Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

unexplained heart rhythm/chest pain symptoms (anxiety) - my experiences

Posted In: Medical Stories 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 13, 2009
  • 01:49 PM

Having read some of the other posts on this forum, I thought I should share my experience as it may provide some comfort to people in a similar situation.

A bit of background - I am a 25 years old male, a professional engineer, into running, football, surfing etc. Never really had any medical complaints save for the odd broken bone.

The problems started in september 2007 - I had been surfing during the day, came back knackered and went to bed. I never really got to sleep, just lay there for a couple of hours feeling agitated and drifting in and out of consciousness. Some time in the middle of the night I finally drifted off but woke suddenly with a pain in my chest and the feeling of my heart rate accelarating. It was accompanied by a strange hot flushing sensation, and reached a crescendo after a couple of minutes. I felt pretty dizzy and sick, and was pretty scared - I had 999 dialled into my phone but didn't press 'call'. I decided to drive myself to hospital where they ran some tests and failed to find anything wrong. The following day I felt like I had flu, all shivery and weak, worried about my symptoms and generally feeling like crap.

Over the next couple of weeks I carried on running but noticed that as my heart rate accelarated it would miss or insert beats, causing that 'butterflies in your chest' sensation, and also that it would max out at what seemed an unhealthily high rate. A couple of times when I was sitting down or asleep I got the same hot flush sensation and never really seemed to recover from the flu symptoms.

About a month later, I was crammed in the back of a car with some mates, and without any warning I got a series of really powerful thumps and flutters in my chest, it felt like something was trying to escape...pain spread from my chest to my shoulder, the hotness and dizziness came back - a proper 'this is it' moment. But again it subsided, and I just spent the evening feeling frail and shivery. By this point I had had several appointments with my GP, who had tested me for a bunch of stuff. The gap between the tests seemed like an eternity - I was desparate to find what was wrong, not knowing being by far the worst thing. I had a 24 hour portable ecg hooked up to me - came back negative. I wasnt really exercising any more for fear of doing some serious damage, and that was making me miserable too. Throughout december I was a wreck - getting to sleep every night took hours and it was impossible to be horizontal, my heart would go crazy and go faster, slower, up to 150bpm and down to 48bpm, skip a couple of beats, insert 3 fast ones - generally do some pretty alarming stuff for something that you normally take for granted.

I felt about 85, sleeping sitting up propped up with a pillows, missing days of work, unable to exercise as every time I tried it would start to hammer again, by this time pain throughout my digestive system as well, and still no explanation from my doctor or specialists. I turned to the internet and gained a new vocabulary of words and diseases - that only served to give me more ideas about what I might be suffering from, my symptoms matched up with a bunch of things, all serious. For someone that enjoyed life so much it was devastating that I might have something that might limit me.

Early in 2008, with all the normal tests negative, both my GP's were diagnosing anxiety as the cause of all my issues which seemed pretty ridiculous in the light of my very real symptoms. I did try and accept the instances of racing heartbeat in the middle of the night could be panic attacks - I found that during one I could actually calm myself down and the symptoms would diminish. This led me to try to accept the other symptoms as anxiety with some success, in about march I started exercising again and just ignored all the protests from my body, and surprisingly did not wake up in intensive care. This suggested that anxiety could be the underlying cause, so I had a diagnosis but still no way of getting my energy back or stopping the symptoms.

I decided that I was not enjoying my job, so after much deliberation I quit in June 2008 and went back into full time education to change my career. This was an absolute revelation as it opened my horizons to what was possible, gave me a bunch of friends and showed me how stressed and miserable I had been previously without even realising. The symptoms all seemed to evaporate, although the last to go was the digestive stuff which hung around for a while.

The upshot of this longwinded tale is that, a year later I am actually happy, with a bright future, absolutely no complaints from my body. Anxiety seems to be incredibly complicated and has an arsenal of weapons, and the resulting physical symptoms are very, very real. The whole experience was out of character for me and came without warning, but was easily the worst few months of my life.

This shouldn't stop anyone seeing a doctor given the serious symptoms, but sometimes if the entire medical profession thinks that you are fine, they are actually right. If you find yourself in a similar situation, desperate for the results of the next test and fearful of the onset of some debilitating disease, it might be worth sitting back and considering it. I have to stress that absolutely the worst, most destructive possible thing you can do is go on the internet, as it exposes you to every known disease, and the symptoms of many of the really bad ones are identical to the ones I have listed. You also have experiences of like minded people, some of whom may actually have that disease - no-one ever comes on to a medical forum to tell you how great they are feeling (that would be a bit unkind)!

