Hi, my name is Paul. I'm 29 years old and I sometimes get weird sensations in my chest. I'm quite small, about 5'7 and 134lbs, definitely not overweight.
I've had feelings in my heart before, often as a teenager but nothing that worried me too much. The feeling is hard to describe, it's a "dropping sensation" in my chest or can maybe even be described as a light squeeze on my heart. The sensation itself only lasts about a second and is not exactly "painful", just extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes it hits quite hard, often to the point where I have to stand up and walk, which makes for some odd moments at work.
I'd also like to mention that I am not very active other than walking (I really like walking and can walk for hours on end). I work as a software developer so I am pretty much at my desk "ALL" day long, other than bathroom breaks, lunchtime or going to the water cooler.
These weird sensations tend to happen at work and they get me very worried, which only makes it worse. They affect my productivity as well. I sometimes get these sensations at home, but they tend to worry me less than when they happen at the office.
In January 2010, about 4 months before our first baby (and only baby to date) was born, I had the worst episode of my life and I'm quite certain that stress had something to do with it. There was of course the stress from worrying about the health of our baby, the idea of being a parent, but what really hit me was losing a court battle with our old negligent landlady. We ended up having to pay her a large enough sum. We've had nothing but problems with this woman and my wife and I were really upset after walking out of the court room. We worried about our baby and our financial sitation (both are fine now BTW but at the time I panicked). I showed up to work a little later than usual that day as our court meeting was in the morning (this was a different job, but still a desk job). I walked in, had a coffee, sat at my desk and chatted with a two of my workmates. I was in a good enough mood despite what had just taken place, I had this feeling that things were going to get better and that life would be good for me and my family.
About an hour later my workmates went off to lunch and I was alone in the office. I was hit with a few of those chest sensations, nothing too serious but definitely not pleasant. I started to feel light headed. I got up and walked to the bathroom, stuck my hand under the faucet and blasted it with scalding hot water, didn't help. I felt nervous and had a feeling I was gonna pass out. Walked back into the office, sat at my desk, stood up again (I was all over the place). I tried to control my breathing, I thought maybe I needed a little food in me so I started to eat my lunch, at this point I was still getting heart sensations and my fingers and toes were cold and tingly. So I stood up and took a quick walk and came back in less than a minute.
I sat back down and lay my head on my desk. One of my workmates came back from lunch and asked me if I was okay. Feeling a little embarassed, I said "Yeah I'm fine". I figured if I lay there long enough it would pass. Next thing you know I couldn't move, my whole body was tingly and had gone to sleep. I was able to talk but was mumbling as I could barely move my mouth. I told my workmate to call 911 and to take my cell phone and call my wife for me.
My wife was downtown that day as she had a check up with her gynecologist, so she got to my building in less than 5 minutes. The paramedics were there, a few of my other workmates were looking at me with odd expressions on their faces. My wife was crying and I told her, in a mumbly voice to relax and not to stress out our baby.
We got in the ambulance. I still coudn't move and felt like I was gonna fall asleep. I mumbled to the paramedic that I felt sleepy and asked if it was okay to sleep. He told me not to fall asleep, to stay awake which scared the &$^# out of me I honestly thought I was going to die, a million thoughts ran through my head, I told my wife my bank PIN number, lol. I thought about how I wouldn't be able to watch our baby grow up.
I heard someone mention that the oxygen level in my blood was quite high and that hyperventilation was the cause. At the hospital they took blood samples, urine samples and listened to my heart on the monitor. I kept asking if my heart was okay, they told me it was fine. I thought maybe my blood pressure was low but it was also fine. I thought a bunch of things, and I'm the type of guy who asks the doctor a lot of questions. I figured maybe I was iron deficient, that wasn't the case.
Doctor said I was okay, but maybe under some stress. I was slightly dehydrated and he told me to lay off the caffeine. Haven't had more than 5 or 6 cups of coffee since. But he didn't really tell me where the heart sensations were coming from.
I apologize for the super long post. I've read about Anxiety (Panic Attacks), Acid Reflux, Thyroid problems. What am I going through?? I hate these feelings they scare me and I want to feel healthy. I've only recently started exercising again, brought on by the fear of being unhealthy and having worse problems in the near future. Has anyone else been through this?? I also find myself getting angry often and snapping for very little reason. I have no patience these days. I get angry when people in front of me walk too slow, when the subway has problems and causes me to "almost" be late for work, when my son refuses to eat his food. I want to relax and live a healthy life. Any suggestions??
