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Janet asked...

Palpitations and breathless

Why am I waking up every night with palpitations, a red face, plus feeling breathless? I then get back to sleep for a couple of hours, then the whole procedure returns and wakes me up again.

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The answer

In relation to the symptoms you are experiencing there could be many causes ranging from metabolic reasons, hormonal reasons and possible cardiac related concerns.

We would encourage you to arrange an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms so that some basic tests can be performed to help discover the cause for discomfort being felt. Your GP will also be able to refer you on for specialist care and treatment if required.

You do not tell us how old you are but it is possible that the flushed feeling with palpitations particularly at night may be a sign of the peri- menopause/ menopause as a result of dropping oestrogen levels. This can be tested by taking blood tests to check the hormone levels.

Another possible cause for the palpitations that you are feeling, could be due to the presence of a cardiac arrhythmia as a result of changes to the heart, stress or infection. Again a way to check for this would be through blood tests and an ECG (which is where the heart rhythm and function are being observed). The breathlessness you are experiencing can be due to infection, circulatory concerns or simply as a result of the palpitations making you feel shaky and panicky.

Metabolic concerns such as dietary, blood pressure and thyroid problems can also cause some of these side effects too.

As well as seeing your GP for a medical review as soon as possible I would suggest making a few changes to your life style to see if these help reduce the symptoms that you are experiencing. Caffeine , alcohol, smoking and stress are all known to cause palpitations and health issues so reducing these factors may also help in your recovery.

Like we previously mentioned, we think it would be a very good idea to request an urgent appointment with your GP. If there is a delay in obtaining an appointment then asking for a telephone consultation or going via the NHS 111 site for an appointment would be another option.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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