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Old 07-12-2005, 09:07 AM   #1
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tattooyu HB User
Getting despondent

Hi guys. I usually post in the digestive areas, but I would like some feedback.

I'm 32 years old, 5'7", 220 lbs. I recently went down from 247 lbs. from last year.

In December 2004, I admitted myself to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. EKG and blood tests proved normal. They thought it was a reflux induced panic attack.

Just last week, my endoscopy showed no reflux or anything else wrong.

Symptoms - pain under breastbone going through to my back, band-like or upward pressure under ribs, burping, fast pulse after eating, needing to catch a good breath once in a while. I'm concerned that it's my heart. I can exercise and walk without aggravating the symptoms (except the digestive ones occasionally). I'm thinking of going to a cardiologist just to put my mind at ease.

Thanks for any feedback from your own experiences.

 
Old 07-12-2005, 11:13 AM   #2
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Re: Getting despondent

Quote:
Originally Posted by tattooyu
Hi guys. I usually post in the digestive areas, but I would like some feedback.

I'm 32 years old, 5'7", 220 lbs. I recently went down from 247 lbs. from last year.

In December 2004, I admitted myself to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. EKG and blood tests proved normal. They thought it was a reflux induced panic attack.

Just last week, my endoscopy showed no reflux or anything else wrong.

Symptoms - pain under breastbone going through to my back, band-like or upward pressure under ribs, burping, fast pulse after eating, needing to catch a good breath once in a while. I'm concerned that it's my heart. I can exercise and walk without aggravating the symptoms (except the digestive ones occasionally). I'm thinking of going to a cardiologist just to put my mind at ease.

Thanks for any feedback from your own experiences.
Yes, see a cardiologist for Peace of Mind! Also, did they do a barium swallow x-ray on you? This is what showed that I had a sliding hiatal hernia. I was put on Nexium and another med (cannot remember) and I do feel better. Good Luck.

 
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:21 AM   #3
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Re: Getting despondent

Thanks.

A barium swallow x-ray is the same as an Upper GI correct? My gastro hasn't done either (if they are indeed different).

I'll phone my doctor this week!

 
Old 07-12-2005, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: Getting despondent

Not sure what you are referring to as an Upper GI. There is a test called an EGD which the gastro doc looks down into your esophagus with a light. Then there is a test called a Barium X-ray where they film you while drinking this whity looking stuff. Is this what you had?

 
Old 07-13-2005, 12:47 AM   #5
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Re: Getting despondent

I do not want to scare you at all, but my husband was misdiagnosed with GERD for the last 6 months. The problem, all along, has been a heart problem that involved palpitations, dizzy spells especially after meals, and general fatigue...among other things.

It took 3 doctors to figure it out, including an ER doctor back in January (for your same exact reasons). Last week, he saw the Cardiologist and now he is getting proper diagnosis and treatment.

All along, he was saying that he didn't think that the GERD was causing his problems, but moreso that something was causing the stomach problem. If just one of those doctors had listened to all of his symptoms, instead of pushing pills on him---everything from XANAX to Nexium, they would have had him on a heart monitor months ago.

The Holter monitor, or ECG monitor (size of an IPOD) is worn for a week or so in order to record heart events that are uncomfortable and/or painful.

Finally, he can eat whatever he wants again, even drink a cup of coffee. He's not quite ready for that, but otherwise, his stomach and esophogus seem to be just fine. It makes perfect sense for a lazy doctor to write off these symptoms as anxiety caused by GERD and vice versa. However, I think that we KNOW our bodies better than some doctors would like to let us think we do.

If you think that there is more to your symptoms, it's probably because there is.

Make an appt with the Cardio and Electrophysiologist, just to make sure. Also, read back through all of the threads with your key words and you will find that you are certainly not alone.

Best of luck to you and post back when you get back from your appt, or sooner if you have other weird symptoms that you'd like to share. You'd be surprised by how many people here can help you figure this out!

 
Old 07-13-2005, 05:34 AM   #6
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Re: Getting despondent

tatoo,
Yes, a barium-swallow X-ray is the same as an upper GI.
You said you can walk...can you RUN for 5 minutes?