And finally to those who suffer from anxiety or depression, just to say that it can and does get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a future and a past, all of the things that are robbed of you while you are immersed in it. Hope this helps someone.

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4 Replies:

  • Thank you for your enlightening post. I have been experiencing some of the same things you were. About 4 months ago out of nowhere I had the most horrible insomnia.. i lay awake for hours and the medications the doctors were giving me (ambien, ambien cr, ect..) just seemed to make it worse. I would have horrible chest pains and very high heart rates. It subsided about 10 days later and I went on with my life as normal. About 2 weeks ago the same thing happened but I took more precautionary measures.. i went to a family doctor rather than the ER and she told me she believed I had generalized anxiety disorder, my pulse was 122 and she gave me an ativan which calmed it down. But anyways.. I've been struggling with sleep, pains in my chest, unexplained high heart rates that all of a sudded decline, heart palpatations.. its miserable. I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel! I just want my normal life back. So thank you for your post, it really helps!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • You helped me :o My version isn't as elegant and suitable for family entertainment *sigh* but the 'very real' symptoms, heaps of negative tests results, gp's, having and losing hope!! Palpitations +crazy **s heartbeat (lying down to standing up rises with about 60bmp) muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, trouble with digestive system, hot flushes... (add a few more, lol, medication side affects) WE COULD BE TWINS. Btw, do you have cold hands and feet too? hehe. I just detest the fact that I managed to ignore black and white, right before my eyes, bleh. Yet, there I was, searching for symptoms, diagnoses, and for what! Hello, I'm on perfectly amazing medication, and have a capable psychiatrist and phsychologist and my depression, although I shall always remain cynical lol, is history for now... I took control of my life, my future. *NOTE: Instead of fixing my PHYSICAL when the mental was back in shape... I continued with this (*frustrated grin*): Gp's; hope followed by hopelessness; negative tests; unanswered questions; trying to explain my 'very real symptoms'... It was refreshing to read your story, especially today, just got back from hospital today -decided that the three tests ran in the past two days and nights symbolize the end of this chapter of my life. It's time I get my butt back into action, lol. My muscles have become so weak that I've been prescribed professional help for the deconditioning. Baby steps I guess. You definitely helped me :o or made me smile atleastIt's been a long, difficult year, or two... PS We're not overly exposed to electromagnetic/microwave/radiowave radiation or any form of radiation where we live if that helps
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hey my man your add has really gave me hope..i'am a 29 male have alot of the simular symtoms.This has been going on for almost a year now seems to get only worse.I have done all the heart test,and thinking about getting my GI checked ive been dealing with gerd everyday. everytime i eat it dosnt want to stay down,iam also having chest pain,its hits me for no reason.I would be feeling perfect then i feel like ia'm dieing or sumtin.Sometimes it last for a few and then sometimes it last for hours,i get were it seems like my breathing isn't there and also i feel weak..All the bloodtest comes back good,my lungs looked good,i just keep asking my self is it more panic.I have put my wife through ***l with this,i go from happy to feelin like crap then i find myself gettin worried.But i really am thankfull for your post please email me for more. i would like to talk to you over the phone to finetune this for i feel you can help me...Bulletsylvia1980@yahoo.com email me if you would like to help me...thanks
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 13, 2010
    • 07:44 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Having read some of the other posts on this forum, I thought I should share my experience as it may provide some comfort to people in a similar situation. A bit of background - I am a 25 years old male, a professional engineer, into running, football, surfing etc. Never really had any medical complaints save for the odd broken bone. The problems started in september 2007 - I had been surfing during the day, came back knackered and went to bed. I never really got to sleep, just lay there for a couple of hours feeling agitated and drifting in and out of consciousness. Some time in the middle of the night I finally drifted off but woke suddenly with a pain in my chest and the feeling of my heart rate accelarating. It was accompanied by a strange hot flushing sensation, and reached a crescendo after a couple of minutes. I felt pretty dizzy and sick, and was pretty scared - I had 999 dialled into my phone but didn't press 'call'. I decided to drive myself to hospital where they ran some tests and failed to find anything wrong. The following day I felt like I had flu, all shivery and weak, worried about my symptoms and generally feeling like crap.Over the next couple