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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Valvular Heart Diseases

Question: Possible aortic aneurysm? All kinds of gastro problems too..

 redheadedmom - Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:57 pm

Hi, I'm a 24 year old female with no health problems until recently except hypothyroidism which I was diagnosed with almost 6 years ago. I've been tested numerous times for that and take Levoxyl 100 mcg. One c-section 8 monts ago. I've got all kinds of things going on including abdominal pain, yeast infections, back pain, rapid heart rate, chronic diaherra, chest pain, prickling in my body all over, headaches, burning sensations in my face and arms... I saw my gastro specialist . He ordered a whole chemistry panel and a upper gi series and small bowel with barium contrast. I had that done and waiting on the results. I've been to the ER 4 times in the past two months, my ob/gyn and GP a least a dozen times. Four nights ago I went to the ER with a racing heart rate about 120, which is high for me. And for the past few days I can see my pulse very clearly through my stomach, had back pain, and sore ribs. My heart rate once I calmed down has stayed at around 100. It's been around that for weeks. Well, since I have had 2 cat scans done on my abdomen and one ultrasound on my pelvis, 2 ekg's, one chest x-ray, and tons of bloodwork, they sent me home from the ER, saying that my heart rate was up and was I dehydrated and to follow up with my GP in the morning. I was concerned about an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The ER doc said no not to be concerned because I have had 2 cat scans done it would have shown up. The most recent one was done with contrast a little less than a month ago. She said that aneurysms don't just show up overnight. They are gradual things that grow in size over time. Then my GP said this morning the same thing and not to worry about. However she said she heard a click in my heart, possibly a mitral valve prolapse that she's sending me to a cardologist in a couple of weeks to see. So can y'all help me a bit. I am so afraid that I gonna have something life threatening even though I've been told that it's not and I've had all these tests. Any knowledge would be helpful. I have no realt family history of heart disease or aneurysm. I had a great uncle who had heart problems and my grandfather died of a heart attack but he was an alcholic. Thanks so much!!![/b]
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:56 pm

User avatar Hi Redheadedmom,

Your symptoms could all be due to hyperthyroidism. If you have not had your thyroid levels tested recently I would recommend you do so to make sure you are not taking too much Levoxyl.

Mitral valve prolapse is extremely common, especially in women. In general it is an incidental finding. Seeing a cardiologist is important just to know about it. If you do have mitral valve prolapse that causes a leaky valve, it is recommended to take antibiotics before surgery, etc. to help prevent bacterial endocarditis.

I would agree with your doctor that an aneurysm takes time to form.

Best wishes.
 redheadedmom - Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:52 am

Thanks Dr.Lowe! Yes, I do need a thyroid check soon but my veins are all shot. My doc said to hold off on taking the Levoxyl till I get the test, but now I'm worried that's gonna throw it off. We'll see how that goes. I just went to the cardiologist and he said I was fine except I have an unconditioned heart, basically I'm out of shape. He said I was just suffering from anxiety. My barium x ray results came back and they said everything was normal. My bloodwork was normal for celiac and other food allegries as well. The gastro doc said I just probably have IBS. But he said we'll see how it goes and do further test if needed. I'm so confused. I still have headaches and tingling going on and constant diaherra. I go for a cat scan of my head sometime soon to see if there is anything going on there. My regular GP gave me some anxiety meds (vistaril) to see if that will help but I haven't taken them yet because my gastro guy gave me Levsin and you aren't supposed to take antihistamines with Levsin. I haven't even tried the Levsin because I'm not sure I have IBS. I have a bad pain in my stomach that is very tender to touch, hurts when I move sometimes and is always there. Sometimes when I eat it helps, sometimes not. I have diaherra with mucus most days. Can't pass gas unless right before a bowel movement. I've got back pain, chest pain,joint pain, but my cardiologist said to check for RA or lupus since my mother and other family members have that. Could that pain also be from dehyrdation due to the diaherra? I still see the pulse in my stomach. But now I've had my gastro specialist, cardologist, regular GP, and an ER doc say no to an aneurysm. They all say they don't form over night and since I've had a ct done just over a month ago, stop worrying about it. So basically after all this rambling I'm asking 1) can you have celiac disease and it not show up on a blood test? 2) should I get the test done for RA? 3) can dehyrdation cause all kinds of pains as well as a fast heart rate? 4) do my symptoms with my stomach fit IBS? 5) should I drop the whole worrying about aneurysm? how likely is it that someone at my age of 24, and a ct scan done a little over a month would have developed one in such a short period of time? I'm such a worry wart! Thanks for your time and advice!!!
 redheadedmom - Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:04 am

A couple of things I forgot to add too also was that do all stomach ulcers and small bowel problems show up on a barium upper gi and small bowel x-ray? I slight nausea sometimes after I eat or have a bm, is that too uncommon for IBS? Lastly can you have groin pains with dehyrdation or RA/lupus? Thanks again! I appreciate all your knowledge!!!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:05 pm

User avatar Hi redheadedmom -

I just noticed you had some loose ends dangling here with this thread so will try and answer the rest of your questions.

First of all, anxiety can cause a whole host of symptoms as it disturbs the normal workings of the autonomic nervous system. However, it can also become a too-easy scapegoat for everything, so I want you to understand that while many of your complaints have been explained already (and some concerns definitely ruled out), IBS is often secondary to anxiety, and you would appear to be an anxious person, so if you can get a handle on one, the other may well resolve with it. IBS is also something of a catch-all diagnosis, when everything else has been ruled out, so one should be glad to wind up with that diagnosis, except, of course, that it's sometimes difficult to treat and is no fun at all.

You definitely should be tested for both RA and thyroid disease. Many people are told their veins are "shot" but it's not really true (except in certain chemotherapy patients) and a good phlebotomist can find a vein and draw the small sample of blood that would be needed to help rule RA and thyroid disease in or out.

It is absolutely true that aortic aneurisms develop over a long period of time and one wouldn't want to be having a CT every month just to make sure one hasn't popped up. The only way one of those can develop suddenly is in the event of major abdominal trauma (as in an auto accident) and nowadays the mechanism of trauma is always taken into consideration at the time and patients have these things ruled in/out on the spot. A "natural" aneurism can take years to develop, and usually only in the presence of known vascular disease, usually starting at middle age or older, so you can let go of that worry for sure.

Vistaril (atarax) is a very old, minor antianxiety/antihistimine that could well be replaced with something that would work better, since Vistaril depends upon its sedative properties to relieve anxiety and sedation isn't the best way to treat chronic anxiety -- there is a whole world of anti-anxiety medications (as well as some antidepressants that also work well at suppressing anxiety) that work without making the patient drowsy and drying the mouth. I'd look into both a replacement for Vistaril and also perhaps consider a referral to a psychotherapist who specializes in cognitive therapy (CT), a form of therapy that does not go on forever, but has a definite course and is interactive and often very helpful in actually getting rid of anxiety instead of just treating its symptoms.

Regarding celiac disease in the absence of lab findings, this is probably possible but is virtually unheard of. I think your doctor has this one right on the money.

Finally, no, not all ulcers and bowel problems can be visualized via barium x-ray studies (although probably most can). The ultimate solution for the ulcer (or gastritis) question is to have a gastroscopy, wherein you are actually sedated and a slender tube with a small scope is fed down your esophagus into your stomach so that a GI specialist can actually look at the stomach lining. The equivalent bowel study would be a colonoscopy, but it would be hard to justify one of those given your youth and the fact that there is a convincing diagnosis already made regarding the lower GI complaints.

I hope all this helps ease your mind some and gives you some ideas as to how to proceed from here. Good luck and please do follow up with us.

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