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Anxiety Disorder and Cardiac Symptoms

I've been DX'd with panic disorder and general anxiety disorder, with a chronic fear of cardic disease, making me cardio-phobic.
With therapy and Klonopin, my panic attacks are under control, however, my chronc anxiety and hypervigilince of heart diesease remains, even though my cardiologist says my heart is fine.
I'm also on Toprol and a diuretic for mild HBP, again, caused by my anxious state.
My question is:As every exam and test points to a healthy heart, how in the world does my mind cause me physical symptoms like chest pain and pressure, arm and shoulder pain, along with heart flutters now and then?  Can a chronic phobic condition actually produce these physical symptoms?
p.s.: I'm NOT hypocondric, as the only real concern i have is heart disease, not any and all diseases of the body.
44 Responses
239757 tn?1213813182

At some point you will have to believe your cardiologist. Sometimes phobias go beyond even medical comforting, if this is the case it may be helpful to seek comfort through others support(as in this forum) or through professional counseling. If your cardiologist feels this is non cardiac, ask him/her or your family physician for a referral for other counseling.

Yes, it is common for these symptoms even with anxiety. Common methods of establishing cause include stress testing and angiography. If you've had a workup and risk stratification of your symptoms, pursue other causes.

good luck
Avatar universal
I aam a 35-year-old male who has had the same for the past 3 years.  Everything that you wrote about, I felt.  What made it worse for me is that I was adopted at birth, which was never an issue, until I was in the ER and they asked me "any family history of heart disease?"  I did not, and do not know.  All tests shoswed nothing, so I went to another cardiologist.  And another.  Took stress tests, (1 nuclear), EKG's, holter monitors, event recorders, chest X-rays, and I was enver a hypochondriac.  1 cardiologist sat me down, and told me, "As a father of 3 young children, you have become 'heart aware', meaning any pain your body has in that area, be it a muscle pull in chest area or pang of anxiety, you are fearful of."  But all agreed I was doing the right thing in having it checked out, I just have to stop from letting it take over my life.
Avatar universal
You are worried about your heart even though there is nothing wrong with you because all we hear about nowadays is heart disease/heart problems. You cannot go for even one day and not read an article in a newspaper or magazine that does not mention heart disease. Everyone is more aware and more scared about the number one killer because its pounded into ours minds day in and day out. Personally, I'm sick of it. Yes, we should be aware of how to keep our heart healthy, but otherwise young and healthy people are getting paranoid for no reason. I worry about my heart the same as you do sometimes. It seems as though every pain in the body is related to the heart. I've heard of people getting a slight pain in their finger and later found that they had a blocked heart vessel. Amazing! The heart is a very simple, but complex organ with leads itself to many problems. Again, that is why heart disease is the number one killer. Hundreds of years from now the human body will evolve from is design mistakes and there will be no more illnesses such as heart disease. Besides coronary artery disease, we have slow heart rates, fast heart rates, PVC's PAC,s, valve problems, enlarged hearts...just no mention a few. Now you understand what I mean.
Avatar universal
This is my first day on this forum, but I had to respond to your post.  I am 33 years old (male) and have had chest pains on and off for the last 1 1/2 years.  I have been to the ER 6 or 7 times and my family physician(s) countless times.  I have had an angiogram, to echo's and countless blood tests and EKG's.  Also had an upper GI as well.  Still have the pains from time to time.  

However, now that I have had all of the tests completed I can say that my BP doesn't shoot off the scale every time I have the chest pains like it used to.  The 1st time I went to the ER my BP was very high 195/110, but I believe that we panic induced.  My doctor just told me to look up the vagas nerve on the internet and see what I can find...  Have any of you ever heard of this causing chest pains?

BTW, I tried anti-anxiety meds (paxil) and that did not help me, but that doesn't mean it won't help you.

I only share my story with you because I found it slightly comforting to know that I am not the only one who has had this strange pain and be told by all that my heart is fine.

