Hi, everyone. I'm a 31-year-old male (overweight, but losing weight methodically through Weight Watchers) and have never had a reason to see a doctor...until now, I fear. As of May of this year, I weighed in at 290lbs with a height of 6'1". I'm down to 260 due to changing the way I eat and through occasional exercise (2-3 days per week I ride my bike for 30+ minutes).
One month ago, I began experiencing what I thought were heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats. It feels like a rapid fluttering right in the center of my chest with no other immediate symptoms other than an occasional urge to cough immediately afterwards. After about a week of this happening 1-2 times per day, I also began experiencing chest pain, sometimes on the left, other times on the right, and other times right at my sternum. It never lasts for more than a couple of seconds and again, no other symptoms. I took my BP a couple of times per day for several days and it remained quite normal for me (slightly high overall at 135/85). Another symptom that happens occasionally is what I've heard called "air hunger," where I can still take a deep breath, but feel like I have shortness of breath. I never experienced ANY of these symptoms when excercising...only while I'm sitting at work or laying on the couch at home.
How does this apply to Digestive Disorders? Well, I talked it over with my Dad, who suffers from GERD (and a hiatial hernia (sp?) and, knowing that I have an appointment scheduled with a doctor for mid-September, he suggested I try taking otc Zantac for a few days to see if it helped. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and bought my first ever package of Zantac 75. Took one when I got home and continued taking one every 12 hours for 2-3 days and, whaddya know? My symptoms basically went away! Fluttering decreased in intensity and frequency, chest pain disappeared and shortness of breath only happens 1-2 times per week.
Thinking I'd test it out just to make sure this wasn't coincidence, I stopped taking the Zantac earlier this week and again, whaddya know? My fluttering kicked in again today, I had a quick sharp pain in my chest and the shortness of breath returned, none of which occurred simultaneously. I'm going back on the Zantac and will talk it over with the Doc next month.
Based on all this, do you think it's worth moving up my Dr appt to earlier if possible, or am I probably safe in assuming it's gastro-related, not heart? Are there other things I can be doing in the next couple of weeks pre-doctor visit to alleviate my dependence on Zantac to stop the fluttering, which I assume is my esophogus spasming?
I get so much from reading these boards...thanks in advance for any insight you can give me!
I think you will be relieved with my story. I have over the past few months been getting chest pains, pains in ribs, fluttering sensation, and what feels like a spasm right after I eat. The worse thing was my difficulty breathing. I read a message of someone on this board who mentioned that her husband thought he was having heart trouble, etc. all tests normal. He had trouble breathing. As it turned out he had a severe case of GERD and once he started taking a prescription like Prevacid his symptoms dissappeared. Over the past few months with myself, I have been getting a very full feeling in my chest area, etc. and I was having a hard time breathing. Over the weeks my breathing problem was getting worse & worse and I couldnt figure out what was wrong. I never felt normal until months before. It always felt like there was some thing stuck in my chest area like fluid. After reading that person's post I immediately starting taking my prescription of Prevacid to see if this same thing was the case. I was prescribed Prevacid a while back but didnt take it, as I dont like to take medication unless I definitely know I have a certain problem. Well about 4 days into taking my medication, my breathing problem was gone and no more feeling of fluid in my lungs. The chest pain & spasms are gone. I have now been on Prevacid over 2 weeks and notice a 75% change in the way I feel. Who would have known that GERD can cause breathing difficulties. I guess my esophagus was so inflammed that it caused this type of problem. I would still like to get an endoscopy which I am seeing a gastro next week, so maybe it may pick up other problems. I would definitely look into getting a prescription and I found it helped tremendously. I hope this offers you some hope.
I would also like to add that I have been having problems for years with stabbing pains in ribs, chest pain, etc., all tests including heart come back normal. Went to cardiologist and he said it was chest wall pain and sent me on my way. Gastro problems very well mimic heart problems and can really convince you that something is very wrong when its probably just gastro problems.
Thanks for the reply! I'm going to get back to taking the over-the-counter Zantac until I can get in to see the doctor next month. If things don't improve, then I'll try to get in sooner, but it sounds like I have identical symptoms to you and the poster's husband that you referenced, so that does provide some level of mental relief for me. I tend to turn into a bit of a hypochondriac whenever something seems even the slightest bit "out of whack."
Your welcome. I understand. I also get panicky and these days it seems problem after problem. Just take the Zantac until you can get something stronger. I think you should be ok and its always nice to have someone who is in your shoes.