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Strange Symptoms
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Strange Symptoms

I am a 24 y/o male, 5'10" 235 pounds. Previously, I weighed about 265. Two months ago I was sitting at a meeting when suddenly, I felt a tingling in my feet, clammy hands, and I had trouble getting a full breath of air. The meeting wasn't stressful and I wasn't doing anything. My heart was beating much faster then usual. I went to my doctor who ran an EKG and sent me to the ER for tests. They ran X-rays, EKG readings, pressure readings, etc. for a whole weekend. They told me it wasn't a heart attack or a blood clot. Since then, I still have felt awful and have gone for more tests. I get this tingling in my feet followed by trouble breathing and a fast heartbeat. I was sent for a cardio-stress test to determine if I had an SVT and that was neg. They also did a 24h urine test to see if something was wrong with my adrenal gland and that was neg. Thyroid tests also were neg. I had an upper GI as well as scans of my abdomen. but that was all negative too. During all this time I have also been losing weight without even trying. The worst feeling is not being able to take a full breath. The doctor is sending me for a Cat scan and said if that is inconclusive then he doesn't know what else to do. My blood pressure seems to move around a lot, mostly high. I always seem thirsty now so drinking lots of water. It seems to make the symptoms feel  a bit better if  my throat isn't dry. I have problems sleeping now and once I wake up in the morning I can't go back to sleep. The doctor also believes I have insulin resistance/Syndrome X. Any ideas greatly appreciated as no one seems to know.
Tags: Heart, Anxiety
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear tanders,
This is certainly somewhat of a medical mystery.  Tingling in the extremities can be caused by hyperventilation but it sounds like the rapid breathing comes after the onset of the neurologic symptoms.  Fast heart beats can be caused by many different things.  Often times cases like this are best approached by having someone review all the data collected in an unbiased manner.  The best doctor to undertake this task is often an internal medicine specialist located at a university hospital.  Be sure to get copies of all your test results to take with you.
24 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Tanders,
Have you thought of the possibility that you are experiencing anxiety.  When I experienced my first bad panic attack 21 years ago I had trouble getting a breath, tingling in hands (like electrical shocks), fast heart rate, clammy hands (classic sign of anxiety or nervousness), chest pain and the ground moved and waved under me when I walked.  Symptoms people experience from anxiety differ for each person.  This attack came "out of the blue."  It is good you are having lots of tests done.  If you find out you have nothing wrong consider anxiety as a culprit.  Even if we don't feel particularly "stressed out" it just depends on how our body decides to deal with stress.  It is not a bad thing.  Sometimes we become so intuned to these symptoms and wait for them in fear that they come more often and we don't seem to understand that it is the fear itself that is causing them.  There are many good books out there, especially if you are by a Barnes & Noble that help you deal with anxiety.  Claire Weekes wrote "Peace from Nervous Suffering," "Hope & Help For Your Nerves" and a couple others, but those are classic.  I've noticed that many of the new authors use her in their bibliography.  Hope this helps.  MLS
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Avatar_n_tn
MLS,

