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    Old 04-02-2008, 12:27 PM   #1
    j2cunningham
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    Heart problems or Anxiety

    I am a 36 yr old male. I have a long family history of anxiety, no family history of heart problems. I myself have had bouts of anxiety and used anti anxiety medication in the past. I run about 15 miles per week and I am in generally good health. I do take medication daily for GERD. Recently, I have been experiencing a rapid heart rate that takes hours sometimes to get under control. I am also feeling some chest pain and numbness in my extremities. The pain and numbness come and go. These symptoms are similar but more intense than the anxiety problems I have had in the past. I did suffer from more of a GAD feeling not this intense fear. This has been lasting several days. All this is causing me great anxiety. Whether rational or not I fear some sort of heart condition. Since my anxiety usually stems from worries about my health, I feel that I am in a vicious circle of anxiety about my heart that raises my heart rate and then causes me more anxiety. Since this is something that has been going on for several days, can I rule out a heart attack? I can't afford an expensive trip to the doctor so ANY tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

     
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    Old 04-02-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
    j2cunningham
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Thanks for the data Shorebird. Does anyone happen to know, is this on again off again cycle of symptoms typical of heart problems or do heart problems using have symptoms that come and stay? I have been having these problems for several days now and there are times that I feel fine (or at least a lot better) and then I just feel horrible with a racing heart and brief pains in various parts of my body. I do appreciate anything anyone can tell me.

    Thanks

     
    Old 04-03-2008, 01:38 AM   #3
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Hi there- i have been down the terrible path of heart condition anxiety- it can be awful....i got in such a state that i was fixated with my heart and of course when you are anxious it will race.
    I have always had to see doctors to check i am ok physically- which means spending money and alot of stress while i think of all the diseases i have. For me it was the hardest thing in the world to try and not focus on my body. Anxiety makes you super sensitive to everything your body is doing- every little twinge is seen as a sign of impending doom etc etc.... the racing heart means your body has got extra adrenaline as it is stressed or expecting stress. If you can get some help to try and relax and not panic or worry, that would help. Of course to get a medical checkup would give you peace of mind also, if you can afford a visit to the GP...hope all goes well.

    Last edited by msmod; 04-03-2008 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod

     
    Old 04-03-2008, 08:47 AM   #4
    cat3883
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Heart problems come and go. You could have weeks in between bouts of what you are talking about. You should really call your physician about this. But I want to tell you I had the same thing happen to me except my heart rate wouldnt stay up a long time. My doc sent me for a stress test with dye and I passed with flying colors. It was my anxiety.

     
    Old 04-03-2008, 02:31 PM   #5
    j2cunningham
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    I went ahead and scheduled a doc. appt. but it isn't until the 21st of april. Since I don't have health insurance, does anyone know if I am going to get any answers out of the GP I see or is he/she just going to send me off for tests and it is even going to be longer before I find anything out?

    Thanks

     
    Old 04-03-2008, 08:10 PM   #6
    granny0
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Have you checked your blood pressure? My pulse would race with anxiety, which then made my blood pressure go up. I now take blood pressure meds and while I still have anxiety, I know I'm not going to have a stroke from the blood pressure.
    A lot of drug stores have machines you can use for free that check your pulse and blood pressure.
    My husband has heart disease. It came on suddenly with no symptoms prior to the first experience that ended up with an emergency bypass at age 37. The chest pains are crushing along with pain going down the left arm. You can also have pain going up your neck. It would not hurt to take low dose aspirin - 81 mg until you see your doctor. But my bet would be that your racing pulse is anxiety related and your blood pressure is up and it can be controlled with an inexpensive med called atenonal. Not sure of the spelling.
    Best wishes,
    JB

     
    Old 04-04-2008, 05:33 PM   #7
    djkyosti
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    I was experiencing something similar -- trachycardia with no explanation. I saw my GP and he did an EKG in the office which was normal. He believed that I was suffering from anxiety because I have had bouts of anxiety in the past, but the medically prudent thing to do is to do a thorough evaluation of the heart so he sent me to a cardiologist who did a test called an echocardiogram which is a non-invasive sonogram of the heart. Everything was normal which confirms that the trachycardia is most likely from anxiety. Oh, one more thing, there is also a blood test that the GP will probably do to check your thyroid function because apparently thyroid problems can cause a rapid heart beat. I hope this is helpful. My guess is that you just need to get it checked out so you will know it is "just anxiety." Try some yoga and/or meditation. It really helps.

     
    Old 04-05-2008, 07:31 AM   #8
    Perry2
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    I had a racing heart due to anxiety. GI problems made me hypersensitive to any kind of sensations in that area, and I ended up in emergency more than once thinking it was my heart. Awareness of your heartbeat and stress over possible heart problems can cause a racing pounding heart. The mind is a wonderful thing. 90% psych, 10% GI, 0% heart.
    Unless you have other risk factors the heart thing seems unlikely but it is the first thing you need ruled out since the other causes aren't life threatening. Once it is confirmed by your Dr that your heart is not a problem, the anxiety might go away on it's own. See him as soon as you can and stop the worrying.

