Hi forum, my name is Peter and I’m 23 years of age. For the last two months I have been suffering from palpitations and various forms of discomfort in my back and chest which are unfortunately causing me to become very anxious and are greatly affecting my quality of life.
The problems first started when I was spending a few months away from home on business in America, I had been out the evening before and had consumed perhaps four or five cans of Red Bull mixed with vodka although had not been particularly drunk that evening as I had been drinking fairly large amounts of water in-between drinks.
The next day, whilst sitting at my desk at about mid afternoon, I started getting the sensation of what felt like a very rapid and pounding heart beat, and so I journeyed to the nearest ER dept. in the area. My heart rate was beating at about 120 bpm when I was received into the clinic (I expect it was doing perhaps a little more whilst I was en-route). Upon arrival I was given an EKG test – which proved to be normal – and when my heart had calmed down sufficiently I was released.
Over the four weeks that followed I made a further four trips to the ER room for much the same reason – although I had cut to virtually zero my alcohol and caffeine consumption as per the doctor’s advice – suffering primarily palpitations but the occasional sharp twinge of pain in the far left side of my chest (a symptom which has now disappeared).
When I returned to the UK from America I visited a Harley St. cardiologist who performed a further EKG, a stress-EKG, a cardio-graphic assessment (showing my ejection fraction – 67%), and wore a Holter and a seven-day event monitor. I also had at various times blood tests showing – from what I can remember – my potassium levels and the adrenaline production of my thyroid gland (for which a urine sample was taken). Further to that my blood pressure is normal, and I had at one point a CAT scan of my chest using illuminating dye to determine whether a blood clot was responsible for my problems (as during one of the five sets of blood tests I had done it was reported that a certain marker was present – the details I can’t recall), and I have also had numerous chest x-rays.
All the tests which were performed looked completely normal and there was not at any point a cause for concern discovered. The cardiologist explained to me that the heart structure and rhythm looked perfectly normal and that there was nothing sinister discovered on any front.
The problem is that I still continue to get the palpitations, albeit less intensely than before, and so I was hoping that perhaps if I could put some questions to the experienced people here (both to any doctors and to people who have had similar experiences!) that my concerns might be further alleviated.
My questions, broadly speaking, are:
1)I have been getting feeling of pressure, tenseness, cloudiness and general discomfort inside my head – particularly in the upper and lower jaw , sinuses and temples – for the last few weeks (noticeably) but on and off for the last couple of years. The pressure comes and goes and doesn’t feel particularly like it should be heart related although it does sometimes accompany the palpitations but usually outlasts them by some hours. Is it possible that this is heart related? I notice also that when my interest and attention levels are particularly piqued (rather than forced for the sake of i.e. work), the discomfort is often absent (although I don’t know if it is dispelled if already present).
2)I have been feeling sharp discomfort in my lower neck region (upper back I suppose!), left and right sides of my chest, shoulders and mid-to-upper back. The pain in my neck is made worse by moving my head backwards as if to look up, and the pains elsewhere can often by stimulated by pressing on the affected area so it appears to be surface pain predominantly (I presume heart pain would be deeper and likely more concentrated). Could this be related? A gut feeling is that this pain in particular – which has only been with me for about a week – is stress or tension related.
3)I have been for the last year very disillusioned with the work that I do and myself in more general terms, and am leaving the company which I work for (for the last six years) to take a break and try and remedy these feelings. I am also very anxious (even stressed) about various things – mostly related to uncertainty about religious and other existential questions – about which my parents who raised me were very certain and very strict in their adherence, and which I have recently come to feel more skeptically about (albeit in a guilty and tentative fashion). Is it possible that this anxiety and these negative feelings on the while could be causing the palpitations – although I should mention these played less on my conscience before the palpitations first started than they do now?
4)I sometimes get tingling in my hands, usually both hands at once, although suspect that this is related to ulna nerve compression resulting from mild damage which I did to the nerve about five years ago. The tingling doesn’t feel quite the same as the tingling which I had become accustomed to after the nerve was first compressed, but it does seem to be intensified when I am using my hands for things such as typing. Is it possible that this is related?
Your help, insights and answers are greatly appreciated – you have no idea how much this has been on my mind lately!