of weeks I carried on running but noticed that as my heart rate accelarated it would miss or insert beats, causing that 'butterflies in your chest' sensation, and also that it would max out at what seemed an unhealthily high rate. A couple of times when I was sitting down or asleep I got the same hot flush sensation and never really seemed to recover from the flu symptoms.About a month later, I was crammed in the back of a car with some mates, and without any warning I got a series of really powerful thumps and flutters in my chest, it felt like something was trying to escape...pain spread from my chest to my shoulder, the hotness and dizziness came back - a proper 'this is it' moment. But again it subsided, and I just spent the evening feeling frail and shivery. By this point I had had several appointments with my GP, who had tested me for a bunch of stuff. The gap between the tests seemed like an eternity - I was desparate to find what was wrong, not knowing being by far the worst thing. I had a 24 hour portable ecg hooked up to me - came back negative. I wasnt really exercising any more for fear of doing some serious damage, and that was making me miserable too. Throughout december I was a wreck - getting to sleep every night took hours and it was impossible to be horizontal, my heart would go crazy and go faster, slower, up to 150bpm and down to 48bpm, skip a couple of beats, insert 3 fast ones - generally do some pretty alarming stuff for something that you normally take for granted. I felt about 85, sleeping sitting up propped up with a pillows, missing days of work, unable to exercise as every time I tried it would start to hammer again, by this time pain throughout my digestive system as well, and still no explanation from my doctor or specialists. I turned to the internet and gained a new vocabulary of words and diseases - that only served to give me more ideas about what I might be suffering from, my symptoms matched up with a bunch of things, all serious. For someone that enjoyed life so much it was devastating that I might have something that might limit me. Early in 2008, with all the normal tests negative, both my GP's were diagnosing anxiety as the cause of all my issues which seemed pretty ridiculous in the light of my very real symptoms. I did try and accept the instances of racing heartbeat in the middle of the night could be panic attacks - I found that during one I could actually calm myself down and the symptoms would diminish. This led me to try to accept the other symptoms as anxiety with some success, in about march I started exercising again and just ignored all the protests from my body, and surprisingly did not wake up in intensive care. This suggested that anxiety could be the underlying cause, so I had a diagnosis but still no way of getting my energy back or stopping the symptoms. I decided that I was not enjoying my job, so after much deliberation I quit in June 2008 and went back into full time education to change my career. This was an absolute revelation as it opened my horizons to what was possible, gave me a bunch of friends and showed me how stressed and miserable I had been previously without even realising. The symptoms all seemed to evaporate, although the last to go was the digestive stuff which hung around for a while.The upshot of this longwinded tale is that, a year later I am actually happy, with a bright future, absolutely no complaints from my body. Anxiety seems to be incredibly complicated and has an arsenal of weapons, and the resulting physical symptoms are very, very real. The whole experience was out of character for me and came without warning, but was easily the worst few months of my life.This shouldn't stop anyone seeing a doctor given the serious symptoms, but sometimes if the entire medical profession thinks that you are fine, they are actually right. If you find yourself in a similar situation, desperate for the results of the next test and fearful of the onset of some debilitating disease, it might be worth sitting back and considering it. I have to stress that absolutely the worst, most destructive possible thing you can do is go on the internet, as it exposes you to every known disease, and the symptoms of many of the really bad ones are identical to the ones I have listed. You also have experiences of like minded people, some of whom may actually have that disease - no-one ever comes on to a medical forum to tell you how great they are feeling (that would be a bit unkind)!And finally to those who suffer from anxiety or depression, just to say that it can and does get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a future and a past, all of the things that are robbed of you while you are immersed in it. Hope this helps someone.Did they check your magnesium level. Magnesium deficiency can cause anxiety, palpitations, chest pain, fatigue. Read up on it, it is unreal what magnesium deficiency can cause. Doctors don't routinely check for it because it is a separate order, it is not in a blood panel. I had 2 cardiac caths done in the past and to find out my chest pain and palpitations was due to low magnesium. It is something to think about. Low magnesium can cause anxiety and depression too.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 26, 2010
    • 09:28 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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