Medical Questions > Mental Health > Panic Attacks Forum

Sudden attack after exercise? (Page 1)

Two weeks ago I felt dizzy and a racing heart from what I figured was dehydration. It was triple-digit Texas summer late afternoon full court basketball with guys in their 20s, after all. And I was playing hard. And sweating like a mother. And no shade. So that's what I thought it was. A friend drove me home, I drank water all evening, took a bath, slept. End of story.
The next week I'm playing and I'm way hydrated, trust me. Plus, I've dialed down the effort because I'm scared of that dizzy sensation, but after two games of half-court, I'm suddenly dizzy again and my heart is racing. So I thought, well, I'm damaged now, I'm way more susceptible to heat. Huh.
So today, I go for a run with our little 8 mo. old daughter in the baby jogger, it's 8:45am, partially cloudy, it is not hot at all, I am sweating however, and when we get to the park I stop running, put her in the baby swing, and just when I think everything's cool, I'm suddenly dizzy again and short of breath. Then it occurs to me: this is a panic attack. I was worried about heat, so this is what you get. I took her to the stroller and sort of breathed it off and we walked home.
Now it occurs to me that perhaps the first 2 basketball incidents were actually panic attacks too. I've put some stress on myself this summer (new job starting in August, kissed a woman who was not my wife, hadn't told her yet, etc.) (yeah, one is a no-brainer) and I wonder if physical exertion can trigger something? Both of them happened between games while resting. I was convinced the first one was dehydration, but I've played in those conditions a hundred times before, and never once felt dizzy. Can attacks just come out of nowhere, like BOOM you're dizzy and gasping? It used to be I could sense them coming.

Thanks for any help, if you can relate!
(P.S. I told her last night, and already feel better, more whole, I hope she doesn't divorce me, that's another topic, but today's run was only really possible because I felt better when I woke up...but then still had minor attack! It'll take time, I know.)
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First Helper OldManYoungHeart
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replied January 6th, 2009
I always hated high heat.. it would crush me
I hope this helps
I had a few panic attacks when I was younger and believe I have always had Conn's Syndrome but never knew it until I was in my late 30's because it never affected my heartbeat until that time. I have a physical problem that caused my panic attacks and this may not apply to you but when I was 19 I had a particularly bad one in which I couldn't breath, fell to the floor and lost control of my motor functions, could barely talk for a few minutes ... had a few over the years.. mostly a funny feeling in the chest, problems breathing an thinking I was going to die. I have ALWAYS been "juiced up". I talk fast, I am always in a hurry, as long as I can remember my life has always been highs or lows with my energy levels. Now I know why.


I started suffering Major PANIC attacks 2 years ago associated with occasional chest pain and "fluttering" heart rhythms and feeling dizzy especially after riding in an elevator... This would cause what I thought was a mentally induced "Panic Attack" or Anxiety Attack in which I would tense up, twist my hair, run my hands through my hair, and generally want to lay down and hope it would go away.

Well, after being hospitalized twice for "Low Potassium" and an 18 month ordeal of various tests I now know what is wrong and the treatment has now worked for about 4 months now... no more panic attacks / anxiety attacks.

I have Conn's Syndrome which is a trouble in the Adrenal Glands in which my adrenals overproduce hormones such as adrenaline and aldosterone which caused loss of potassium (abnormal fluttery feeling in chest occasionally, feeling of falling and quick stop in the chest, muscle twitches / spasms) and causes hightented blood pressure and anxiety (which just started in the last couple of years).

I am now on low dose spironolactone and I have completely turned around (in about 2 weeks after starting) and no longer have any of these symptoms... no more chest issues, no more anxiety attacks.

I had ALL of these symptoms (previously posted)
* racing or pounding heartbeat (palpitations);
* chest pains;
* stomach upset;
* dizziness, lightheaded
* difficulty breathing, a sense of feeling smothered;
* tingling or numbness in the hands;
* hot flashes or chills;
* dreamlike sensations or perceptual distortions;
* terror: a sense that something unimaginably horrible is about to occur and one is powerless to prevent it;
* a need to escape;
* fear of losing control and doing something embarrassing; and
* fear of dying.

Just a thought since I have seen some posts that describe some of these exact symptoms... Easy Blood test to see if your aldosterone / renin levels are OK and if your potassium is at or below 3.5 on the scale. If you have low or zero renin, high normal to high aldosterone and borderline to low potassium you MAY have a physical issue similar to mine.
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replied April 22nd, 2011
I had this too, its called postural tachycardia, and other types which is autonomic dysfunction. This can be caused by taking prescribed meds, or triggered by a prescribed or off the counter meds. It took me many years to find out what was causing my symptoms, which started after being prescribed a fluroquinolone antibiotics (but other antibiotics can cause this too, and other meds such as corticosteroids) and mefloquine, I have not taken any meds since , and you will find so many meds can cause those symptoms, long term. I would stay away from psychotropics, since they too cause those symptoms.
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replied March 13th, 2009
agreed
In addition to EVERYTHING the person above me wrote. Excellent post.

