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Chest pain and nausea when laying down
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Chest pain and nausea when laying down

Hi, and thanks for taking the time to read this!

I'm a 19 year old female in good physical condition, on no medication, no history of asthma or prior heart conditions.  I'm not pregnant, nor have I ever been pregnant.  I don't have diabetes either.  It runs in my family so I make sure to test my blood sugar every now and then to make sure I'm still working properly.  I do have naturally low blood pressure and occasional heart palpitations.

I've been aware of a certain tightness in the right side of my chest for the last year and a half, but I always chalked it up to the fact that my right breast is slightly larger than my left one.  I thought that perhaps there was extra pressure being put on my chest cavity by my bra, and that it was merely an aggravated pectoral muscle that was bothering me.  Unfortunately I can't use that as an excuse any longer.

For the last week or so, I've been suffering from sharp chest pains that are clearly coming from inside my chest.  This pain is twice as apparent when I'm laying down to go to sleep.  It feels as though my entire chest cavity has been filled up with water or something to that effect.  

I struggled to find my pulse last night after I awoke from a light doze feeling sick and like I was going to pass out.  I felt short of breath and nauseous, and all of a sudden a disturbing sensation of weakness and lightheadedness engulfed me.  I sat up at this point, and I immediately felt disoriented and nauseous.

I've also been having problems with my arms falling asleep.  My pinky fingers and ring fingers are usually the first to lose sensation, and then the rest of the hand and arm is soon to follow.  

I usually can't sleep for more than 45 minutes before I awake feeling like my heart is going to stop beating or because my arms are numb.  I can't tell you how terrifying it is waking up with your heart barely beating and your lungs barely drawing any air.  I just feel weak and drained and sick for about 15 minutes after waking.

What's strange is that I've been feeling okay during the day when I walk around.... just very tired and nauseous sometimes when I go from sitting to standing or right after I eat.  My chest feels tight at times, but nothing like it does when I'm laying down.

In any case, these more severe symptoms have been happening for about a week now.  I'm afraid to go to sleep at night because I'm scared I will drift off and never wake up.  What should I do?
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187666_tn?1331176945
At first I was thinking you might have some acid reflux at night. My husband struggles with that. Lie down and the stomach acid backs up the esophagus which can cause shortness of breath and chest pain. But another thing to consider is sleep apnea, long pauses in your breathing. Only a sleep study at a sleep center or hospital will determine that. In the meantime, try sleeping propped up with a couple of pillows. That often helps with reflux. And do check with your doctor.
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Avatar_f_tn
It definitely sounds like sleep apnea, as suggested by ireneo.

I would venture a guess that it's not cardiac related, but then again, I'm not a doctor.  Have you spoken to your doctor about this?

I'm always surprised when people come on here with symptoms that are as troubling as yours, and they haven't mentioned a thing about it to their doctors.  Your first step SHOULD be to discuss this with your doctor, if you have further questions regarding what the doctor has said, or aren't sure how to locate the information you need, then there are a lot of us here who can give suggestions or advice.

Take control of your own health by discussing this with your doctor, and if you have the kind of doctor who "appears" to not have the time for your discussions, then MAKE him/her listen to you. Always remember, you are your doctor's employer.
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Avatar_m_tn
Of course you should to discuss this with at least your regular doctor and a cardiologist and maybe a gastro specialist or whatever but I will tell you what I think it might be since I have been having similar problems (although in some ways less severe).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease   (GERD)

I regularly experience short chest pains (which is one of the less common symptoms), asthma at night -- that is the main one, I have always been asthmatic and the nighttime asthma was not responding to my medications , and finally I figured out it happens when I lie down, and I can feel the acid or whatever getting in my lungs or whatever and sometimes causing pain in my chest but nearly always asthma.

So I raised the head of my bead and started taking Prilosec, and that makes it so I can sleep and not wake feeling like I almost died the previous night.  Its weird now everyone is telling me they have GERD.

It might be recommended to actually have surgery because structural problems like hernias can cause it so you have to have the right specialists check you out.  Also it could be sleep apnea or cardiovascular disease etc so I think that you should see  those type of doctors also to rule out other types of problems.
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Avatar_m_tn
I definitely think you should have an x-ray or some other imaging to make sure that the stomach and everything is in the right place and valves are functioning (besides ruling out heart problems of course).  I guess it would be nice if I could get that for myself too but I probably won't because I don't have insurance or a regular doctor and the people at the clinic make me feel like a piece of **** when I tell them I don't have insurance.

Anyway until you see the doctor (tomorrow) rather than just pillows, get one of those big wedge pillows, or put some books under the feet at the head of your bed to make it 6 or 8 inches higher and the whole thing sloping and try sleeping on your left side.

"Hiatus hernia heartburn is another serious GERD symptom. Fortunately it's relatively rarer, but nonetheless is potentially very dangerous and needs to be treated on an urgent basis. The condition occurs when a person's stomach muscle moves in an upward direction through a distended hiatus. Hiatus hernia can be of three types. The first type is the sliding hiatus hernia that occurs when a part of the stomach that has come up through the hiatus slides to and fro through the chest cavity. This type of hiatus hernia, along with the second type, is relatively harmless. The third type of hiatus hernia, known as Serious Hiatus Hernia, which causes the entire stomach to move up in the chest, can create very acute GERD symptoms involving persistent heartburn and chest pain."
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