I'm sure this is a very common question on here but I am really concerned.
I'm 21 years old. I've been having panic attacks since Aug 2008. For a while they consumed my life and other times like now they would only be occasional. At first I really just thought it was anxiety but now I'm really starting to think it's something else like my heart. I've read how women have different heart disease symptoms than men and they usually have shortness of breath and anxiety months and even years before they have a heart attack. Well, these are exactly the problems I have. Even when I am feeling absolutely no anxiety I will feel shortness of breath or nausea. For example, if I've been sitting around all day and then go out to do something I will feel short of breath or anxiety like it's exertion related. Or even if I'm going out to do something fun, I will feel short of breath which causes me anxiety. It seems like any time I am excited or stressed (not even bad stress) or anything I will feel this way which is what makes me think it could be my heart. I could understand maybe when something negative is happening but that is not the case it is also when I feel happy and I'm just excited about something or doing something physical. The only time I feel normal is if I'm not doing anything or thinking anything even slightly stressful and I'm completely calm or if I'm sleeping.
I don't feel like it's anxiety anymore because usually I will feel short of breath and then of course that will make me feel anxious. I would say my main symptom is shortness of breath. It's not like first I feel anxiety and then short of breath it's the other way.
Of course when I go to my doctor they just tell me it is anxiety. I have been to three different doctors and this is all they say. I cannot get my doctor to listen to me and that is why I am posting here. I just don't know what to do. It doesn't matter what I say it is "anxiety". They cannot possibly just know that without doing any tests. I know that it is possible for it to just be anxiety but I know it is very common for women to be misdiagnosed with anxiety when it is really a heart problem. And of course I'm even worse off because I'm only 21 so there is no way they are going to take my complaints seriously. I know you are probably thinking that Im only 21 and it is only anxiety. But the reasons I think it is not is that I have smoked for the past 4 years and I think that has a great effect on my health. I think I'm extremely sensitive because I already have wrinkles from smoking and also when I smoked I would always lose so much weight but that's probably normal. But I don't think getting wrinkles at my age is normal. I have quit smoking now however I'm just afraid I've already killed myself basically. I know people can smoke for their entire lives and never die from it but there is also another end of the spectrum. Also, I have been going through a LOT of stress over the past few years. I mean like feeling like you're going to die emotional stress continuously. I have been severely depressed and just a lot of emotional distress family problems and personal problems which is also very bad for your heart. These are the reasons I think there may be something wrong with my heart even though I am so young. Also, the doctors tell me my anxiety is depression related but I really don't think it is. Because like I said was depressed and very sad for three years before this anxiety stuff even popped up. I am just very skeptical that all of this is only anxiety. This adds even more stress on me which makes me worry even more! Is there any way to know if something is more serious than just anxiety? It just seems a little ridiculous that all if this is "just anxiety". I just don't know what to do I'm so scared can anybody help please?
PS I know this is long. Sorry about that I just really wanted to add everything I could about myself so maybe someone could help.