Consider this.....part of anxiety is a racing heart and feeling dizzy. When you exercise....your heart rate goes way up and you can get dizzy from it. Now don't you think it's possible that this is exactly your porblem. The good news is, the more you exercise, the better it is for your anxiety. Exercising actually reduces anxiety problems.
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replied August 9th, 2009
Same for me-- I'm a runner & cyclist and the panic attacks only occur during rest, not during exercise. Had the holter monitor, echo and several EKG's. All negative, just sinus tach. I found that simply accepting that panic attacks may come makes it a little more bearable. The "cooling down" of your nervous system can take time, which is frustrating for an active person. In the meantime, meds can be helpful. Klonopin and Prilosec have worked well for me. Just use them in moderation.
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replied October 10th, 2009
I keep having panic attacks and they seem to be gettin more severe....im having trouble working out now because i believe that it induces them more...i have gone to several doctors and they give me meds but i dont feel any different....im startin to become more of a agoraphobc now......i really hate my way of living right now...these panic attacks are becoming really tough on me and i sometimes believe that maybe i have somethin else wrong with me like cancer or something. I would like to talk with some1 who has panic attacks so i can ask them if what they feel is similiar to what i feel.
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replied April 9th, 2012
Those feelings that you feel are very normal for an anxiety sufferer. It is important to realize though that your anxiety although seemingly random... it is not. Even someone who has had trauma causing the anxiety (ie: bad childhhod ect.) has to realize that those feelings are comming from your thought process. I think the first and most important thing to help you in decreaseing your anxiety is to really understand that you are not going to go crazy, faint, die, get cancer, have a heart attack ect ect ect. Once you realize and truly believe it you will find that it will start to decrease the symptoms. But YOU MUST NOT let it stop you from ding the very things you have to do day to day. Its hard I know but start with baby steps a little at a time. A walk around the block... then two blocks ect. You will get the symptoms but realize they are only symptoms... follow this advice and youll find dealing with it will be easier and the symptoms will get better and better... Cheers
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replied October 18th, 2009
Supporter
generalized anxiety and moderate panic attacks.
I've heard anxiety is something that is locked in your brain that suddenly triggers the scared feeling.
It could possibly be the fact that... that one day you did get sick .. so now subconsciously your thinking to yourself oh man.. im gonna get sick again. Its hot out, its going to happen again.

I could suggest talking to a doctor.. but they will most likely prescribe medication. Im not big on the pill thing. I think talking to people and doing yoga and just relaxing will cure anything.
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replied March 14th, 2010
Anxiety After Exercise....
I have just begun to grapple with this for the first time in my life. I have always been able to run. In fact, I pride myself on this. During winters, however, I would transition to Yoga, because it gets too cold here for runs (I'm up north). I joined a gym this year, because I really wanted to keep in shape. Also: I have two young boys under 3, and the hour or so of exercise time at the gym is the only down time I get, basically. I also splurged on a few sessions of personal training, which wound up being weight lifting training. I really enjoyed the weights, and was able to string together good weight lifting with cardio routines. One day, however, I did a full body and then ran for about 40 minutes, hard! At some point, the thought occurred to me that I may have overdone it, and -- BAM!!! -- masive anxiety attack that came and went for more than 3 hours.... ugh! I had to phone a mental health care professional, which I've never had to do. I make a point of not letting it disrupt my exercise regimen, but I have to go light, and really think about not overdoing it. It's like I have an injury. So I just keep a heart rate monitor on, ensure that I don't go over 140ish, ever, and go from there. I've been prescribed Pristiq, too, because of all this. I really hope this ends soon, though, as exercise is the one thing in my life which is not work or family-responsibility related..... HELP! Smile
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replied March 15th, 2010
I have problems with exercise and y heart rate too..I'm pretty sure its a neurotic anxiety of mine. I have to constantly check my hr like I have OCD about it. If it feels too high for me, I freak out and panic. LOL, and this of course raises it further. Geez Im a mess.
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replied March 21st, 2010
I actually just took the heart rate monitor off today, and was able to run hard like old times. Maybe it helps. Give it a shot. Glad to hear I'm not the only one, though! Smile
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replied April 7th, 2010
I have had panic attacks for a couple years - I''ve been to the hospital a few times; nothing. I have a high stress job, I am overweight, I drink too much and am generally not one to excercise often. About 2 month''s ago I began meditation. Nothing elaborate - learned mostly from a book. Only a few minutes per day. What it has done has allowed me to control my panic attacks by going in to a meditative state - essentially concentrating on breathing. Believe me I am not the type of guy who, 5 years ago, would have considered meditation..at all. It has also made me think about the quality of my life and I have recently begun exercising again, dieting and minimize my alcohol intake. It has absolutely helped me put my panic attacks away and really has helped to change my life for the good.
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replied June 6th, 2010
Feeling dizzy post exercise is not uncommon and reportedly not dangerous. Something to do with lowering of blood pressure along with dilated blood vessels. Google it. And since we anxiety/panic people are so finely tuned into our bodies, it is a logical trigger for an attack. Reading about it and talking to your doctor could help for reassurance.
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replied July 20th, 2010
Panic/Anxiety etiquette
Talking about Panic is cool, but DON"T TALK ABOUT HAVING A TESTICULAR ANURISM OR BRAIN TUMOR AS THE CAUSE FOR YOUR PROBLEMS!!!! For Pete's sake! We have Panic disorder don't make it worse!!! We want reassurance not scary stories!!!
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replied July 21st, 2010
Community Volunteer
Hi WTH: Welcome to ehealth: Your statement is so true...Panic is caused by panic...Something that we manufacturer and nourish within ourselves...The secret is going the opposite way and calming ourselves...Finding that place within that settles us down...Take care...

