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Avatar universal

Is anxiety REALLY causing my chest/abdominal pains, heart palpitations, etc.?

For 6 months, I've felt miserable. It began, however, late last year with scintillating scotoma, arm weakness and tingling, tunnel vision, and a feeling that I was going to faint. These episodes would last 20-30 minutes.  

I was episode-free for awhile, then began to feel terrible with flu-like symptoms 6 months ago.  

An urgent care nurse practitioner diagnosed me with sinusitis and administered a corticosterioid injection with a round of Clarithromycin antibiotics.  

For a few days, I felt wonderful and on top of the world. Four days later, I had another episode of wanting to faint.  I did not, yet it was everything I could do to steer away from the perceived reality that I was about to die.  I literally feared for my life as I counted 1-100 simply to keep my focus.

Things went progressively downhill after that episode.

I went to the ER that evening with a blood pressure of 150s/115, pulse 125-150.  The ER doctor administered a 100mg prescription for Metoprolol.  Prior to that, I was only on .88mcgs of Levothyroxine for Hashimoto's Disease, along with 1000mg of concentrated Garlic extract.

I had never had excessive hypertension, with an average blood pressure reading of 130s/70s.

(Side Note: One year prior, I was having significant heart palpitations, which were checked by a cardiologist via ECG, 24-Hour Holter, Stress Test, etc. The results came back inconclusive for any damage or anything to worry about, other than PVCs and a need for weight loss/exercise.)

After being on such a high dose of Metoprolol, within 2 weeks my blood pressure was still higher than before the meds (around 140/90) and the side effects were terrible.  They included: dizziness, light-headedness, excessive fear, severe anxiety-like symptoms, feeling of doom, excessive tiredness, weakness, severe muscle twitching, leg swelling, stabbing pains under ribs, headache...and again, I cannot overemphasize the feelings of anxiety, which I interpreted as heart attack or stroke symptoms.  They were mind numbing.  I was afraid to drive, afraid to stay away from home, afraid to be in public, for fear of something like my own death occurring. To this day, those symptoms exist, to a lesser degree.

After about a month on Metoprolol, I found a primary care provider (previously I did not have one), but was only ever given an appointment with a practitioner.  Having been in practice only 3 months, they removed me from Metorpolol because of symptoms and a sluggish heartbeat, along with the fact it wasn't doing much for my pressure.  It was replaced with Lisinopril, and I was told to followup in 3 months...3 months!

I knew I couldn't wait that long.

Almost immediately, I switched primary care providers hoping to see a physician.  

Again, I was assigned a nurse practitioner who lowered the Lisinopril dosage to 2.5mgs and told me I could not be having the symptoms I described, that "it's in your mind."  

Symptoms from the Lisinopril continued, the dizziness became more severe, and the severe "spurts" of anxiousness continued.  It would feel like an adrenaline rush from the back of my neck, upward to my head, like hot water rushing over me, then I would want to run, literally, because I was worried about passing out or feared death.  It was pure fear.

Finally, I obtained doctor's permission to discontinue the high blood pressure meds altogether. Within a week, I could time the feelings of anxiety, which began to decrease more and more.  The dizziness and most other symptoms subsided, except muscle twitching.

For 2 months, I've been without medication, other than Levothyroxine and Garlic. My blood pressure maintains itself at either excellent or prehypertension levels, dependent on work stresses, activity, etc.

My current problem is that I still feel sluggish, sometimes slightly anxious to a lesser degree (which I never did before all of this), and now there are continued muscle and neck pains, sometimes to the point of "am I having a heart attack."  I have also developed something akin to GERD. Not a lot of acid reflux, but stomach pain that can be severe.

My thyroid levels, MRIs, pituitary MRI, adrenal levels, chest x-rays, WBC, RBC, ANA, RA Factor, all came back normal.  The only thing is, during this period of time, my Sed Rate and CRP levels raised from normal to very high (29 and 13.2 respectively).  However, my practitioner, my endocrinologist, and a rheumatologist each say those two results are very "non-specific." No further tests have been ordered.

