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skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 7:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I am new here.  I was given this site by friend of mine.  Well to give you a little information about myself.  I started noticing reflux about 7 years ago.  I would drink wine at night or warm milk and I would wake up in a panic cause I was choking.  However, as the years went by, I noticed the GERD presented itself differently. 
As of 2 years ago, I noticed that I was getting chest pains.  I have had lots of workup such as stress tests, echocardiogram, and multiple, multiple EKGs.  I even was admitted once in the hospital late 2008 just to monitor me.  While in there they did a barrium stress test and a gallbladder test and all turned out normal.  I knew the barrium was not correct, because I do have GERD.  Anyway, about two weeks ago I took the 14 day treatment of Prilosec and it seemed to help.  Last night I woke up, went to bathroom and then as I went back to bed, I layed on my stomach, as that is how I normally fall asleep.  I notice while on my stomach, that familiar discomfort.  I could feel a slight bubbling in the lower chest area and then a pain that takes my breath away.  It sent me into panic mode and I could not go back to sleep. 
 
I ended up calling 911, just so I can get checked with their EKG machine, did not opt to go to hospital.  It subsided for a bit, then tried to go back to sleep again and went on my tummy, once again felt that bubbling feeling and the pain started, my heart rate went up and panic struck once again, but I told myself it is not my heart.  Why is it worse when I lay on my stomach and it makes me feel short of breath like am having a heart attack.   Finally, at 5:30, I took a prilosec and about a half hour later I decided to try to go on my stomach again to go to sleep and I did not feel that gurgling or have the pain. 
 
This is very distressing.  I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  It feels like a heart attack.  Does anyone have this where it is worse if laying on your stomach?  I am so exhausted.  I am so scared that something is seriously wrong.  I know I need to see a GI doctor and get this checked out, but will try to save some money to do that.  No insurance.  I have been tested twice in the past with the h. pylori bacteria and took antibiotics, which was horrible, but finished the course, was never retested to see if it was still there. 
 
Thanks
skfox      

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 6/8/2010 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   
What do you mean by "barium stress test?" There is a nuclear stress test for heart. and there is a barium swallow to take pictures of your stomach to view reflux or abnormal swallowing happening.

There is a very real connection between the esophagus and stomach to the heart, via the vagus nerve. I get tachycardia (very rapid heart rate) when I eat "trigger foods" that cause gastric reflux. It starts out feeling like a bubble in the stomach, then the heart rate jumps way over 100BPM. The phenomenon is called cardio-esophageal reflex (not reflux!), aka variant angina. It works both directions. For some people the heart problem feeds forward to affect the esophagus.

One thing you can do, since you are uninsured and the docs probably have never heard of this problem, is to try to find out if you have trigger foods. Keep a really good food log, including all spices and condiments, everything you eat or drink. Record any symtoms that occur within an hour or two. Occasionally it could take up to 2 days for a food to react, but for food triggers causing stomach and heart reactions I think it will be within a couple of hours.

Then if you discover food triggers you have to do "challenge testing." It's safest done under supervision of an allergist, but I did it on my own - carefully. Eat a teaspoon or maybe a tablespoon if you think it takes at least that much, then wait 20 minutes. Then eat 2 spoonsful and wait, then 4 then 8 and finish with 16.

I ended up with a long list of seemingly unrelated foods: maple syrup, gelatin, anything made from corn, but not fresh or frozen corn, most condiments, large delicious bagels, especially with nuts, bottled lemon juice, and lots more. I googled a whole bunch and found my triggers/allergens/sensitivities all had SULFITE. You could have something completely different, but the testing is at least free.

By eliminating sulfites from my diet I was able to mostly control the heart rate. Heart medications didn't help at all, made me feel miserable. Most docs don't have any experience with this problem, but there are several research papers written on the subject.
Alcie
 
 


stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/8/2010 10:35 AM (GMT -6)   
skfox


We love new members so welcome.



I see you got an excellent response from Alcie. I am wondering if you could avoid lying on your stomach and see if the sx subsides.



Also you do need to see a physician IMHO. I know you mentioned you do not have insurance but the price of an ambulance run to your home is very expensive. I know they will bill you for the runs if you have no insurance as this happened with my own Mother.



We also have a great anxiety forum if you want to talk to members that have health anxiety it would be a great support for you.



Again a warm welcome to HW.



Kitt

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Alice, yes, I meant barium swallow. Am just tired from lack of sleep, was not thinking straight. Thank you for sharing your experience to me and it is definitely worth thinking about.

Thank you Kitt for the warm welcome. I do need to see a doctor.

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 12:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I did go ahead and schedule an appointment for Thursday with a GI doctor. I don't think I can walk around like this knowing something is wrong/not right.

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 2:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I plan on asking for an endoscopy (the cardiologist had recommended that when I was in hospital in 2008, but GI never did that test) does that hurt in any way or make you want to gag. It kinds of freaks me out thinking about it, but I want to have it done. I feel strongly something is up in my esophagus.

