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I think I had a heart attack but I'm not sure
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I think I had a heart attack but I'm not sure

I'm a 30 year old male, and overweight. I've had off and on chest pains for the last few years, but always went away pretty fast with a nitroglycerin tablet. I figured I had some mild stable angina, of course I also have procrastinated with changing my lifestyle. I know I have risk of heart disease with being overweight, eating bad stuff, and not enough activity in my life (although I don't smoke, drink or anything illegal). However, over the weekend I had a huge wakeup call, and I don't even know if it was a heart attack or what, but I am so scared. My mother who is a retired nurse from UCI Med says I am suffering from some serious anxiety/panic. I really don't know what to think, as I type this right now I feel fine with just a small headache in the back of my head, near the crease where my neck joins my head. I just walked for half an hour on my treadmill and really feel fine.

Let me explain what I experienced this weekend and the symptoms. I would say around Friday (Aug 1) in the evening I really started feeling awful, especially the back of my head, and neck, and shoulders. This was all on the back side, no pain in my throat or jaw area. I was having a very hard time sleeping, I was feeling my heartbeat very very strong in the back of my head, in fact more so than if I put my hand over my chest. I thought I was having a very intense stress related migraine, it was so nerve racking because I got to the point where I was dead tired, and just could not fall asleep because of the pounding. I was also sweating intensely. At this point I was having no chest pains at all, it was all head and neck.

I finally fell asleep, however the quality of sleep was very poor, constantly waking up with a feeling of feeling very hot, but my skin didn't feel that hot. Around Saturday the head pains started to subside somewhat, and while sitting at my computer I got a very fast sharp pain about 3-4 inches left of the center of my chest, it didn't last long, nor did it really phase me, it almost seemed like some weird nerve twitch. Didn't think much of it. Still at my computer, about 20 min later I started to get some light burning chest pains radiating out towards my left arm. I took two nitrate tablets a couple minutes apart, I thought I had an angina attack coming on. It didn't do anything, but the pain felt kinda sharp... I've read that in heart attacks the pain feels constraining, like a squeezing feeling. This felt more like I was being stabbed or something. I went to lay down for awhile and the pain got worse. It got to the point where I had to sit up to avoid extra pain. The pain in my head started to get worse, and especially the back neck region. I was also getting some discomfort in my stomach, nausea feeling. At this point I was experiencing a lot of fear. All this pain brought on in less than 15-20 min from itself. I was also feeling very hot, my eyelids burned and I felt like I was on fire. I started to read websites trying to self diagnose, and my fear level was increasing so much, I honestly felt like I was going to die. I tried taking deeper breaths, go outside to soak in sun, nothing was working. I also felt very shaky and jittery, but the fear of dying was predominate over everything. I never recall feeling out of breathe or dizzy, but I did feel like I was going crazy.

After giving exhausting myself from looking on the net for help, I went in the other room and slouched down on the sofa under the cool blow of the A/C vent. I was watching the Food network, and it was taking my mind off things. Pain seemed to subside a lot, and I started to get a very serene feeling. I closed my eyes and actually felt very calm. There was still pain, but it wasn't driving me insane, it was bearable. I pretty much spent the rest of the day just relaxing, watching tv and looking at the web and trying to keep myself calm. It seemed to be doing the trick, the pain slowly went away, and so did any fear or distress. I was finally able to lay down without experiencing much discomfort, and fell asleep.

I woke up about 5 hours later, and I had a very sharp stomach cramping. It was weird, because after I got up and walked to the bathroom it had already gone away. I also still had faint chest, neck, and back of the head pains, similar to what I experienced the day before, only very very mild and bearable. It persisted most of the day off and on, coming and going like flicking on a light switch. It was just the weirdest feeling, not knowing what was causing the pain to come and go. It seemed like the more active I was, the less pain I experienced. If I walked on my treadmill the pain seemed absent, I don't know if this was mind over matter, because I wasn't in a sitting state thinking about it, or if the pain genuinely disappeared.

Saturday I experienced the worst feelings and pain I have ever experienced in my life. It seems some of the symptoms are heart attack related, I am scared for my health, because like I said I am overweight and have bad eating/activity habits. Today (Monday) I have been the calmest and in the least pain since. It's all been come and go, light pains here and there in my neck/head/chest. There has been one spot that has been somewhat persistent and that is along the crease/bump area on the back of my head where my neck joins. The pain feels very tension related. If I press and give it my upper neck (back side) firm circular motions it kind of feels good and relieves the stress temporarily, similar to a back massage?

Today when I woke up I experienced some nasty heart burn and indigestion, but two doses of Pepto made that feel much better. I also had a slight cough, and I could feel it kind of in the areas where I had chest pain, the cough went away by mid afternoon. I really don't know what to make of this past weekend. I feel very level headed atm, thinking straight, no real fear like I had experienced, and any pain is very mild, and bearable. I'm hoping as time goes by it will completely dissipate. Does anything I've described sound like a heart attack, or something else?

I have actually felt quite a bit of stress the past week or so, and it seems like it was all building up to this weekend. As I said earlier my mother thinks it is some severe anxiety, but having the chest pains really scares me, especially with past episodes of angina, and my current weight and habits. I'm sorry if I wrote so much, I felt a better understanding of my experience would be better for any ideas of what happened to me. I'm currently unemployed and do not have any medical. I think I felt I needed to stick it out until I absolutely had no choice, I really don't even know where to go in my current financial situation and not having medical. Can I just walk into any hospital if I am having an emergency like this again? Will they deny me help, or stick me with a massive bill I will be paying off the rest of my life? I've been reading a lot over the last couple days and remember reading something like a trip to the ER without insurance and I could expect a huge bill.

