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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Anxiety or heart??

 one_blueangelz - Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:12 pm

Hello, thanks for any help any one can give. .. This started in July when I was driving and I felt my heartrate pick up and I was shaky and SCARED!!! I just knew I was going to die. Anyway that passed and after that I always felt a little jittery and nervous that that would happen again.About 2 months later it happened again and I went to the er where heartrate was in the 150's and had a EKG which came back with sinus tach but normal other than that. Well it went like that for awhile and now it seems like almost constant chest pressure right in the middle of my chest. I get lightheaded and short of breath very easily...In the mornings when I wake up its really bad..I can feel my heartrate picking up as soon as I wake in the mornings and I get jittery feeling with a fast rate.I'm 30 yrs old , slightly overweight with 4 children. I have lost some weight and I am working on the last bit of it now. I quit smoking on the 14th of this month(both my husband and I joined the smoking cessation class and that was our day that we picked) Anyway, I Have had countless EKG's,2 chest x-rays, bloodwork ( I was told that all my cholesterol levels were good) a stress test and a 24 hour holter monitor ( I don't get those results till Next Friday though) All other tests came back fine. Now with all these tests run is it safe for me to assume that my heart is fine and this is anxiety? Can anxiety REALLY cause this chest pressure and sometimes the stabbing pains that I feel? Thanks for helping...
 one_blueangelz - Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:14 pm

I forgot to mention that I also get pain down my left arm...which comes and goes too..
 one_blueangelz - Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:55 am

Ok, one more question...I was sitting here at the desk and was getting ready to inhale and all the sudden I couldnt breathe and it felt like my heart stopped.There was no pain at all just could not inhale. Is this some sort of new palpitation? It only lasted like 2 sec but it really has scared me. Thank you.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:20 am

User avatar Dear one_blueangelz,

Being a female of the child bearing age is a natural protection against coronary disease, however, you are a smoker, and this is a major risk factor for coronary disease. You don't have any other risk factors for coronary disease like high blood pressure or diabetes. Your chest pain does not sound typical as compared to that of coronary disease.

So, even though you are a smoker, yet you are naturally protected (so these 2 cancel each other out) and the chest pain is not typical, so the likelihood of this being coronary disease is very small.

Obviously, I cannot rule out something as dangerous as a cardiac cause for your chest pain over the internet, but according to your description this chest pain is probably not secondary to coronary disease.

Having tachycardia can give you this sensation of chest discomfort and sometimes pain especially if you have it for a long time.

The shortness of breath can be caused by the tachycardia and can cause chest discomfort as well.

When it comes to palpitations, there are some measures that can help greatly, having enough sleep, stop smoking (which you already in the process of doing), stop drinking alcohol and any caffeinated beverages. These measures help a lot of people get rid of their palpitations, believe it or not, as simple as they are. So, i would suggest that you try your best.

What you described in your last post, about your heart stopping, is actually the typical description of an early heart beat (otherwise known as an extra-beat) and there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Could be this be panic attacks? Sure, but personally i don't like to blame panic attacks till i am sure that there is nothing wrong physically first. So, in addition to the stress test and if not already done, i would like you to have a thyroid function test, a blood test for electrolytes and an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) if your doctor thinks they are indicated.

Sometimes, there are certain illnesses that come in attacks that mimic panic attacks and are associated with tachycardia, chest discomfort and high blood pressure, this does not sound the case here, but if all tests are negative and you are diagnosed with panic attacks that are not controlled with professional psychiatric help, then i would suggest that this is looked into. These diseases are very rare, so they are not looked at first.

Please, keep me posted about the results of the stress test and your Holter monitor.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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