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Heart issues, Anxiety or Something Else?

Hey folks,

I get a pain behind the lumpy bit of my sternum (xiphoid process?) accompanied by a shortness of breath. I have had this on and off for years. Sometimes I wont be bothered by it for weeks at a time, other times it's an issue every day for weeks at a time. It happens completely at random, sometimes while I'm doing nothing, sometimes while I'm active. It sometimes lasts an hour, or sometimes lasts all day with varying degrees of intensity.

Exercise usually makes it worse for the first 5 to 10 minutes and then it completely disappears for hours beyond that if I continue exercising. I do hill walking, and during the first 10 minutes, the shortness of breath has me stopping a few times and struggling to catch breath, after this it goes completely and I can continue for hours of strenuous walking with no issues at all.

The pain is hard to describe, it can sometimes feel quite sharp, but sometimes feel quite dull. I can feel exactly where it is with my fingers, scratching or thumping the area brings relief. Sometimes lying a certain way will bring relief accompanied by a gurgling of wind. Sometimes it gets so bad that I feel like I'm about to lose control or pass out (Panic attack?). Sometimes the tightness causes a pain deep inside my chest that feels like bones cracking if I move a certain way.

I get a yearly medical due to my job. My initial medical 13 years ago, highlighted inverted T-Waves on my ECG, which after a load of investigation including MRI and Echocardiogram, was put down to Mild LVH. Subsequent echocardiograms, Stress ECGs, 24 Hours ECGs 24 Hour BP tests in the following years have shown this to have improved (As I've lost weight and got healthier) to the point where it was normal about 5 years ago and I could stop with the yearly investigations (Still get inverted T-Waves on my ECG every year).

I went to the docs about this a couple of years back and he put me on Daily Omeprazole, but this hasn't really had any effect. I have also considered Costochronditis, as it seems to fit the symptoms.

I keep telling myself that this is Anxiety, but also worry that it's heart related. I don't feel anxious, I'm pretty laid back. Can Anxiety cause symptoms like this? I keep telling myself that if it was heart related then I wouldn't have had it happening for years, I'd have died from it years ago, or it would get picked up at my medical. I don't want to mention it to my docs as "Anxiety" and/or "Panic Attacks" would go against my employment too.

Any ideas how I can tell what this is to put my mind at ease?
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159619 tn?1707018272
Keep in mind that pain you can point to with your finger is not typical for heart reflated pain. Also, pain that comes and goes over several months or years is atypical for heart related pain as is pain that resolves with exercise. I would agree that it may be a good idea to repeat your EKG and have a discussion with your doctor. Good luck.
Helpful - 1
363281 tn?1643235611
Hello~Anxiety and Panic can give a person all kinds of strange or weird symptoms and what you are describing could certainly be due to that. The fact that when you exercise the pain goes away or doesn't get worse would let me to believe that it probably isn't heart related.

Have you had an EKG in the last year? Maybe, for your own peace of mind and to make sure all is still OK, ask your GP for one if you haven't. It sounds like the ones in the past and other heart tests have all been good, so, this one would probably be as well.
Helpful - 1
Have an ECG every year as part of my medical for work. As stated above I continue to have Inverted T-Waves, but that is now considered "normal for me".
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