Jesus Christ is the Only Answer,

Avatar universal
hi i am new to this forum. i am a 27 yr old female and i was just told i had minor pac's. I just got married and the cardiologist told me it was from stress. i dont think so because they happen when i am calm. i was placed on a holter monitor and that is when i was told he saw some minor pac"s.  are they dangerous?  They are still happening a they really freak me out.  this is all i could think about and it is taking away the joy i should be feeling now!  i also had several ekgs and a stress test as well as an echo. and everything came out fine. Can a pac harm you because the blood is not pumping the right way?  im scared and now obsessing over my heart HELP!!!
Avatar universal
I'm new to the forum and wanted to take the time to thank you all for sharing your experiences because they help me deal with mine. I also have been obsessing abit about my heart as of late. I'm 33, and have had occasional fluttering in my heart since I was @ 18. It freaked me out then and still does today although I've dealt with it better until lately. I feel like I'm getting "sharp" pains every once in a while more on the left side (arm, chest) than right and coupled with the occasional flutter, it really worries me. I feel fine and still exercise hard as ever. But at nite I think about it and I might feel a little flutter which of course I then start to "freak" and it occurs more frequently. The smallest little pain in my arm or finger or chest I attribute to a heart problem. I've set up a visit with a cardiologist next week to get this sorted out once and for all. By the way alcohol I find, triggers some of the fluttering. Just wanted to share that with you all...
Avatar universal
i'm a 30 y/o f, my main problem is a racing heartbeat, but i occasionally get "skipped beats," which is what i call pacs of pvcs, cause it feels like my heart thumps real hard against my chest, but i was always under the impression that they tend to occur more often at rest or while relaxed.  if u have a structurally sound heart (which from your echo, im assuming u do) I dont think they're considered dangerous, just annoying (and very frightening, in my opinion).  Two days after giving having my last baby, I had them nonstop for a whole day, which was really scary and naturally i ran to the er. they said they were "benign heart palpitations.  to this day, i dont know what they meant by that.  I know how u feel though.  Im aware of every single heartbeat i swear, and it's driving me crazy.  its impossible for me to get a post on this forum, so i usually ask hankstar anything i want to know.  he's very informative and has helped me on this forum.  he especially knows about pvcs and pacs, if u want to write a post to him.  he is on this forum a lot.
Avatar universal
To Everyone:

Well, at least I am not alone with my problem, as evident by the posts.

But, man, what a horrible way to live.
I'm on Klonopin for my panic, and that drug certinly does help in stoppiing panic attacks, but, needless to say, it does nothing in the way of catastrophic thinking, and I worry 24/7 about heart disease.

The one poster hit the il on the head......yes, there is so, so much news reports every day about heart-related issues....eat this, don't eat this, etc., etc.,etc.

I've become so obsessed, got many tests over the years, but still am not satisfied......you know why?....because the truth is that one can go from a 0% blockage to a very significant 100 % blockage of their coronary arteries in a very short time.....I hope I can someday overcome my phobia, but for now, its constant worry, chest pain, tachacardia, left arm pain, shoulder pain, fear to even exert myself, even daydreams of going thru an emergency cath or by-pass.....how sad is that, folks?
Avatar universal
o you have an excellent handle on the ature of your anxiety and that is an excellent start;

o 'life' is a inpermenant situation and full of many risks and your risk from driving a car to work likely far exceeds your risk of AMI unless you have multi-factored risk profile for CAD/AMI;

what is you family history ?

o there is a lot of evidence that Cognitive -based Therapies work well in conjunction with medication for Panic syndromes;

o reasonable levels of heart-friendly diet:

such as a modified vegetarian diet with fish and chicken can improve the lipid (including arthrogenic subfractions) profiles...more whole foods-veggies and fruits, less processed foods (loaded with refined flours, sugars, trans fats), eating more frequent smaller meals, substuting monosaturated for saturated fats  etc

some American diets are positively toxic...;

o (almost any) _regular_ exercise:

has multifaceted benefits on mood, whole body habitus well being, stress relief, endothelial function, lipid profile, etc etc...Just Do It...everyday...walk the stairs etc...;

o meditation/ 'mindfullness' training/ yoga :

has been shown in a number of studies that have marked effects on health, refractory pain syndromes, PTSD etc ...lookup the books by Jon Kabat-Zinn (see Amazon) who initiated a well respected Pain Management Clinic in Worcester Mass that has seen dramatic results over the years and been replicated across the country;

