Could all this really be GERD?

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/9/2014 11:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all!

This is my first post although I've been looking on this site for months for some sort of answers. Let me start off with saying I've never been in the greatest of shape (I've always been overweight since I was a kid), I'm 22 and have no pre-existing conditions or family related heart issues. Back in June of this month I went through a lot of stressful things to the point where at night when I went to lay down I would get this empty feeling in my chest that would make me feel like I was out of breath or couldn't catch my breath. I would sit up and it would normally go away; this happened for about 2 weeks. Except one night when I got up, it got worse. It felt like there was an elephant on my chest, extreme chest tightness, lightheadedness and dry mouth. I immediately called 911 and the paramedics reassured me that it wasn't a heart attack, but insisted I get checked out at the hospital. I did and while there they did a EKG, chest X-ray, blood work, but couldn't find anything wrong. So they sent me home saying it was sleep apnea. I then go to my Primary and he says it's Costochrondritis, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Prescribes me Lisinopril and sends me on my way. The very next day, I have another episode of insane pain in my chest, except this time it lasts only a few seconds. I go back to the hospital and this time they do the works. Blood, EKG, X-rays, CT scan, and Nuclear Perfusion scan of my lungs. Nothing. Everything comes back normal. Although they did give me Ativan while in there which immediately caused me to relax and reduced my blood pressure from 170/90 to 130/60 within a matter of 15 minutes. So I go back to my primary, where he prescribes me Atenolol instead. I start taking it, but continue to have chest pain, back pain, left side pain, shoulder pain, and upper arm pain. I also then started to burp all the time. At least over 100 times a day if not more. Fast forward 2 months and I have gone to the hospital a total of 5 times in a matter of 3 months, as well as my cardiologist twice. My cardiologist had me do a stress test (which came back fine) and an echo (which he said was unremarkable). My primary doesn't seem to think its anything and obviously thinks I'm crazy/annoying at this point. So doing my own research I stumbled upon GERD/hiatal hernias. I brought this up to my primary where he scoffed it off, so I asked for a referral to a gastro to which I don't get to see for another month. However, on my last trip to the ER they did an ultrasound of my leg (to check for clots) and gallbladder (to see if thats what was causing it) and told me to try Nexium. I immediately went to Walmart and grabbed a box. Tried it and for 2 weeks I actually felt semi-okay. I had no chest pain, and I seemed to be normal. However, now that the 14 day period has ended, the burping has started again, the chest/back/shoulder/upper arm pain has all come back and I'm worrying all over again if its my heart and that I'll drop dead at any second. I really don't know where to turn at this point and I feel like everyone thinks I'm crazy. Sitting here typing this I want to rush to the hospital but I know what will happen and I really can't afford another trip even with my insurance. Has anyone ever experienced any of this with GERD/hiatal hernias? I mean I have been to over 10 different doctors at this point including my primary, the different ER doctors and my cardiologist. They all say it can't be my heart, but I wonder if they are truly missing something and that I could've been having smaller silent heart attacks all the while leading up to a major one. Kind of like the little boy who cried wolf, except with my heart. I bought another round of Nexium to start tomorrow since this pain is making me entirely too anxious hoping that it might work.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm also sorry about the long post. There's more to it, but that's the general synopsis and I know for a fact that everyone in my family is tired of hearing me talk about this. I mean one day I'll feel fine and happy, then the next absolute pain, misery and depression. The thing that scares me is the pain comes and goes as it pleases and doesn't necessarily occur after eating. I feel like I constantly have to crack my back, it it does crack I feel immediate relief, if it doesn't it feels sore for hours.

Also, a note on my blood work. I don't know the exact numbers as I wasn't told, but apparently my cholesterol and lipid profiles are outstanding and nothing wrong there. My blood work comes back perfect everytime. The ony thing that was off one time was my Potassium level was at 3.9 instead of 4 or something like that. I'm also worried that I might have coronary artery disease and that this is what is causing my pain.

Anyways, the only thing that I have officially been diagnosed with is high blood pressure, which is in check from the Atenolol (my BP is usually 130/75 and heart rate is between 60-80). I have also cut out everything. I only drink water (between 8-14 glasses a day), and generally only eat salads, chicken, fruits and vegetables anymore. As a result of this I have lost 30 lbs since this all first started 3 months ago. Still trying to find answers though and any/all help is greatly appreciated! I'm on my senior year of college (majoring in engineering) and I feel like I can't focus on my studies because I'm in constant fear of something dreadful happening. I mean I'm afraid to even be home alone or drive anywhere alone in case something happens and I can't call or get help.

Thank you!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 9/11/2014 1:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds GERD to me since your lab result are normal. We tend to be anxious when acid goes up to the esophagus and results to many anxiety symptoms not related with GERD.

Better check with a gastro doc with endoscope to rule out things (e.g. hernia, gastritis, ulcers). 2 weeks on PPI is very short period. Me, it's 9 months but still have symptoms. A gastro doc can determine how long will you prescribe with PPI/h2 blocker depending on what is the findings,

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/12/2014 2:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi,your post is so hectic,I just like to say you're not alone,I have the exact same symptoms,I had to stop taking ppi's because it was causing maleabsorbtion,and terrible rebound acid attacks,I'm also 22,I also get this gripping pain at the side of my left ribcage,almost all day,unlike you,I'm at the peak of my fitness,this "disease"isn't picky lol,what I suggest,use gaviscon,exercise,stay away from coffee,and spicy foods,eat 6 small meals instead of 3 big ones,I never knew I'd still be able to buff up like that,but it did the same trick.main thing is,your not going to die,even though it feels like you are,mine comes with jaw pains too,heart attack a day I say....but as long as the tests are clear you'll be okay,my cousin has it too,he gets blackouts,so we still lucky.the exercise will help with the anxiety and blood pressure,have faith in your heart,we still young take care!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 2152
   Posted 9/12/2014 10:48 PM (GMT -6)   
It definitely sounds like GERD to me. What I find incredible though is that some doctors don't even know what it is..shocking really, which no doubt added to your anxiety. Your post is long but I think you mentioned you will be seeing your GI soon which should help, and alleviate your stress the meantime the best advice I can give you would be to try to not get too worked up as this is going to make you feel worse, continue to lose weight if you are still heavy, eat small portions, don't drink whilst eating, dont eat anything that is too hot or too cold, and avoid coffee as its a big trigger and elevate your bed between 6 to 8 inches.
Samantha, 45 yrs
Diagnosed. Left sided UC, 8th Feb 2014
Pentasa..2g daily
2 x Ultimate Flora 50 billion probotics, Vit D, and Multi vitamin tab daily.
Stopped smoking Jan 2013.
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