There is no question that stress can cause these physical symptoms, because the stress response is essentially a physical response which directly effects the heart, bowells, etc. So yes it feels real because it is real. The problem is that other causes can create the same or similar symptoms. When you put everything together, it sounds like stress, but if you have any question, you must consult your doctor who can do more tests, including ekg, that can detect other causes. Re stress, the best way is to go to the source of the stress, while you try to control the symptoms through various relaxation techniques , which you can find in almost any bookstore or online. If you want to look at the source, go to www. masteringstress.com.
I can completely relate to this situation. I was going through a lot of stress (and apparently unaware of it) and started believing that there was something wrong with my heart. I would have anxiety attacks and truely believe it was a heart attack. At one point I ended up at the emergency room where they essentially laughed at me and told me to calm down (they were really busy that afternoon). I would also at times have pains in my bowls (of course I believed an organ could be failing) and would get dizzy to the point of fainting. I realized later that this was indigestion and me simply not eating enough because I was too broke to afford much food that particular month.
My doctor consistedly told me it was stress and wanted to stick me on zoloft or paxil, but I really don't agree with taking those meds due to a past incident I had with one of them, so I decided to believe him and treat these "symptoms" that I thought were life threating simply as stress. I started meditating and doing yoga. I would do kickboxing to get my heart up so I could prove to myself that it was strong and I wasn't about to drop dead. On my own I completely gained control over these symptoms, and now I am starting to accept and deal with the stresses that got me to that point.
I, too had palpitations and had an echocardiogram done because they showed up on an EKG. Turns out it was stress and CAFFEINE related. That was a few years ago. Even today, if I have too much caffeine I get the palpitations. Your symptoms sound like they are related to stress. I find that my workouts and cutting back on the caffeine eliminate my anxiety issues. I hope that you feel better soon.
I have this,too ... I hadn't had it in a while and then it started again. Then it dawned on me that: 1) I had a baby three months ago, 2) I'm sleep-deprived, 3) I notice the palpitations a lot when I'm carrying my crying baby, and 4) I also notice that I'm holding my breath or breathing shallowly a lot of the time. Like others here, I tend to think the worst, and think things like, "I won't be around very long for my daughter, given this horrible heart condition." But I think I need to BREATHE. Glad to know others have had this disturbing symptom as well.