I am a 32 year old female in good health. I eat well and exercise regularly, and have always had very low but healthy blood pressure. I have had a history of unusual chest and rib pains that started about 5 years ago, but they are fairly infrequent, and I have been able to live with them with only minor discomfort. There is a history of heart disease in my family.
Last week, I had been feeling a bit sick to my stomach ever since Tuesday night. On that night, I had a bad stomach ache, which I assumed was just gas. But then the pain shot up into my left shoulder, something I had never experienced before. My stomach felt a bit uneasy for the next few days, but nothing too terrible. I was feeling better by the end of the week. Then last Friday while walking home from work, I suddenly felt as if my heart skipped a beat, and then I became very lightheaded, as if I was on a lot of cold medicine. I felt weak,shaky, and nauseous. After sitting down for about 30 minutes I felt better. A few hours later, the same thing happened again, but this time it felt worse. I was shaking all over. Again, it lasted about 30 minutes. This was 6 nights ago and I have been feeling ill ever since. During the day, I will feel weak and light headed, and I will often feel like my heart skips a beat, which will cause me a lot of discomfort. At night, I feel worse. I have had episodes every night, where I suddenly feel light headed, I have to lie down, and I feel very weak. I shake all over and I feel the need to cough a weak, unproductive cough. These episodes last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, and I have had from 2 to 5 per night. When the "attacks" are finished, I have a burning sensation in my chest (concentrated in the left side) that radiates down my left arm. I also feel this burning sensation at other times throughout the day.
Last night, I thought I was starting to feel better. Two days ago, I was prescribed a medication to regulate my heart beat, and I assumed this med had finally started to make me feel better. But then I had the worse "attack" yet, where I felt as if my heart stopped for a few seconds. I went to the ER and was told that I have arrhythmia and bradycardia, but that everything else was normal. They kept me there all night to observe me. The question of whether this may be stress related came up, but I personally don't think so. I am completely rational and calm during the episodes, not panicky at all despite the fact that they are quite scary. They also seem to think that I have indigestion. This is completely baffling to me. I can't understand how indigestion could cause me to suddenly develop arrhythmia. Especially because the first time I experienced the heart skipping/ lightheaded episode, I hadn't eaten anything in about 8 hours. Anyway, over the next few weeks, I will have a bunch of appointments to see the cardiologist.
My question is: Has anyone had any experience with symptoms like the ones I'm having? I am very alarmed by the simple fact that I went from feeling like a healthy young woman to feeling very ill all the time in an instant. I am also a little in the dark, because I am living in a foreign country where my modest language skills don't yet cover terms like "electrocardiogram" and "Transient Ischemic Attack". So I am having a bit of trouble getting the full story from the doctors I have seen so far. Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!