Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Immune Disorders Forum

Low and varied heart rate, fatigue, dry skin. Autoimmune?

I have a very high variability in my heart rate and am wondering if these numbers strike anyone as concerning. I'd also like this considered with my other issues in mind.

Resting, I'm often around 50-55bpm, 60 if I'm lucky. When I exercise, I go on a treadmill and do a very brisk walk for 157bpm. If I'm sitting with a friend drinking, smoking, talking enthusiastically, it's around 80. After orgasm, it goes down to 43-45bpm and each beat is extremely big, with the rate remaining low for a while. I occasionally have palpitations, and went through a phase a few years ago of having palpitations almost every day. The ECG back then showed nothing but normal sinus arrhythmia, and eventually the palpitations became rarer. I do also have the variation in heart rate according to my breathing, which I'm told is a healthy sign, at least.

I have no diagnosed health issues or allergies as yet, but frequently have fatigue and consequent sleep cycle issues. I also have a red, dry rash on my upper arms that spreads in round, hot blotches all over my upper back and worsens on the arms when I leave the shower. For the rest of the day, the skin there is just dry and itchy, and the red is a bit faded. It doesn't break or get pus/crust or anything; it's simply dry. I have also recently started to develop urticaria/hives on my left arm over seemingly nothing I can relate to each occasion. Most annoying is probably how itchy my head is. I don't have dandruff and don't shampoo or wash my hair too much, but my scalp can become so unbearably itchy that I've gotten out of bed at 3am to stand under a cold shower for relief before. Current moisturisers, washes, and conditioners marketed at sensitive or itchy skin have done absolutely nothing for body or scalp.

I have an apparently "meaningless" but statistically significant positive for ANA and ENA antibodies. Autoimmune issues run riot in my family (mum in particular with many different autoimmune diseases affecting pretty much every aspect of her biology), so I am concerned about this possibility.

The potential for sleep disorder or autoimmune disease is largely being ignored by doctors, despite my persistence and consequent referral to specialists, so I feel like I'll be dismissed if I try to ask about any other symptoms such as my low heart rate or skin. I really would just like someone to look at the whole picture and tell me if anything in particular is of great concern.

I'm a 25yo female, and around 100-105kg (with height of around 5'8/9'). I haven't done regular cardio due to my fatigue for a few years, and I do smoke, so I know my BPM can't be attributed to being a marathon runner or anything particularly healthy.
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replied August 11th, 2015
Extremely eHealthy
sleep is the most important thing to get......avoid all caffeine, coffee, tea, chocolate, soda and energy drinks.........go to bed at the same time every night....take something OTC to help with sleep...........drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and use tea tree shampoo for your hair....I also like to wash my skin with it but I avoid the private area as this would burn. You need to see a skin specialist. You also need to stop smoking as this can effect your skin. Have you been checked for fibromyalgia?
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replied August 11th, 2015
/// sleep is the most important thing to get [...] You also need to stop smoking as this can effect your skin. Have you been checked for fibromyalgia? ///


Hi, McIlvain, thank you for the reply.
I often end up sleeping well over the 8 hours, and this is what I find to be most disruptive. I sleep through about 25 alarms and struggle to keep track of my work and social commitments. But indeed, the cycle is incredibly messy. I'm just extremely reluctant to give up on the caffeine that gets me through the day, but you're probably right that I need to get the sleep sorted.

I have T-Gel shampoo, which is like black tar for bad skin, and have found it ineffectual, but I'll definitely look into teatree, thank you. Smile

I was referred to an immunologist and a sleep clinic, and while they've both noted things like antibodies and hypersomnolence, they're all very reluctant to say they think there is a definitive issue. I saw a locum doctor the other day who simply said I needed to moisturise more (as if I didn't) and suggested I take an antihistamine every day. Wasn't interested in if or to what I might be allergic.

Is it worth returning to the doctor then and asking for a skin referral? Would this be an immunity thing or different?
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