P.S. if you want I'll give you my email and we can continue this discussion at greater detail off the board...over time...;

o recycle the blind fear and huge energy you're devoting to it into pro-active programs to mitigate the life risks including CAD using the best of current knowledge which is all anyone can do....;

my uncle was a very accomplished Mayon Clinic trained pediatric cardiac surgeon and took meticulous care of himself...lived 20 years longer than his two brothers hwo died from cardiac situations...then died after 4 years of Alzheimers where his marvelous mind melted...so it goes...on the other hand my 90 y.o. Mom smokes and eats bacon sandwiches and a pint of full fat ice cream at a sitting...she still rakes leaves, cuts grass and shovels snow...life ain't fair...get over it..Live....;

be well my friend...;

Avatar universal
Anything related to your heart can be very disconcerting.  Anxiety only creates more problems.  There is peace in knowing your anxiety symptoms are shared by others and you are not going crazy.  My father has been almost incapacitated by his fear of cancer and heart attack.  Head to you local library/bookstore or even a site like bookfinder.com and find some books to help you.  I would recommend the following:

Claire Weekes, Peace From Nervous Suffering (she tends to focus on agoraphopia but the anxiety symptoms she highlights apply to anyone)

Dale Carnegie, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living (written over 50 years ago, it still applies today...gave this book to my dad and it really seemed to calm him)

Lucinda Bassett, From Panic to Power (great techniques to calm you)

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (my personal favorite)

Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
Hi Jerry-
I have an idea that might help. It's given me more confidence anyways. I'm only suggesting it because your cardiologist said your heart is fine. You wrote of your concern about exerting yourself. Well, my thinking was somewhat similar, but I still continue to exercise. Do you know that it actually calms me and gives me more confidence? I usually ride the bike for 20-25 minutes 2x's a week, enough to get my HR up. Why don't you try some very light cadio work of some kind for 5-10 minutes and maybe build a little every other day. I really do feel that this will help your confidence level which will in turn calm your mind, not to mention stimulate those endorphines (s.p.). This helps me deal with it more realistically. Also a better diet of fruits and vegetables is helping me more. I'm trying to get rid of the dairy. Take care Jerry.
Avatar universal
i just wanted to say thank you! It is very comforting to know someone understands.  I guess i have to live with these annoying flutters but it is so hard to forget about them. The worst part is even if you dont get a flutter one day you ruin your day worrying if you are going to get another!!!!!!! Im actually going to join yoga to try to stop being so anxious and maybe hopefully they will go away FOrEVER!
Avatar universal
You all have my sympathy...or would that be empathy? I have suffered from anxiety most my life, not coincidentally brought on about the same time I became aware of my heart "irregularities"...extra beats, occasional PSVT. I have tried drugs and some counseling...but it is one long battle. I do exercise almost every day, but still fear heart problems even thought I have had every test in the book, all normal, and have a good family history. I'm 47 now, and am really upset about all the time I have wasted and places I have not gone or didn't enjoy because of my obsession with my heart. It is like OCD. No matter how much I try to stay positive, the negative thoughts keep coming back. It's a curse! I wish good luck to anyone suffering this fate...There has been some good advice...keep the suggestions coming...maybe there's something out there that will cure all of us at last!
Avatar universal

I've heard about the yoga thing for anxiety. Heard good things. I've thought about doing it recently. Maybe it will help. I'll try anything so long as it's not drug related!  
Let us know how it's doing for you and I'll do the same. Good Luck to you :)

Avatar universal
IMO you can start to think about the anxiety link a little too much, up to the point where the two get jumbled together to mean the same thing - ie I'm feeling anxious so Id better calm down or my heart will start playing up (and it generally will..) or the other side of it, My hearts a bit irritated, I must be anxious...... both become a self maintaining cycle.

My understanding is that anxiety serves to increase your sensitivity or self awareness that means that you're more likely to notice things.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that to control your anxiety will be to get rid of the palpitations.  That kind of thinking will only serve to set you up for a fall.  Your aim should be to accept them and learn to live WITH them.  When you can do that you'll be on you way to feeling better.  Eventually they won't matter any more, your sensititity will lessen and you MAY not notice them anymore (and even if you do - it doesn't matter!).

So dont make the mistake of thinking that you get cardiac symptoms because of your anxiety problem.  The reality is that you get palpitations just as most of the population does, anxiety just make you sit and take notice.

