Why am I getting these heart rushes
March 27, 2008 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Every once in a while but at least once a day I get this weird feeling that I just figured out how to describe. Imagine you really have a crush on someone and they unexpectedly enter the room and maybe smile at you - the feeling I get when that happens is similar to this unprovoked random feeling that I'm asking about. Basically, out of nowhere, for like one second, I seem to stop breathing, have a tightness in the back of my throat and experience what feels like a wave of low pressure in the center of my chest. It's a little like what you might call an adrenaline rush or a panic wave but I'm not stressed....

and there's no sudden change in external stimuli. It kinda makes me take a deep mouth breath and then back to normal.

My info: male cuacasian 44yo 200lbs 6ft generally healthy taking prozac wellbutrin and ritalin . yes those last two are stimulating but this is a new feeling and I have pretty good experience with ritalin going back a few years and feel certain that this hasn't happened before for me.

I have a GP and a Psych and will meet with them when I return from travels but what do you MeFites who are not my doctors think?
posted by Barrows to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's a freak of neurochemistry just like crush-spotting and deja vu.
posted by rhizome at 7:24 PM on March 27, 2008

I always think of that feeling as being what's meant by the phrase "it made my heart lift" (cause it's a good feeling, right?), so I just enjoy it whenever it happens.
posted by MsMolly at 7:27 PM on March 27, 2008

This happens to me from time to time, as well. I rationalise it as being the opposite of the shivers you get when somebody walks over your (future) grave. Tell yourself somebody just came whilst thinking about you, and that the sexual ether transmitted those crushy adrenaline flutters to you as a kind of personal message.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:47 PM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

how's your caffeine intake? how active are you? if your heart doesn't get much work, it can be more susceptible to the effects of even relatively low doses of caffeine. try listening to your heart beat or counting your pulse the next time this happens.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 7:53 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I get it too, once in a while. Always have. Triggered by memories or thoughts, neither consistently good or bad ones, not even, always, ones that are intense. I am not nor have ever been on any kind of psychotropic medication (you know, other than beer).

I'm cool with it -- I reckon it's merely momentary constellations of synaptic sparkles when something my unconscious has been chewing over for whatever reason surfaces and interacts in unexpected ways with something in my conscious mind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on March 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: wow cool answers, keep em coming
stavrosthewonderchicken i am just gonna keep reading your last sentence over and over - omg
in fact sxtxixtxcxh I had just had a big latte before my last "attack" and my post... hmmm
posted by Barrows at 8:40 PM on March 27, 2008

How's your pulse when this happens? It sounds like something that happens to me when my "heart skips a beat." I feel quite funny, then my heart seems to beat in my throat in an uneven manner. Seems to disappear when I cut back on the caffeine. Google "arrhythmia symptoms".
posted by Echidna882003 at 8:48 PM on March 27, 2008

my guess is epilepsy.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I get this when I think of old people bending to lift heavy objects, or otherwise stressing and straining themselves. Or when people talk about medical impariments. Ach, just typing this out is giving me it. Stop stooping, ye oldies!
posted by bonaldi at 9:45 PM on March 27, 2008

I've seen cases of temporal lobe epilepsy present this way, down to almost the exact words the O.P. used. But lots of people have funny turns and spells like this without it being epilepsy, so it's hard to know without a lot more information that can't be had over the Internet.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:01 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

How long have you been using the Prozac? I ask because I got some effects close to this in the acclimatization period (first couple of weeks) of Zoloft. They went away on their own.
posted by flabdablet at 10:51 PM on March 27, 2008

I was about to say the same thing as flabdablet with Wellbutrin.
posted by eclectist at 12:33 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sounds a lot like a palpitation to me, in particular an extrasystole. This is essentially an early beat of the heart, which is then followed by a compensatory pause. It's this pause that people normally become aware of, and it's often followed by a more 'forceful' beat, because during the pause the heart has filled with more blood than normal.

I had these quite regularly a few years back; they're often associated with anxiety (they were in my case) or, as others have suggested, caffeine consumption or medication. However, they can sometimes be associated with more serious conditions, and you should probably have yourself checked out. You might need a blood test to rule out anemia or a thyroid problem.

But most of these time these things are harmless; almost everyone gets them now and then; once a day isn't too bad - for a while I was getting them every half hour, probably because I was obsessing over them and making myself anxious.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:04 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Heartburn? Sometimes heartburn/GERD can feel different than you'd expect, like heart symptoms.
posted by dreamphone at 4:52 AM on March 28, 2008

This has been happening to me since I was a teenager. Finally went to the doctor, ended up with an EKG, an echocardiogram, and a holter monitor. My heart occasionally skips beats and occasionally adds in an extra beat. I started keeping track of them and they correlate, for me, to periods of stress and/or anxiety, and way too much caffeine consumption. Per the doc, nothing to worry about unless they get more frequent.
posted by xsquared-1 at 4:56 AM on March 28, 2008

If it's the thing that la morte d bea arthue described, I get them, too. My doctor called them premature ventricular contractions. They're a little more unsettling, though, than what you describe. Your description sounds a lot nicer than what I've experienced. A quick check-up wouldn't hurt, though, and maybe a little time with a Haltor monitor just to be sure.
posted by Shohn at 5:01 AM on March 28, 2008

This is so interesting because the same thing happens to me and I've always wondered what it is. It only seems to happen shortly after eating. Any ideas why?
posted by jrichards at 5:31 AM on March 28, 2008

Response by poster: I wanted to steer back toward the respiratory aspect of this event, the feeling is a bit of a "gasp". Certainly there is a correlation between what would happen in a PVC and breathing but the things I've read talk more about a "shortness of breath" than an absence thereof. Like the sypathetic (?) muscle controlling breathing/diaphram stops for a second. Maybe that epilepsy thing is not so strange.
posted by Barrows at 6:34 AM on March 28, 2008

Best answer: I get that, too. Randomly. It usually only goes on for a week or so. Usually when I've stopped and then restarted taking Wellbutrin. For what it's worth.
posted by hulahulagirl at 8:59 AM on March 28, 2008

My mother used to feel this, except she described it as an anxiety attack. The root cause was arrythmia in her heart.

I feel the same thing sometimes, but it's much rarer. Someday, I suppose I should see a doctor about it.
posted by muddgirl at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2008

It only seems to happen shortly after eating. Any ideas why?

Heartburn can sometimes manifest as a tightening in the throat and chest, and shortness of breath (which is why it's called heartburn, and why heart attacks are sometimes confused with severe heartburn).
posted by muddgirl at 9:34 AM on March 28, 2008

I used to have SVTs before I had ablative surgery and this sounds like the feeling I had right before my heartbeat would convert back to a normal rhythm from the SVT.
posted by tamitang at 3:41 PM on March 28, 2008

Yeah, that sounds like a heart skipping a beat kind of thing. Palpitation is the word for what I'm thinking of. I get them here and there, just slightly worse when I'm on Adderall.

But I would mention it to your doc., because you can't be to careful about heart stuff.
posted by gjc at 4:24 PM on March 28, 2008

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