I thought it might be anxiety but I'm not so sure. The fact that I have these problems breathing pretty much everyday makes me think it might be something else. That and the weightloss without trying. I would be surprised if this was some sort of panic disorder that lasts as long as it does, considering it started two months ago and I still am having problems... Thanks for the info though, any and all ideas are greatly appreciated!
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Avatar_n_tn
I would have to disagree with this its been happening so long (2 months)and weight loss without trying...  I had a major Anxiety?panic attack about 1.5 years ago out of the blue and my symptoms were just like yours...  I felt a tingling in my feet, clammy hands, and I had trouble getting a full breath of air. And weight loss without trying... If and I am saying if they find nothing else wrong then thats probably it an anxiety attack, they come out of no where and the stress can be building for years and then one day it happens. They keep happening in lesser or great degree and frequency until you get some form of treatment but I have been told some people just stop having them.
You could also encounter chest pains, floating, head aches and
a feeling of impending doom especially if you think something is wrong with you and the doctors keep finding nothing.. Your mind is a powerful force.. good luck and listen to the doctors advice... And about the weight, have you been eating as much as you were all along? I noticed I would skip meals or not really eat when i thought I was on death door,which Im sure your not, keep track of what and when you eat and compare it to what you were eating in the past.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Tanders1 & Gregd64:
I totally agree with everything that Greg has said.  I know you are very young to feel that you would be experiencing panic attacks but this is a very common age for them to begin.  I was 23 years old and this was 21 years ago and back then you couldn't find any doctors (at least where I lived) that knew anything about severe panic attacks and anxiety.  It can happen to anyone and I know that in the states alone there are more than 8 million people who suffer from them.  Things common with people who experience anxiety and panic attacks are that they are "kind, caring, giving (almost to a fault probably), sensitive, highly imaginative people.  Our imaginations take over with "what if" this happens again.  What if I don't get over it, what if I have a heart attack, what if.....etc.  To what if is natural, so is being concerned with one's health but when you have been checked out and and told you have nothing wrong with you and you still find yourself obsessing over the "what if" that you need to learn some constructive ways to deal with it.  This can come in the way of learning to change your way of thinking, be kind to yourself, learn to live in the present, etc.  This can be hard at first when you don't know what you are doing that is why I suggested getting some books and I listed a few in my other post.  Anxiety is a normal part of life.  Sometimes it goes haywire....and you become overly sensitized.  Your mind and body work hand in hand, and sometimes you need help to desensitize yourself.  Good luck  MLS
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Avatar_n_tn
OK, so if this does turn out to be some sort of strange stress problem. What can I do to stop it? I have tried relaxing, clearing my mind of everything, but then I just seem to get worse! I can't even doze off and take a nap because that seems to bring the symptoms on too. Is there any medication I can take to stop this? The doctor said all the medication would make me gain weight back and that is not something I want to do. In the mean time I have been walking most every day and have stayed away from all alcohol and caffiene since my first episode. I just don't seem to know what to do anymore and the more I try not to think about it, the worse I feel, crazy isn't it!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Tanders,
I totally understand how you feel.  Believe me I have been to "hell and back."  I hate to tell you this because it doesn't go away overnight but with understanding and learning to talk to yourself in the correct manner it will.  If you have been under any kind of stress than your body is somewhat sensitized right now. (stress can be good or bad - if you have been partying too much and not getting a lot of sleep for a long time this could be considered stress even though you were having a good time).  Trying too hard to forget is just as tantamount to saying "oh no here it is."  I hope this makes sense to you.  You (your subconscious mind) is on guard to this happening to you so that even when you try to relax it happens again.  What you need to do is say, "okay, here you are again [to the symptoms] and ACCEPT THEM as they come.  Hating them intensely, disliking them, any kind of negative reaction to them is still the same as saying "what if."  So again...say, "here you are, breath deeply, tell yourself you'll be okay, this is the worst it can get, etc." Consider every time you deal with them as a lesson and welcome them.  I know this sounds quirky but learning to deal with things in this way helps you for whatever else might come along in the future.  Talk all in positives and remember to stay focused in the moment if you can.  When you feel this way you tend to get introspective to all your bodily functions, your thoughts, your feelings.  You might look at other people and say, "I wish I were like them, I'm so different, I wish I were normal!"  You are only you, experiencing some trouble right now but it will get better.  Hope this helps.
MLS
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Avatar_n_tn
MLS and Greg - Thank you for your words of wisdom. I have gone out and purchased Hope and Health for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes and I will see if that helps me. I really hope all this is just due to nerves and it will be great to get back to my old self again. Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Avatar_n_tn
Tanders - I wish you the best of luck!!  Keep us informed.  I try to help anyone because I have been there.  I would not wish this on my even worst enemy.  Hang in there.
MLS
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Avatar_n_tn
Another great book is the " The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Edmund J., Ph.D. Bourne.