Caroline
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replied July 23rd, 2010
Re: Sudden attack after exercise?
It is likely that due to dehydration, the body is unable to accept your practice of game. If you ensure plenty of intake of water before the practice and after the practice, the attacks will stop.

FlyingJ wrote:
Two weeks ago I felt dizzy and a racing heart from what I figured was dehydration. It was triple-digit Texas summer late afternoon full court basketball with guys in their 20s, after all. And I was playing hard. And sweating like a mother. And no shade. So that's what I thought it was. A friend drove me home, I drank water all evening, took a bath, slept. End of story.
The next week I'm playing and I'm way hydrated, trust me. Plus, I've dialed down the effort because I'm scared of that dizzy sensation, but after two games of half-court, I'm suddenly dizzy again and my heart is racing. So I thought, well, I'm damaged now, I'm way more susceptible to heat. Huh.
So today, I go for a run with our little 8 mo. old daughter in the baby jogger, it's 8:45am, partially cloudy, it is not hot at all, I am sweating however, and when we get to the park I stop running, put her in the baby swing, and just when I think everything's cool, I'm suddenly dizzy again and short of breath. Then it occurs to me: this is a panic attack. I was worried about heat, so this is what you get. I took her to the stroller and sort of breathed it off and we walked home.
Now it occurs to me that perhaps the first 2 basketball incidents were actually panic attacks too. I've put some stress on myself this summer (new job starting in August, kissed a woman who was not my wife, hadn't told her yet, etc.) (yeah, one is a no-brainer) and I wonder if physical exertion can trigger something? Both of them happened between games while resting. I was convinced the first one was dehydration, but I've played in those conditions a hundred times before, and never once felt dizzy. Can attacks just come out of nowhere, like BOOM you're dizzy and gasping? It used to be I could sense them coming.

Thanks for any help, if you can relate!
(P.S. I told her last night, and already feel better, more whole, I hope she doesn't divorce me, that's another topic, but today's run was only really possible because I felt better when I woke up...but then still had minor attack! It'll take time, I know.)
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replied December 24th, 2010
Anxiety attacks after exercise
Nice to know I'm not alone. I'm 58 and a former runner, but had to stop running this fall after knee surgery. I had a couple of severe panic attacks in high school, and realized that I was drinking WAY too much coffee. I quit coffee for nine years and never had any more attacks. Eventually, I began drinking coffee moderately again but found that my usage always accelerated to the point where I went through withdrawals if I missed a day. Ten years ago I quit caffeine again for good as part of an annual New Year's fast.

In the approach to the holiday season this year, I have been really sloppy with my diet, drinking, and even resumed drinking caffeinated coffee. Feeling sorry for myself after the knee surgery in October. Last week after a hard 40 minutes of the Step Mill ending with tempo run-like spurts over 90% HRMax, I had what I thought was a hypoglycemic attack. Flushed, dizzy, disoriented, racing heart. Yesterday, after another hard workout the same thing happened and I went to the doctor. He diagnosed panic disorder and gave me some lightweight meds to have in my back pocket...just in case.

