Avatar universal

Adrenalin Surge?

Off and on for the last year, I have experienced what feels like an adrenalin surge that wakes me up from sleep and usually occurs around 4:00-5:00 in the a.m.  I can literally feel it coming on and then my heart rate goes up.  My heart rate goes up around 110-120 bpm and feel anxious, arms feel a tingling sensation.  
I am 55 years old and have recently had an echo sonogram and stress test.  The cardiologist could not find anything and stated that my valves looked good.  
I am about to go off the deep end with these things!  Anyone else have these?
23 Responses
Avatar universal
I also have these so called adrenalin surges at night.  My cardiologist did a stress and that appreared to be normal.  The cardiologist said that he thought that I was having adrenalin surges, so I guess that it is possible.  He changed my beta blocker to a longer lasting one to see if that would help.
Avatar universal
I too get similar.  I have had sinus tachy since April.  It is constant.  My GP says it's anxiety.  I have other symptoms though which are Chronic Fatigue/MS related.  However, I wake up with butterflies in my stomach and get the tachy as soon as it happens.

It literally feel that feeling you get in your belly like you get when you are scared, of if you see a spider (and you're scared of them).  That strange tickly knot in the belly, it is the adrenalin being kicked out I think.  I am on beta blockers too.  Mine don't seem to be AS affective these days, but my stress levels are way up and I shake and feel cold most evenings.  I have a lot of tension at the moment.  

My husband said my neck is very tense, I have a swollen muscle at the back of my neck with the tension.  It is tight as a tight rope.  I think that is causing a lot of trouble with my other symptoms.

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone with this.  

Do you have any other medical problems?
Are you under a lot of stress?
Avatar universal
I've had these for 15 years.
Avatar universal
thanks to all of you who have commented.  

"Are you under a lot of stress?"
Yes, but is currently being managed by Lexapro.

"Other medical problems?"  Not really.

Again, thanks for taking your time and sharing this journey with me!
61536 tn?1340698163
Yes, this has happened to me.  I used to get them in the middle of the night but they could occur at any time.  Had something of one tonight.  I've had all the testing and my cardiologist blames adrenaline.
Avatar universal
Have you ever been evaluated for sleep apnea?  Apnea causes the body to need to wake up in order to breathe.  This results in an adrenaline surge.
Avatar universal
OMG. I have the same butterflies thing except I get it before I completely fall asleep just as im starting to drift off and then after that it seems to go away...

but what I find very interesting is that I too have had the worst neckpain I have ever had in my life recently... I believe i developed this neckpain due to the studying position I used for this past semester... I was laying down while reading and taking notes for hours at a time... which put a LOT of stress on my neck....

I really hope this is not apnea, but I wonder if it is if our neck pain is what is causing the apnea...
Avatar universal
I began having "adrenalin rushes" like this in my mid fifties, along with the hot flashes and fatigue of late menopause. It was worse at night, but also hit for an hour or two mid-mid morning. I remember being at work and feeling like I was shaking inside.
I also had the tight, swollen muscles in the back of my neck.

I'm now in my mid-sixties (post menopausal)  and I no longer have the hot flashes. But I do still get heavy fatigue, an off-balance feeling, adrenalin rushes mid-morning only, and the same tight, sore neck.  There is one very tender muscle that really causes a lot of trouble. Of course, I've also developed arthritis in my neck, which doesn't help. I take a small dose of clonazepam (generic for Klonipin) at bedtime, and I think that's why I no longer have any night time adrenalin rushes. I can usually get through the morning ones by just relaxing and/or keeping busy on a hobby. (Retirement is nice in that sense.)

I just wanted you to know that I also have had these problems. Since having a viral infection ten years ago, I've been left with ringing ears, the off-balance thing which is a mild type of vertigo (feels like my head is "swimmy), and some days when I'm so tired that I really have to rest. Now the latest is reflux and about 8000 PVCs a day. I find that I don't have the energy I used to have. Am not sure if it's the PVCs or just getting older.  My heart is fine (had it checked out with an echocardiogram and stress test),  but I can't take walks as long as I used to.  If I do, I come home and sleep for an hour or more. Very strange.  I don't take a beta blocker, so the fatigue isn't coming from that.