Avatar universal
blood work,so many ekg's hair jumps off my chest when i go to the doctor.)I AM OVERWEIGHT.AND DO HAVE ANXIETY, DO HAVE SO PVC'S

Avatar universal
This is definatly a raunchy road we are on isn't it? Some days are better than others, even so, we are obsessed with our hearts aren't we? So much so that we don't realize the extent of the obsession to the point that it begins to burden our relationships. You said you have gone through this for four years? Mine has just been going on for about 6 mths or so, and I am beginning to see the frustration it is causing my family. This is psychologically burdensome as well. what we "feel" the docs say is no biggie ... hmmm. Not so easy for us sufferers to accept. I haven't been in this forum for too long, maybe a month, but it sure does help out alot. I feel a bond here with people I've never met. Even if I don't post a comment/question, reading the same or similar symptoms, or even worse that mine, I feel I'm not alone, as I sometimes, most of the time, do here at home. It is so great that we have each other!! Don't know if you've read much of Hankstar's posts ... but I have read just about everyone, and reading what he posts is great comfort to me. He's very knowledgable, comforting and optomistic. I see alot of people receive the same solice as I do from any posts regarding him.

Hank ... if you see this post ... thank you from the bottom of my heart :)

hammerhead ... you are not alone buddy :)
Avatar universal

Wow, labled a cardiac cripple .... and to think that when I heard my cardiologist simply saying I was "symptomatic" I became consumed with fear. I wondered, sypmtomatic for what? heart failure?

On a more personal note ... you said you never let it interfere with your romantic life. Hope I'm not being to personal or offensive, but I guess I do let it interfere in our romantic life. We've been married for 8 yrs. Have 5 and 7 yr old girls and a 13 yr old boy. I'm terrified that if I get (trying to choose the most appropriate words here) too worked up, I'll have a heart attack right then and there. Therefore, that part of our marriage has been strained for months now. Did you not ever feel like that? Am I getting to obsessed with this whole thing?

Thanks Hank!
Avatar universal
Hi Hank,

Do you not ever have panic/anxiety attacks? And if so, how do you cope with them? Even more so, how does your wife cope with  them? My husband was wonderful at first, but I can tell he's getting fed up with it all. He does his best to be supportive and all, but I can see the frustration. It just seems he'll soon tire of it. Of course, as an outside observer, he can't possibly know what I'm feeling like. Hmmmmmmmmm ... maybe it is the sexual deprivation getting to him. Ok ... maybe I'll have to take a xanax and give it a shot, however i'll be there thinking ... ok heart rate going up ... Hank said this and this .... Oh my. Never thought sex would be so difficult!

You have a great Christams Holiday Mr. Hank, and thank you so very much for reading and responding to my incessant chatter :)

Avatar universal
Hi Tammy,

You go girl!
Buy something nice and seduce your husband!
My, won't he be suprised.
No Xanax; you'll fall asleep during.. haha!
I'll bet your anxiety will subside overall too.
You feel more relaxed.
Won't that be something, eh?
You'll be just fine..
And the beat goes on...   - lovely days to you and yours.

Avatar universal
Man! I sure tried to talk myself into it last night. Didn't work. Got myself a good anxiety attack though! To think, I used to be one wild cat in the sack ... now look at me. I'm pathetic!! Could ya cyber slap me or something here? Why do I get so freaked out at night? EVERYnight? Maybe I've got some night-time brain tumor? Sheesh! Ya know, Im pretty good during the day, come 8pm ... Im all wigged out till I pass out for the night. What's my problem????

Deprived in every form of the word,

Avatar universal
Boy...did you two suffer..
No doubt in my mind that the main reason of your anxiety (both) are these horrible events in the past.
All is still there in your sub-conscious, you know.
It is not gone because you say you don't think about it anymore.
I even suspect you once in a while dream about it, perhaps in another form.
And you Tammy, still sometimes facing this(silly, silly)man..
I think a good therapist, and talk, talk, talk about it.
My guess is that you'll then get very scared and angry and cry your heart out, -but this way the little girl inside you might understand, forgive and find peace.

Lots of love to the both of you. - *Ianna* -
Avatar universal

I know just how you feel. You'd rather put all that **** behind you. I would too. And I honestly thought I had. How do we really know if we have or not? This sucks, I know.