Thanks for any replies

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 6/8/2010 2:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Get checked by doctors as much as you can afford, but keep the food log too - just in case you can make a connection. I let my problem go too long and DID end up having a heart attack - after eating a bowl of cereal. Yes, cereals often have sulfites too.

In my case, I was 40 pounds overweight, had some plaque in my coronary arteries. The reflux started, then went to the tach I'd been having for several years, and that triggered a plaque rupture which was the heart attack - blocked the artery 95%. A little worse and it could have been fatal because it was the LAD (left anterior decending), aka the "widow-maker." I recognized what was happening, ran inside and chewed up a couple of aspirin, dialed 911, then started calling everyone, but noone was home. Thank goodness for the aspirin because it took an hour to get me to the hospital, then a life-flight to a larger hospital for a stent. I didn't have insurance either!

Moral of the story: better pay for tests than dead.

It's extremely unlikely your GI doc has ever heard of food allergies triggering heart attacks, but it was in Medscape this year about coronary artery spasms triggering plaque rupture. I figured it out before I ever read the studies, but not soon enough to prevent the heart attack.
Alcie
 
 


skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie, I am glad that you are okay and here with us. That sounds very scary. Good thing you were so intuned with your body and was so patient to figure out the food allergy, wow. Hope you are feeling better and not having any symptoms anymore.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 6/8/2010 6:05 PM (GMT -6)   
An endoscopy is very easy to get through...just ask for sedation. ;)

They put an IV in your wrist, give you two shots in it and down the drain you go.

You wake up later with a bit of a dry throat and a little irritation.

You can also request for a BRAVO capsule to be inserted at the same time and get your Ph test done, too. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

The hardest test for me to get through is the manometry test. You do have to do it without sedation. If you have an easy gag reflex it will be rough, but you will survive it.

Joy

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/8/2010 8:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Joy, I did not realize they do sedate you with the endoscopy. I had a colonoscopy and I was sedated for that, but a friend of mine who went for both at the same time, told me that they did not sedate him for the endo because he had to be awake to swallow it? Well, that is good to know. I would definitely opt for the sedation.

lilitiger2
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 6/8/2010 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi skfox
I have GERD and had chest pains also. Was at urgent care and ER for those, scary! I am a runner, in really good shape, so was totally freaked out that something would be wrong with my heart. Did EKGs, stress test, blood work, EKGs, all ok. Relieved but certainly attentive to whatever would set that off.

the endoscopy is a total nonevent-i agree completely with Joy; do it with sedation!! Have done three-two times conscious and one unconscious and I will never do it conscious again, no matter what.

I also am learning to focus on slowing down my breathing, moving slowly and thoughtfully, eating slowly and thoughtfully, taking time to just sit, reading more novels (!!) scheduled fewer patients, so far seems to be helping!! Also am NOT looking up each and every symptom on the internet and getting nothing but I-was-in-excruciating-pain-and-barely-survived stories!!

Goood luck, hang in there! keep posting!!
Lila

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/9/2010 6:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Lila for sharing your experience. Tomorrow I go to the GI doctor. I hope that we get to the bottom of this so I can start to feel better. I hate feeling not well. I have been living with this for too long and I never pushed a doctor to check it out or check into it. I started noticing reflux back in 2003 or so when I was waking up startled by choking on acid. Thanks again.

Jas

calvarygirl
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/10/2010 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there everyone. This is my first time posting to this site (any site). Ok, here goes......my symptoms are, steady constant pain in the center of my chest, a lot of burping, heart palps followed by neck pain, shortness of breath episodes (just sitting, walking across the room), always accompanied by chest and stomach discomfort. First thoughts I had: hiatal hernia, h. pylori, esophageal spasms, gerd. Tests I've had: endoscopy(normal), chest x-ray(normal, heart & lungs look fine), ct scan abdominal, ultrasound. What the doc thought: anxiety.

Well, it's not. What I explained to the doctor was, it's my symptoms that bring on the anxiety, not the other way around. Nevertheless, he put me on fluoxetine, buspar and lorazepam. The only one I continue to take is lorazepam (as needed). I am currently on nexium once daily, and ranitidine twice daily. It helps, but I still suffer from symptoms. I am so tired of not feeling good! It is interrupting my life. Went to the doc today and I am having a chest ct and a barrium swallow on Friday. I pray to God they find something so we can work on fixing the problem.

I wish the best to all who suffer with these same symptoms. Any advice or words of wisdom most welcome.

Kari

skfox
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/10/2010 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kari, it seems you had quite a few tests, but none for the heart. Did they ever do an EKG or stress test? Good luck on your upcoming tests. I think you might get more responses if you started your own thread highlighting your main symptom as the heading.

Good luck again

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 6/10/2010 4:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Another test to have is the manometry test. It will tell if you have swallowing problems and the strength of your LES.

Joy

calvarygirl
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/10/2010 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your responses skfox and Joy. I will start my own thread and see how that goes. I have had a couple of ekg's and they were normal. I don't put a whole lot of stock in them however, because while my husband was lying in the ER mid heart attack, his EKG looked good. He ended up having open heart surgery. The happy ending is that he is doing fine and dandy.
Thanks again!
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