"Backwards" Heart Rate (????)

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    • #180385

      So, I’ll get right to it. I’m an ADHD Adult, comorbidity #1 is anxiety, comorbidity #2 is hypertension (genetic predisposition, managed with a low dose of medication). I wear a fitbit, so I see my heart rate basically all day, and once I mentioned to a nurse friend of mine that my resting heart rate changes a lot. He was obviously interested in that, and told me that generally your heart rate shouldn’t get really high when you’re at rest. So…

      My question is: Has ANYONE ELSE noticed that your heart rate is within a normal range after you take your ADHD medication, but mid-afternoon, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing something boring or under-stimulating, your heart rate JUMPS UP?

      This is my experience: When I wake up, My heart rate is in the low 70’s. Blood pressure is normal at this time as well. If I work out, it goes up, and then comes back down to the 70’s. I take my medications for anxiety AND my ADHD at 8:30 – 9:00 am. If I’m driving, mid-morning, before my Adderall XR “kicks in” my HR will be around 84-90, and when I can feel my meds “drop the curtain” and start to work, I feel clear and generally focused/comfortably ambitious. At this point, my HR is back to the lower 70’s and it doesn’t get up above 80 unless I get up from my desk to walk or do some sort of other low intensity activity. But around 2:00pm, I get this feeling in my chest – not a total tightness, like with intense anxiety, but a really specific squeezing feeling, and I get VERY fidgety. Like, if I were a kid, I’d be in SO much trouble from 2:00 pm through the end of the afternoon. At this time, my heart rate SKYROCKETS : 90 at a minimum, and 104 max. It feels uncomfortable. Not painful, but a consistent discomfort, rooted in the chest squeezing feeling, and I also feel fidgety and BORED. This is easier to manage if I’m moving around and/or hyper-focused, and during those times, I do notice that my HR slows a bit. It’ll be around 75-77 if I’m really engaged in something.

      But if I’m … stuck in a meeting, or stuck in traffic, or some sort of other non-stimulating activity, my heart rate is SO HIGH (90 to 104 bpm). For instance, today, I’m stuck in a meeting… it’s a Microsoft TEAMS meeting, and even though I can do something else while listening in to the meeting, I’m still feeling the difference in HR).

      I know, generally, that your HR is supposed to stay in predictable levels, and not jump around so much like this. Also, I know that, generally, high resting heart rate can be a cardiac red flag… but it just doesn’t make sense to me why my resting HR jumps mid-afternoon unless it’s just that my ADHD meds have worn off at that point, and forcing myself to do whatever the task is at hand is uncomfortable and stressful. Which then = accelerated resting HR.

      Note: If I make a cup of coffee or have some caffeine when I notice this mid-afternoon symptom, my heart rate slows back down, but I don’t want to overdo it on caffeine… my MD encourages me to limit caffeine since that tends to increase blood pressure.

      Just reaching out to see if ANYONE else has had a similar experience, because I’m starting to feel kind of CRAZY over here!

    • #180427
      Penny Williams

      It’s common for stimulant medication to impact your blood pressure and heart rate. If it’s worse in the afternoon, it may be that your long-acting medication releases more medication into your system at that time.

      This is definitely something to talk with your prescribing doctor about as soon as possible.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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