PS ... let's get together on email.
Avatar universal
You all are so kind and your words make me feel better. I guess maybe it is time to deal with it...my therapist said that it just builds up until your body shuts down and I think thats what happened to me. I have been alone most of my life and I am so used to taking care of myself. My heart is finally taking control and telling me its time to deal with the past to move on to the future.Anyways thanks to all for the kind words and support, Tammy  i will email you mine is ***@****. Ianna thank you for the prayers and support.
Avatar universal
I'll email you tach! We may not be able to help each other, but we sure can relate, and that in itself might help us not feel so alone.

i'm wondering .... is this what a true "broken heart" is?

Avatar universal
I could not believe when i read this question..These symptoms fit me to the letter. I feel like this is running my life and all I think about is when I am going to have my next panic attack. I take medicine as well Effexor,Xanax and a lopressor for the palps. I just separated from my husband the beginning of this month and things have been hard.I worry constantly that I am going to have a heart attack its like it consumes me.My cardiologist is such a wonderful man.He understands when I call in a panic. I do see a therapist as well. They blame it on my past because I was severly abused as a child and I never dealt with it. I dont understand why it would affect me now 10 years later. My cardiologist keeps reassuring me that my heart is fine. When he told me I had 11 irregular beats out of 117,000 that really scared me he said they were PVC or PAC I am not sure what they are. Sorry about babbling but I feel a little better knowing I am not the only one suffering from this.
Avatar universal
I too was abused (sexually) when I was younger. I was 12 at the time. I never told a soul until just a few years ago. It was an uncle who did it to me. Then I married at 17, had a child, marriage lasted about 2 yrs, my son and I were severly abused by this man, to the point where he tried to strangle my son, and beat the living **** outta me. I've found I'm not too trusting when it comes to men, but I figured I had dealt with it, but it was recently mentioned to me by a close friend who served in the vietnam war who is going through post traumatic stress disorder all these years after that maybe I too am suffering from the same thing. I don't see how though, I never think about any of that stuff. I don't harbor any resentment (atleast to my waking knowledge) toward the uncle who violated me in such a horrible way. I see him all the time. I don't feel as if I want to rip his throat out, but I do on very rare occasion get lost in a stare at his fingers sometimes and can remember as if it were happening all over again. But when I snap back into reality, I just thank God I don't have to suffer any of that ever again. As for the ex-husband, I don't really think about that at all. I have a wonderful husband now and my son has a wonderful father (as you might have guessed the birth father is NEVER to be in his life again). So I just can't fathom my present problems having any relation to these things that happened so many years ago. But your therapist says it is possible huh? That what happened to you way back when is the root of the physical symptoms you are dealing with today? So what they are telling you is that you have PTSD?

And you thought you were rambling ........ :)

Avatar universal
I am not sure if its PTSD or not...my story is complicated I was adopted at 3 and abused by the adoptive parents sexually and phsically I was actually luck to make it out alive...I went to a group home at 13 and then moved from home to home til i was 18 and went on my own. the adoptive Dad went to jail for what he did but only got a year and the adoptive mother was considered unfit to stand trial. I dont cry and I have always been a tough person. I have had to be. But when I got sick with this I felt weak and I didnt have anyone to help me. I am very heart aware and I am afraid that its going to stop or beat so fast it pops out of my chest. My therapist says the little girl inside of me needs to cry and talk about it but I dont want to. I have always been tough and able to deal with everything but I cant deal with feeling this way it makes me afraid. If you research anxiety you will find that our symptoms mimic almost exactly. I used to call my cardiologist in the middle of the night I was so scared and in a panic and he would talk to me and calm me down and reassure me that I was fine. It really is a scary feeling and it is a medical condition alot of people suffer from it.
Avatar universal
Hi girl,
I hear you and it's awful..

