PFO and anxiety. Bunch of questions.

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2001TC
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 4/30/2017 3:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I am new to this forum and could use some advice and answers.

I am a 44 year old male. Exercise always felt like crap to me, even as a kid. Despite this I always considered myself to be more active than the average person but certainly not athletic. My jobs always required physical labor, no sitting down, 16 hour days during busy times, no air conditioning.

about 8 years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks. Any drugs to treat this have failed. At first I laughed at this diagnoses. Yeah I was always high strung but could handle anything. Today it is out of control, I definitely now have a mental disorder. Everything scares me and I can't leave my home. This started back in September of 2016 when I could not catch my breath during a three mile walk that was my daily routine. I ended up laying on the ground three times during that walk. Before this I loved to be active, going places, even if I had anxiety.

However since my anxiety diagnoses years ago, I got bounced around for every symptom that I had. In my opinion tests were always done half way and not complete. In the end every symptom was always blamed on anxiety. I got shortness of breath more and more often. I would walk and noticed obese people that had desk jobs could out walk me. When swimming I could no longer hold my breath very long. I had an episode of memory loss years ago that was blamed on a med change for anxiety, no brain MRI was performed. Chest pains and problems with my vision. (snowy vision) Digestive problems.
Recently my pulse would shoot up randomly to about 160 b.p.m. mostly when trying to do light exercise. On a hot day just standing up will cause a heart rate of 145 or so and I feel light headed. They say exercise is good for anxiety so as the years rolled on I pushed myself as things became physically harder for me to do. The more I pushed myself the more I felt poor.

Anyways I had an echo and bubble study done. I had immediate bubbles show up so I know and was told that I definitely have a PFO. I do not know the size of the PFO. (was not checked that far) The fact I have a PFO was downplayed by my famly doctor as being insignificant. Many, 25% of people have them and this is something that I had all my life.... bla bla bla. So I focused on treatment for anxiety because I was to believe that a PFO is not a big deal. Treatment has not worked for my anxiety.

So questions I have are...
1) I have high diastolic blood pressure. Stolic is usually normal. Could this be caused by the PFO? Doctors have ignored this as stress related.
2) Did anybody get "panic attacks" from a PFO? Did they get better after closer?
3) Can my symptoms such as visual problems be a type of migraine related to a PFO?
4) Can being out of breath easily be related to a PFO?
5) Doctor told me that if you can't hear the sound of a PFO with a stethoscope it is not worth worrying about. Is this true?
6) I was told that I do not have pulmonary hypertension. What tests need done to determine this? I know a PFO can cause this and I do not know the size of mine?

Any other advice? Should I make a TEE scope the top of my priority list? I thought it was low priority however I read other places that a PFO can become bigger with time and become a problem typically in your mid 30's to 40's? Hello that's when my diagnoses of anxiety started. I know I have a big anxiety problem now. However when you feel like crud constantly and feel like you are going to fall over I am not sure if the sensations are PFO driving my anxiety up or if the doctors are correct that it is all in my head. I have many more symptoms. I have had tinnitus since September. Doctor did not even look into my ear for wax build up, that too was blown off. I am not very trusting of most doctors because they act like they don't care. Thanks for your time.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 5/1/2017 7:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi 2001TC & welcome to Healing Well. I am not a dr but have some experience with heart issues.

Answers to your questions;

1. More than likely no.
2. Panic attacks relating to PFO no. Since surgery is rarely ever done for this it would totally depend on
what led the person to require surgery. People that have surgery are ones that are on medications to
prevent strokes from happening. If none of the medications work then surgery is a possibility.
3. At this time migraines & PFO is very controversial topic & current studies are being done. No
dr will ever tell you yes migraines are related. If you are having migraines get in with a neurologist.
4. That is not a symptom unless a person has pulmonary hypertension.
5. Yes
6. Cardiologist would have picked this up on testing that has been done.
7. No on the TEE Scope
8 Tinnitus not related, this is something that can happen to anyone at any time. It can disappear as
quickly as the onset of it.

If the drs felt this was something to be concerned about most likely you would have been told take a baby aspirin daily. I understand your concern but in all honesty your anxiety is in high gear right now. The more you get on the internet & do the Dr Google thing, the more it feeds the anxiety. Anxiety as you know will make you feel like total crap.

I have a murmur they hear it every time they listen to my heart & have for years, lol. As a kid I would get winded with lots of physical activity. I have valve problems that are monitored by testing yearly. The valve problems were found in my early 20's & I am almost 64 yrs old. Did I change my life style back then NO!! I try to eat healthy & do normal things. I continued to get on with my life. Oh yes, I have had anxiety in the past over a different health condition. Let me tell you this, the anxiety was worse than my health condition because I let it rule me. The illness is bad enough but when the anxiety took over & the stress it was causing it only made the health problem worse. Oh, it took me awhile to figure that one out, but when I did I put the brakes on the anxiety.

My 42 yr old son has a murmur never slowed him down for a moment. Like the dr said don't worry about it.

If it will make you feel better gather up all of your testing, go for a 2nd opinion with a cardiologist. If you get told the same thing as the other drs have said, please accept their opinions. Do not go looking for something that is not there or viable for you. Life is too short to waste it on this.

Check out the Mayo Clinics website for PFO & heart murmur. I suggest that site because you will get correct info & not a bunch of garbage. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Post Edited (straydog) : 5/1/2017 7:52:27 PM (GMT-6)


theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20279
   Posted 5/2/2017 10:52 PM (GMT -6)   
am with susie. keep strong.
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