Hi Pg1181, yes it was a long post. If you like writing it might make a good short story. It's very late or early, so I'm going to be brief. First, statisfy yourself that your heart is all right. That means seeing a cadio. If he does not find anything wrong with you, then it's likely you're under stress and feeling anxious. Only you know what's going on. Think about it. Anxiety is a cascade of symptoms. Some little thing sets it off and before you know it you're feeling strange and frightened. This only make it worse. Be aware that under enough stress anxiety will present in many, many different ways. I was a therapist and have suffered from it as well as treated it. First get your heart examined and then take it from there. You may be having some PVCs, which are benign but anxiety and stress will bring them on. Review your life as honestly as possible. Something is going on that may be expressing itself through anxiety. You may be repressing some feelings or be angry at something or someone. All the best, and keep me posted, Awlright.
Hi . The sensation you're experiencing in your heart could be palpitations. You should get it checked out just to be on the safe side, but I experience a similar sensation and have had tests done but they have shown no abnormality. Sometimes it feels like my heart skips a beat and also like my heart is pounding out of my chest. I also have other symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, shaking, depression etc etc and have been diagnosed with anxiety. I have just started taking medication, but it is still too soon for it to work properly.
I'd suggest to go to the doctor and get some blood tests done and also an ECG. At least then you can rule out anything life-threatening.
I ended up going to the hospital Friday night after work, had to wait about 4 hours before the doctor would see me as I'm sure I seemed fine to the triage nurse. Also I live in Canada, where the healthcare system is free but not always fast.
Anyways, he listened to my heart and lungs with the stethoscope said they both sounded fine (mind you he's not a cardiologist, I'll have to make an appointment with one soon enough, don't know how long I'll have to wait). He said he heard a couple of "doubled up" beats but that it generally wasn't dangerous. But I didn't feel the "dropping" sensation while he was listening.
A nurse came in to do an ECG, from the time she connected all the wires to the patches to the time she stopped the machine and ripped off the graph sheet took maybe 15 seconds, is this standard??
Right away she said it wasn't my heart, but again I didn't experience the dropping feeling in my chest during the ECG. It actually only happened twice or three times during the entire 5 hours at the hospital so they didn't catch it on the ECG. But that whole day at work I felt between 25 and 30 of them, 4 or 5 of them heavy enough to make me panic and stand up.
Over the weekend I felt a few of them, but not so heavy. I notice it seems to happen when I feel anxious. Like when I'm "waiting" for something or someone, doing something repetitive or tedious, like renaming 50 files on my PC, or just staring at the monitor trying to figure our why my source code isn't working the way it should.
I've noticed more and more this link between feeling stressed or anxious and the funny heart sensation. Sometimes I feel so stressed that my chest and the back of my neck and head feel hard and stiff.
Should I see a cardiologist even after being told it's not my heart?? I do question the accuracy of the ECG that the nurse performed as she didn't catch the weird sensations. Who would I see about anxiety and what tests are performed?? I have little to no patience and I "snap" more often than I should these days. I've been under A LOT of pressure at work with a huge deadline coming up and myself being the only person in my department. I'm almost sure stress has something to do with this. Perhaps I just need to find a way to stay calm. Also it seems to happen when I exhale more often than when I inhale.
I want to enjoy my life with my young family, but I can't like this.
Again thanks for the replies, I appreciate the help.
EDIT: Forgot to mention. He said it was probably an "extrasystole" and mentioned that they aren't generally dangerous.
Hi again I think you're suffering from anxiety, but I'm not a doctor, so I'd get it checked out. If your palpitations continue to be of concern to you, it would be beneficial to get it checked out further as worrying about this will only make your anxiety worse. As far as diagnosis and treatment for the anxiety is concerned, I went to my gp, who prescribed anti-depressants and referred me to a psychologist. Also, relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can be helpful.
I hope things start to improve for you soon.
The Following User Says Thank You to Had Enough2 For This Useful Post: KimberlyD143 (06-28-2012)
I went through this about 2 months ago. Well the "diagnosis" part of it. This has been something that started happening about December 2010/January 2011.
I was having weird sensations with my chest and notched it up to palpitations because I have had them in the past and always told my heart was fine. But I started getting terrible night terrors, and troubles sleeping along with minor chest pain/tightness etc.
