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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: 23 y/o experiencing persistent frightening symptoms


 Michelle10 - Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:50 pm

I apologize if this post is too long. I just don't want to leave out too many details. I'm a 23 y/o female, overweight and have a strong family history of heart disease. Both of my grandfathers died before the age of 60 of heart attacks and my dad had a heart attack when he was 37 and then another at 42 which killed him. I have been getting control of my weight and have lost almost 60 pounds to date, I eat healthy, exercise and do not smoke or drink. I am not on any medications.

The first time I noticed something may be wrong was a couple of years ago. Out of the blue I felt a sharp shooting pain in my left arm. It felt severe and went from the top of my shoulder down to my elbow. The pain increased when I inhaled or exhaled deeply and lasted for over a week. Every once in a while I feel feel that similar shooting pain but usually only lasts for a few seconds although on occasion it's lasted a few days. It's usually brought on by inhaling deeply, laughing exessively or exerting myself in the cold.

Some other symptoms I've felt over the last couple of years are
~Soreness and tightness in the center of my chest that usually lasts for days
~Pain in my upper back when I inhale also lasting for days or longer
~dull aches in either arm
~A very odd sensation that I wouldnt necessarily describe as pain, but definitely a major discomfort. I get a sharp pain/ache in the center of my throat that almost instantly feels like it rises up my esophogus to the back of my neck and head and also down the center of my chest. It feels like a really intense fullness or pressure, almost as if a balloon is inflating and it can last anywhere from 5 minutes to upwards of 20 minutes. Only lying down and burping seems to help it go away. Sometimes while thats happening, my ear canals feel achey and that same fullness. It happens out of the blue, usually while I'm at home doing absolutely nothing. It's only happened a handful of times but its very uncomfortable.

4 months ago I went to 2 emergency rooms in 2 days because I thought I was having a heart attack. For over a week I felt dizzy, weak, abnormally fatigued, had shooting pains around my collar bone and left arm and I was having difficultly breathing. I felt like I could not get any deep breaths to fill my lungs. I had chest xrays, EKG, ECG, blood tests and also had a CT scan of my abdoman, thorax pelvis and legs b/c the doctor was worried about a pulmonary embolism but all tests came back clear. My symptoms went away for the most part a few days later but have continued to come back in some form at least every week. Common current symptoms are now
~Shortness of breath. Sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating or drowning. I find myself trying to yawn and swallow a lot. Sometimes I feel a pressure in the base of my neck/throat in between my collar bone, almost like someone is pushing down on it. Breathing is a struggle at least 70% of the time and sometimes I feel like my body forgets how to do it.
~Heart palpatations almost every single night. As I lie down at night and start to feel like I'm going to doze off, I'll feel the pulse of my neck start to throb and then my heart will start pounding. My Blood pressure is normally 120/68 but when I take it at night it will rise to about 143/92. One night about a week ago as I was falling asleep I was jolted up with an odd sensation in my throat. It felt almost like something in my throat was convulsing and my heart rate had to have been well over 200. I felt my eyes bugging out of their sockets and there was a good few seconds where I literally could not breathe.

A few other things. For 4 months I have a pain on the upper left hand side of my back. I don't think its a muscle strain because when I first noticed it, it was when I woke up in the morning and it just never went away. It hurts and feels tight when I inhale and the pain seems to be spreading to other parts of my back. For the last few days I've been dizzy, fatigued and both arms ached, this time underneath near my armpits and spread across my chest. I frequently feel a soreness in the center of my chest also. My jaw doesnt hurt but it has been stiff for a few days now and I have a very vague sensation of that sharp pain in my throat(but nowhere near as severe as what I described above) I'm not a doctor but from everything I've been reading and have heard about heart disease and heart attack symptoms, I seem to fit the profile despite my age. I have a doctor appointment on thursday and I will be sure to bring up everything I just mentioned but my question is, is it possible to be experiencing these types of symptoms without necessarily having a life threatening condition? I'm terrified I'm having a heart attack or will have one soon but I'm worried that something is going to somehow be overlooked. I didnt have an echocardiogram or stress test so are those tests I should ask for if my doctor doesnt happen to recommend it on her own? I keep trying to calm myself down saying maybe I just have some type of valvular deformity that isnt necessarily life threatening like MVP but that pain in the back of my throat has me really worried. Everyone seems to think what I've been experiencing is anxiety but I really strongly believe it's something else. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!
 lindzyb - Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:56 pm

22 female hypothyroidism, PCOS, right now a kidney infection, taking synthroid & macrobid

Mother has hypertension, grandfather coronary artery disease, grandmother congestive heart failure

