Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Heart attack, anxiety, or other?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: bmoussavi
  • February 2, 2009
  • 06:16 AM

Hey everyone. I've been searching through symptoms on this site for awhile now and can't really find anything specific to what I'm experiencing.

Before I begin, I will give you some information about me. I just turned 30 years old this past week. I'm 5'11" and weigh around 240lbs. Admittedly I've adopted an increasingly sedentary lifestyle over the past few years. I'm a digital artist and, therefore, am in front of a computer for at least 8 hours a day. On top of that, I haven't been in a consistent workout routine for well over a year. On top of that, I haven't been eating super healthy foods. Sounds like a disaster, right?

Let me explain some of the symptoms I've been experiencing lately. Around mid to late December of 2008, I started getting strange feelings in my chest. Actually, the first time it happened, I believe it was a rather serious 'attack' compared to some episodes I've had since. These feelings mostly felt like pressure against my lungs when I breathed. There weren't any real sharp pains, just discomfort in my chest that made it difficult for me to breathe normally. I also felt quite weak afterwards. I just didn't feel like getting up and doing anything. Also, during these episodes, it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest.

This obviously scared me quite a bit. But, stupidly, I didn't do anything about it. These episodes didn't stop there. Every now and then I'd get a relapse of this maybe once a week, sometimes less frequent. But, in general, the relapses weren't nearly as bad as the first. Still scared for obvious reasons, I scheduled an appointment for a physical. Why I did that, I'm not sure. The physical date wasn't until January 27th, and when I called in the appointment, it was early January. Obviously, I needed to seek attention sooner to see what was going on.

At my first doctor's visit in early-mid January, I felt rather normal. I did have an episode a few days before then, but there weren't a whole lot of lingering effects by the time I saw my doctor. After a rather brief checkup, blood pressure test, and blood test (to check thyroid levels upon request of my mother), the doctor couldn't find anything wrong with me. I've discussed these symptoms with a couple of coworkers of mine. One suggested it could be stress/anxiety related. I suggested this to the doctor, and she agreed that it was possible, but didn't want to prescribe me any anti-anxiety medication since anxiety, according to her, was hard to diagnose. She also stated that if it was stress that perhaps me getting a clean bill of health from her may soothe me a bit and that I would probably see changes for the better within a week.

Well, things didn't really get better, nor did they really get worse. Luckily I didn't cancel my physical either. So about a week and a half later, I went in for the physical. It had been my first in probably 12+ years. After examining me, my doctor (a different doctor from the first mentioned) couldn't find anything wrong with me on the surface. She said my heart and lungs sounded just fine after a few breathing tests, etc. So after her physical examination, she directed me to get my blood drawn for blood tests, but also recommended I get an Upper GI since I did mention that I had been getting acid reflux-like symptoms occasionally that accompanied my other symptoms. She suggested that if I was feeling pressure on my right lung while breathing that I could have an inflamed gall bladder even. Though, I wasn't quite sure if I was buying that, or buying her assumption that these symptoms were all gastrointestinal related.

Anyway, I get my blood work done, hand in my urine sample and come in the next day for the Upper GI exam after a nice 11 hour fast. Everything went smoothly and I was off. I didn't expect the results to get to me for at least a week, but my nurse contacted me maybe 2 days after my Upper GI. She said that everything was within normal range...cholesterol, etc. The doctor couldn't find anything wrong with my X-rays either. I don't remember what all tests they did with my blood, but they did take 3 vials worth. I remember the nurse telling me they'd also be testing for diabetes. So apparently I am not developing that, either.

So basically, I'm left with no answers right now. I'd like to believe that what I've been experiencing hasn't been heart related, but that's what scares me the most. I'd LIKE it to ideally be anxiety or stress related, because that, to me, seems a lot more manageable and less scary than heart disease.

I'd just like to know if any of you have heard of this type of situation or these symptoms and what you think they might be? I'll give a more succinct list of my symptoms below just to recap:

-Mild chest discomfort (no sharp pains necessarily)
-Occasional discomfort when breathing, as if something is pressing against one or both of my lungs.
-Occasional symptoms of acid reflux or indigestion (I forgot to mention my 2nd doctor put me on prevacid after my physical. So far, the acid reflux symptoms have disappeared).
-Random occurrences where I almost feel like something prickly is traveling through my veins (or it could just be my nerves playing tricks on me). I mainly get these feelings in parts of my chest and even my back sometimes. These feelings also only last for a split second and disappear.
-When resting or sitting in certain positions, I sometimes develop discomfort in my chest. Mainly in the upper chest, and on the left side, just below my collarbone and above the nipple. With rest, it goes away.

If I can think of anything else to add, I'll let you know.

Considering I just turned 30, I'm not mega-obese, and, as far as I know, there's no real family history of heart disease, I can't see why I'd be having heart problems already at this age. But I suppose anything is possible. Actually, come to think of it, my grandmother has had a couple of heart attacks. But she's also led a pretty sedentary lifestyle from about her mid-late 60's on, was a chain smoker for awhile, and also ate a so-so diet. And I don't think she had her first heart attack until she was in her 60's, if that helps. Aside from her, nobody else in my immediate family has any heart related issues that I am aware of.

Sorry for this long-winded post. But any opinions would help me tremendously. My mom suggested going to an internist. But part of me wants to put any doubt to rest, go see a cardiologist, and get an echocardiogram to be safe. If you think one way or the other on this or think I should go a totally different route altogether, I'm all ears. Thanks again, everyone, for your time.

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