I'm pretty sure that I know what I need to do:

1) quit caffeine 100%
2) back off on the intensity level of my workouts for a while (I like the idea of not wearing the heart monitor), letting my body set a comfortable pace
3) make progress towards getting out of my lousy job situation
4) stop paying attention to politics and world financial doom news

I realize this thread is probably dead, but I actually feel better just for having written this.

Good luck to everyone suffering from this lousy syndrome.
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replied May 18th, 2011
Ok, I'm realizing that this thread is dead also, but having just read it, it makes me feel a lot better about my current situation. I've been an avid runner (2-5 miles/day) for about 2 years now & lost about 60 pounds over this time. I feel & look better than I ever have so why do I feel so crappy? Last year after one of my routine allergy vaccines, I went into anaphylaxis immediately afterwards & ended up in the hospital. I run indoors on a treadmill & I've been told by my allergist not to run outdoors because my severe pollen allergy (I know, bizarre!) could trigger it again. Two weeks ago, I was running on my treadmill, windows closed, air conditioning on & I starting feeling weak, dizzy & like I couldn't catch my breath. I felt like my throat was closing or my tongue was swelling or something. Called 911 & gave myself my epipen & took benadryl. At my 2nd follow up w/the allergist, he suggests that maybe it's panic. I'm not big on meds so I haven't taken them yet. Two days ago, I was just sitting @ the computer (haven't run since it happened 2 weeks ago) when it started happening all over again. The more I thought about it, the worse it got & I realized that I felt exactly the same as I did the day I thought I went into anaphylaxis. After about 3 hours I was able to calm myself down, which isn't easy while you have a loud 5 year old running around while your husband is deployed! Now I'm thinking that these episodes aren't really an allergic reaction, but panic due to the fact that maybe I'm afraid it will happen again. Trying to summon up the courage to get back on that treadmill again, but I can't go more than .10 mile without freaking out! Aaagh!! I'm so frustrated...I always thought that people who said they had anxiety attacks were just drama queens. Guess I'm eating my own words now! Maybe you're right about the coffee & world "doom news"!! I'm gonna give your tips a try & hope it helps!
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replied January 15th, 2011
a prolonged panic attack
I had an asthma attack 2 years ago that only happened once and never again. 2 days ago I started an intense workout with kettel bells and it really took a lot out of me. 10 minutes after finishing I felt nauseous and ran to the bathroom and blacked out. I woke up and felt like I wanted to go sleep but got myself together and walked shakily home and was wiped out for the rest of the night. The last 2 days though, I feel like I have shortness of breath and I get panicky because I'm scared of that blackout feeling again. My heart rate seems to be elevated. Is this a panic attack that has lasted 2 days or is it something else? This doesn't feel like an asthma attack because I'm able to take deep breaths.
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replied February 17th, 2011
I suffer from anxiety and it is so debilitating! At 52 I am fit and exercising every second day for 30 minutes. Last week at the gym I suffered an anxiety attack and now find every time I start exercising I am in fear of it happening again; palpatations, breatlessness and foot cramps. I truly feel for you all and hope we can somehow let go of this pesky condition.
Take loads of care
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replied February 19th, 2011
Panic disorder
Maybe it's the sun combined with pollution, sun creates ozone and other problems when things heat up, it gets worse every year and that could cause anxiety attacts ect especially of your sensitive cause I cannot go out in that kinda heat anymore, I experience the same symptoms. My advice stay out of The sun and extreme heat.

Cat from arizona
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replied March 5th, 2011
I actually just took the heart rate monitor off today, and was able to run hard like old times. Maybe it helps. Give it a shot. Glad to hear I'm not the only one, though.
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replied March 27th, 2011
Anxiety...Can't workout...More anxiety.
I'm 31, don't smoke or drink, and have exercised vigorously my entire adult life.

I had my first panic attack, out of the blue, nine days ago, and have had constant tension with mild to severe attacks every day. Naturally, It's been hard for me to work out. I just got back from a failed attempt to resume my gym activities. After five sets of moderately heavy cleans I felt that my heart was beating too fast. I became light headed and feared that I was going to pass out or worse. This is devestating to me since even before I started suffering from panic attacks I'd feel awful whenever Id have to skip a workout. I've had to take a week off now, and it's killing me.

So, I've quit caffeine, and I've had an EKG which came back fine. I'm going to speak to a therapist and try to figure out what's causing this.

In the meantime, I HATE that I can't workout. If I KNEW FOR SURE that my heart was fine, and I wasn't in any mortal peril, I think I'd be able to just push through and get it done. Hopefully therapy will help.
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