Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Anxiety, heart-related symptoms, coupled with lightheadedness and other stuff

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 15 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • June 13, 2010
  • 08:10 PM

Hey all, I've been having some alarming problems that no one can seem to figure out. It's really frustrating and kind of scary, so I'm looking for any ideas to look into.

First, some info about myself:
- 18 years old
- Male
- Caucasian (Polish, German) if it matters
- ~5' 9"
- ~235 lbs
- High cholesterol, particularly triglycerides (I don't have any exact number, but it's pretty high)
- Pretty sedentary lifestyle
- Not a great diet, lots of carbs, lots of microwaveable, processed stuff, Taco Bell 3/4/5 times a week.
- Family history of heart problems. Grandfather died of a heart attack, dad had 3 stents put in his heart about a year ago when he was 56 or so and also has A Fib, I believe high blood pressure runs in my mom's family.

This all started about a month ago, when I began having episodes where I was having trouble breathing, kind of felt like there was a big rubberband around my ribcage making it difficult to breathe in. These episodes would generally last for a few minutes at a time, about 3 or 4 times a day. After a couple days of dealing with this, I began having that same feeling pretty much constantly when I went to bed that night.

I went into emergency when that happened, a doctor listened to my lungs under a variety of breathing conditions and said everything sounded fine. My heartbeat would also feel like it was fluttering from time to time. They pointed out that my heartbeat had 'inverted T waves' on my EKG but didn't make a big deal about it (a cardiologist later said that is normal for someone my age ). When I was in the hospital, the breathing problem came and went in waves, it was basically gone by the next day.

I also had an echocardiogram the day after I went into emergency, they didn't note anything major except some calcification on the heart. After being discharged, I went and saw my GP and he also said that my lungs were fine. He then brought up the subject of anxiety and how it can cause those types of symptoms. It made a lot of sense to me, and I really felt a lot better after hearing that (the mind is a powerful thing, I guess).

After that, I was great for about 4 or 5 days. Then I noticed that I was having heart palpitations sporatically throughout the day. They seemed to be worst when I went to bed, but that may have just been because I was paying more attention to them when I was trying to sleep. The palpitations would sometimes be accompanied with a dull ache in the center of my chest, and I would feel a bunch of different pains and other feelings in the heart itself. It would sometimes feel as if there is a finger poking the side of my heart a couple times, sometimes it feels like a squeeze, stuff that you're generally not supposed to feel in your heart.

I saw a cardiologist for followup of the echocardiogram, he didn't note anything out of the ordinary. They did an EKG, listened to my heart and lungs and didn't point out anything wrong. He confirmed that the inverted T-waves were normal, and most people have them when they're below 20 or so. He said he didn't think anything was really wrong, but had me get a CT scan to rule anything out. After the CT scan, we got the results over the phone and they said my heart is fine, but I do have a pretty fatty liver.

I had been feeling pretty alright for about a week or so, just the occasional slightly uncomfortable palpitations. I had learned to deal with those, and I was getting on pretty normally.

Yesterday, I woke up with an odd feeling in my upper abdomen, extending up into my upper chest/lower neck area, almost seemed like it was in the esophagus. It was kind of like that feeling you get in your gut when you're really hungry, but moved slightly higher, with very slight nausea. All throughout the day, I would occasionally get lightheaded and slightly dizzy, sometimes feeling almost on the edge of passing out. I thought this had something to do with the fact that I hadn't eaten all day, so I came home and had a lot to eat. It seemed to subside a little, but never went completely away.

I woke up today, and I was still having the same lightheaded feelings on and off. I had a granola bar pretty much immediately after getting up, then some Taco Bell, and I'm still having it. Occasionally my hands will feel kind of weak and I'll get kind of a pressing feeling behind my eyes, and a slight chill in my torso. I'm still having the chest discomfort occasionally.

And that's basically where I stand now. I have another follow up scheduled with both the cardiologist and my GP soon, I'm looking for any ideas that I can bounce off of them to try to figure this thing out.

Could it just be more anxiety, since I'm getting more and more worried about it, creating a feedback loop of more symptoms and more anxiety, more symptoms, more anxiety, etc? This is really really aggravating, I'm tired of hearing nothing but "You're too young for this" :rolleyes:

It's also worth noting that I cut out caffeine almost completely about 2 months ago, after years of near-constant caffeine intake. I haven't had any at all in over 3 weeks. Could I be having withdrawals or something?

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