Hang in there. I know what you're going through.
Avatar universal
I noticed that you also have sleep apnea. If your CPAP pressure is not high enough, you may still be having apneas. What happens is that when you can't breath the body kicks out a surge of adrenalin to wake you up. Like you, I have sleep apnea, and use a CPAP machine, but often I wake at between 2 and 4 PM with the sensation that I am burning up. I think it's adrenalin surges waking me from apneas when I start to hit deep sleep. When I take Lunesta to try to sleep through it, it records apneas at the rate of about 25 per hour. during the period 2 to 4, despite wearing my CPAP. I have been trying to get my sleep doc to retitrate me but she says my sleep recordings (without Lunesta) look fine. What those recordings can't tell her though is that, though wearing the CPAP mask, I am simply not asleep from 2 to 4! So the recordings look good, but I'm not sleeping!

All you other people suffering from these late-night adrenalin surges, probably need sleep studies to check for sleep apnea, too!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your message.  I too have adrenalin surges and I am wondering what beta blocker your doctor gave you?  Toprol did the trick for me for years, now it does not work.  Can you help  me?  Pauli in Milwaukee
Avatar universal
I took Toprol XL for years and then Plan D would only pay for generic Metoprolol Succinate ER. That's when I noticed a change in efficacy, not so much in the generic version produced by PAR (actually AstraZeneca still makes it), but the one made by Wagner. So are you still on the original Toprol XL?
1839507 tn?1318534438
Doctors always say it's anxiety etc.
Sure, when your adrenaline kicks in to wake you up, you get a SHOT of adrenaline, aka a response that makes you ready to run!

I told my doctors for years, and they said, anxiety and wanted me on anxiety meds. ( which make waking up form sleep more difficult).
The problem is much more complicated than they even understand, as doctors actually only know what they are taught, and few try to solve a problem.
Their  job is to diagnose, because that's how they get paid!

I am seeing a dentist in Tacoma WA who people are coming to from all over the world for many disorders, including adhd, alzheimers, fibro, auto immune disorders, etc. because ability to sleep deeply, so the body can heal itself is not occurring with sleep apnea, and few really get help from CPAP because it has to do with the tongue, mouth, and so forth, that requires repositioning to breathe normally.
It is quite a science.
This doctor is Farrand Robson, of Tacoma, and his work is called OSB, oral systemic balance.
It makes perfect sense, the more I know and do, and believe me, it is a process, not a quickie solution to get orthotics made correctly for breathing.

It all depends upon the severity of your structure of mouth, tongue,and throat, and breathing passage.

For instance, many dentists treat TMJ, but TMJ is clenching, and we clench so that the tongue tenses up so we can breathe. We sleep on our stomachs so we can breathe.

We control so much of our lives, like talking a lot, because we can't breathe if we aren't talking.
Kids who have adhd have breathing disorders. They have trouble being still because movement helps them breathe, they need to talk to breathe, but are put in school and told to sit down and be quiet.
Then they have adrenaline.
People, btw,  gain weight because they can't sleep. not vise versa.
People with Alzheimer have alzheimers because they can't breathe.
Inability to breathe affects our posture, because we shift our bodies to allow ourselves to ...breathe.
Think about it!

And the surgery they are doing, is not the solution either, even though some people may get relief, for a while, long term, the problem still exists in some form.
I highly recommend you call Dr Robson's office. He is training dentists and certifying them. He may have a dentist in your area. or you may get a dentist in your area interested.
My name is Sherry, and I invite you to use my name if you like. If you get in touch with me, I may be able to answer some questions, and also tell the office about your need if you want to get in quick. Some people need to get in right away!
You can find me at Mukilteo daily photo.