It got so bad that I started to physically get sick. I would feel like I was about to throw up and I also felt like any minute I could just close my eyes and pass out but then I would freak myself out cause I feared that I wouldn't wake up.
Long story short after landing in the hospital after waking up from some night terrors and sleep issues along with chest pains, arm tingling and numbness I got some answers.
I was rushed in to get an EKG. My blood pressure: Normal. My heart: Perfect. My heart rate: 100. ER doctor told me it was stress and I need to breathe. The reason for the tingling and numbness was I hyperventilated (IN MY SLEEP!!! How does one stop that?).
I went through 3 weeks of no sleep, serious anxiety and just fear for my life. I went to my family doctor and was ordered for blood tests and had to wear a heart monitor for 48 hours. Blood test: Perfect. Heart test: Normal and Perfect. There's nothing wrong...I'm just stressed, I have anxiety and I do this to myself. BUT my heart rate does run pretty high and he thinks I may have a slight case of tachycardia.
I went 3 weeks with no issues until Monday night and since then I just feel worn down and weak and scared again.
I just want this to stop. Oh and it doesn't help I have a huge issue with being a hypochondriac....that's what I think makes it worse.
To Avies23: What's your normal heart rate at rest?? I borrowed a blood pressure monitor from a workmate and found out that mine is between 62 and 69, unless I used it wrong, which seems to be on the "low" side of normal (60 to 100 is considered normal apparently). And yes it's hard to control anything while sleeping, I've had a couple sleepless nights over the past 2 weeks, where my heart sensation occurs "as soon" as I fall asleep, like clock work. Not always only 2 or 3 nights.
Update to my situation: That Friday night I came home and slept fine. The following day we went grocery shopping (which is routine), and felt stressed and anxious. I always seem to feel stressed and anxious at that mall, it has become so routine that I know exactly what's gonna happen when (bus, mall, food court, look for clothing, fruit store, grocery place a block away, back on packed bus with heavy bags), I think it makes me impatient, I really don't like our Saturday routine .
Sunday night I felt such an uncomfortable feeling in my heart that I freaked out, left the house and started jogging (felt fine enough while jogging). Came back about an hour later. I went to bed and couldn't sleep at all. The moment I would fall asleep my heart would feel strange like a ba-bump followed by a split second of dizziness, of course waking me right up. But I was tired so I let it go 20 to 25 times until about 3AM where I thought to myself "enough already, I'm going to the hospital". My wife was worried and asked if I could wait until morning I said no (needless to say I missed work the following day). I ended up walking to the hospital (about an hour away), to try and keep my heart rate up, got there and waited longer than on Friday.
They did another EKG, same result (didn't catch the sensation and said my heart seemed fine). I got a lot of sensations in the heart while waiting though, which prevented me from getting any sleep, of course the sensations made me panic so I got up and started pacing a couple of times.
They also did a blood test (which relieved me a bit, I figured they could catch a problem this way), I asked them to check for thyroid problems as well and they did. She prescribed Clonazepam, said I could take half a pill at first to see how I react. I ended up getting out of the hospital Monday morning at around 10:30, that night I took half a pill before bed and slept well enough.
Tuesday morning I took a whole pill before work (where I feel most anxious), I got on the subway and started to feel VERY dizzy, I got off about 6 stations before my office to throw up, felt a little better and got back on the next train like a real trooper. Started feeling even worse than before so ended up getting off at the next station to throw up again. I couldn't walk straight, I asked a nearby woman to call 911, she said she didn't have a phone on her and walked off, didn't even tell anyone else (what an *******). A kind middle-aged man noticed me laying down on the bench and asked me if he wanted me to call 911. So I ended up going to a downtown hospital by ambulance. I was dazed and confused, I remember answering a lot of questions, I also remember one of the nurses looking at my bottle of Clonazepam and saying "my God" and taking it away.
They did another EKG, another blood test (at the time I still had not received the results from my previous one), said heart seemed fine, but again I didn't experience any weird feeling while hooked up, said my blood was fine, no iron deficiency which was a worry of mine as I've been a vegetarian for about 4 years up until two Saturdays ago (back on meat, feel terrible about it but it's out of fear that I'm lacking something in my diet). They also had me hooked up to an I.V so I had more holes in my arm than I've ever had at any one time in my life. Nurse said my white blood cell count was a little higher than normal but could've been due to recent stress.
They gave me Ativan instead of Clonazepam, told me it was addictive and to be careful. The Ativan has helped a few times since then.
