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panic attacks
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panic attacks

I  suffered panic attacks and constant anxiety since mid 2001. For about one year, I had panic attacks 2-3 times a day. I am no longer anxious 24/7 but I  suffer massive anxiety at work when it gets busy. Recently I  read that there research linking panic attacks to heart attacks ,in young women too( due to spasms of coronary arteries, hardening of arteries etc). This is throwing me right back to constant anxiety as I cannot stop obsessing over the possibility of heart attack. One of my coping strategies for  calming myself during a panic attack was to reassure myself that I will not suffer from stroke or from heart attack. I am scared to be without this coping strategy.I am 32 year old female. I have had a normal result on an echocardiogram 12 months ago (I had anxiety related palpitations). I  experience tight heart, pains down left arm, chest pains, dizziness, feeling faint... pain is usually sharp). Dr says its anxiety.
My question is, statistically, what are my chances of suffering a heart attack any time soon given my condition (I am a type A personality, not obese, no high blood pressure, I exercise for 30 min per day, my mother,at 53, is similar personality and suffers anxiety and has been a heavy smoker for 30 years , neither of my parents have heart problems but my father's mother has (she is in her seventies and is still alive). I need some answers as I was due to move interstate which will put additional pressure on me. Im thinking maybe I wont move which makes me upset. I am on low dose antidepressant and had counselling for 1.5 years. Desperate...PLEASE HELP.
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Hi True,

Panic attacks are tough.  The can look and feel just like a heart attack.  Fortunately for you though, your risk of a heart attack is very low.  From what you wrote, you don't have the traditional risk factors: tobacco, diabetes, family history, high blood pressre or obesity.  You didn't mention your cholesterol to round out the risk factors, but your risk is very low.  

I would not let this influence your decision ot move.  

Good luck!
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I believe the heart attack risk increases ONLY If you already developed a heart disease. If you don't have a heart disease then the risk is nil.

Panic disorder is difficult to deal with as I have one too. You are STILL YOUNG and have a long way. The best thing you can do right now is treat your panic disorder.

-jeff
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Yeah only if your arteries are already diseased then panic attack can bring on a heart attack.

Spasms are not common but usually are causes by cocaine abuse or they do not have enough Nitrous Oxide in their blood.

Yeah you should maybe see a psychiotrist(sp? and maybe he/she can help cope with your panic disorder.
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Dear True:

I also have an anxiety disorder so I know where you are coming from.  You have to treat the anxiety.  You may want to find someone in your area who does E.M.D.R.  You can do a google search on this technique.  This was the best thing I did to help lessen the panic and anxiety.  The method is quick and doesn't take a lot of sessions to see a benefit.  

Also, keep doing the heart healthy things you are doing.  If your antidepressent isn't working...maybe another one would be of more assistance.  It gets better, don't give up : )
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I suffered panic attacks starting when I was in my mid thirties, my heart would race, and I have had a lifelong GP doctor/friend who explained what was happening, and eventually a drug plus acceptance of life on it's terms let me get rid of those moments.
However, I worried if I would recognize a heart attack and let it go, thinking I had a panic attack.  
Understand, I smoked, drank too much, was overweight, didn't exercise, worked way to hard, I'm diabetic with a family history of heart trouble (re-read the good doctor's advice).  Surprise!   I had a bigtime heart attack, and I can tell you, young lady, you will know the difference!  It's not just the pain, it simply is something you would recognize.  I quit all that, started exercising, lost weight, quit drinking so much, quit smoking, and I'm doing fine.  Occasionally I'll get a panic attack but I've worked really hard to learn coping skills, and I can deter the panic attack using these skills.  
There was a big difference between panic attacks and my heart attack, and my lifestyle caused my heart attack, not the panic attacks.  
Find a doctor you respect, follow the advice, and be good to yourself.  
I've followed this bulletin board for six years almost daily.  It is a wonderful resource.
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True -
I have suffered from a few panic attacks this year.  I am 24 years old.  I am in excellent physical shape.  I went to the ER one night about 5 months ago because of a panic attack.  The doctor asked if I was stressed, which I was.  But something didn't add up.  I'm not the kind of person that lets stress get to me.  The doctor mentioned that I should get my thyroid checked out.  I began to research the thyroid and I have found compelling evidence that my thyroid is to blame.  I recommend that anyone with panic or anxiety read the book "Thyroid Power" by Dr. Shames.  He has a website too: Thyroidpower.com.  Keep in mind that there are several other reasons that panic attacks can occur:  adrenal gland problems, kidney problems, yeast syndrome.  I would look into all of these; and be ready to lay down the law with your doctor.  My doctor did a thyroid test (TSH), and it was normal.  He said "you're fine".  I said "I want another test".  So we did a Free T4.  It was fine.  He said "you're fine".  I said I want to see an endocrinoligist.  She did a test for antithyroid antibodies, and said "you're fine, go back to your primary care".  So I did. Finally, we did a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Scan and Thyroid Scan.  The Radiologist said "you're developing hypothyroidism".  I said "oh really, I've been telling my doctors that for 6 months!"   So my advice:  DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!
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Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my post. I truly appreciate it. To Flycaster, any tips about deterring panic attacks that you could share with me? I am due to go on a 3.5 hr flight and am quite terrified...my biggest phobia. I have various coping skills but Im not sure how well they will go on the plane.
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Avatar_n_tn
"why" "don't" "you" "give" "it" "a" "rest" "already"

