I would really value someone’s opinions on whether I am suffering from panic disorder and maybe have this as a safe place to share my struggle. It’s tough to know where to begin. I believe I have suffered from panic attacks since Spring 2012. I was sitting in class and out of nowhere I got dizzy/lightheaded and very nauseous. I went to the bathroom and my legs and arms felt very weak. Then the rapid heart beat began and of course an ambulance ride to the ER. Multiple tests were done, but everything seemed normal. Thereafter I got periodic dizzy spells, but nothing like that night. I went to a therapist and was told I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I know I have a lot of anxiety and stress seems to follow me everywhere, so I just did my best to exercise and read Claire Weekes. My panic really never surfaced again.
Then my life changed once again. about six months ago I was walking at work and out of nowhere my legs felt very weak and I got lightheaded. Then that warm unsettling feeling of weakness took over my body and my heart started to race. I went to the ER where my pulse rate was extremely high as was my blood pressure. They ran all the heart attack tests, which came back normal and I was released. I wore a halter monitor in case it was the heart, which showed some PVC’s, but I did an echocardiogram which came back completely fine.
This past month I have been having chest pains and general GI issues, so I went to the Nurse Practitioner. He started mentioning things like cardiac issues and my anxiety level shot through the roof. I was scheduled for a stress test, which I failed. I should add that I have awful white coat syndrome and my heart rate and blood pressure were already elevated when I began the test. The technician noted that she didn’t see anything that made her want to get the doctor, but alas I failed anyway. The Cardiologist thought it was a false positive and we scheduled a CT scan (Angiogram).
I was feeling pretty good about the false positive belief and the scheduled CTA. I really thought everything would be ruled out. Then, it happened: I had massive panic attack last Saturday. I was talking on the phone about my “heart” tests and how encouraged I was but it happened anyway. It was the same old thing: I felt very weak, especially in the legs, and my body went kinda warm. Then my pulse raced and my blood pressure shot through the roof. I was certain I was going to die from a heart attack and had my fiancé rush me to the ER. At the ER, my first EKG was abnormal but pretty non-specific. The second was about the same as my prior ER visit six months ago. They did a regular CT Scan of the heart which was normal. They kept me overnight and my pulse and BP stayed pretty high, but again my white coat syndrome. As the night progressed my pulse and BP normalized.
The following day I was given a Stress Echo and the results were negative across the board. I actually was on the treadmill over 12 minutes and got my heart rate up to 190. She told me I got to “Stage 5.” I don’t recall any chest pain during the stress test, just nausea. The Cardiologist said she wasn’t worried about my prior positive or the one abnormal EKG. She determined it was not my heart. She even told me to cancel the CTA and look into the GI issues. My chest pains, which extend to the back are pretty chronic and are worse with movement. My GI doctor believes it is ulcers and muscular skeletal issues (I did lift weights prior and do martial arts).
I know this is a long post, but I still have some worries this could be my heart. I know I have been checked out, but the worry is there. I also worry about another panic attack and “what if” it is not really panic. Do my symptoms sound familiar to anyone as being a panic attack? If it is panic I want to get help. I still get the little dizzy spells, especially at work, under stress, or when I think about my health being poor. I am a 35 year old male and I think it’s to say that I have a very high stress level at work. Thank-you so much for reading.