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palpitations with chest pain and left arm and left leg numbness
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palpitations with chest pain and left arm and left leg numbness

  I am a 25 year old female and heart disease runs in my family.  I began having palpitations in Oct 1996.  Then, in Sept 1998, I began having frequent palpitations and then one night at 3am I awoke to severe chest pain and numbness in my left arm and left leg.  I also had shortness of breath and was very clammy and cold and my pupils were dilated.  I felt weird for the next week or so and then all of a sudden my palpitations disappeared.  Then they began again in the middle of Feb 1999, and a few weeks after that, I had another chest pain episode.  I am a recovered anorexic and I was wondering if three years of starving myself could have resulted in a weakening of the heart muscle.  I have not been drinking any caffienated beverages after this last episode, and the palpitations are still here, and are getting worse.  My doc told me they are called PVC's and that they are harmless, and that what I experienced on those two incidents was an anxiety attack.  I still think it might be something more serious.  Do you have any information that might help me? I also think that the doctors might be overlooking something because of my age and gender.
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Dear Carla,
Anxiety attacks sounds as if it could be your main problem.diagnosis, however let me give you some general information.
PVCs are best assessed by a Holter monitor (24 hour recording of the heart rhythm) which can not only evaluate the heart rhythm over a period of time, it can evaluate what exactly the rhythm is when the patient is feeling symptoms (i.e. if you keep a diary while wearing the holter), and it can basically rule out an arrhythmia (fast heart rhythm that can also give the patient palpitations and requires different treatment.)
The anorexia could have done some damage to your heart, this would best be assessed by an echocardiogram.
The family history is a risk factor, but at your young age the only real way to combat that history is to NOT smoke, get your cholesterol checked, eat healthy, and exercise daily.
Discuss these points with our doctor and if you are still not comfortable, ask him or her whether or not a stress test is indicated (probably not.)  
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for
general purposes only.  Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.
Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please
call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at
www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the
cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your
cardiac problem.

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