Hello everyone! This is probably going to be a long post so bare with me. For about two years I took a diet pill containing ephedra to lose weight. This was before I had heard of all the problems that it could cause. About a year ago when they took it off the market I obviously had to quit taking it. It seemed that I was having some withdrawal symptoms like bad headaches, but they went away after a couple of days. Then about a month after I quit taking it I was on my way home from work & started to feel like I was having a heart attack, or what I thought a heart attack would feel like. Anyway the feeling went away, but of course I was very scared. The thought that something was wrong with my heart consumed me. I had a few more episodes like that & finally went to the doctor. The first time I went to the doctor I was kind of in the middle of having one of these attacks & they did an ekg that came up abnormal & they decided to run some more tests. The doctor did say that he thought it was just anxiety & the ekg came up abnormal because my heart was beating so fast. They did an echo & a 24 hr. holter monitor & both tests came up fine except a fast heart rate (100-110) & they diagnosed me with anxiety & panic attacks. I should mention that I have always been an anxious person, even as a child. Now for the last year I have been having chest pain off & on. Some days I will not have it at all & some days I have it off & on throughout the day. The pain is in my left chest area, my left shoulder, under my left armpit, & the left side of my back. Sometimes it is a short stabbing pain & sometimes it is kind of a dull ache. Since all this started I have been pregnant & had a baby. If it was a heart condition would the symptoms have gotten worse throuth the pregnancy with all the extra blood pumping through the heart? I just can't help but worry that I did some kind of perminent damage by taking the ephedra for so long. Also I live in a small town & the hospital that I had all the test done at is not the greatest hospital in the world & that worries me too, that they could have missed something. I should also mention that I am only 22 & have never had any major health problems. Sorry to go on so long, but I thought that I should give everyone the full history to get an honest opinion. Do you think that the chest pain could be heart related or something else? Also, I can get the pain while just sitting, I don't have to be doing any kind of activity. Any input would be greatly appreciated. I am so scared that something was missed & that there is really something wrong with my heart.
I wish I was able to give you some insight. I am in almost the exact same situation as you. This has been going on now for 3 years for me and I have had many tests including a stress test that came back with questionable results, followed by another stress and echo, and many EKG's. I am currently pregnant and have an OB appt next week and plan to discuss this further with him as I have never mentioned my chest pains to him before. I don't entirely believe that it's anxiety even though I am sometimes an anxious person too. The pains are very inconsistent, like you said and I just don't feel all that anxious most of the time. The Dr's have diagnosed me with Acid Reflux and said that's the cause of my pains but I doubt that diagnosis too since none of the meds they have prescribed work at all.
At 35 years old I'm not prepared to live the rest of my life with this discomfort.
About 4 months ago I had major panic attacks for the first time in my life (46 yo) after a death in my family. This lead to weeks of major anxiety with my heart racing, pounding, dizziness, chest pain and insomnia (mostly because my heart was pounding and the chest pain was so uncomfortable). After being checked out by a cardio and taking sleep/anxiety meds for a couple of weeks, I started to improve and had to accept that the symptoms were anxiety related. Since I'd never had anxiety or panic attacks before, I was convinced there was something majorly wrong! (The cardio did find that I have a congenital birth defect, but it's not the cause of any problems at this time. A chance it may cause problems when I'm older. Nevertheless, this contributed to my anxiety!) I have gradually been getting better, which to me is a sign that it has been anxiety and not heart-related. Is there a way you can get help from your GP on dealing with the anxiety to see if any of your symptoms improve? My chest pains and rapid HR have been the longest lasting of the symptoms. My chest will hurt or feel pressure sometimes upon waking, during the day or when I'm trying to go to sleep. Sometimes I still have a slight tightness on my left side that will last all day. I know it's a very scary feeling and not knowing the answers to what is wrong only will make you more anxious.
As a side note, I've also discovered I'm low on hormones (estrogen, etc.) which can lead to anxiety and some of these types of symptoms. I'm wondering if the fluctuation of your hormones during and after pregnancy might have contributed to your being more anxious. Might be something to also talk to your GYN about.
Thank you all for replying. It makes me feel better just to know that there are people who are having the same syptoms without heart problems. It is so scary to feel that pain in your chest & really not know what is going on. It really consumes my thoughts all day. I wish I could get over this & start being the care free person I used to be. I miss that so much. Now I'm really even scared to exercise because I'm afraid that if there is something wrong with my heart exercise will aggravate it. I would love just to feel normal again.
I know this is an older thread - but I just wanted to say that I took a diet pill for about two years and stopped on 9/29. On 10/10 rather suddenly I started having shortness of breath 24/7. I had an echocardiogram last thurs and awaiting the results....I'm not having any real pain - just a heavy feeling.....can you get problems from diet pills _after_ you quit them??
I am the one who originally started this post. I didn't start having the problems until after taking the pills either. Sometimes I wonder if it could be anxiety stemming from stopping the pills. I wonder if I got so used to taking them that my body didn't know how to react when I stopped. I have had my heart checked by a holter monitor & an echo & the doctor never found anything abnormal. I have been dealing with this for almost two years now. I will feel better for a while then I start having the chest pains & worrying again. Right now I am having constant pain in my left shoulder & arm & that also makes me worry about heart problems. Sometimes I have to stop & tell myself that if it was my heart something would have happened by now. I mean, I don't think people have chest pain for two years before they have a heart attack!
Thanks for writing - All I've had so far is the echocard - and they gave me xanax for the anxiety - but it's not helping really.....I wondered that too - if it was because my body was so used to them - how long did you take to go off? I was at the max dose for most of the two years 300 mg! - but before I started going off I had been at 200 mg for a couple of months. Then I went off over a period of two weeks. I've been worried that I went off too quick and that's why I'm having this.....I'm sorry you're having pain -Do they have an explanation for the pain? I mostly have shortness of breath - but sometimes pain on the left side of my chest....I'm afraid to exercise too which doesn't help! When I went off the diet pill I gained 20 lbs in two weeks! So then I wonder if the weight is causing the symptoms.....I took didrex - an old one - my doc never told me they should only be used for 12 weeks or less - I have hypothyroidism too - so it was great at helping combat those symptoms. I am 40 now...all my problems started when I was 37.....I'm really sorry you've had this for so long - I can relate because it took them forever to figure out my thyroid problem and now they can't tell me why I'm having shortness of breath (just sitting)....Do you continue to have tests run to check for changes??
Thanks for writing and I wish you the best....
PS already on treatment for last six months for reflux and take BCP for level estrogen and have history of anxiety/panic too - for which I was on treatment at the time this started....