Isolating GERD from ischemic anigina is DIFFICULT even for the professionals.
Some good rules of thumb you can test at home if need be:
  • Acid blockers like Prilosec, Xanax, Aciphex, Tagamet and even TUMS will work for the somack but not for the heart.
  • Beta-Blockers and nitrites (inhaled <poppers>, sublingual, or spray) will work very well for angina but do NOTHING for heartburn.
  • Heartburn doesn't get worse as the heart speeds up with exertion, angina almost ALWAYS does.
  • Sometimes after a meal you can suffer BOTH and then diagnosis is REALLY tough!

Last edited by Lenin; 07-13-2005 at 05:36 AM.

 
Old 07-13-2005, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: Getting despondent

PA2LA: May I ask what it actually turned out to be? Was it Mitral Valve Prolapse? Yeah, that's a little scary, but there's no sense in worrying about something I don't even know that I have (easier said than done).

I am going to call my PCP to set up an appointment with a cardiologist for an echo stress test(?). What is an electrophysiologist? Is that someone that deals specifically with the current flow in the heart?


Lenin: I went walking for 40 minutes last night and jogged a little bit. I have a hard time telling where exactly the pressure is, but it might have gotten a little worse after jogging. However, it seemed lower down (in between breastbone and navel) like more gastrointestinal than the usual pressure.

Thanks again.

Last edited by tattooyu; 07-13-2005 at 09:22 AM.

 
Old 07-13-2005, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: Getting despondent

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin
You said you can walk...can you RUN for 5 minutes?
Well, I probably could if I tried, but I'm 5'7", 220 lbs., so I might not be able to do that anyway.



The pressure below the breastbone seems to be pretty constant whether I'm at rest or walking full tilt. Still trying to figure that out. Sometimes it gets worse after I eat, sometimes not.


========== Addendum ==========

I just did a test. I ran around the block to see what would happen (about 2 minutes maybe). Even though I'm really out of breath, I can't say that the pressure I feel is really any worse sitting here at my desk.

Last edited by tattooyu; 07-13-2005 at 10:06 AM.

 
Old 07-13-2005, 03:51 PM   #9
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Re: Getting despondent

tatooyu,

Have you had an abdominal ultrasound to check for gallbladder problems? With your symptoms, I think that's the first test I'd ask for (especially since you've had a recent weight loss, which can sometimes usher in gallbladder trouble, especially on a very low fat, low calorie diet)

But I don't want to discourage you from having the heart workup either, because peace of mind is priceless! I can kind of relate, because I began with the G.I. route for my symptoms (chest pressure, burping, palpitations/skipped beats), was misdiagnosed by my first gastroenterologist as having GERD and anxiety, suffered for months on HIGH doses of Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec (one at a time of course), till I blew off that first gastro doc (who refused to do any tests, he was so *sure*) and went to another gastro doc who said, this is NOT reflux (an endoscopy showed no signs of reflux damage), diagnosed me with esophageal spasms and put me on Levsin (hyociamine), which FINALLY gave me some relief. Simultaneously, I went to a cardiologist for a thorough workup, just to make SURE everything was okay with my heart, because those weird beats scared the hell out of me. I still don't know exactly why I'm having the PAC's with the digestive symptoms - whether the spasms cause the PAC's, or the anxiety from the spasms is the cause - guess that's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg type question. Oh and btw, my symptoms were aggravated by exercise, which can be an ominous sign - or not, as it turned out in my case. But the exercise connection was what prompted me to go for the cardiac workup, even though none of my other doctors thought I needed it.

Do your symptoms get worse after a high-fat meal? This can be a clue as to whether it could be gallbladder or not. In any event, the ultrasound test is easy and painless, and I really think it would be a good idea to rule that out.

Good luck, and let us know how you're doing

 
Old 07-13-2005, 06:46 PM   #10
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Re: Getting despondent

Hey there. I did find out a diagnosis, just today, in fact. His condition is Sinus Tachycardia. He is still taking some Nexium, just in case and he may ask for a scope in the future. If his stomach pain and discomfort disappear as he is treated with the beta blocker, then he probably won't need the scope.