When I went through counseling for panic attacks (which I would highly recommend doing) my counselor suggested this workbook.  Just ignore the stuff that you may not have.  The other book you picked up is also really great!

Good luck and hope you find some peace.  I know how hard it can be.

Cheers,
Rachel
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter was having very serious panic attacks and was being treated with several medications none of which worked.she was treated by a family Dr. who said her thyroid was borderline but not enough to cause the problem. He said she needed to see a shrink. After she went thru some very hard times and losing a very good job, She finally saw a endocrinologist, and found it was her thyroid that was causeing her attacks. To make a very long story short she had her thyriod removed and no more panic attacks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear MLS,
YOu seem to have a lot of knowledge about this. I have been so focused on my heart ever since my first attack 3 years ago. Some days its so bad that I feel it every time it beats especially if I get up and walk around I can feel it in my chest. I am scared that I have something wrong with me that the doctors cant find. They did say I have trace regurgitation from an elongated mitral valve but no prolapse. In my  mind this is a heart problem and I am terrified all the time thinking any minute will be the day when my heart races out of control, so I became very focused on it ALL THE TIME> Do you think this is the reason I feel it beating when I walk, I am scared to do things that may accelerate my heart. I appreciate your response, thanks so much....Jean
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jean,
First of all, the most important thing is that you have been tested by the doctors and told that everything is okay.  I'm so sorry that you have been worrying about your heart for 3 years.  That is a very long time and I can imagine what that has done to your stress level let alone your physiological response level every time you think or do something! Thought and reaction occur so fast they they sometimes seem as one.  If everytime you think that your heart may beat fast because of what you are doing it WILL!!  It becomes habit and habits have to broken.  Your thoughts and actions have to be changed. You need to work on changing your thinking from the negative oh my gosh will my heart race to okay here it goes.  See the responses mentioned above. Changing your thinking from negative to positive does work. It does not happen overnight but it does work.  I would have tension, anxiety, panic the whole day.....awful. All missed up with that was the thought that I was not normal, I wanted to be like everyone else. I was bad....but, when I begin to positive self talk to myself I would at first have 5 minutes of feeling good and "connected" to the day, then 10 minutes here, then 1/2 hr., then 1/2 day, then 3 good days, then 1 good week, and on and on. You begin to feel part of the world again, not just wishing you were normal, but realizing that you are normal but just felt bad "under the circumstances" and those circumstances happen to be what you are telling yourself and that is "that your heart is going to race."  Take a walk, smell the fresh air, hear the birds, feel your heart race and tell yourself it is okay.  Walk around the block and take pride in that accomplishment.  Maybe walk around the block for a week. Then next week walk around two blocks.  Enjoy each accomplishment.  Right now I have to tell you that I am dealing with skipped beats with  my heart.  I tend to get these on occassion but I am on a new medicaiton and I think it is causing them to happen even more.  It bothers me, who wouldn't it bother.  It is not a nice sensation but it has happened before and if it keeps on I will go to the doctor but right now I am having to deal with them the same way I mentioned to you above.....think about it...What choice do we have.....I came to the conclusion that I was afraid of dying....so how could I be so afraig of living!!!  I don't want to be afraid of living and if having anxiety symptoms makes one so that we need to learn to deal with them....because life goes on and I want it to be the best that I can.  Accept...face the fact that this is happening to you now....and TRY to think positive.
MLS
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for getting back to me. When you were going through this did you find yourself taking your pulse all the time and checking your heart also? It is so hard to keep positive but I am trying. The mornings seem to be the worst for me. I could go to bed feeling OK and in the morning it starts again. Is your heart naturally faster when you wake up in the morning? Also the Dr told me I had trace regurgitation without mitral valve prolapse he said it is nothing but ever since he told me I feel like it is the cause of my problems not 100% anxiety but he says no, do you know anything about that?
Thanks so much,it helps to talk to someone who has been there have a great weekend Jean
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jean,
Yes, I did check my pulse all the time and feel my heart.  It is like an obsession that is hard to break.  This keeps you constantly intuned to yourself.  The more you accept that your heart is beating quickly will help.  To tell you the truth, I am taking some increased medication for gastric reflux and my heart seems to be doing overtime with "skipped beats."  It is bothersome to me and I find that I seem to be waiting for it so I figure this is as good a time to "practice what I preach."  Anxiety is a normal part of life.  When you worry about something your anxiety increases a little.  When you worry about something a lot your anxiety increases a lot, the adrenaline starts to flow and you start a cycle that is hard to break.  It goes like this.  Tension...anxiety....symptoms.....fear....adrenaline....anxiety, symptoms...fear...etc.  It goes round and round and is hard to get off.  You need to change your conscious thought.  You need to change the "what ifs"...what if I have a heart attack, what if I [whatever]....to its okay, I've had this happen this long and nothing bad has happened....I can do it....etc.  Really, seriously,  try small amounts of physcial exercise and when you realize that you can do this then each day you can do a little more and you realize how strong you really are.  I was tested years ago for mitral valve prolapse, had an ultrasound of my heart etc. but at that time they said I did not have.  My sister has it....If your doctor says you are okay then I think you should either get a second opinion or accept his word.  Hope this helps.
Michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 40 year old male and have experienced many of the symptoms described above.  At one point, I was even hospitalized for a night upon checking into the ER with chest pains.  My heart was skipping beats, I was sweating, and was very scared.