     
    Old 04-05-2008, 01:10 PM   #9
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    J2, looks like you have received lots of good answers already and I am glad you made an appt with your GP. Always good to rule out any physical cause, but once you have ruled out any physical cause I would still try to get some help for your anxiety because even if it does go away, if you don't learn skills to keep it under control, it will likely come back again and usually when it does it is even worse. Take care!

     
    Old 04-06-2008, 06:03 PM   #10
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Let me preface my comments by saying that I have had many issues that had to be sorted out as to whether it was heart or anxiety. I do have tachycardia of unknown origin. I take a beta blocker for it, I have been doing that for 10 years or so now. I have to adjust the dosage depending on my level of fitness, but even when I am in tip top shape, my heart will decide to just race like crazy, even when I am not anxious or panicky in the least. I have also had intermittent chest/arm heaviness and strange feelings. I am a 33 yr. old woman, so of course, the likelihood of heart disease is small. I did have a rather comprehensive workup eventually, though.
    With chest/arm pain, heaviness, strange sensations, you pretty much have to have "bad" things ruled out. Heart problems CAN come and go, especially when they are not at an advanced stage. It is likely that your doc will set you up for some blood tests and probably a treadmill test. I wouldn't worry at this point, but just look forward to the appt. and know that you will get some answers. There is probably nothing at all wrong with your heart, but even anxious people get sick, so we do have to check it out. Take care and let us know how you are.

     
    Old 04-25-2008, 04:35 PM   #11
    j2cunningham
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for all your posts. I saw a GP and he was not at all concerned about my heart. He listened to my heart and I told him that I run marathons and that I had a history of anxiety in myself and my family. From there he was pretty much focused on the anxiety angle. I guess he is probably right. I have good days and bad days and my physical symptoms are all over the place. It seems to be much worse if I don't get enough sleep. Right now I am having a lot of joint pain and mystery muscle pain. The logic part of my brain tells me that I am tired, I have had similar things before, that I live a healthy lifestyle. The anxiety part of my brain is screaming it must be a heart attack, cancer, or some other horrible disease. I guess that is just how I am wired. I will keep plugging along and I hope you all do the same. Good luck.

     
    Old 05-05-2008, 06:12 PM   #12
    shorebird
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Hi J2, thanks for the update and glad your GP is not concerned. Remember you can learn to counter your worrisome thoughts and eliminate most of your problem causing anxiety. It may take some effort but cbt worked for me and is well worth the effort extended. Take care and I hope you feel better soon and good job getting physical causes ruled out!

     
    Old 05-06-2008, 10:42 AM   #13
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    Hi All,
    I am new to this site but can't help responding to J2. I just had a echocardiogram last week and a stress test yesterday. Stress and anxiety can and does play havic with your body. Fortunately, our bodies withstand all kinds of abuse including anxiety. I have had the same symptoms as you. Those symptoms caused even more stress. Skipping and irregular heartbeats all the time as well as other symptoms. Even the tests caused a stressful and anxious event for me. I don't have all the results in yet but so far that I know I am in need of excersixe and a salt reduced diet. I adore salt and all things salty but I have to grudgingly admit: I do feel better eating a reduced salt diet. Possibly try that and see if it helps. I know it's hard but it's worth the try. Good luck. Bonnie62

     
    Old 05-06-2008, 12:34 PM   #14
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    It is the most awful illness, isn't it? Anxiety and panic syndrome is so frightening, but I have suffered and been through just about every kind of therapy you could think of for over 30 years now, yet still ther is that 'thing' in my head that tells me it's my heart.
    Beta-blockers din't work for me at all and I didn't feel particularly well whilst taking them. Even though I KNOW that I'm not just about to expire, thre's that niggling doubt. I find a good anti-anxiety medicine like alprazolam, bromazepam or diazepam are the best drugs for thecondition as I have it - they keep me calm enough to get through, and particularly bromazepam, because it's so fast-acting in a dosage of about 24mg, and also gives the most wonderful serene feeling for an hour or two afterwards, is best for taking actually during an attack. I must have been in dozens of ambulances and hundreds of emergency departments over the year, but I am still living and my heart is still beating. Albeit sometimes a bit erratically andyes, I do suffer regular bouts of tachycardia. So even if you know that it is 90% psychological, that 10% of certainty that I'm going to die any moment has never left me.
    Stardust

     
    Old 05-07-2008, 11:12 AM   #15
    j2cunningham
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    Re: Heart problems or Anxiety

    It is nice to hear from others who can empathize with me. Lately, I have been worrying less about my heart and more about cancer. I don't know about you guys, but the way my brain works, at any given time I have all but convinced myself that I have multiple life threatening illnesses. I can't have a sore back without thinking it must be pancreatic cancer or a headache without thinking it must be a brain tumor. This worry is just kind of with me all the time. Most of the time, I can keep the anxiety under control but every now and then I work myself into a panic and I lose all sense of rational thought. One thing that helps me is thinking of myself in the 3rd person. For whatever reason, I can rationalize better when I am not thinking about myself. I pretend that someone I know asked me about a symptom they have and I try to think what I would tell them. This type of thing helps me calm down. Anyway, thanks for all the info and keep fighting the good fight.

    J2

     
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