I think you are obsessed with Hank personally
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I think think he/she is obsessed with pluto. I would say that pluto is a very intellegent man with knowledge on cardiology. The
mans knows his knowledgable facts on the cardiovascular system.
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I am deeply saddened by the fact Pluto is no longer posting.  This is one area where he greatly helped me because he can relate.  It trully is a shame that a couple people ran him out.  Its more of a shame that Kaloopa keeps beating on him for no reason.  Get a life!  And Pluto if you are still reading this board please come back and comment.  The amount of people that have bennifited from your posts far exceededs the two or three that are dysfunctional.  I know that Pluto talking about his divided doses of meds got me to ask my doc if it would help me to divide my doses and it did.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow. I dont think the kind people providing this service and answering our questions for free need this forum to deteriorate into a slinging match. Lets show some gratitude and keep it relevant.
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OH MY GOD!  dont you people read this and understand what it means? The "Comments" posted below are provided by individuals and reflect their personal opinions only. Under NO circumstances should you act on any advice or opinion posted in this forum.  ALWAYS check with your personal physician before taking any action regarding your health! Med Help International and our partners, sponsors and affiliates have no obligation to monitor any "Comments" posted on this site, or the content and/or accuracy of such exchanges. Med Help International does not endorse the views of any user.

Now..I can give all the 'medcal' adice I want to here and so do many in here not just Hank.  If your the moron who follows the advice without consulting your Dr. well then your the moron!
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I am sure you can find a 'real' doctor to take care of your nose and that broom you can't seem to get rid of.
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I feel very sorry for you.  You are full of hate.  You must have no friends and I'm sure your husband is make believe too. (as well as your sex life) Who would want you.  How sad.  Go find an anger forum.  You'll be right at home there.

