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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Chest tightness, Palpitations, Stong Heartbeat - 22 Female

 Mel - Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:15 am

Well here it is, 345 am and I'm like a vigilante. I am 22 years old female, just graduated in december and am in the crazy job search mode so a lot of anxiety. I am healthy, do not drink caffeine (anymore, quite a month ago), eat very healthy, no smoking, rare drinking.
I am writing this post because I am having strange chest problems that have been accumulating over the last few weeks. For the last month and a half I have been having heart palpitations--meaning my heart will start to race when I'm just sitting or even sleeping. I began to take magnesium tablets and drink more electrolytes (pedialyte even!) and they slowed down. However, I have noticed over the last several months that my heart rate in general is up. At the gym, when I check my heart rate on the machine during workout, it shows a rate 10 or even 20 beats per minute higher than say last year. I feel as though I can feel my heart beat all over my body and the chest beat seems very loud 24 hours a day.

I have grown very concerned over the last week because I've been having major chest tightness around the breastbone. It is NEVER sharp, just constant, dull and centered. I feel as though my hands are shaky sometimes although they never look to be shaking. This tightness is driving me crazy! I have also developed a cough that originates within my chest, low in the throat. I do have to mention that I had laryngitis last week relapsing from a cold the week before after yelling too much at a sports meet. I also should mention that I think my esophageal sphincter is not working perfectly as I burp up food and liquid quite often. I do eat small portions, never overeat. Especially not lately with this tightness in my chest. Very slight tingling has just started today in my upper back and chest, but I did lift weights today and sometimes it happens right after (althought that was 15 hours ago). I almost don't notice it at all. My temperature is normal.

Since graduation, I have had a lot of anxiety. I stopped taking yoga classes but I work out 5-6 days a week (1 hour cardio, 30-45 min weights 4xs per week), my boyfriend of 3 years just left for 6 months and the job search is so incredibly frustrating. I think I freaked out tonight because I just got rejected for individual health insurance (school insurance ran out) so I need to wait until a job comes through to get back on insurance. My "pre-existing condition" that I was rejected for is a knee problem, go figure. I have to stress that I don't think that this is anxiety-induced discomfort. I have been under more stress in the past and have never felt any of these conditions. in fact, this is the only night i've been up like this for a month and it's because i'm stressed about the insurance and so i worry about my condition even more which makes it worse! the constant increased heart rate is what is really bothering me although this chest discomfort is quickly becoming a contender. My mother says she'll pay out of pocket for me to go talk to a doctor but it's way too expensive to get a million tests done without insurance.

Before I forget, after and during workout I feel better than normal. the palpitations are not workout induced either.

So to recap---chest tightness, heart palpitations (reduced with magnesium), overall increased heart rate, cough (worsening), acid reflux, excessively cold hands and feet (more than normal for my already cold extremities). I also had a lot of jaw pain before any of this began from bruxism--that has totally gone away.

I don't know if this is heart failure, a MVP, GERD or a chest infection. or a combo or none. It is NOT anxiety, my anxiety is only making my symptoms worse, not causing them. Thanks in advance for your help. I really do hope someone else has experienced this sort of thing because I feel like I'm losing my mind or dying sometimes!

 Mel - Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:24 am

Me again...

I forgot to mention I have shortness of breath, it feels as though my air passage is a bit constricted--kind of left over from the laryngitis.

 norby - Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:00 am

I'm not part of this board nor am I qualified meidcally in any way but.... you sound like me so I thought I'd share my experience.

Everything you explained I have too although I'm male and I'm 41. I do suffer mild anxiety but what is causing my smptoms (shortness of breath, palipations, chest tightness etc) are due to my reflux which I think is caused by my anxiety.

I worried so much I had so many tests, angiograms etc and I still live with the symptoms and some times they are bad but I know now they are reflux or digestive related.

It's scarey I know. Anyway don't replace my experience with propoer professional help.

You are not alone!
 Mel - Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:27 pm

Thanks for your insight Norby-

I just went and paid out of pocket for a checkup. She listened to my heart and performed an EKG (she felt so bad about the insurance co. rejecting me about my knee that she did not charge me for the EKG, what a great person!). Diagnosis: normal. no murmur, no strange clicking, no enlarged heart or fluid in the lungs. I was so scared that my blood pressure went up to 150/80 but when she checked again at the end of the appointment it was 110/67 (low bp runs in the family). I think anxiety is causing these problems but I have been noticing that reflux after eating aggravates my chest pain. She gave me some beta blocker samples which are helping immensely to keep my heartbeat under control. I'm gonna take those for two weeks then phase them out. I do need to get me acid reflux looked at thoough. Norby, thank you again for calming me down. If anyone else is having this same experience please let me know.

 norby - Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:13 am

Mel, No problem. I think you did the right thing and now you know and don't need to spend time worrying about it. Here I am giving advice 'casue I always worry about it.

