A bit of background. I've dealt with health anxiety in the past, at one point thinking I had appendicitis and at another time a brain aneurysm, both ruled out by testing. I have also dealt with general anxiety disorder and depression in the past, both diagnosed by a CBT.
Now for the issue. Back in the beginning of December I took a bit of ecstasy, something I immediately regretted and did some heavy drinking. I felt fine the next morning but later in the evening upon getting off my couch I had a sharp pain in my chest that lasted a few seconds, it immediately triggered a classic panic attack in me but I eventually talked myself down and relaxed. I woke up the next morning with chest and arm discomfort and got check out by a PCP who said it was most likely costochondritis.
Fast forward to the present and I'm still having strange chest sensations. Sometimes its pressure in the center of my chest, other times its on the left and rarely its on the right. It can be tightness, fullness, sharp pain, burning or a combination of them all. It's almost always coupled with arm tingling or numbness and a sometimes a migraine aura. I frequently have back pain, shoulder pain and sometimes abdominal pain with these symptoms, the pain overall is maybe a 1 or 2 out of 10, so more of a discomfort. Both of my parents have GERD so this could potentially be the issue.
I went to the ER with chest discomfort a few weeks ago, my EKG came back with an inverted wave, which they said could be normal for me but they needed further testing. A CBC, Cardiac Panel and Chest X-Ray were done and all checked out fine, they dismissed me with costochondritis and anxiety. My BP was a bit high, 153/80 but they attributed that to my nerves.
I followed up with my GP who said I was okay and then a cardiologist. The cardiologist did another EKG which was normal checked my BP, 110/70, checked me out and listened to my Coronary arteries and heart with a stethoscope and said everything sounded fine and it could be GERD, he scheduled me for a stress echo anyway just to be safe. He also suggested trying to raise my HDL as they were a 36, but this runs in my family, my dad's being a 26. The stress echo was conducted by the cardiologist and he said everything looks perfect, my heart could not be healthier. He prescribed me nexium, which I've been on for 2 weeks, it's been helping a bit but I still have chest discomfort and weird heart sensations and palpitations.
It should be noted that I'm 21 years old, frequent drinker, casual smoker, although I recently quit (was only smoking 1-2 a day for 1.5 years) casual drug user, but haven't used in a while and used less than 40 times in my lifetime. 5'10", 160lbs, history of heart disease on my moms side but no early deaths and they were all heavy smokers. My dad's side of the family is unknown since is adopted but he is approaching 50 and has had no serious medical ailments.
Any idea what this could be? GERD, Anxiety, Heart Issue? Any help would be great as this is placing a serious burden on me. I do have chest tenderness when I press on areas around the sternum, but I'm a prodder when it comes to anxiety and that could be the cause.
First off, don't ever do drugs again. You have what appears is a very bad case of anxiety. It is scary when your body does things that one isn't familar with. Drugs can kill, so it's better to let that never happen again.
I think you should join a yoga studio. Trust me, this will help you calm down naturally. Try not to drink, alcohol is one heck of poison. You can get something called "holiday heart" anyone can get it when you drink..but you're young-so take care of yourself! I have had heart problems since I was a child and don't wish it on anyone. It is scary but now that I have turned my life around through diet/yoga/working out..i feel better. Good luck
soupr, first, let me say I agree - definitely time to cut off the recreational drugs. If you've dealt with/are dealing with anxiety issues, those added chemicals are just going to exacerbate the problem.
As far as your symptoms, you and I share quite a few. I have costochondritis, and your symptoms sound very similar. If you've got the inclination, I'd suggest finding a good physical therapist to look you over. When I went in for some pain management, it turns out that in addition to the costochondritis I also had some ribs out of place, which in turn was hitting a nerve causing some issues with numbness, burning, pain, etc. I also had some shoulder issues which added to the left arm pain as well.
Keep in mind that the costochondritis can be aggravated easily. I sit in an office all day, and if I'm not conscious of my posture, I can reinjure it. And yes, anxiety can do the same. Bouts of stronger anxiety can also mimic a heart problem or costochondritis, so if you've been cleared of heart issues (and been honest with your doctor of your drug use), then I would chalk it up to these two combined. Try icing when the pain gets bad (although for some heat works better). I would recommend you possibly taking a low dose anti-anxiety med, but only if you can do it without mixing it with alcohol or chemicals. Good luck and prayers to you!
*I am not a doctor or a health care professional. All information here is from personal experience only.
Last edited by Administrator; 02-07-2013 at 04:24 PM.