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This forum exists to help people and to share experiences and advice.  Such a forum has no room for evil, inconsiderate, twisted people.
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Wow!! What did I miss? How did this turn into a personal grudge match. I for one am a long time fan of hankstar. He has helped me out with my anxiety problems, which is why I was getting into this discussion for the original poster. I feel bad for anyone who is going through anxiety problems. There are avenues for help...I am pretty much over my anxiety...it keeps coming back once in awhile but the key is staying in control. Good luck! As for hankstar, he gives great advice. If you want to follow it, fine. If you don't, no one is making you. One thing about hank is that I have never seen him stoop to a personal level like so many other posters have towards him in this category. If someone is giving bad or dangerous advice, I'm sure such posts will be deleted by the moderator. If you are trying to establish a power base, really...this isn't the place to do it. Join a club. This has always been a site for mature exchanges of information. Let's keep it that way! Hank, if you read this, hope you are OK and that no one has goaded you into ending your valuable contributions!
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Hi !! Congratulations to CCF staff, this is a very good forum and doctors
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This forum is intended for all persons desiring to improve their health. Th opinions expressed here are from laypersons and not people who are medically qualified to dispense medical information. Most posters have opinions or theories they have garnered through the hard knocks of life and hope that by sharing them here they will improve someone elses quality of life. Poster's are not trying to tell someone to use their advice on it's own merits but should consult a medical practicioner to help make a final decision. Remember how good it feels to help someone out of a bad situation. This is no different. Respect for all posters is needed.
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I think Hank is misunderstood as in his posts he often says things like "always follow the good doctor's advice", etc., before or after giving his opinion, he has never pretended to be "a doctor", or in my opinion is remotely interested in being thought thus, to my mind he has just tried to talk, in layman's language, to fellow sufferers, to help fellow sufferers, and aren't we rather defeating the object here with all this foolishness - the object being to support each other??  
I find it easier personally to talk to a fellow sufferer than a doctor about my heart problems as with a doctor I always feel rather stupid.
Klonopa - I'm really sorry you've had a rough time but I can't quite understand what Hank has ever done to you??
Let's put this thing to bed now and move on.  Hope you'll start writing again Hank.
Best Wishes to all, Linda
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear True,
I too have suffered from panic attacks for many many years. I have changed antidepressants several times but if they try to increase the lowest dosage I get panic attacks again.  My psych added Xanax to my medication and it was a miracle.  I still do not like to fly but I take an extra xanax before the flight and I am fine.  I do not increase my Xanax just rearrange how I take it.  I have to take it several times a day but they now have Xanax XR which is a once a day medication.  Ask your doctor for it.  It will stop all your worries and will let you fly.  Keep your Paxil low dose and I think you will have relief.  Don't use your regular doctor.  See a psych.  They are the only ones who helped me.  Good Luck
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I visit this site quite regularly but have not logged in for a week or so and when I did today I was so shocked by all the nasty comments being posted.  What is wrong with you people? this is a fabulous site and most of us come here to share our experiences and gain comfort from one another.  Pluto has given many people advise and comfort and has always said to check with your doctor if you are concerned about anything. Surely no-one would go blindly ahead just on his advise alone without checking with your doctor.  It is so nice that someone takes the trouble to re-search our problems and tell us things we didn't know, if you are stupid enough to follow someone's post without checking with your doctor then the consequences must be yours alone.  I will miss you Pluto if you don't come back,you have helped and comforted many of us.
Take care
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I visit this site regularly and have not logged in for a few weeks and was shocked when I did today at all the nasty comments being posted.  We all come to this site for advice and comfort and I cannot understand what is wrong with you people who are posting nasty comments.  Pluto has given lots of us advice and comfort and has always said to check with your doctor, surely you are not stupid enough to blindly follow someones advice on a post without a medical opinion?  Pluto has taken the time and trouble to re-search a lot of our problems and given us information we may not have had the time to look up ourselves.  Please keep these comments friendly,we have enough anxiety in our lives without having to put up with nasty people on this site as well.  I will miss you Pluto, take care and all the best if you read this.
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sorry guys, I thought my first post had been lost! So I wrote it again trying to remember what I said in the first place. My apologies!!
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Thanks for the info. Is xanax a sedative? I actually came to the conclusion that I will trial valium before the flight to see if it helps. I felt very optimistic until I read a serzone handout (the antidepressant Im on) which said that Im not to mix serzone with any sedative medication or any medication which makes you sleepy. Serzone has been linked to liver failure and in some instances death (where it was taken along with other medication ...not sure which). So Im now back to square one and I dont know what else to do.
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Avatar_f_tn
Xanax is an anxiolytic but there is apparently a known interaction that increases the half-life and total bioavailability of Xanax. This link might be helpful:

http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic/nefaz_wcp.htm#W

This site recommends halving your Xanax dose if taking Serzone concurrently; as always, best to discuss this with your doctor first.

I don't think the liver toxicity issue has anything to do with drug interactions, it's a rare adverse reaction to Serzone itself. Actually I had thought that the manufacturer had withdrawn the drug from the market, but the only reference to that I can find is in Canada.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please, do not post again!!! I am tired of reading your mud slinging, clearly immature responses. You are suffering from more than a cardiac condition and I truly feel sorry for you, and for the record, I am a medical professional, have followed this forum for three years AND find no problem with the comments and sincere help offered by someone who is obvious trying to cope with what life brings. Please seek help.
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GET OVER YOURSELF!!  IF YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO YOURSELF TALK SO MUCH GO SEEK OUT TOASTMASTERS.  INTIMIDATING PEOPLE OUT OF THIS FORUM IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

REGARDS
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Hi True,
My husband is a Neuro Rep for a large Pharma company and he calls on psychs and nerologists.  I asked him about Serzone and he said it is quite sedating.  I personally take Paxil and Zanax. You sound like you are in quite a bit of distress.  for someone who has never had a panic attack it is the worst feeling in the world.  You do feel like you are having a cardiac incident and end up in the emergency room.  It is hard to believe that you are having a panic attack and need the reassurance that you are not dying from an MI.  The tests help us to be reassured that we are not having an MI until the next panic attack.  Since the main symptom is heart related this is a good forum to discuss test results.  The best doctors in the world can evaluate and tell us that we have a problem or not.  When you have a panic attack you are sure you have a cardiac problem.

