my health.  Almost like psychosomatic in a way.  

Avatar universal
Anxiety CAN do all that and give you all the symptoms you listed just as this MD told you.  Your pheo test and the 24 hour urine test will most likely come back negative.  I had the same tests done including the kidney scan, and they all came back negative, heart is healthy, but due to anxiety I was admitted to the ER three times with severe hypertension.  If you are constantly anxious about something it can give you sustained high BP.  I saw a Hypertension Specialist and a Cardiologist.  The Hypertension Specialist explained to me that everybody reacts different when having panic attacks, constant anxiety and so on.  Some people have constant stomach pains, constant headaches, diarrhea etc.  Others, like me react with constant hypertension while anxious or during panic attacks.

They Hypertension Specialist also told me that your SUBCONCSIOUS mind can do that to you too.  He studied thousands of people over a period of 15 yrs, people where there could be found no cause of their high BP, and after counseling them a couple of times either by a Psychiatrist or the Hypertension Specialist himself the anxiety/phobia/post traumtic stress or just stress for which some people react with hypertension came to the surface.

Its best to get to the underlying cause  because tranquelizers are just a band aid, and don't get to the root of the problem.  They never done a thing for me nor did Therapy, I lived in this hell for 15 yrs, until I found out about the books by Dr. Claire Weeks her books helped me to have these panic attacks and anxiety under control 95% of the time.
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