To make a long story short, I was released from the hospital the next day and was shortly after diagnosed with Panic Disorder and PVC's. I met a good Dr. who prescribed Celexa 20mg 1x per day.  Within 2 weeks, the anxiety was gone.  The PVC's continue but they do not bother me anymore.  I have my life back.

Perhaps this medicine might help you too.
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Avatar_n_tn
As soon as I read the initial problem (sitting in a meeting and feeling these symptoms), I thought of panic attacks.  Anxiety and panic disorder are a very familiar thing in our family.  I started with panic attacks in high school.  My son started to have them in high school also.  My husband also suffers.  Meetings and classrooms are classic places for these attacks to hit.

What I wanted to say was that there are many medications that can help. My husband and son have been able to overcome this awful condition with the help of medication.  Paxil (an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant) has helped them so much that they now have no problem with these attacks.  Many people/doctors beleive that this is a brain chemistry problem and that it is not always related to any particular stress in your life.  I know that when I started having panic attacks, I was not under any unusual stress at all.

It is important to first rule out other medical conditions.  Once you have a clean bill of heath on all other fronts, please, suggest that your doctor start you on an anti-anxiety medication so you can begin feeling better.  It takes about 2 -3 weeks to start feeling the difference.  The books are an wonderful idea too!  I was able to overcome my panic disorder through self-help.

