Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Serious digestive problems?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: bigboss2010
  • April 11, 2009
  • 07:57 PM

Hello, I'm a 24 year old male. I stand 5'10" tall and weigh 295 lbs. I am a smoker. I also have high blood pressure. For about 4 months now I have been dealing with a lot of different symptoms. I have been told I have acid reflux but I have been taking acid reducers (OTC) to help with this but doesn't seem to. I have pain in my chest that radiates from my sternum through to the center of my back, my left side will hurt somtimes and I have discomfort in my left arm. I have had EKGs and they came back normal. I notice these problems only after eating or when I lay down at night to go to bed, but when going to bed I also have issues sometimes with becoming light headed along with the discomfort and pain. If anyone could please give some insight to this I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance.

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  • There are several considerations with regard to sub-sternal pain that radiates through to the back, the most common being pancreatitis. I assume, however, that your doctors have performed a serum amylase to determine whether this might be the case or not. Esosphageal irritation can also produce sub-sternal pain with referred pain to the back, very oftentimes mimicking heart disease. OTC medications are fine for the patient with mild reflux or dyspepsia, but in cases where reflux is evident at greater levels, you will need to speak with your doctor about a prescription for Prevacid, Aciphex or Nexium in stronger form that OTC brands. Also, realize that drugs like Zantac or Tagamet are H2 inhibitors which reduce acid production whereas proton pump inhibitors actually inhibit the cells which produce acid, the latter being preferable in cases of reflux. Incidentally, at 5'-10" with a weight of 295, your BMI is greater than 42, the outside norm being 25. So your index is nearly twice what it should be and your smoking in the presence of hypertension. Your risk of developing type II diabetes is through the roof, as well as the prospect of developing metabolic syndrome X, which combines these factors with several others to create one of the absolute highest risks for cardiovascular disease. At the very least, you need to stop smoking and make firm decisions about weight control. Weight loss will also result in reducing reflux, which incidentally can cause sweating and light-headedness when chyme from the stomach enters the esophagus. You should not eat anything any closer than 2 hours before bedtime and make certain to avoid lying perfectly flat on your back, elevating your bed slightly if possible. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hello, I'm a 24 year old male. I stand 5'10" tall and weigh 295 lbs. I am a smoker. I also have high blood pressure. For about 4 months now I have been dealing with a lot of different symptoms. I have been told I have acid reflux but I have been taking acid reducers (OTC) to help with this but doesn't seem to. I have pain in my chest that radiates from my sternum through to the center of my back, my left side will hurt somtimes and I have discomfort in my left arm. I have had EKGs and they came back normal. I notice these problems only after eating or when I lay down at night to go to bed, but when going to bed I also have issues sometimes with becoming light headed along with the discomfort and pain. If anyone could please give some insight to this I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance.I definately relate to you and hopefully this will help: I have been told since I was 7 that I simply had IBS, acid reflux etc... Well, I finally found a doctor who asked if I had ever been tested for H. Pylori... I had no idea so, we did the test. Come to find out ~ I did have it! H. Pylori is a bacterial infection that hides inside of the stomach lining and unless it is being specifically tested for you wouldn't ever know that you had it. Until about 1981 no one even knew this existed ~ and even to this day, many doctors never test for it or even believe that it is a "real" diagnosis. Here are a few websites with further info: 1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/h-pylori/DS009582. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/3. http://www.bipolardepressioninfo.com/ms/ency/119/main.html4. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=uV0gT9wCYlgC&dq=h.+pylori&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=y4r1B49vLv&sig=oiOPme4heKLEaDui-X0E1K4hpXw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA31,M1The scariest part of all is the statistic that, "H. pylori infection is common in the United States. About 20 percent of people under 40 years old and half of those over 60 years have it. Most infected people, however, do not develop ulcers. Why H. pylori does not cause ulcers in every infected person is not known. Most likely, infection depends on characteristics of the infected person, the type of H. pylori, and other factors yet to be discovered. Researchers are not certain how people contract H. pylori, but they think it may be through food or water. Researchers have found H. pylori in the saliva of some infected people, so the bacteria may also spread through mouth-to-mouth contact such as kissing." Wow. I finished the month long treatment over two months ago and fully believe that this bacterium is what has caused my stomach problems for the past 19 years... I am 30 now. Although I still have bouts with stomach issues they are 90% better now.~ They can now test for the H. Pylori virus through a simply blood test. So, I would highly recommend you going to have the test asap. And as odd as this may sound, I hope that you test positively for it b/c you will feel so much better. Just an FYI, the first week of treatment (a ton of pills) is horrible: you will feel worse and definately want to stop taking the meds. DONT. At day 8 or 9 you will feel like you have never felt before. Trust me. I can't remember a better day. Good luck & please feel free to ask me any questions if you need to. :)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks everyone for the great responses, I have to go see my doctor the 28th of this month and I'm going to speak with him about some of these tests and different medications. I have been in the process of losing weight and quitting smoking. So maybe soon I can find something out because I'm tired of feeling cruddy and this just happened so quickly. Thanks again everyone.
    bigboss2010 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks everyone for the great responses, I have to go see my doctor the 28th of this month and I'm going to speak with him about some of these tests and different medications. I have been in the process of losing weight and quitting smoking. So maybe soon I can find something out because I'm tired of feeling cruddy and this just happened so quickly. Thanks again everyone. The chances are very good that if you quit smoking and lose weight a lot of your symptoms, including the hypertension, may abate. Prevention magazine has some good weightloss tips. If you are introducing exercise to your weightloss regime you will need to go VERY slowly and talk with your doctor about this. Do you by chance drink so called "diet" beverages or use artificial sweeteners? "Diet" products actually do just the opposite and cause you to gain weight. Aspartame and sucralose can cause a host of digestive problems. If you drink these products I suggest quitting completely and see if your symptoms improve. Are you taking any medications for your hypertension and other issues? If so, which ones? Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • No I don't drink diet drinks or anything like that and I am trying to cut all soda and drinks of this nature out of my diet. I take Lopressor for my hypertension, and also on Chantix right now to quit smoking, other than that I'm not on any other prescription meds.
    bigboss2010 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Dude, you have to make some lifestyle changes or you could be in big trouble. 295 lbs, hyper tension and a smoker. You could be dead by 30. I used to smoke 10 packs per week but I quit and now I exercise a minimum of 3 hours per week. Take responsibility for your health before it is too late. Consume smaller amounts of food, hit the gym and quit smoking. I know it is hard, but if you want to live a long and normal life you are going to have to get it together. Good luck.
    toddhilehoffer 3 Replies Flag this Response
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