It's the toughness you have to lose, though,
No need to be tough anymore.
It's the barrier you build up to keep the feelings out.
That's why you don't cry, or can't. Creating anxiety.
First rule is: don't fight the anxiety anymore, but accept it.
Accept it as part of you for now. Temporary of course; you can overcome it. But for now that'll give you some relief. For the constant fighting creates more and more anxiety. And you'll get so tired but can't sleep, or you'll escape into sleep to forget.
You MUST keep seeing the psychologist.
If he or she can't reach the scared girl inside, you might have to change this psychologist for one that can, cause that's crucial, you have to loosen up to cry an ocean, and let all the pain in your heart come out; and yell, scream and curse. In my opinion there's no other way; and it can be done!
You have to work hard.
The palpitations beg you to do so.
Listen to them. Listen to your heart.
I'll say a prayer for you.
Love - *Ianna*

Avatar universal
I suffered from anxiety about cardiac events since I was 6 years old when my dad had a major heart attack and my mom lostit emotionally and left me with relatives for most of December.
My dad was given 50/50 chances at age 38 but managed to make 81 although it took 5 bypasses and a carotid expansion to get him there.

Filled me with such anxiety that it changed my school plans and negatively affected my relationships with others to this very day.  I am 56 and alternated between phobic relations with md's and avoiding the doctor. (not a good idea).  Was stupid enough to try the Atkins diet (which I now believe is toxic for some people).  Other than labile bp, struggled through the years frustrating physicians who told me I was basically OK and then bumped my anxiety reminding me of my family history. (catch 22)

It all caught up to me Nov 20 with double bypass.  My advice to worriers: get your lipids and C++ checked every 6 months.  If a cardiologist clears you to exercise, do it.  If you are not diabetic or alcoholic, drink a bit of beer or Guiness every other day.  If you are really worried and age 40+, get an electron beam tomograph.  Not invasive, not much radiation.
And eat lots of soluble fiber, less meat, most of us eat way more meat than appropriate, lots of bright colored veggies, whole fruit, watch the sweets, avoid aspartame, go easy on soda pop, the acid will get you even if it is "diet".  If you like to bake, learn how to make barley bread.  Everyone is different.
One person can habitually eat grease and another can die after a big Thanksgiving meal.  Get the tests and see what works for you.
Then back off the worry, you might get hit by bus!
Avatar universal

Avatar universal
I fit right in this catagory. about 70% of the time when i run or ride the exercise bike, i feal pain in my chest for no more than 1 second. like a 'pulse' is thebest way i can describe it. it usually happens near the beginning or end of the session. i am completly frightened that this is CAD. I am treated for high BP although its not 'high' now after weight loss and exercise program. dont smoke, no family history, echo/ekg ok. CRP level is high,3.6 mg/L. 35 year old male. THis doenst fit he classic 'angina' pain. i have a stress test in two days. i'm scared to death.

Can anyone calm my fears? Say the worst happens and i need angioplasty and stent. can i live another 35 years assuming no restenosis?
Avatar universal
Hi falato,

My guess is it's muscles related pain. I feel the same.
look up this site, I think it's a step in the right direction.
Have nice days!! - *Ianna*
Avatar universal
Hi - this is my first posting, and as many of you mention, there is comfort in knowing we're not alone in living with perceived scary heart issues.  I've had my share of emergency room visits, panic attacks, insomnia and obsessions the past two years from the onset of often times severe PVCs and PACs.  I get the associated chest pain with these sometimes as well.  After all the cardiac study and visits to the doctors, they continue to tell me that my heart is fine.  I'm trying to believe this, but it's tough.  

Two activities that give me great relief are yoga and bicycling.  Yoga is something new that I recently started to practice, and it's very effective at providing immediate relief to the heart palpitations and the associated perceived fears.  Also, having been a bicycle racer for many years, I have continued to train at a high level, and these heart issues don't appear to impact me physically at all when I'm doing that.  Yet another activity that provides relief.  

My biggest issue at this point is insomnia, since that is when my PVCs and PACs are most intense, at rest, and when my perceived fear of having serious heart problems is highest.  It's a battle every evening, and most times ends in a rough night of lousy sleep.  I've tried medications, natural remedies, music, etc., but still can't get this issue under control.  I have to result to the occasional tranquilizer to get a good night's sleep, but I'm trying not to use that method much, knowing how addictive that could be.  I'll continue my research, but if anyone reading this has any advice, please share.

