Hey everyone, I am new here, I came across this site after searching desperately for information.
I am a (usually) healthy 23yo male, with no history of heart problems, but for the last year I have been feeling really bad and it is driving me crazy to not be able to live my life as I used to. In the beginning I had a few panic attack where I ended up in hospital thinking I had a heart attack, but after doing EKGs the doctors said there was nothing wrong with me. For some time after that everything was ok, but then it started again, and then my symptoms were all over the place, palpitations, chest pain, pains in my left hand, arm, armpit, left side of my neck and head. For a time I felt dizzy, couldn't breathe normally and had a feeling I would pass out but never did. Also, I felt out of place and as if my surroundings were not real, like in a movie. I did an x ray of my chest, and back, and also ultrasound of my chest and abdomen, blood tests and I went to a cardiologist. He did a color Doppler echo test of my heart and also EKG, and said it was all right. Basically everyone said it was stress and anxiety related.
Although my symptoms really do point to anxiety, what worries me the most is that for the past 2 months, my "heart" chest pains are getting stronger. Usually they would start late at night when I would lie down to sleep, and did not appear when I was active. For the last month, the pain is usually constant, I feel it from the moment I wake up, and it gets worse over the course of the day. At night it can be really painful. Also, the pain gets worse when I feel emotionally stressed or intense, even when I am watching a scary movie or something. When I lay in bed, it feels worse, so when I get to a sitting position, It feels better then to be in a horizontal position. Also, when I press on my chest in some places (on the left side) I can feel the pain getting stronger. (I had no injury that would result in that kind of pain, nor did I strain my muscles or something). The pain is located on the left side of my chest (sometimes in the middle), and it goes to my armpit, neck, arm and back, and once even my jaw. So my biggest question would be if this pain really could be anxiety related, and can anxiety produce such constant and persistent pains, or do my symptoms suggest something else, like GERD? Not one of these doctors mentioned that possibility, and I found out about GERD on my own. Also, I noticed I keep burping constantl, not the loud type, but the silent burping every 20-30 minutes or so.
You have described the exact symptoms I had and they lasted a long time. I had tests done that came back normal too. My doctor was convinced it was anxiety but later determined I had GERD too. So I really encourage you to talk to your doctor about the possibility of it being GERD. Good luck and keep us posted on how you're doing!
First I would like to say I am sorry to hear how you are feeling and would like to wish you good health.
You have had various Heart Checks and all seems to be well there. I suffer from Gerd and believe me I have experiences some very strange symptoms. Gerd can make you feel short of breath and also as if you are having symptoms with your heart especially if it is really painful. Belching is certainly one of the symptoms. The fact that you feel better upright than lying down can also relate. Are you on any medication at the moment as sometimes these can have side effects.
Anxiety can bring all sort of symptoms also. I have experienced Anxiety myself this week after losing my beloved Cat, and have had Heart Palpitations, Shaking, Chest pains etc. Do see your Dr and ask him if It might be AR/Gerd. If it is Anxiety/Gerd he is the one to help you. All the Best. Solofelix.
The Following User Says Thank You to solofelix For This Useful Post: Emil23 (05-08-2011)
Thank you for answering. No, I am not on any medication, I take some Xanax here and there, but I think it doesn't really help me, although I feel better after taking it, maybe it is placebo effect I will ask my doctor if GERD is a possibility, I am just really amazed that none of maybe 15 doctors I went to said anything about GERD. And most of them were specialists. Weird. Well, after so much time living with this, I hope I will find out what it is. GERD sounds much better then heart conditions anyway, at least I would know what medications to take.
The following user gives a hug of support to Emil23: worrywartmom39 (05-09-2011)
25 y/o male here. I just went through exactly what you did. I had had acid reflux since I was about 11 years old. Throughout college I drank a lot and smoked weed occasionally. I'm convinced this damaged my esophagus even more.
The breaking point happened a year ago after visiting a friend for a week where I was drinking and smoking. It started one night where I couldn't get a full breathe. This continued over the weekend until I went to the ER cause I was hyperventilating. They couldn't find anything. For the next couple weeks I couldn't sleep laying down, and had heart palps, when I did sleep laying down my hands would fall asleep. After another ER visit they kept telling me it was anxiety, though I am the least anxious person I know, so couldn't accept that it was just that. Also went to a cardio, results came back negative. After some reading, I became convinced it was related to GERD, possibly to acid damaging the Vagus nerve.
