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Avatar universal

Sharp pains in the heart, could it be caused by anxiety?

I had a panic attack about two months ago and it was the most terrifying experience I have ever gone through (I am only 22 years old).The residual effects lasted for almost 2 weeks when I was going through the fear-adrenaline-fear cycle over and over. I thought that I had it under control because for about a month and a half now I have been fine. Just recently I have started getting these sharp pains in the heart region, and they really scared me causing me to relapse into another panic episode. I went to the doctor and he did an EKG (that turned out fine), but he did prescribe me anti-inflammatory meds. I didn't think to ask him questions until after I left, because I could not explain to people that asked why my heart was inflamed. And how it got that way.....My doctor didn't seem to take it too seriously and I think it's because he relates it to my panic disorder. Is an inflamed heart a common thing? I am a little confused about what could be going on. And advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
24 Responses
Avatar universal
Anne,

Thanks for the post.

Isn't amazing how the questions usually pop into your head after you leave the office.

At your age the likelyhood of significant cardiac disease in almost zero. It gets frustrating when you have lots of symptoms you dont understand. There are a lot of things that can cause symptoms in the chest that arent cardiac. The pain meds were probably not for your heart and if I had to guess it was for some type of musculoskeletal pain that your physician thought you had.

Set up an appointment with your physician or even his/her nurse to help go over things.  Also, work on identifying what caused your panic attack and triggers and coping mechanisms for dealing with it should it recur.

good luck


Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response, it almost brought tears to my eyes because it was so relieving! And I have been doing so much reading and research on anxiety and panic disorders, that's how I gained control of it the first time it happened. But since these heart pains started, it just kinda freaked me out and got the fear going again. But again, thank you so much! You have no idea how much that helped.
84483 tn?1289941537

I have similiar pain and was diagnosed with costochondritis which is secondary to a CTD that I have, its very sharp and quite severe, I have had it nearly every day for the last 11 years. I had all the usual cardiac work up and nothing of any significance was found. I must say its very frightening and hard to understand that it ain't serious. I am not saying that you might have costochondritis, I am only saying what my diagnosis was and that the pain is similiar to what you describe. What I do know is that most chest pain are muscoskeletal in nature and not cardiac related, of course always trust your doctors advice , if not get a second opinion. Good luck.
Avatar universal
Been there with this one too...some years ago (I was 22 then) I presented chest pains around the heart area at my local hospital and was tested for everything they could think of for 7 hours with no sensible cause found. 5 minutes with my GP the next day left me with the name of a condition I couldn't remember after leaving and a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs. I was confused for a bit, but after some research I found it was for inflammation of the cartilage around the rib cage area. I was very relieved as I have a huge history of irregular heartbeats. Seems like it's fairly common if very painful...the best advice I found was if you can push anywhere on your chest and aggravate the pain it's not your heart as it's under a load of bones! Helped me! Keep working on the anxiety stuff too, pretty much everybody who suspects a heart related problem gets it (including myself) and just remember that it's never going to kill you. Deep breathing is the key weapon I
Avatar universal
Im no doctor, but im guessing that your heart is not inflamed!
Maybe you had a pluresy attack which I have had before and they gave me ibruphen, or maybe he  feels that maybe you may have inflamation of your chest wall or something. I dont remember reading that he did an xray of heart or echo, so with not doing that I dont know how they would know that your heart is inflamed. Chest pains are very very scarey and I do know that all to well. Did you do any heavy lifing recently maybe you pulled a muscle there or maybe you turned the wrong way. Who knows but I bet that your going to be just fine. Dont freak out Hahaha, ya I know easier said than done, believe me I have been there and im still there. Stress sometimes makes my chest hurt so I just try to relax and sometimes I put a heating pad on my chest and it helps me alot. Take care
wmac
Avatar universal
My youngest son 22 years old has recently started having panic attacks, too.  He has been virtually unable to work until he had a full cardiac workup including wearing an event monitor for a month.  He was also placed on some sort of antidepressant that is also used for panic attacks.

He is finally convinced that his heart is ok.  He does have PVC's, too.  

He is just now able to go back to work.  Panic attacks and cardiac anxiety are horrible problems that can significantly affect your ability to work and enjoy life.