Beta blockers! That seems a bit dramatic. That'll slow your heart rate and drop your blood pressure so watch out for symptoms. I took them for Hypertension some time back and I needed to get of them because they made me so drowsy.

Anyay, best of luck. Great to hear you are OK.

I turned to natural remedy's to help with my Anxiety. Check out "St John's Wort" and some Bach Flower Remedies. They work for me. Just Google both of them

 gr1701 - Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:06 am

Mel -
You are describing something which I have had for about a year now. It is very disconcerting. I am a guy, 24.

I have put a post up earlier with more details but around Feb/March last year I had the same symptoms as you with occasional shortness of breath and an ache accross my chest. Then in April I had one night when it became very painful, not really acute but a strong pain accross my chest and difficulty breathing. I nearly called an ambulance but toughed it out with some painkillers and went to doctor next day (a tip I got was to keep you head raised, particulaly in bed - I now use three pillows!).

Anyway, I was referred to a cardiologist and I had a trace which showed up okay apart from one little bit. So I had a ECG (Echo) and it shoed my Paracardium was enflamed (Paracardium is a muscle with protects the heart) and it had been pressing on my heart stopping it beating properly. This was caused by a viral infection.

As you say you have had a couple of infections it may be this has spread. My doc just said rest for a few weeks and then I went back and he told me to get back exercising, slowly at first. So I now walk a couple of miles every night and I feel better for it. (I am not overweight)

I suggest you see your doctor and get an ecg and echo - it could be something similar.

Hope this is of some help,
Gareth, UK
 blooeyedgirl - Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:25 am

I am 33 and unfortunately I am a big on-line diagnoser. This does my anxiety no good at all! lol I have tried to find out what is wrong with me and in three of four different searches, Mel, your post came up.
Lately I have had wicked chest pain just behind my breastbone, shortness of breath my hands and feet are cold.Seems that my heart is going to beat out of my chest and it seems I am gulping for air at times. It almost feels like my arms are going numb. That could be stress though.

Went to the walk in clinic yesterday because I could take it no more. I swore I was on the verge of a heart attack and the anxiety was making everything worse. He asked me all kinds of questions and seemed stumped. My bp was perfect, as always 120/80 but he decided to do a ekg which came up perfect too. Finally he had me chew and swallow (ugh) 8 Galvascon. I seemed to be a bit better after that.
We are still not sure what's wrong with me. Woke up this morning not feeling much different. He said that if it keeps up I will have to take a stress test and an xray. I find that scarey!
Your post was from ages ago, have you found out anything more?
 daisydove82 - Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:21 pm

I am new to this site and the posts about heart palptations caught my attention. I have them severely and my tests have all come back negative. Doctors say not to worry but I feel like my heart is literally going to pop. If it isn't racing, it is skipping beats very heavily and ofcoarse I run short of breath. Daytime, night time, makes no difference. I have no insurance so I can't see a doctor and am wondering if there is any over the counter treatment or some kindof therapy I can try that anyone knows of. I am 24, female and have been having these harsh palptations for about 3-4 years, everyday, no matter food and excercise habits. I smoke 6-10 cigarettes a day and drink once in a blue moon. When these occur, I get so freaked out even after all this time and I cry which I'm sure makes them worse as they happen. I just always wonder, "Is this it this time? Is my heart going to finally explode? What if I have a heart attack and no one is around to help me?" Any thoughts, advice, or comfort is tremendously appreciated.
 kye73r - Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:43 pm

Hi I am new to this site WOW!!! didn't realise how many people suffer from these problems, so I am not alone.
I am 31yrs old and was diagnosed with SVT about 8yrs ago now my heart can go from 80 beats a min up to 240 in just a couple of seconds just from doing housework, excercise or just watching tv I also have ectopic beats which are missed heart beats I get these everyday and it is so annoying I am seeing a cardiologist he says I have an electrical fault in the heart and he recommends having the Electro Study done where they burn off the electrical path that causes the palpitations and Ectopic Beats I was wondering if anyone out there has had this done and did it fix the problem?
I am taking Oxyprenolol which is a beta blocker and having medication to calm down my anxiety as this condition makes me get anxiety so bad somedays you really feel like your going to die it just makes you feel awful.

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