Serzone does have an indication for panic and anxiety but it is also very sedating.  Taking Xanax (Valium) or any benzo with it would probably be even more sedating.  

Paxil or Lexapro along with Xanax is what a psych would put you on with what you have described.  Again, please see a psych and change your Serzone and add Xanax.  You will feel like a new person and keep you out of emergency rooms.  But never hesitate to go to the emergency room if you are overwhelmed with a feeling that you are having an MI.  Better safe than sorry.

Let me know what you think.  Do you see a psych now or your regular physician.  I cannot stress enough the psych advice. My regular physician dabbled around with meds for a year and I suffered oh how I suffered.  I finally went to a psychiatrist who know exactly what you are going through and will give you time to explain your symtoms (symptoms).  Please change drugs.  Serzone has a bad reputation for sedation.  Too get relief you have to titrate up to a very high dose which will put you to sleep all the time.  

Keep posting, we want to help you,
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi jkf,
please ignore him.  He's baiting everyone and wants to disturb this thread.  Please help True.  Panic attacks are the worst.  She doesn't need upsetment but support.

Thank you for your help here
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Avatar_n_tn
Are you girls quite through?? I sure hope so. It is obvious that the majority here enjoy this forum for the support, information, medical advice and comeraderie. If you have a bone to pick with Hank, or you're jealous of him or whatever your problem could be, then for cryin' out loud, take it up with him. Several times now he has left his personal e-mail address, if you have something to say to him, say it to him but please stop littering this forum. Take your negativity and stick it where the sun don't shine. We're tired of YOU!
Wishing you well, Bob
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Avatar_n_tn
Just about all people with a heart problem, be it minor or major suffer with the anxiety that it brings, sometimes it can be quite debilitating especially when it causes panic attacks.  I would have thought you would have realised that.  If this forum can comfort people by sharing their anxieties related to their heart problems then what on earth is wrong with that?  As you said its not easy to get a question posted so in the meantime to talk to each other is a great help.
You sound such a angry person and really that can't help your heart condition at all.  Patience, understanding and love for our friends and all that post here is what is needed in this world, there is enough strife in most of our lives without you adding to it.  Get your cardiologist to check if you even have a heart!
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Thanks for the info. I need to know, what did you mean by "serzone has a bad reputation for sedation". Do you mean that it does little to sedate anxiety or do you mean that it is such a strong sedative that it is dangerous to mix it with sedatives like xanax? I am not wanting to take benzo's regularly...just for my flight. I want to stop taking serzone at the end of the year...Im afraid of disruption to my medication at this time of my life when Im moving interstate, changing jobs, losing family support etc. Maybe I should consider it though.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was not going to comment again to you, but I have worked with many cardiac and pulmonary patients for over 20 years, and your responses and anger towards others resembles someone in fear of their condition. I can truly empathize with you, for you have been through alot. Critizing others may be your way of empowering yourself against people you feel may not understand what you are coping with on a daily basis. I have seen patients have decrease fear and anxiety by attending support groups, where patients with the same condition can discuss what is troubling them.
You may want to attack my comments, but I do wish you the best of health and happiness.
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Avatar_n_tn
Bullies soon get bored when they are ignored.
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I have refrained from posting for months but feel compelled to post now.  Since Hank took another one of his brief respites from the board, have you noticed how the variety of questions posted has greatly increased?  Many are not related to benign PVC's.  While all of us are concerned with our problems, there are people out there with other concerns.  Certainly Hank and his followers mean well, but one of the problems with offering too much sympathy and attention to those with cardiac neuroses, is that it increases.  They unintentionally feed off each other and end up magnifying the (non)problem.  If any of you frequent heartcenteronline message boards you will find the exact same complaints that Konopka has.  BTW, I am an RN who experienced frequent PVC's with bigeminy for hours and runs of NSVT of 6 beats or more plus SVT with rates up to 220 per minute.  I NEVER had symptoms from the PVC's.  The sob, lightheadedness etc. are from anxiety!  I chose to take meds b/c the PVC's are annoying while harmless.  What bothers me are the posters who complain but refuse to take the meds.  THAT can be life altering folks!  I did develop severe IDCM unrelated to my previous arrythmias, but that is a different story!  In conclusion, I ask Hank, to please fight your message board addiction and stay away.
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