Good Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
These symptoms started happening to me too - and eventually after an upper and lower GI, thyroid tests, and an EKG, I was told it was anxiety.  I've been reading books and doing relaxation to help - and I certainly haven't had a really bad attack in awhile, but I do have one other symptom that has lasted for 6 months.  My stomach burns every single day - especially when I drink carbonated beverages I feel a coating burning sensation.  This all started happening 6 months ago (2-3months after my first anxiety attack).  I can't drink alcohol any more - eventhough my doc said it would be okay since everything looked normal.  When I had a beer, my stomach burned as normal, and then I was nauseas for 2 whole days.  Just from one beer!  I'm 22 years old so this is incredibly frusterating.  The burning did begin after a night of heavy tequila drinking - I figured it would just go away.  The doctors all said that it would - any damage incurred that night should have fixed itself by now is what they said.  I was tested for h. pylori and it came out positive, was given the treatment and retested to make sure it went away - and it did.  Negative for ulcers too. So...does anyone know if this burning stomach is related to anxiety?  Does anyone with mitral valve prolapse have this?  I read somewhere that if you have mitral valve prolapse you can experience stomach problems that doctors can't find.  I have the heart racing thing, and the other day my heart fluttered for awhile almost making me pass out, but I haven't had any chest pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Do you have mitral valve prolapse? I do know for a fact that anxiety can cause the acid in your stomach to kick up. I was taking zantac for a few months there. I take mylanta on a regualr basis, I dont know if thats good or bad. But I would rule out any medical problems first which it sounds like you are doing. I was curious about the MVP though because I am still trying to figure out if I have it. I get the racing heart  thing also.Mine started when I was 27 and I am 29 and feel like I havent had a "normal" day since My email is ***@**** if you would like to discuss it, Thanks..Jean
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Avatar_n_tn
I have GERD and have episodes where I feel suddenly sick to my stomach, like I am going to pass out with a warm flushing up to the tips of my ears and I notice my heart is pounding/racing and I suddenly feel very edgy. I need to take a deep breath after this occurs. I discovered that these episodes are more likely to occur when my stomach is very acidic or when I am very hungry. I took Propulsid for a while and I wonder if I have developed some sort of heart rhtyhm abnormality. It seems there are so many things that can cause the symptoms you describe. i would certaiy investigate the anxiety angle, but your comment about dozing off and having this experience makes me think it could be due to acid refluxing into your esophagus and irritating your vagus nerve. Just a thought based on my experience. Good luck with it!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi all, Just wanted to give you a status of things. While I still have problems experiencing shortness of breath, the length of time it lasts seems to be disipating. I go to see a Pulmonary Doctor tomorrow and hopefully that will rule out all problems dealing with my lungs. If that all comes back negative, I guess I should seek a psychiatrist? I have also been trying to learn meditation and some other procedures found in those books you all recommended. They have definitely helped to put my mind at ease. Thank you all again for your wonderful advice!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Tanders,
I'm glad to hear that you're getting things checked out and I'm also happy to hear that you are trying to learn things from the books that you purchased.  Keep us posted.  
Michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi guys....I just wanted to share my experience with anxiety.  I have been plagued with anxiety attacks for about 8 or 9 years.  Symptoms that exist are---shortness of breath, rapid hertbeat, nausea, dizziness, anxiousness, and just total complete fear of death.  It has definitely been a battle.  My doctor put me on Blood pressure medicine two days ago.  (lopressor 50mg)  My blood pressure kept going up and down.  I actually thought I was dying.  It is a definitely a battle in the mind. I just recently started with the attacks again and its pretty scary.  I have grown a lot spiritually and I can honestly say that God has helped me to handle it without running to the hospital each time.  I imagine myself on my own private island just me and God.  I speak to my symptoms and tell them to stop. "My heart is not beating fast and it will slow down now.  I can breathe normally...I am in total control.  This is my island.  I PRAY CONSTANTLY. God has been so good to me.  I am definitley Destined for Deliverance.  You just have to concentrate on good thoughts.  Surround yourself with positive people who understand your attacks and do not make you feel insecure.  Do not let yourself stay at home for fear of leaving and having an attack in public.  You have to re-focus your mind anf take control.  You can not let it control you.  Yes, I know, it's easier said than done.  Think positive, you are in control even when you don't feel like it.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been on 160LA Inderal capsules for over 20 years due to anxiety/migraine type headaches.  Lately I've been experiencing numbness in my feet and a general "cold" feeling there.  While this was bothersome at first it's now starting to concern me.  Other than that I'm in good shape, walk three miles a day on a treadmill and do some lifting for upper body strength, etc.  What's causing this numbness, etc.?
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to suffer with panic attacks for years and they stopped all of a sudden now I keep getting a light fluttery king of feeling from my heart I feel shaky the same feelings are back again feeling like am gonna faint of have a heart attack don't know if this is my heart causing the problems I feel or panic disorder I don't feel stressed out or panicky till my hearts starts fluttering.   Kelly
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