Posted 4/2/2014 12:19 AM (GMT -7)
I'm completely new here, but I had to weigh in before looking around.
I have very severe anxiety and my father went into cardiac arrest in 2011. Since then, I have been terrified of heart attacks. He is still alive to tell about it.
In March, I was probably in the emergency room at least four times and at my PCP at least twice. I had to go to a different emergency room because the one close to me has stopped taking me seriously.
I will get a pain in my chest, either above my left breast or.below, and that is when I freak out. I have a pulse oximeter at home and I know how to read an EKG, which doesn't help my panic. A few minutes ago I got the chest pain which radiated to my left shoulder blade and then I got pains in my left arm. I had already taken my Xanax, so I figured hey! Must be a heart attack!
I have been waiting it out. After taking another Xanax and laying down with calming music, I feel a bit better.
I wanted to talk to everyone whose doctors have said it's anxiety because for me, it is. My EKG.is always fine, blood work, d-dimer, blood pressure, oxygen, echo, everything is always fine. I even have a history of cancer and my tests are always normal. Being diagnosed with anxiety is not a bad thing! It means you're not having a heart attack. Your monster now has a face -- anxiety; and it can be treated.
Panic attacks often mimic heart attacks. Sweats, chest pain, stomach pain, shortness of breath, pounding heart. From what I have gathered, learned and been told is that if you are having a mild myocardial infarction, you are not going to drop dead instantly. Take a low dose aspirin or two baby aspirin and a Xanax. You may just be having a full blown panic attack. Take a few moments to calm down first, unless the pain in unbearable, then go to the er. I have currently been resting for about reentry minutes. Do I still hurt? Yes! From being tense. Am I having a heart attack? Probably not. Always remember to slow down those thoughts.
To the people who have had all these heart tests that were normal, has any doctor checked you for pleurisy, costochondritis or lupus? TtThe first two are inflammation of the lining of the lungs and inflammation of the cartilage surrounding the ribs, respectively. Weird movements make it worse. Deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing makes it worse. You will feel it in your chest, back, or both. I was recently diagnosed with both. It's super treatable, but painful.
I mention lupus because lupus can cause these diseases, but they are mostly caused by viral infectiona. If you are a worrier, like me, have your doctor do an ANA (anti-nuclear antibody).blood test to rule out lupus. If that's negative, have a blood test for sarcoidosis; another disease that causes ridiculous inflammation. If both are negative; congratulations! You most likely have pleurisy and are not dying. Get rest, don't do crazy exercises, don't move in weird ways, and take at least 400mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours.
I know they was a lot.. Sorry about that. Let me know if anything helped. My anxiety is extremely severe and I'm a hypochondriac in med school, so I know a lot more about conditions than a probably should -- eek. Hope to hear how things are going!
Ohh! I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia 3 years ago when I was 20. My biggest flare ups are in my chest -- rule that out for yourself! Ruling things out will ease your mind, I promise.