I know I'm young, but I had an episode of pain that started underneath my left arm (armpit, not arm), after a few hours i was getting chest pain, but the pain only lasted a few seconds then went away. This happened several times, never lasting longer than 2 or 3 seconds, maybe happened 4 times over 3 hours. Maybe more. It was a pinching feeling. My chest later on started to tighten up, but I could recreate the same feeling by pressing on the spot in my chest where it hurt, so I figured it was a panic attack. I had several feelings inside me, one in my back near the outside lower corner of my left shoulder blade. It was a throb, like somebody trying to push something through a tube that is too small, then releasing it. That happened several times. The pain stopped in my chest, but all day now my chest has been sore. I figure it was because I was incredibly tense. The soreness goes from the center of my chest, outward on my breasts, down the inner sides of both breasts. Is this muscular pain from being tense? I also had cold sweats later today & now have a headache in the right side of my head & roof of my mouth. Sorry for this being so long, & sorry for posting so many questions. I don't like to rush off to the doctor, but I don't want to not go if I need to. I called my doctor about the symptoms but it was very late in the day (4:00, they close at 5) and he never called back. Please help and thank you SO much.
 Michelle10 - Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:35 pm

Just a little update...I went to the doctor this afternoon and she doesnt seem to think theres anything wrong with my heart either. I had yet another EKG which was normal and had blood taken because she wanted to check my cholesterol and thyroid. I was sent home with a holter moniter and am wearing it now. I asked about an echocardiogram and she said she didnt think I needed one but would set me up for one if I really wanted it. I let her know my concerns about possibly having MVP or another valvular deformity but she said she didnt hear any clicks or murmurs when she listened to my heart. I'll write back when I get my results back which will probably be in a week or so.

In the meantime I'm starting to think that maybe nothing really is wrong with my heart. I know that all of my symptoms are not just in my head though so I really cant begin to phathom what else could be causing this. However there still is that little part of me that can't help but think of all of the horror stories I've read on medical message boards where people experienced similar symptoms to me and also got cleared from their doctors after multiple tests and ended up having major heart problems not long after. I know sometimes the internet can definitely fuel paranoia but I can't help but worry that everything I've been experiencing could be a precursor to a major problem. Would you recommend I go for that echocardiogram or should I just leave it be at this point? Any other insight/opinions are welcome :-)
 mpmama294 - Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:39 pm

hi michelle

I;m a 28 yr female and do have some of ur symptoms....I have anxiety attacks and i also have pvc's which are skippin heartbeats..what it sounds like you may have is some anxiety because of the symptoms you are having....You keep thinking of what you may have so you get anxious and then you;re blood pressure will go up...you can get sweaty..;..you feel your chest tightening and other things also happen ....so it does sound like you do have anxiety..of course i;m not a doctor but I just wanted to tell you that i get some of the same things you have....But more importantlly I'm going to tell you what my doctor told me....To go get the echocardiogram...this way it puts your mind at ease...because what will happen in the long wrong and you don't get the test....you will have symptoms and keep wondering if there is anything wrong with your heart....So go ahead and get the test done...this way you feel better..they may not be anything wrong ....this way you can put yourself at ease..and feel some comfort.knowing exactly whats going on........but i do hope that everything comes back good for you...keep us updated
 Michelle10 - Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:28 pm

Just an update. The other week I got the results back from my tests. The holter came back normal. The doctor said my heart was a little slow and fast at times but that was normal and there were no arythmias. Also, my thyroid and cholesterol came back fine too. I'm not sure what else I can or should do. I am relieved these tests keep coming back fine, but I continue to worry that something is there but it's just not showing up on the tests for whatever reason. My blood pressure and heart rate continues to raise while I'm trying to fall asleep every night. The pain/discomfort is still as present as ever on the upper left hand side of my back. I still feel a tightness and slight pain there whenever I inhale deeply (this is from late July) Last night I was exercising (wasnt overexerting myself) and I had severe heart palps that took more than a half hour to go away. I'm not talking about normal elevated heart rate, my heart felt like it was pounding in my throat. I was so dizzy that I couldnt continue. Lately I've been getting very dizzy when I exercise so now thats something else to add to the list that I'm concerned with.

I really don't think I'm being a hypochondriac about this but maybe I am considering all of these these tests keep coming back normal. If any expert is reading this, do any of these symptoms sound like they could be ANYTHING at all? I guess seeing s cardiologist is my next step but I've been trying to be smart about what tests to get and what doctors to see because I'm currently without insurance and the medical bills have been getting crazy lately :-/

And mpmama294 thank you for replying. I have had anxiety issues in the past and have had anixety attacks a few times and although some of my symptoms are similar to anxiety, I really don't think that's what's been going on with me. I'm very familiar with what my anxiety feels like and this doesnt seem to be what's wrong with me. I just *feels* different and is much stronger and more persistant than any anxiety episode I've ever experienced. My anxiety is always triggered by something, but then it goes away minutes (or a little longer) later. With whatever has been going on with me lately, I could be sitting around cool as a cucumber not thinking of a thing or laughing watching something funny on tv or being out with my friends and certain symptoms will act up out of nowhere and sometimes last upwards of weeks.

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