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Old 12-21-2004, 07:25 PM   #1
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Ryguy1 HB User
Ruling everything out

Hey guys. I posted a while back. For a quick review, I'm a 26-year-old male, about 20 pounds overweight, non-smoker for most of my life but recently used marijuana quite regularly (but haven't had any for two months), and otherwise in good health. My trouble is that I've been having chest pains for nearly two months, with the pain sometimes radiating to my back, shoulder, neck, jaw and mouth. I have heart palpitations often, especially when I lie down, and my heart races at times, sometimes going over 100 bpm while at rest. I sometimes feel light-headed and have mild to severe headaches almost every day. Muscles twitch all over my body for no apparent reason, especially in my legs, chest and neck. And I often have shooting pains all over my body, especially in my legs, abdomen, chest, neck and head. I was diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder and given some tranquilizers to help me cope. One thing I should note is that I injured my back in June and as a result was almost completely sedentary for the better part of 6 months.

Now, for the question, at what point can I safely say that every heart-related problem has been ruled out? I've had 6 EKGs, 2 chest X-rays, 2 series of blood work, and a 24-hour Holter monitor. Everything has come back normal with two minor exceptions. The 24-hour monitor showed one instance of borderline sinus tachycardia (102 bpm) when I was experiencing palpitations, and my good cholesterol is a little bit low (0.81 whatever units they measure it in when it should be 1.04 or higher), but my bad cholesterol is super low (2.09 whatever units), so I doubt that's a problem. But I still don't feel right, and I can't shake the feeling that it's a problem with my heart.

I have an echocardiogram scheduled for next week, and then an exercise stress test a couple weeks into the new year. That seems to be a pretty thorough work-up to me. So, if those tests come back normal, should I consider the issue closed? I know there's no such thing as 100% with medicine, but after all those tests, is it safe to say that my heart has been ruled out as the culprit?

I know there are many other things that could be causing similar symptoms, and I'll get to them in due time. My heart is my biggest fear right now, and I want to rule it out completely. Is there any test that's missing?

P.S. I don't know if this has any impact, but I've been taking a number of NSAIDs for arthritis for the past 3 years, including Vioxx and Naproxen. From my understanding of things, though, heart attacks were an acute cause of the drugs' use. I haven't taken either in 3 months, so I'm guessing (hoping) there's no cause for concern. Am I right or am I misinterpreting the facts?

Guys, thanks again in advance for your help.

 
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:14 PM   #2
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Kitten1980 HB User
Re: Ruling everything out

I think if all of those tests come back normal, and your doctor knows that you were taking Vioxx and Naproxen just to rule out any potential damage there, then it's probably time to start looking for other culprits. Thyroid problems can mimick heart problems and so can anxiety. You've already been diagnosed with anxiety but I would make sure that your thyroid is ruled out as a problem too, because that is something that can usually be treated easily to relieve your symptoms .
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:43 PM   #3
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Re: Ruling everything out

Hello again Kitten. Thanks for the reply.

My thyroid has been ruled out by both blood tests, so I'm kind of at my wit's end. The other day, I went out for a walk, and since it had just snowed, it was a bit tougher to walk up hills and stuff, and it gave me a good work out. My heart rate got up there. But after I got home and rested for a while, my heart rate still stayed above 100 bpm, even 5 hours after finishing the walk. When I stood up, my pulse would go over 120. I wasn't feeling anxious at the time, so I'm having a really hard time believing everything's in my head. It's extremely frustrating not knowing what's wrong with me, as I'm sure many can relate.

I'm off to the doc again tomorrow, and hopefully she'll throw me a bone, a scrap, something that'll shed some light on this.

 
Old 12-22-2004, 10:31 PM   #4
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Kitten1980 HB User
Re: Ruling everything out

Does your doctor know that you used marijuana regularly? I know it might be a hard thing to bring up but it is relevant to your medical history even if you don't use anymore, and that could be the "bone" that the doctor needs to figure out what to look for next. Good luck.
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:49 AM   #5
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NineLives HB User
Re: Ruling everything out

The tests that you had so far are helpful but there are better tests. You mentioned that you are having a stress test. Hopefully that will include a nuclear scan. They miss things too(happened in my case), but overall it's suppose to be a pretty good test when the two are done together. The gold standard would be the angiogram, but it's doubtful that they would go that far unless something showed up on the nuclear scan. If that test comes back normal I think you could probably rest fairly comfortably that it's not your heart, but if your symptoms continue you should pursue further testing.

 
Old 12-23-2004, 06:44 AM   #6
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Ryguy1 HB User
Re: Ruling everything out

Kitten, my doctor knows about the drug use, but she didn't seem too concerned about its effects. She was more concerned about the drinking I did when I was younger.

NineLives, good question. I'm not sure what's going to be involved in the stress test, but I'll ask my doctor when I see her today.

Thanks again, guys, for the feedback.

 
Old 12-26-2004, 06:22 PM   #7
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Eileen2345 HB User
Re: Ruling everything out

Your echocardiogram should tell you a lot about your heart and it's functioning. If the echo comes back normal, then I suggest you rule out any heart problems.

I wish you the best.

 
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