Jeremy
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7 Comments Post a Comment
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343006_tn?1314450071
Wow thats a long story -
Im guessing your on somekind of medication for high blood pressure ? as you take
Nitro for chest pains , or angina problems ?  
yep eatting junk foods and the wrong foods will only add to the problem of h.b.p !  and
build up cholesterol -  as well being overwaight makes it all that much harder to control
b.p  as well can lead other problems !  
have you taken your b.p when this type of thing happens to you ? as just to see where its at ? as alot of times the b.p can rise or spike ! and cause discomfort and bring on
angina pains !  also I found some foods we all eat, (junk foods) have msg in them and this can also push b.p high !   and cause other problems -  
I myself have a big problem now with interactions between foods and medications im on
for b.p , as well I have allergic reactions to most meds !  so its not any fun !!  

I think if your in the u.s.a.  you can seek out a State hospital - and get treatment free
or at a very low charge !  if you dont have medical insurance .  
they all have E.R. centers and acute care locations !   I would go and get checked out
asap !  as just to be safe !   they can find you a doctor within the hospital that can help you out !  at a low rate or free ..  I know here in california there are a few hospitals like this , however a few have closed down !    Your Mother might know about this.  

also beware that alot of drugs for b.p cause , just a whole lot of side effects to happen
cramping - even angina !   you may need your b.p meds if on them to be adjusted or changed to diffrent type .  or dose adjusted ?  

I hope I helped in someway.. also you should ask a doctor on this site about this ! asap
and see what they say !    
take care  
booger the nose
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, thank you for responding. I'm not on any medication for high BP, the nitrate tabs I have are from a long time ago, and something I sparingly use when I feel pain. I just checked my BP and it showed 133/90 with 72 bpm. I think this is kinda high??? Dangerously high??? I think a lot of my problem is anxiety/fear/hypochondriac related, feeling I may be sick when I am not as bad as I think? I know I am very stressed lately about my efforts to find work, and get reliable medical so I can get checked out.
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Avatar_m_tn
I really don't know how accurate my BP monitor is. I just checked again and I am getting 129/76 with 67 pulse. Prior to that about 10 min ago I got 127/75 with 60 pulse.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey.  Sounds like you have a ton of anxiety.  I think you should got o the hospital.  It really isn't a good idea to self-diagnose, especially using the internet.  Your blood pressure could be elevated because of your anxiety.  I wouldn't keep checking it because the numbers will vary.  Also, the pain you are talking about in your head could be tension related.  I have had that happen to me before when I have been tense and stressed out.  Also, you are a young man, why did you need to take nitro?  That alone is reason enough for you to go to the dr.  your too young to have angina.  Nitro can also help with anxiety issues, which is probably why it has been working.  And please, start on a good diet and exercise.  Let this be your motivation!
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343006_tn?1314450071
I would get the blood pressure unit -adjusted or calibrated - or take it to pharm dept
and have it checked out !  see if it reads like the ones they have ?  then you will know

I think self diagnose isnt all that good - as we are not Doctors!  but on another Note !
we all know when we feel bad - and where it hurts - so take that to the doctors office !
the next part is - will the doctor listen you ? and your problems ?? again it depends where you go , who you see ??

I take it you had past problems - with b.p or angina ? as your taking old Nitro ..
sometimes past problems dont go away - so I think its best you seek a Doctor for help
bottom line !   as its always better to be safe than sorry ,  

again good luck and well wishes
booger
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Avatar_m_tn
108/74  pulse 78. Last night I was getting very similar readings. It seems my systolic has been varying between 105-122, and Diastolic inbetween 74-88. Pulse inbetween 60-72. I'm using the Lifesource UA-767 meter. I think my BP looks about normal? Was kinda high the other day when I first took it, might have been anxiety related? I know I've been getting calmer and calmer since this weekend. A lot less stress and tension.

I've never been diagnosed for high blood pressure, or angina.
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343006_tn?1314450071
your b.p looks below normal levels  as they say 120/80 is normal ??
however it also depends on waight and size and age .. it all adds to the pressure ..
sounds like your pressure might go up when your stressed out , or upset a bit .. ?
I have the same problem going on !!  as im under extream stress at work !  it ***** !
here is something you can try ( I dont sell it )  but I do use it alot ..for years now
its called Natural Calm powder drink .. it calms me right down - and helps to lower the b.p down a few points ,relaxing and works real good .. its 100% natural and has never
failed me !!  stops pannic attacks too ..  
You might give it go , and see if it works  can be found at most healthfood stores
or vitamin stores . or even ebay has it on the site for sale..

I think with being under stress and tension , causes a world of hurt for people with h.b.p

If this fails you , I would think about seeing a Doctor , and see what he or she might
say..   it cant hurt you !  and you can get a doctors diagnose  !   peace of mind we hope!

take care and good luck
booger the nose

p.s
you can also bring your heart meter to the doctors office , they can test it !  free
I did this a few times , one doctor adjusted my meter for me free..

booger
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