I started eating much smaller meals, about 5-6 per day. I completely cut out caffeine, alcohol, and soda or anything carbonated. I cut out high fat foods and high sugar foods. I also stopped eating 3-4 hours before going to sleep. I elevated my bed with bricks and slept on pillows. Slowly my sleeping improved, and I could breathe normally again. I find whenever I stray, for example drinking alcohol, it slowly comes back. I think it may be giving the esophagus time to heal. Also, I stay away from PPIs, and do everything naturally. Though if it's serious, you might want to try it for a week.
I am trying to cut back on caffeine and I usually don't eat before I go to sleep. Also, I don't drink nor smoke so I couldn't get it from there, but I guess there are other possible ways I could have gotten it (I mean, if it is GERD in the first place), since I do drink a lot of coffee daily. Sleeping with my head elevated really seams to work, my chest hurts less that way.
I don't drink or smoke either. You have to wonder where these things come from.
I would definitely cut back on the coffee. I love Tea but have cut back to three cups (Max) per day. I now drink Herbal Tea, Ginger or Peppermint, Fruit Juice and Water.
Perhaps too much Caffeine isn't good for us. All the best, Solofelix.
Coffee definitely makes it worse. I'd completely eliminate it if possible. I haven't had caffeine for a year and no longer need it. Exercise, good diet, and good sleeping habits should replace coffee consumption.
If you do need it, I'd go for something lighter like tea.
you sound just like me. i was a bad drinker from the age of 21 to 25, then was diagnosed with acid reflux. didnt take it seriously until i tryed to go to sleep one night and woke right up not being able to breathe. i was was diagnosed with esophagitis, have had it the last 2 months.
Thanks everyone, your replies are really welcome. It is a really weird thing, the worst of it being not knowing exactly if it is GERD or something else. Whenever I think I pinned it down to something, a new symptom comes out and all my theories go down. But then again, that too can maybe be attributed to anxiety, since I really do think about my condition a lot, almost all the time, and that alone can sometimes trigger symptoms. I am going to do a stress test next Monday (I went to my cardio doc that I visited many times; he did tests and they came out ok, but I went to him again since I didn't know what to do really, so he said that he still doesn't think something could be wrong with my heart, but he ordered a stress test just to be sure). I will update here with the results. I hope it turns out ok, since I am at my wits end on this thing. I cut back on coffee like everyone suggested and I think it helps to some degree. But a few nights ago, i went to bed and I couldn't sleep at all, I felt as if I would suffocate. I have those attacks every now and again, and although I know nothing ever happened to me, very single time it is scary as hell and I think I am going to day, that my lungs are going to just stop working or something. Again, looks like anxiety but you never know. Can anxiety/GERD be really that bad? I am also really sleepy a lot, and tire easily, I get dizzy and lout of breath. The "sleepy" part could be related to my bad sleeping habits, I usually go to sleep 3 or 4 a.m. and sleep until like 2-3 p.m. next day. It is a lot, sometimes I sleep for 12 hours, that worries me sometimes too.
I SO understand what you are going through! Just when you think you have one symptoms pin pointed to GERD, another pops up. I also have anxiety & take klonopin as needed when I have an attack.
For the GERD, I've had chest pains, burping, burning in throat, arm pain, shoulder pain, jaw pain, back pain. I cannot tell you HOW many times I have gone to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack only to be given a GI cocktail, hooked up to an EKG and told I was fine. It is not only humiliating but expensive. My grandfather related to dad died of a HA, my aunt and uncle related to my dad both had HA's, my brother, dad and I all have mytral valve prolapse (theirs are a lot worse than mine & dad had a stent put in 3 weeks ago..but I don't have high cholesterol like he does) SO GOOD NIGHT.. no wonder I have anxiety. The whole family has a history of heart problems and GERD mimics so many of the same thing that HA's do. My stress test, and echocardiogram only revealed a MVP..which is not causing my pains or problems.
What I am saying (a little long windedly) is that yes, I totally understand your weird pains & feel bad for you. You are not alone nor are you losing your mind like I thought I was!
Right now, burping, gassy, feeling lightheaded, pain in shoulder and arm...it's just so stupid. I am tired of all this mess. I need to go to a gastroenterologist soon to see what they can do for me..as I get older it gets worse. I hope you are better and keep posted if you find anything that makes it better.