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VSD with arrhythmia - Pain with exercise
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VSD with arrhythmia - Pain with exercise

Hi, I am a 27yo female with a congenital VSD. I had mild chest pain growing up but was not athletic. After joining the military at age 18, the regular exercise ( I did not run fast enough to pass a PT test so was forced to run 5 miles a day Monday through Friday) caused me severe chest pain. This included a feeling of pressure as if someone was sitting on my chest, I could not seem to catch my breath and at times I would have sudden, sharp pains which felt as though I was having a heart attack - or being stabbed in the chest. This also began to happen when I was not exercising. I went to the troop medical clinic many times, was told that I still had a heart murmur, was given an EKG and told that an arrhythmia had developed but that they are not serious. I continued to go back to the clinic because the pain did not go away - it only seemed to worsen. I was experiencing shortness of breath which made me hyperventilate during running, overall weakness and fatigue and at times dizziness and seeing spots. I was given a stress test, during which they had me only walk - once I reached my 'maximum heart rate' which they said was 198, they took me off the machine. Now, I have worn a heart monitor during running and know that my heart rate goes over 200. This is also hereditary as my mother is a runner and her heart rate goes over 200 as well. After all this, my new military doctor told me that I had asthma after giving me a test for lung capacity? Where I breathed into a tube with as much force as I could muster, and put me on an emergency inhaler (the grey and maroon inhaler - cannot remember its name). I told her that it caused me to be shaky and weak and did not relieve my symptoms, so she put me on another inhaler - which was bright orange. I stopped using either inhaler because they were not working. At this point I was back in the states, and my military doctor here said that I had GERD. I was given no tests but was put on aciphex, and when that did not improve my symptoms was put on Prilosec. I do have moderate heart burn, but these medicines did not stop the chest pain either. After I got out of the military I ran at a more moderate pace and my chest pain became bearable. I have since joined the reserves, and am again experiencing regular chest pain - including when I am not exercising. A reserve doctor listened to my chest during our yearly 'physical' and became worried when I explained my symptoms and medical history. She said that my murmur was very easy to hear and that I needed to see a primary care specialist. however as a reservist I receive no medical care (beyond that 'physical' which is done at the unit, in an office) do not have any insurance through my job and am not sure how I could get on any insurance with my medical history. I feel that the treatment and testing I received by these doctors was not adequate to diagnose my problem. Am I stressing myself out over nothing, since the tests were performed and I have been told there is no serious problem, or should I go with my gut and realize there is something seriously wrong? Does an EKG show the type of arrhythmia as well, which would explain their saying that it was not serious? And how do I go about getting insurance/treatment in my current position? I am also a student at U of Phoenix but have not found an insurance plan for those particular students.
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You gave a complex set of facts and understandings, way beyond what I can digest in an y real helpful way, but...

Sounds like you need to try to be calm, positive, optimistic, and limit you physical exertion and see if you condition improves.

I believe most universities offer groups-type insurance for students, and I think/hope that includes coverage for students with "preexisting conditions".  Check with some administrative staff person at your school.  This may be your best bet.

The good news, which should help with the positive/optimistic assignment is you have had several heart tests.  Not looking back I think you said you were on a heart monitor while in the military, I assume you wore it long enough for the doctor(s) to see what you hear is doing when you are suffering symptoms.  If not, then the monitor didn't do its intended assignment...may need to try again, at some cost, best with insurance.

Some companies, maybe even Walmart (just an example, not an endorsement or advertisement) that offer employee health insurance applies to all without any conditions about preexisting... you may want to check on that too.  Not sure the best approach, I suppose the company may ask questions and not hire if they are concerned about preexisting health condition, independent of their insurance.  Some companies are in fact "self-insured" and just hire an insurance company to manage/administer the health benefits.  
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