Thanks for reading,
Avatar universal
This is my first post.  I just happened to come across the site while researching heartaches.  Anxiety and the mind can play horrible tricks on us.  Years ago I would have been posting in the neurological section under headaches and aneurysms.  I had panic attacks and horrible headaches that I know were made worse by my panic attacks.  Every time I felt a slight twinge or head pain that was it a vessel was rupturing and I was going to die. I had many tests.  In all fairness I did live with a chronic headache for 6 to 7 months.  With the help of meds and the one day I said go ahead and kill me aneurysm enough is enough I have gotten better.  Now this present week.  I had a short in duration sharp pain in my chest (a matter of seconds)and for the rest of the day it was like someone pushing on my chest.  I finally decided to go to the emergency room.  EKG fine, blood drawn for testing to see if I had or was having a heart attack (negative) and a chest xray (nothing found).  It's Friday and I have an appointment with a cardiologist on Monday but the tightness in my chest is still there and now any little pain in an arm or in my back scares me.  I keep wondering if the tests done in the emergency room are any good as an indicator or maybe they missed something.  My mind is getting the best of me or maybe something really is wrong. My wife and mother keep telling me I'm fine you just had tests done in the emergency room and you aren't having a heart attack but I think something is still wrong or they missed something.  Reminds me of old times.  It's going to be a long weekend.
Avatar universal
Hi Tony,

This is anxiety related.
It is not the heart but a muscle of the upper-body.
The doctor said you're okay.
You've been tricked to believe it IS the heart, and by doing  so create more tension.
Like many of us here.
Anxiety thus..
Instead of waiting for monday to come, go and take a long walk with your wife and breath in the fresh air, you will feel better.
Good luck - Ianna
Avatar universal
Hello Jeff,

I have no solution for your sleep problem.
I wish I had.
Then I would sleep better too.
I have exactly the same problem you have.
I occasionally take a half of a 10 mg diazepam.
Or I'll break a 10 mg zolpidemtartr.(Ambien)in two, and thus sleep three or four hours.
But I am, like you, very cautious with these pills.
Only when I haven't slept for two or three days,(than I get really mad!!) that is when I take a sleeping-pill.
What are your solutions?
Sleepless in Holland -   *Ianna*
Avatar universal
Thank you for your reassurance Ianna.
Avatar universal
Hi, this is my first time to post a comment.  First, I just want to thank everyone for sharing their stories and advice.  I've come to this forum often to get support and receive comfort.  It makes me sad that there are so many of us out there--scared and frightened about our hearts.  I'm a 23 year old female who has been battling pvc's for over 5 years now.  You would think by now I wouldn't worry about them, but I still do.  Sometimes I won't think about them at all, but then I'll have a particularly bad episode and I'll freak out.  The other day, I woke up with a headache and then my heart made what seemed like an enormous pause and then BAM the beat kicked in.  It is hard when it hits that hard to shrug it off and go on with your day like nothing happened.  I begin to dwell on it and I usually become very sad.  It's strange because usually I'll begin to think like I'm about to die and so I look at the world like its my last.  I know this is not positive thinking for a 23 year old newlywed.  Like many of you, I try to walk every day and keep a healthy lifestyle.  I just want to thank everyone for your comments!
Avatar universal
Hi Ianna,

I hope to someday tell you what my solutions are to help get to sleep, but when the PVCs are raging, I'm still having to resort to the same as you, 5 - 10mg of diazapam.  And that only seems to do the trick if I've been taking a beta-blocker.  I know alot of it is psychological with panic thoughts of not being able to sleep creeping in usually around 9pm.  Unless I've done an extreme physical effort during the day, such as a very long and hard effort on the bicycle, I can usually plan on the challenge of getting to sleep.  I've resorted to occupying my evenings with reading or writing music, which often times goes on until 3am.  Then, waking up and trying to function normally the next day becomes a disaster.  I'm sure you know how this goes.  I'm going to keep researching and trying stuff, always looking for something on the healthy side and hope to someday drop the meds.  There's got to be a way to train ourselves to better deal with this issue.

Sleepless and searching from Seattle.