However, Wintergarden brings up a VERY good point. Gall Bladder conditions are amongst the highest misdiagnosed. When I first took my husband to the doctor three weeks ago, that was one of the conditions that I asked about. The doctor actually said that it would be a good guess, but given the overall picture, including the EKG and vitals, it was not the case.

I would cover all of the bases. It really is a good idea to get the cardio workup. You are exactly right on what an electrophysiologist does. They usually work hand in hand with the cardio or the cardio is also an electro, as he is in my husband's case. Our whole body functions as a result of the current that our heart produces and the electro's dedicate their entire practice to studying the delicate balance of hormones & our natural pacemaker. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, but that's the preferable "short" version!

It's important to be your own advocate for good health. Just because one doctor doesn't think that you need something, doesn't mean that another one won't entirely disagree. Present your condition to as many doctors as it takes until you get answers & relief.

It's true what they say, you don't have anything if you don't have your health!

 
Old 07-14-2005, 09:14 AM   #11
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tattooyu HB User
Re: Getting despondent

Thanks PA2LA.

I had a very bad panic attack yesterday, brought on (I think) from talking about all of this. I even had to leave work early. It lasted almost 2 hours, and I felt edgy all day. I feel better today for sure.

Needless to say, I appreciate all of your input.

My cycle tends to be...

One day I'll get:

- Palpitations/rapid hearbeat
- Panicky/Anxious
- Light-headed

The next day or two:

- Intestinal cramps
- Diarrhea.

Then, I'm fine until the cycle repeats itself. I'm thinking my body is reacting to whatever toxic build-up is in my digestive system...not sure. Anyway, I'm calling my PCP today to set up an appointment to talk about being referring to a cardiologist and/or an electrophysiologist.

Be well!

 
Old 07-14-2005, 10:41 AM   #12
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Re: Getting despondent

Don't worry yourself into anxiety attacks...easier said than done, I know!
You have to take solace in the fact that you are getting good advice and support from everyone here. Plus, you know that a visit to the doc is warranted. Once you set that up, and set it up for the first available (for peace of mind, maybe they can get you in before the weekend), you will start the road to recovery.

BTW...from what I read about symptoms, the stomach & digestive issues do sound kind of like Gall Bladder but can also be caused by nerves.

Let us know when you appt is and also if you have anymore anxiety attacks. If you can, it may help you to post your symptoms on the board. Someone is always on and people usually respond pretty fast.

Keep us posted and take care of yourself!

 
Old 07-14-2005, 10:57 AM   #13
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Re: Getting despondent

Thanks. Much appreciated.

Will post again soon.

 
Old 07-27-2005, 11:55 AM   #14
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Re: Getting despondent (update)

Update: I finally got my referral for a treadmill stress test at a cardiologist in my doctor's building. I will be making an appt. this week!

Since I am 5'7" / 215 lbs., I hope I'll be able to make it through the test. I think they take you up to 85% of the max heart rate for your age:

(220 - age) * 0.85 = target heart rate

(220 - 32) * 0.85 = ~160 bpm for me

Usually, I don't go above 145 bpm at the gym, so I think I'll be fine. A little nervous, but at least there will be a doctor and nurse there!


Last edited by tattooyu; 07-27-2005 at 11:57 AM.

 
Old 08-02-2005, 09:51 AM   #15
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Thumbs up Re: Getting despondent (update)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tattooyu
Update: I finally got my referral for a treadmill stress test at a cardiologist in my doctor's building. I will be making an appt. this week!
Update!

I passed my treadmill stress test with flying colors. Even though I know it's not as accurate as an echocardiogram, being only 32, I feel that is good enough for now to ease my mind (and it has...a LOT!).

Just wanted to share.

By the way, I got my heart rate up to 170 bpm for about 30 sec - 1 min. I was on the treadmill a total of 6.5 min.


 
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