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Old 09-20-2004, 07:12 AM   #1
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Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I've posted here tonnes over the past year or so. My symptoms are very tight chest, shortness of breath, light headed feeling, vision problems, head/neck pressure, racing HR. These can be when at rest - not necessarily during activity.

I'm a 26 year-old non smoker, not overweight and eat reasonably healthily. I've had the usual tests (ECG, 24hr ECG, echo, stress ecg, chest X-ray, blood tests) and seen a couple of specialists in London who both said my heart was fine (along with numerous docs at hospitals across London in A&E depts).

I'm told it's probably anxiety but I just can't convince myself - it feels like it 'must' be heart disease. These symptoms feel soooo bad and it's 24hrs (sometimes far worse than others). Does anyone else have the same symptoms at a young age? Do you think that it could be anything else that accounts for all my symptoms?

I feel really really low and half expect that every night when I go to bed that I won't wake up in the morning. The selfish thing is (I'm married) the thought of dying in the night seems better than the chance of having to have open heart surgery as this has been my worst nightmare since childhood (one of my uncles had a bypass in his fifties and it scared the Hell out of me - although there's no strong history of Heart disease in the family). Even going for the stress tests, ech etc was really stressful and frightening for me.

Just for the record, I don't have "panick attacks" although I do think about my heart constantly.

Can anyone sympathise? I know hillery is in the same boat - anyone else?

 
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Old 09-20-2004, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

It sounds as though your heart problems are panic attacks. When I first started having panic attacks about two years ago, they thought that it was my heart, they did the 24 hour test (starts with a H.. can't remember the name) and several EKGs, and I was in the hospital overnight. Everytime everything came back fine, until a year later when I realized that it was anxiety, and not anything related to my heart.


Hope this helps

 
Old 09-20-2004, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I also thought that. I went to the cardiologist and had all the test done. Felt like my heart was doing some seriously messed up stuff. So I got a holter moniter for 24 hrs, EKG, echo, chest xrays. I was freaked out when they did the tests also. The only thing they found was that my heart was beating too fast from the anxiety.

It sounds like you might have a phobia towards your heart. You said your uncle had probs and maybe that scared you and made you really sensitive to your heart. I would work on over coming that.

Im only 22 and have been having these probs so your not alone. The thing is if the docs cant diagnosis it then what else can you do? I just have accepted it as anxiety even though Im not 100% sure (although I am getting more sure).

Good luck.

Last edited by tooanxious; 09-20-2004 at 08:44 AM.

 
Old 09-20-2004, 11:39 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

Yep. Definitely anxiety. The fact that you get the symptoms while at rest is the clincher, esp. after all the heart workups. Usually, heart discomfort is accentuated with exercise, hence the use of the stress tests.

I had the same symptoms. Went through the same battery of tests (twice). Heart like a horse, they said. Turned out to be GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder). My esophagus doesn't work right, and the parasympathetic network of nerves in my body makes the pain in my esophagus mimic heart pain. And for the record, I'm 50. You're too young to have heart problems, though I'd keep an eye on your Cholesterol, if I were you. It will come back to haunt you when you get to be my age.

Do yourself a favor. Convince yourself it's anxiety, get a prescription for something to help you with it, get some therapy, and deal with it. You'll be better off.

And confirm this with your Dr. Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt.

John P

 
Old 09-20-2004, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

anxiety can make the heart hammer and jump around and skip beats, many anxiety sufferers become obsessed about their hearts and insist on still more tests, wearing a holter monitor for 24 hours is becoming fashionable

perhaps some are too proud to accept a diagnosis of anxiety

beta blocker meds will calm the heart and can be taken only as neeeded

 
Old 09-21-2004, 10:34 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I worry about my heart too. I'm 27 and recently had brain surgery for an aneurysm. That has compounded my overall fear of health issues, but a month after surgery I started having chest pains, constant and at times really painful. I've had blood workups and several EKG's (at my doctor and ER) and my doctor tells me the pains are uncharacteristic of cardiac pain, that combined with my age and lack of risk factors make it highly unlikely anything heart related.

I took prilosec for a couple weeks and that made a big difference, I'm now taking Zantac (acid reducer) which hasn't helped as much. I do notice the pain is worse when I think about it or when I'm stressed. Though I trust my doctor and am on anxiety medication I do still worry about my heart. I'm not sure anyone will convince me until the chest pain goes away.

I hear what you are saying and sympathize. It is hard to think stress and anxiety can do so much but the more I read is that by living this way I could be damaging my heart so I am trying ways to relax etc.

Katrina

 
Old 09-21-2004, 12:18 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

Yeah I worry about my heart - I'm 17, don't smoke, don't drink! LOL! I used to think that it would "give up" until I read the facts. Most anxiety sufferers actually have very strong and healthy hearts I've read.