Avatar universal
I recently posted regarding mysterious chest pain that occurs for 1 second max maybe twice during the first 15 minutes of an exercise session during 'warm up' and dissappears. Not sharp, not dull. Like a 'rush' is the best way i can describe it. After it is gone, i can run 7-8 miles without incident while increasing/decreasing my pace. I recently had a stress test and the physician's assistant was 'amazed ' on how fit i was at my maximum heart rate. not quite sure what she was talking about since i was and still am a little nerved about my 'possible' condition. Anyway, the test was negative as was my echo and previous ekg's. Bascially, she laughed at me for acting like a little baby (which i was and still am). im considering some medication for anxiety. I guess eventually i have to believe everyone that im ok and get on with my life. Tough for me to do. i just cant get it out of my mind. Does anyone have the same fealings? Any suggestions?  This is a very good site where people with these issues, real or not, can communicate instead of just listening to the cardiologist's monotone, vague diagnosis. I have (or should say had in July 2003, havent been tested again since) a high level of CRP. I know its not specific and i have two other possible reasons for it being high but having high BP and these little pains is what sent me off. I though many times to call the cardiologist who orderded the CRP test and complain. If its not specific, why put anyone under the mental anquish? Lack of emotional care by some doctors really pisses me off. ISn't emotional health approx 50% of the equation to good health?
Avatar universal
As a new member of this site I would like to give you a brief description of the problems I am having which doctors put down to either stress, spasms of the oesophagus or a muscle strain.
I have for the last two years or so been experiencing intermittent chest pain which lasts for a few seconds each time. The pain is central and feels like my heart is being squeezed - its quite a difficult pain to describe hence the doctors reluctance to give me any further heart tests but as they still keep happening I need some reassurance that its not my heart. I keep a diary of when they happen and what activity I was undetaking when they occur but there is no pattern.  I have been prescribed 20mg Losec for acid indigestion but I am positive it cant be this as I sitll get the pain.  So its back to the dcotors I guess!  I admit to be stressed out by the pain when it happens but before an occurence I am quite chilled!  Does anyone have the same chest pain?  Any comments would be truly welcomed!
Thanks. PS. I am also a sufferer of ectopic heartbeats which stress me out but time helps and I now accept that they will not kill me :
Avatar universal
Hello everyone-
I just wanted to tell you my story, It might make some of you feel better and maybe some of you more worried. I am aiming to make some of you feel better not worse. I am a 37 year old female. All my life I had sysmtoms of I didnt know what. Symtoms were: Being tired more then normal, racing heart, chest pains, my heart rate dropping so low I felt as though it had stopped beating, feeling faint especially if I got up to quick from a sitting or lying posistion, sometimes I would feel faint when I wasnt doing anything in particular, heat from the summer made me feel worse. I also suffered from anxiety , mood swings, and just feeling grouchy. I was adopted so I didnt know any of my medical background.  When I would see Doctors about this I was told many different things . All these things were not true. I was told my problem was low blood pressure, then I was told it was post partum depression, and then I was told it was anxiety attacks, then last but not least I was told it was all in my head! I had my 4th child and ended up back in ER the day I was discharged from having her. I was compling about my heart. They wanted to put me in the physch ward for post partum depression. I left the hospital. They said there was nothing wrong with me They had ran a EKG and didnt see anything. Finally though I found A GREAT dodctor who listend to me. He did a sonogram and couldnt find anything but he said I should wear a halter monitor for 24 hours since a heart doesnt always act bad the moment you want it to.  Thanks to him I found out that I had 2 heart problems so it wasnt all in my head.
Avatar universal
I am gratful for the 24 hour halter test since I had had several sonograms on my heart and they didnt show anything. My Ekg's were clear part of the reason is my heart didnt do anything bad during the short time  the test ran. Anyways if you are worried about your heart then I would have a 24 halter test done. If you pass that test then you are fine. But I can say I was diagnosed as having mital value prolapse with 2nd degree AV blockage. I have a pacemaker for the AV blockage. And age is unimpotant for I was diagonosed and had my pacemaker put in when I was  26 years old. I had a tilt table test done that said I had mitral value but every year they do a sonogram on me to see if they can see exactly which vaule is bad and after 10 years and 10 sonograms they finally saw it in my last one. So tests can overlook things.  My AV blockage causes the symtoms of feeling like my heart has stopped, and the fainting. The mitral valuve which is found in 10 percent of females causes mood swings, anxiety and heart racing and being tired. I only tell you not to scare you but to say some tests do miss things. I believe that the halter is what it took to find my problems, that and a good doctor.
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