1330929 tn?1317277607
I get these too, not at night but during the daytime hours. Sometimes my hands shake uncontrollably and I get the whole butterflies in the stomach, racing heart and heightened awareness for no apparent reason. One doc says it's anxiety the other thinks it's my hormones and adrenal glands. BTW, I'm a 32 yr old male. So who knows what they are but they are very annoying and sometimes scary.
Avatar universal
its adrenaline surge.of course the reason of adrenaline rise can be your anxiety.it can also occour after sex.relax.the less you are afraid the less it will last.it nevber killed anyone,this you must know.when you feel it will start walk walk around dont sit so you help the adrenaline getting reduced.usually if you lie down is the worst am i right?
Avatar universal
its adrenaline surge.of course the reason of adrenaline rise can be your anxiety.it can also occour after sex.relax.the less you are afraid the less it will last.it nevber killed anyone,this you must know.when you feel it will start walk walk around dont sit so you help the adrenaline getting reduced.usually if you lie down is the worst am i right?
Avatar universal
I've been having the same thing for about a year now, waking up feeling a huge pressure in my heart because it's going so fast, it's also difficult to get to sleep in the first place because it happens repeatedly while dropping off. I'm only 19 so I don't think it's a health concern... Hopefully not.

The only thing I know to suggest would be sedatives of some kind; I took diazepines for a while. I wouldn't recommend them but if it gets to be too much, it's a solution. Obviously the best thing to do is see your GP.

I just checked the date on the original post... Maybe someone else will find this helpful though.
Avatar universal
im 45 female and this has been happening to me for about 2 years,the first time i woke about 3 an with my heart not just racing but it was pounding hard, about 160bpm. i also smelled a strange chemical smell when it was happening. it seems to be getting worse now sometimes during the day for no apparent reason ,i have had a mri of brain of spine a cardiac cath. and my gallbladder removed, all with normal findings. i don't believe its anxiety, i know what that feels like,and this isn't it. i feel like its something coming from an intravascular level. i really ***** to know that their isn't a md out there who can figure this out. its been 2 years now i just welcome it the best i can maybe that way i can make sense out of it. guys and girls were still here even though each time it feel like this is it. hang in there the lord will take this from us soon  we just have to wait on him , in his time it will come to a end, just beleive
4998510 tn?1362103101
I have been having these episodes for about 2 or 3 weeks now. Was rushed to the ER by ambulance because my heart would not slow down. I am a type 1 diabetic, and didnt know if it had to do with the diabetes or something else. It felt like a surge of adrenaline. I was just sitting there on my sofa watching TV when it happened. Seems to happen mostly in the evenings.  I was not stressed or anything.  Just happened and seems to be an on going pattern.  I'm on Prestiq for anxiety, and began to think that I was having a bad reaction to that. Dont know what to think.  I see my Dr next week, and hopefully she can help me with this problem.  thanks for your post. Do you have any other medical problems that could be linked to this?
Avatar universal
Wow! My doctor suggested a sleep study with possible apnea and I was like "what? I don't sleep" after reading this tonight, just bc I looked up adrenaline surges... Maybe there is something to it. I don't mind having to have a cpap, I'd just like to sleep. Thanks for sharing, I feel like there is hope and I'm not the only one laying here feeling like my heart is gonna beat out of my chest right after I finally fall asleep. Y'all all described exactly what I'm going through!!!
Avatar universal
have endocrinologist check aldosterone levels  check cortisol levels and do special test for 21 alphahydroxalase enzyme deficiency. This causes adrenal rush low cortisol and blood pressure spikes thru the night
Avatar universal
21 hydroxalase enzyme deficiency
5732332 tn?1373260774
I have been having this issue for as long as I can remember. I'm currently 25, and can remember them all the way back to age 10. They've been becoming more frequent though. They can happen at any moment, where I just wake up and I feel like I could run ten miles, or just want to start punching something, or I just need to squeeze my hands really super tight until my arms tremble and feel weak. The only solution I've found is to get up and do something till I'm exhausted. I'm on wellbutrin, because the doctor thought my excessive fatigue was depression related. I also have severe neck pain that gives me daily headaches. I've had them for about 7 years now, and are rarely relieved by Tylenol and aspirin.  There are also moments in the night where I wake up and my heart is pounding super fast for no reason.  I would love to know what is causing this and if possible avoid taking any additional medication. I'm a healthy 25 year old female otherwise. I eat well, and exercise on a regular basis. Good to know I'm not the only one with this though.
Avatar universal
You are spot on. I've discovered recently that if I get up and walk around as soon as I feel the adrenaline surge, the feelings starts to wear off faster. Also recognizing the build up and pre-emptively increasing your movement/heart rate seems to help a great deal for me.
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