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1194973 tn?1385507504

Anxiety attacks

Is it possible to just get a anxiety attack out of nowhere? It's weird what I get and I'm not even sure if they are anxiety attacks. My chest starts to hurt really bad and it's like a stabbing pain, and I feel like I can't breathe. Whenever I try to it feels like there's huge bands around my chest that prevent me from taking in a breath. I also start to hyperventilate and shake and just overall feel weak--like I'm getting over a flu.

Normally they only happen when I'm upset, but lately they've just been happening out of nowhere. I don't know if it's stress (we just had our transmission die in our car and it's the only one we have--and we don't have the 1500 we need to fix it) or what. Is this normal at all? I'm seeing a doctor Monday as well to talk about it all, but just wanted advice.
13 Responses
Avatar universal
Although this could be anxiety, I would get my heart checked out to be on the safe side.  Anxiety can present with some mind boggling symptoms, but we never want to assume something is anxiety without first ruling out other causes.  An upper resperatory infection can cause this as well.  So a thorough check-up is definitely in order.  Best wishes and keep us posted.
370181 tn?1428180348
Hi Toots!
Getting an anxiety attack "out of the blue" is one of the terrifying aspects of this disorder. It often leads to a condition known as "anticipatory anxiety," in which you live constantly in a state of anxiety awaiting the next "attack."
Stress, if it's unrelenting, can often produce symptoms very similar to anxiety.
What you describe, the chest pains, feeling like you can't take a deep breath and hyperventalating are very common symptoms of an anxiety attack. Quite often we are hyperventilating without even knowing it and that is what causes the chest pains, the feeling of not breathing right, dizziness, numbness around our mouths, our fingers, chills or sweating, rapid heart rates..........
When we hyperventalate or "over-breath," what is happening is we are taking very shallow and rapid breaths. This quickly leads to a disruption of the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood stream and that imbalance leads to all the symptoms (and more) that I mentioned above. Most of us who do this to ourselves have learned the early warning signs and have found ways to either stop it or get it back in balance.
I'm very glad you are seeing your doctor tomorrow. This probably IS nothing more than anxiety, but I'd like to see you get checked by a cardiologist. You are very young, so it's highly unlikely it's cardiac in nature, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Please don't let your GP just listen to your symptoms and hand you a script for a benzo. They see a young mother who has stress enough just raising a child, add in the financial stress and all the aspects of life THAT touches and they are often far too quick to dash of a script for a benzo and send you on your way. Anxiety should only be RULED IN when everything organic has been RULED OUT.
My advice is to not meekly accept anxiety as the culprit without at least discussing the advisability of a cardiac consult. Remember two things..........doctors are far from infallable and THEY work for YOU. Never hesitate to question your doctors about anything. EVER.
Let us know how it goes tomorrow. I'm sure you're fine but I want YOU to be absolutely sure you are.
1194973 tn?1385507504
Well I've had an EKG done and it came back fine. I've also had blood work, MRI's, some nasty dye test and such done as well. They've never said anything about my heart, so I would imagine it's ok. I've had this happen multiple times over the years--since I was maybe 14.
370181 tn?1428180348
On which part of your body was the MRI and the "nasty dye" test performed? An EKG is a marvelous tool, but it only tells the doctors what your heart is doing at the time of the test. For an accurate record of what your heart is doing, you should wear a Holter monitor for a few days. That will record every single beat of your heart for as long as you wear it and give the doctors a much greater picture.
I feel as if I'm scaring you with all the cardiac talk, but some of your symptoms sent up some red flags for me and must have for mammo as well.
If you've had these episodes since you were 14, I'm just a little surprised that you weren't checked for a congenital heart problem.
I'm going to suggest again that you see a cardiologist and it's OK if you want to blame all the paranoia on me. Show them my Avatar........hint that I've made threats that concern monkeys and poppy fields!
1194973 tn?1385507504
Hahahaha. Don't worry, you're not scaring me. I had the tests done on my entire abdomen. If I did have an issue with my heart though, wouldn't I have more problems with it? When I did see people about it, they said it was just anxiety and left with me with.

Thinking about it though, I do just get random chest pain. Almost like a pulling or tugging.dx  
370181 tn?1428180348
You write..........."If I did have an issue with my heart though, wouldn't I have more problems with it?"
Unfortunately, the answer to that is.........not necessarily.
I have had chest pains for most of my life due to my panic disorder. I've had hundreds of tests, virtually everything out there.
Two years ago, my chest pains changed a little. I'd get my "usual" chest pain but then I noticed this burning sensation above my breasts. My doc sent me for an endoscopy, our thinking being that my GERD was getting worse. That test came back clear but they put me on Prilosec to see if that would help. It didn't. Then I began to notice that when I exerted myself, the burning would be there and would stop when I rested for a minute. This went on for almost a year and it had really begun to scare me. I made an appt. with a cardilogist who sent me for a treadmill test.......with and without contrast, which is that "nasty dye" stuff you mentioned. Anyway, they didn't like what they saw and scheduled me for a cardiac cath.(They make a small cut in the femoral attery in your groin and thread a small tube with a camera up the artery and into your heart) They found that two of the four major arteries in my heart were both over 90% blocked. The surgeon said he was amazed I hadn't had a heart attack. So, did I know there was something THAT wrong with my heart? No. I later had two stents placed and not only did that odd burning sensation go away, I'm still alive. A real bonus in my book!
So that's my little story and you take from it what you want. We must both bear in mind that you are 21 and I am 60.
You said that your random chest pains felt like a "pulling or tugging." It's entirely possible that hefty a toddler or a baby 1000X a day can easily cause us to pull a chest wall muscle and not only do they hurt, they feel like something is being pulled........which it is, our injured muscle!
Just think about it, Clysta, OK? A quick treadmill test will definitely rule out heart problems.
OK, I'm gonna go dig some clams now.
It's summer in Seatlle! Did you know that we only have two seasons out here? It's true. We call them Winter and August.
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