So up until about a week ago, the sensation in my heart was not "painful" exactly, just uncomfortable and enough to scare the heck out of me. BUT......
About a week ago at work, I felt a burning sensation in the centre of my chest, nothing I've felt before. I immediately asked "professor Google" about it, read that if the burning sensation was accompanied by any pain in the shoulder or numbness in the left arm, to seek medical attention immediately. I actually did have a bit of pain in my shoulder the night before and my left arm did in fact fall asleep earlier that morning. So I left work early and went to the same hospital I went to by ambulance (I've not been productive at work these days).
I saw the triage nurse, explained to her that I've been to the hospital 4 times in the past 2 weeks and that I'm sick of this feeling (I actually felt a tear leave my eye while explaining this, I thought to myself that I must be going nuts), she said the Ativans they gave me weren't strong enough (0.5mg) and that she would try and get me to see a psychiatrist that same day with my consent of course. I complied as I just wanted this to go away. So they gave me a double-dose of Ativan which calmed me down enough to get some work done on my laptop, took ANOTHER blood test (I must've looked like a drug user to outside observers), another EKG (SAME RESULT, OF COURSE). A few hours later they sent me, by free taxi, to the psychiatric ward of another hospital.
Psych Ward Experience: I walked in, immediately saw someone peeing on the floor while being scolded by a nurse, one patient was wrapped in a blanket, walking back and forth twitching and talking to himself, a young girl was screaming to the nurse about how she lost her mom, brother and boyfriend in the same month of 2007. I remember feeling scared to death of the place and sad as hell at the same time. A 19 year old guy came up to me and smiled, he had dark bags under his eyes. He shook my hand and asked me if it was my first day, he them smiled and said they could use a few more people in there. I remember he kept talking about how there wasn't much to do there, but the food was good. He kept counting down the minutes until dinner time.
I was scared. I felt like I didn't belong there, and I knew I was only there to talk to a qualified Psychiatrist and wasn't "staying", but I kept thinking to myself "please God I don't ever wanna end up in a place like this".....
The Psychiatrist asked me ALL KINDS of questions about my life, my family, my career. She wrote everything down, it actually felt great just telling her about myself. She prescribed me a few more Ativans (not enough in my opinion, but she kept saying she didn't want me to depend on those), and she also prescribed an anti-depressant. Forgot the name.
She said it would take 5 to 7 weeks before I saw any results, and they would be minor. The side effects were mild nausea and a chance of vomiting, also sexual side effects in slightly higher doses. She planned on upping my dose after about a month and a half and said the progress would be slow and steady and mentioned that some people are off the medicate n completely in less than 6 months in good cases. She said it was my choice if I wanted them or not, I thought about the slow progress, the side affects, the fact that I may be on them for a long long time. I decided to not take them and have tried a couple of natural alternatives since (GABA, Rescue Remedy, Salmon Oil Omega-3 supplements). Not sure if the GABA works, doesn't seem to be doing much if anything at all, the Rescue Remedy (which is homeopathic) has not helped me at all. The fish oil seems like something my body could use anyways, so I'll continue taking it.
BTW My thyroid is fine according to my first blood test.
Yesterday, we did the Saturday shopping mall routine. About 20 minutes after lunch (I had a heavy lunch) I felt a very worrying feeling in my heart, kinda like the sensations I've been describing all along but worse. I actually left my wife and son in the mall and ran outside to pace back and forth (I definitely thought I had a heart problem). I thought that this might be the end, that the doctors were wrong and have missed a very serious problem with my heart, and that I don't think I can handle another feeling like this again. I remember thinking to myself that if this was gonna last the rest of my life, then I didn't want to live (sad I know).
BUT..... it wasn't panic until I had the sensation, and this is usually the case. The heart sensations (hate to call them palpitations as most people describe those differently) tend to trigger the panic, and then the panic seems to trigger more heart sensations. But where does this initial heart sensation come from. I don't mind the nervous panicky feeling so much if they aren't accompanied by these damn heart sensations.
Gonna wrap this up, sorry for the lengthy post. Is there ANYTHING I can do about the heart sensations????? I don't wanna take anti-depressants, does anyone know of an effective "natural" way to stop anxiety?????? If it even is anxiety......
