In 1998, as I turned 25, I started noticing that as I laid in bed at night that I would experience a sort of tightness in my chest that felt as if I was having heart palpitations. I started to notice that when I drank caffeinated coffee the symptoms seemed to be at their greatest. Because I didn't have health insurance at the time I struggled through every night with fear of having a heart attack. In 1999 I got married and gave up caffeine of any kind to make the symptoms calm down.
Since 1999 I've noticed several things that seem to feel wrong with my insides. I've begun to experience allot of acid reflux and I have never been able to stop the tightness in the chest from happening almost everyday. In 2000 I started a new job working on a database where I must sit for basically 8 hours a day. I have been finding that by the end of the day my chest is always tight, even though it was find upon arriving to work. I have also been finding that I feel very weak and irritated by the end of my shift. I have medical insurance with my new company and I've been hesitant to go see the doctor simply cause I've been scared of what he might find. However last week I finally got some answers to what I may be feeling.
My Father was visiting and was talking about his hiatal hernia. He showed me what he called his "monster" as the middle of his chest seemed to form a cone shape when he added strain to it. Listening to him seemed to make a light go off in my head as I realized that for what seemed to be years I've had that cone-like shape form whenever I'd add strain like when I did sit-ups and such. Upon reading some more information I seem to have all the symptoms associated with it. I get chest tightness rather than pain though but I also get allot of acid reflux and I feel it all after eating or sitting for long periods of time. At night it's the worst because I concentrate on the tightness without distraction and it bothers me worse because of it.
What I want to know from those that know about this subject is:
- Does this sound like indeed that I'm suffering from a hiatal hernia?
- Do you also have the problem of feeling tightness if in fact you've been sitting all day?
- If you have long episodes of tightness and sitting like I described do you feel weak afterwards? I realize this could be associated with lack of activity during the work day as well.
- Is there any advice you could give to someone age 29 to help them live a normal life and not one filled with anxiety and the feeling of being unhealthy?
Sorry for such a long story but any help would be appreciated. Oh by the way I will be going to doctors soon to get the full extent of the problem but I guess I want to know what others go through so that way I can help the doctor by knowing more about my problem.
I know that reflux can indeed cause palpitations. You probably need a strong daily pill to control the symptoms; there are lots out there and your doctor will help you pick the right one. It could be hiatal hernia, or a dozen other things. Only a good GI doc can tell you for sure. Good luck.
People with reflux have described their chests as feeling as though a car is sitting upon it. Lot's of people actually think they are having a heart attack where there pain is so bad. Hiatus hernia is very common in the world of reflux, some think that as much as 80% of refluxers have the hiatus hernia as well. As you father has one, I think you really should get this checked out. Slowing in heart rates have been noted by refluxers during attacks etc I also feel as though my heart skips a beat sometimes when I first lay down.
Don't worry too much about what will happen, until you have been told. Most hernias aren't treated as it isn't always necessary if the right combination of drugs is used and changes in your lifestyle are followed. My first suggestions to you would be
Don't eat for at least 2hrs before going to bed.
Sleep in an elevated position e.g. a couple of pillows as this will help gravity to keep the acid in the stomach.
Avoid caffiene, chocolate, fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol and smoking, along with avoiding as much stress as possible.
These tips alone could dramatically change your symptoms. But don't forget to see a doctor he may want to prescribe a medication etc