I have palpitations too and they freak me out like hell.
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Old 09-21-2004, 03:40 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I'm 56 and have been dealing with those symptoms since I was 24, I mostly have generalised anxiety disorder with panic disorder when I travel outside my comofrt zone. Sure sounds like you are going through that. I know it is hard to convince you of that as it is so real and umcomfortable that it has to be a serious disease in your own heart. Hey, when I was 25 I was sure I wouldn't see 30, when I was 30 I was sure I wouldn't see 40 and so on and so forth. I'm still here and yes I do have some aging conditions that have crept up on me over the years I still think my heart is going to give out at any moment but I don't let it rule me anymore. I work out at the gymn every other day, walking and doing some running. I try to eat right and TRY to stay away from sugar and caffiene, they are a real trigger for me. I also have mitral valve prolapse, has anyone mention that to you from the medical field? I had it for years before one Dr told me and it is a benign condition that is associated with panic disorder and palpitations. Ask your Dr he may already know it but they usually don't bother to tell the patient as it is not important enough to know, so incidental.

 
Old 09-22-2004, 09:44 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

Do you, like me, assume that everyone else with your symptoms and feelings must be somehow different and not feel 'quite' as bad as me?
Went to a function today - had some valium and felt fine - then had a few glasses of wine and I'm short of breath, tight chested and my pulse is in the high 90's again. How can this be anxiety I'm feeling as I don't feel unduly anxious? then you start linking the symptoms to heart disease adn blocked arteries. The Heart forum is a killer (the people are all great and well meaning but they can scare the living hell out of you (you see mails from all kinds of people who have your symptoms and turned out to need a quadruple bipass, and you're constantly reminded about how unreliable the tests you've had are). God, I'm going mad!!! I' really shouldn't go on that forum.

All the best

 
Old 09-22-2004, 11:35 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I went running yesterday and afterward my heart rate was still in the 90s and it freaked me out. Im sure it was nothing. I had elvated rate when I went to a job interview and while I was in traffic. I hate anxiety becuase it puts your body out of whack. I feel like my heart rate and rythm are all over the place. Im trying really hard to ignore it but its so hard when its there all the time. I didnt feel that anxious yesterday either. Ive had all the tests too. I hate this damn disorder. Im still pushing forward and ignoring it though.

Last edited by tooanxious; 09-22-2004 at 11:38 AM.

 
Old 09-22-2004, 12:36 PM   #11
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

It's so hard to ignore. Luckily my doctor finally got me on the correct dosage of Lexapro. I am thankful for Lexapro. My insurance however classifies it as one of the "name brands" and therefore, I pay a higher copay which makes me mad.

Panic attacks are awful - been there done that - with the EKG, holter, hospital stay, etc. They put me on the beta blockers, etc. What a waste of time and $$$! Wish I had known then what I know now. Panic attacks literally make you think you are going to die. For me, it didn't have to be started by anything that made me nervous. They got to the point where they would just "happen" - there was no rhyme or reason. I was having them four and five times a day, and then they would start occuring when I was driving home from work - that's when they got dangerous.

I have found that Lexapro has VERY few side effect. Much less than Paxil. Panic attacks are very serious - they made me get to the lowest point in my life where I felt that if this is the way life is going to be, then I don't want to live it. Luckily, I found a great psych - who told me that there was hope and that these attacks will go away. I am thankful for him and that is why I am here today.

 
Old 09-22-2004, 02:24 PM   #12
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Exclamation Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I have been diagnosed with anxiety/panic disorder & my biggest symptom is constant chest pain. It scares me to death. I still cannot convince myself that it is the panic that makes me feel this chest pain. I have worn the 24 hr holter monitor & had an echo & I cannot help but think that there is something that the doctors did not find. I am really tired of feeling this way all the time. I just wish it would go away. I feel like I could deal with any symptom but the chest pain.

 
Old 09-22-2004, 03:25 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

Soodle, alcohol and believe or not, benzo's such as valium will increase your heart rate. One of the side effects of benzo's is tachy. My heart rate is always a little high when I take Xanax. I try not to freak out about it.

 
Old 09-23-2004, 06:08 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I do have anxiety towards my heart, but that's only because I've had high blood pressure since I was a kid, and I'm 27 right now. So something must not be normal. Otherwise, I wouldn't even be thinking about my heart. However, none of the doctors I've seen are the slightest bit concerned about my blood pressure. They attribute it to anxiety. And they gave me anti-depressants (Celexa).

 
Old 09-28-2004, 03:27 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone think they've got heart problems?

I have the exacty same problem these days. I actually had a it years ago, took celexa and things greatly improved...stopped taking celexa and now a couple years later it's back again...My obsession about a heart problem. It's great to have a support group to tell you that you're ok. One thing I learned that makes you're anxiety worse is trying to look up symptoms on the internet. You have to just stop and think about the quality of life you have by stressing over what you think you don't know and work on realizing that you're healthy and understanding it's just in your head. I'm 29 years old now, healthy and yet there are times I still worry about my heart...mostly becasue I would get chest pains attributed from anxiety PLUS GERD/acid reflux causing a spiralling effect of anxiety until I took some ativan. My parents tell me, "You come from great genes, your mother and I are healthy and you're grandparents have lived into thier 90's... you're fine!" So I hit the bike, ride 30 miles and realize that there wasn't a moment during that ride I had chest pain.
Positive reinforcment like that really helps. You're heart is fine... but I hope it comforts everyone that posted here to know that others go through the same thing. I know I did when I read this.

 
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