Thanks a lot guys just for talking about it, it helps.
i don't have a clear cut diagnosis..sort of working on it..although i DO i know i have depressiona and am working on treating that... BUT at the beginning of this year, i started having weird heart issues. all of a sudden, my heart would race or pound really hard or both. sometimes it would last for hours.. other times for minutes. for a while it only happened at night! so, i wasn't able to sleep! that was awful... anyways, because of being on pain meds, i would get really tired so i was consuming waaaaay too much caffeine during the day. i decided to cut out the caffeine, figuring that was the reason for the heart episodes. After cutting out the caffeine, the heart palpitations DID go away. However, ALOT of stressful things and events happened a couple months later and i started having the heart racing/pounding again even though i wasn't consuming caffeine! So, then i realized that maybe it IS stress/anxiety because of what was going on in my life (and still is to an extent). The thing that made me doubt it being stress/anxiety though was the fact that it didn't always happen when i was feeling particularly stressed. i would be feeling fine and then it would all of a sudden start up! very strange..
But, i believe that our subconscious minds can do some pretty crazy things... so even though i don't THINK i'm particularly stressed at the time, your body can still react especially if you try to hide/push down your anxiety. Also, at the beginning of this year, i started to frown very hard in my sleep. i started noticing frown lines in my forehead.. now, 6 months later, and i'm still doing it! i wake up and i'm furrowing my brow really hard and i can't stop it!! it's so awful... i'm only 26 and i have some major furrow lines all across my forehead.. not just in the middle. I believe it's some sort of anxiety/stress response that my body does to relieve stress. It was triggered by a major change in life events that were extremely stressful at the time. I need to talk to my pain management doctor or.. since i'm trying to get in to see a psychologist/psychiatrist.. i will talk to them about it. i don't know if i need some sort of anti-anxiety medicine before i go to sleep or what?? does anyone have any advice for me on that? i'm on wellbutrin for depression but it's not doing anything for me.. i was hoping it would stop me from furrowing in my sleep but it's not even helping the depression!
ANYWAY, my point is.. sometimes, you might not feel like you have stress or anxiety but your BODY will do some crazy things as a stress response and is trying to let you know you ARE stressed! i think you should keep taking the anti-anxiety med or get on an antidepressant! there's nothing wrong with taking them at least for a while. but, you need a psychologist to talk to also.
I registered for this board just because of you. I am not a doctor. But you obviously need to do several things. 1) think about your wife and child. I don't mean just worry about the responsibilities of being a parent, etc., you have to get over that. We have functional worry. Most parents (self included) worry about their spouses and their kids but it doesn't stop us from living, yours is. If you are going to worry about them - then consider what your episodes are doing to them. Walking an hour to an ER. Really? Are things that bad in Canada? No cab? No car?
Your wife has to be scared sick about being a young widow, about being a single parent, about bearing the financial and physical responsibilities of raising a child alone. So, and I hate to sound mean, but STOP thinking about yourself. The length of your posts tells me you are spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about yourself.
2) You use the ER as a clinic. Again I ask, is healthcare that bad in Canada? Get yourself to a doctor that you will see more than once. Then they have some baseline about you. Be proactive not reactive. Take control of your body man. It's yours!
3) The one person that gave you some decent advice, the psychiatrist - tells you to take the drug gradually. Work up to certain levels and what do you do? Ignore it! Do you want to feel better?
Now, let me tell you a little about me. I had a chemical depression from illness, medication and stress. Went into stores and malls and panicked. Agoraphobia. Felt like the ceiling was coming down to get me, that I would throw up, my heart raced. Got to the point where I couldn't go out to dinner with my spouse - had to stop our meal and get to go boxes and leave. Made me feel terrible. How I was hurting HIM. Saw the Dr. she said, I had felt so bad for so long THAT I HAD FORGOTTEN WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO FEEL GOOD. Read that sentence again. She prescribed an anti-depressant. For two months. Said that should be enough to remind me what life is. My case sounds a little less extreme than yours. Nonetheless, similarities. In any event it worked. But I wanted it to work too, so I followed instructions. My husband, my love of 30 yrs. just died. He had serious health issues. I spent hours sitting in ER's ICU, CCU, surgical waiting rooms. But the one thing through it all was his attitude. No matter the excruciating pain and he had it...he loved me and his son so much that he acted like - pain? what pain? So go to a good doctor, get yourself checked out, love your wife and child enough to do it the right way instead of being dragged off in ambulances from work, and benches and God knows where else. I can't imagine how your wife must feel. You need to think of that.