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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Chest Diseases

Question: Left arm pain, shortness of breath, feeling of uneasiness

 birendrac - Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:34 am

I am 50 years old. I have a good physique, but I have a lot of health problems, the main being heart or lung. Because sometimes I feel heaviness in my chest, I have to take deep breath, my mouth gets dry and whatever amount of water I take doesn't quench my thirst. I feel dizziness and seems like low blood pressure. Sometimes I have palpitations at night which causes me to wake up, but due to financial problem I can't do expensive checkups. But whatever checkups I have carried out like Chest X-ray, EKG, Blood tests, Urine test etc, all shows normal result. But I know there is something wrong. I think I need to do CT Scan. Any suggestion would be appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:42 pm

User avatar Hello -

Based on your description of the symptoms, plus the fact that your EKG and bloodwork have been normal, I strongly suspect you are suffering from an anxiety problem. This may have built up over a long period of time, or could have been triggered by some fairly recent stressful event or situation. You've done the right things to have heart and lung problems ruled out, which was appropriate. You describe some things that are extremely common in anxious people, including the dry mouth, dizziness and feeling of low blood pressure. Anxious people tend to unconsciously do a lot of deep sighing, which not only makes the mouth dry but can actually cause dehydration. It can also cause lightheadedness as in low blood pressure.

Palpitations, while common in the general population, are noted far more frequently by anxious people as well.

This is a more difficult thing to deal with than physical problems, because those can be isolated, treated, and measured. Anxiety is a much more elusive and tricky animal. I'd strongly suggest bringing this to the attention of someone who specializes in anxiety problems, such as a psychotherapist who's adept at cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is one of the more effective tools in the arsenal of anxiety management -- along with medications to help get things in hand initially.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up with us as needed, and keep us updated, as well.
 arikira - Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:13 pm

In essence, th doctor is saying:

You're probably just being a hypochondriac.

I don't buy that approach. Being someone who is the sone of the doctor AND as someone who suffers from occasional anxiety (and hypochondria), I know the difference. I assume most people know their bodies and its retarded for doctors to tell them, essentially "don't listen to what your body is telling you -- it's all in your mind."

This is what they all say when they do not know how to diagnose the problem, or are doctors int he traditional western tradition which essentially does not attack a problem until it is already too late.

Sounds to me like you might be suffering what I suffered -- a pneumothorax. I've had a lot of the the same sumptoms as you.

Explain, in as much detail as possible, the first time you felt this way. What happened? What followed? Any unusual sounds or feelings besides the pain or heaviness?

Does it make any difference what position you are in (physically speaking)?

Does it make any difference what position you are in socially or environmentally speaking?

Think of anything that you can find that is common to all of your episodes, and please dish to the forum.

3 of my pneumothoracies went undiagnosed, and even with my 4th, with all the same symptoms (which was finally diagnosed) doctors are saying that they'd rather not DO anything because they don't think that they have enough evidence that it has happened before.

Doctors, as smart and hard-working as they are, are fallible, like the rest of us. Do your own research, and make a good case to your PCP o specialist for whatever tests you think may be applicable if he/she doesn't recommend them on his/her own.

Better safe than sorry, buster.

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