(His father had the same thing at the same age.  Interesting, isn't it?)
Avatar universal
AnneBronte,

I get sharp shooting pains on my chest as well and I am 33. It's definitely due to my excessive anxiety. My chest muscles get so tense, often when I don't realize they're tense! If they're tense too long, it will cause shooting sharp pain pangs.

I have PVC's and if I worry about my PVC's my anxiety gets worse. My blood pressure and my heart rate are just fine. I had a cardiac checkup last year and they came out normal - my heart is structurally normal and the cholesterol level is normal as well. Even with assurance from my doctor, I still worry excessively which shows that I need counseling to deal with my fears.
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment! It's good to know that I am not alone although I wish that no one suffered from these problems....take care everyone!
Avatar universal
I just found a much more extensive article about taurine and a person's PAC/PVC personal experience with it.

http://www.coldcure.com/html/taurine.html

He claims that his 15,000 PACs a day went down to a few a day. That's his OWN experience and doesn't mean you'll get the same.

Once again, it's not proven yet except in dogs. It hasn't proved in humans (who would give cardiopoison to humans?!?) so it's not known if it'll do the same for humans.
Avatar universal
I have occasional PVC's on a daily basis. Like most people, we all have bad and good days.

I take taurine supplement (1 to 2 grams a day) and it seems to help my PVC's. I am not sure if it's just a placebo or if it is taurine working. I took taurine because of this excerpt:

"Taurine comprises over 50 percent of the total free amino acid pool of the heart. It has a positive inotropic action on cardiac tissue, and has been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure. In part, the cardiac effects of taurine are probably due to its ability to protect the heart from the adverse effects of either excessive or inadequate calcium ion (Ca2+) levels. The consequence of Ca2+ excess is the accumulation of intracellular calcium, ultimately leading to cellular death. Taurine may both directly and indirectly help regulate intracellular Ca2+ ion levels by modulating the activity of the voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, and by regulation of Na+ channels. Taurine also acts on many other ion channels and transporters. Therefore, its action can be quite non-specific. When an adequate amount of taurine is present, calcium-induced myocardial damage is significantly reduced, perhaps by interaction between taurine and membrane proteins. At least one study has suggested taurine's ability to function as a membrane stabilizer is related to its capacity to prevent suppression of membrane-bound NaK ATPase.
...
Azuma and associates have observed that taurine alleviates physical signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF). Chazov et al were able to demonstrate that taurine could reverse EKG abnormalities such as S-T segment changes, T-wave inversions, and extra systoles [PVC's] in animals with chemically-induced arrhythmias."

http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/fulltext/taurine3-2.html

Extrasystoles are PVC's. Fish is rich source of taurine so it makes me wonder if taurine is another factor for reducing cardiac deaths other than omega-3 acids in populations who eat  fish.
Avatar universal
hi im a 23 yr old female and never in my life had anxiety or pains in my heart until i delivered my son he is now 3 and its so hard to enjoy every little minute with him ..ive been to the doctors they tell me its axiety .ive been to the er umteen times they tell me my EKG turned out fine my blood work turned out fine my Xrays turned out fine ..why does this little thing in the back of my brain tell me otherwise..i have a friend that was 32 and 7 months pregant with her first little boy .she had a sudden heart attack on the 18th of last month .she didnt make it through and neither did her son...so now im really paranoid about my pains now .today out of the blue for no reason it felt like something was strangling my heart i had trouble getting my air in .... then it flopped im not sure if this is anxiety related or not but im am like freakin ....ive been told i have mitral valve prolapse. does this have anything to do with it ...can someone relate to me?
Avatar universal
hi im a 23 yr old female and never in my life had anxiety or pains in my heart until i delivered my son he is now 3 and its so hard to enjoy every little minute with him ..ive been to the doctors they tell me its axiety .ive been to the er umteen times they tell me my EKG turned out fine my blood work turned out fine my Xrays turned out fine ..why does this little thing in the back of my brain tell me otherwise..i have a friend that was 32 and 7 months pregant with her first little boy .she had a sudden heart attack on the 18th of last month .she didnt make it through and neither did her son...so now im really paranoid about my pains now .today out of the blue for no reason it felt like something was strangling my heart i had trouble getting my air in .... then it flopped im not sure if this is anxiety related or not but im am like freakin ....ive been told i have mitral valve prolapse. does this have anything to do with it ...can someone relate to me?
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