Heart palps, shortness of breath, Anxiety and GERD
I have had Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I was about 14. I was diagnoed with IBS at 17, and diagnosed with GERD at 30. I'm 34 now, and I have been under exceptional duress (sister just had preemie baby, nearly died with toxemia, sister also has 10 month old we watched while she was in hospital, a ten yr old and a pregnant 17 yr old. We're all flat broke, my job lost huge clients and cut my hours in half, I have no health insurance, and my sister and her kids have to live with me for 30 days according to CPS yada yada. It goes on.)
For past 3 weeks have been exhausted, feeling fatigue in muscles after walking from room to room. Past 5 days I have had heart palps, heavy beating heart and shortness of breath (feel like I just ran up the stairs) walking from one room to another. I went to the grocery store and had to stop to breathe about 6 times (I walked there and granted, the way there is downhill and I stopped once and uphill back I stopped 4 times. Usually I still need to stop at least once as I'm overweight.)
Also having pressure/burning/pain in upper stomach right where ribs meet in center. Feels like my diaphragm is poking up into my chest. Have had bad GERD flare up for a couple of weeks. Stomach tender every morning for about 2 weeks, feel a little bloated. TONS of post nasal drip from sinuses.
Anyway I got an EKG yesterday A.M. at my primary, it was normal. Went to the ER late at night, was there 7 hours and they did EKG, chest X ray, blood work, cardiac enzymes and all NORMAL.
Even said I wasn't anemic but I still think I am. I have not been eating much since sister got sick and had her emergency C section, and lost about 16 pounds from March 26 or so til now.
My doc said take a Xanax (my old friend from age 17-21). Took half a .25 yesterday as I don't want to get back on tranqs again but the stress right now is astronomical. My longtime therapist says I am "protesting" what is happening in my life right now and have a lot of anger and resentment. He's right, I do but I'm also afraid of heart problems. (All these years I have had an echo, countless EKG's, enzyme tests, seen many cardiologists, had a couple of Holters and so on and not once in my life have ever been diagnosed with a heart problem. I have chronic chest pain from the GERD and IBS. Gastro specialist even said pain refers from the gut.)
Everyone over the years tells me it's in my head, I'm just stricken with anxiety.
I'm still worried, still scared.
Oh did I mention my relationship with my fiance has been on the rocks for a while and I told him I wanted to break up last Monday, too? He's in England and I am in America and we are doing the fiance visa which we petitioned for last September as it takes 6-9 months to get and now the interview is next MONDAY and all this is happening all at once.
Here I am totally worried, can't go from room to room without the palps but resting heart rate is between 69 and 74. Even with palps the highest I checked it it was 100, but the beats are heavy and only with exertion (even only a little) and the rate goes down fairly quickly once I sit or rest again. the breathing was really getting me as the heart was running and I just feel winded like I ran.
So now I have appt with cardio for Thursday and it will cost like $1040 (money I DO NOT have) and God knows what the ER is gonna be and the doc herself was $150. I'm broke as a joke with no insurance and my job is going down the tubes and offers nothing.
So it's a vicious cycle. Stress, GERD, palps, can't breathe, which creates more stress...
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Re: Heart palps, shortness of breath, Anxiety and GERD
I am NOT a doctor, just a sufferer like you. I really feel for you, because I know what you are going through. I have basically the same kinds of symptoms. Here's a few things that I find help me:
- Its not in all your head; its mostly in your gut. Everybody kept telling me stress was causing the symptoms, but a stomach problem can cause every one the symptoms you've mentioned. Once you get the stomach feeling better, the other stresses in your life will be MUCH easier to deal with.
- Once you rule out the heart problems, as you have, just STOP yourself immediately when you start thinking down that track. Heart palp are quite common and once looked at (as yours were) should not be a huge concern (though I understand why they are - i've been there).
If you are like me, your symptoms ARE the result of referred pain due to the stomach / GERD / trapped gas. GERD causes pain, constant pain causes exhaustion. GERD causes sleep problems (apnea) which furthers feelings of stress, and GERD also causes sinus problems. Add that the the stress you already have and your Anxiety Disorder has a ton of fuel to get your heart racing and scaring you silly.
Try this it works for me:
1: I know it sounds like junk, but this works for me: try sipping a bit of Apple Cider Vinegar (about 1-2 tablespoons in a quarter cup of water), and just listen to my stomach grumble moving myself from side to side to help let all the burps out. I find burping helps alot to get rid of that horrible pressure/burning in the chest and even the pain in my arms and headache/sinuses clear up. Some times the acid (Apple Cider Viegar) works, sometimes, antacid does (Maalox or Pepto Bismol ) depending what the stomach problem is that day. I usually try the vinegar first and if that doesn't do it I switch to the other. Try to find 10 minutes of total silence 2x daily with your eyes closed somewhere, and just breathing while doing the Apple cider vinegar or antacid.
2: Keep the sinuses clean and clear. Use a saline-only spay as often as you can (5-8 time a day). Use the kind that really sprays, not the squeeze bottle kind. If you have a sinus infection, it can knock all the energy out of you, but I also find keeping the sinuses clear help my stomach feel better because not so much junk is clogging the stomach up (but maybe I'm nuts).
3: Use a half a Gravol at night sometimes and find that helps me get a decent nights sleep if I've been feeling exhausted for the day. Its a slippery slope though, as you said, don't want to get too dependant on that kind of stuff.
Try those and let me know how it works. I think once your physical self feels better, it will help with the anxiety and dealing with the other stuff. Right now your body is in fight/flight mode because it feels under attack (from the gas, sinuses, pain, etc). Get it out of that mode and maybe within a week things will start to be a bit easier to handle? I've been through this same type of thing and have gotten to the point where I can deal with it all with this concentrated effort. I'm still not perfect, but much better, I really hope some of this works for you too!
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Re: Heart palps, shortness of breath, Anxiety and GERD
i feel like i have similar problem... i have done EKG, blood tests and blood pressure, everything is normal... i have the problem where my heart feels "full"... i dont know how else to describe it... but if i burp, it feels like it semi goes away, it doesnt always feel "full" either... just sometimes... and it gets worse when i keep thinking about it like it's half anxiety / half stomach or something... i wish i knew how to get rid of it completely but i might try some of these techniques... it's seriously ruining my life very badly... i need to find a solution immediately