Where could all this be coming from? Anxiety? Personally, I don't believe so.  Stomach issues? Possibly.  Cardiac issues, despite normal testing? Very possibly, I believe, especially since I've been pill free for all this time and still have PVCs that will make me dizzy or cough.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

4 Responses
Avatar universal
For the love of god please get checked for 2 conditions. May-Thurner Syndrome which is causing the leg swelling and Nutcracker Syndrome causing the stabbing pain. These 2 conditions often happen together and will cause every problem you have. Doctors know very little about these fairly common but rarely diagnosed vein compression syndromes of the abdomin. I have May-Thurner Syndrome and it caused me all the symptoms you're experiencing. After having had a stent placed at the May-Thurner site recently all these problems almost immediately dissapeared. Please get checked specifically for these 2 conditions or else doctors will almost always miss these conditions. Feel free to private message me if you have any questions.
Johnny, I had a CT and d-Dimer that tested negative for any DVTs, because I also thought I was having a blood clot problem in my right leg, too.  The leg went numb one evening, before I ever started taking blood pressure meds.  Unfortunately, the doctor at the ER (a second visit, while I was still reeling from the aforementioned Metoprolol overdose) was unresponsive to any of my concerns because he was busy trying to change his shift and didn't believe I needed to be in the emergency room.  I have also had a barrage of tests to check for healthy veins and such, which have all came back normally.
Avatar universal
I apologize, what I meant to say was I didn't have DVT or blood clots but still have May-Thurner. This is why this condition almost never gets diagnosed because all doctors know about it is blood clots and leg swelling. Without the clots the blood flows through collateral veins across the pelvis and abdomin to get back to the heart. These collateral veins fill with blood and cause pelvic vericose veins and pelvic congestion as well as pressing against and actually dislodging organs causing almost any problems in the body. They are so poorly understood by most doctors and that is why so many people have these problems and never get any answers. I still would recommend  getting checked for these especially if to don't have DVT or blood clots. Hope this helps.
Thanks.  I will look into it.  I'm at a loss.  My body is in a constant ache nowadays, with no meds in me except Levothyroxine. I've never been to see an actual physician, because the healthcare providers will only give an appointment with a FNP.  I believe I've been severely misdiagnosed, and that I need badly to see a neurologist...someone...anyone, besides who I've been seeing.  I woke this morning and could barely let my feet touch the floor because my back is hurting so badly.  My shoulders, and through into my chest, are so sore and achy, it feels like I've dead-lifted an elephant. Yet, every single test I've had doesn't even show sign of muscle strain, and only mild vertebrae issues.  It's a lot for a 37-year-old.
This doesn't even include the barrage of stomach issues, which have progressively worsened, since taking those blood pressure meds. I don't even drink caffeine anymore because of palpitations. The list goes on and on.
Avatar universal
Your raised CRP and Sed rate indicate an autoimmune response. Couple that with the stomach issues and GERD symptoms and I think your looking at Crohns disease (which can suddenly develop even if you've never had issues before).  The garlic you are taking can worsen Crohns symptoms so stop taking that and avoid gluten for a couple of weeks and see how you fare.  Also, to treat possible underlying auto-immune issues and anxiety issues, supplement with plant-sourced Vitamin D, or eat eggs for breakfast everyday as they contain approx 50% of your Vit D needs and up your magnesium and B vitamin levels must be plant-sourced vitamin B and either magnesium glycinate/threonate/malate on a FULL stomach to avoid cramping - or you might prefer using magnesium spray.  Good luck :-)
Thank you!  I've been trying magnesium at the recommendation of my chiropractor, but probably not for long enough to have an effect yet.
Avatar universal
Sorry - just to clarify, sudden your anxiety, coupled with heart irregularities and fainting issues could be due to calcium/magnesium imbalance, which is why I suggest magnesium supplements - but vitamin B can also help anxiety if it turns out the heart symptoms are due to a separate health issue.
Just a thought but do you sit down a lot? bad posture during setting can cause spinal problems and nerve damage. Which can cause tingling and numbness in places, and of course back and neck and shoulder pains and head aches from neck tension. try a massage therapist and maybe a chiropractor and see what that does for you.
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