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Anxiety attacks. Waking up in panic and tachycardia. Why is nose congested? Do I have asthma?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1835 Questions
Hello there,

My name is XXXXXXX I'm 23 years old. And I currently live in Japan.
It all started this February 2012 at the end of the month. I started feeling unwell.
I was diagnosed with panic/anxiety since I was a teenager (15-16).
I used to have anxiety attacks during my life but I overcome them somehow.(without medication).
As for my 'being unwell' sensation I asked for help from Japanese doctors here.
I run numerous tests including 1 Brain MRI, 1 Chest x-ray, 2 blood tests, Sinus X-ray,Thyroid test,Allergy tests..everything came back normal etc.
My symptoms are that I cannot take a satisfying breath everyday.
EVERYDAY I'm waking up in a panic state and tachycardia. My hearts beats a bit faster and maybe sometimes I'm a bit sweating. My bowels are moving quite a lot lately , I can hear sounds all the time coming from my stomach, intensils...and sometimes on my left lung (I don't know if it sounds crazy but that's where I actually fill it.
I've changed 2-3 doctors and they all said I'm healthy I just need to take time.
I went to a Physcologist who diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and he prescribed me with Zoloft 25mg and some other smaller pills to drink when I have panic attacks.
I really don't know what to do as when I wake up and before going to sleep is a living hell.
I'm little bit of a hypochondriac but if it was my normal anxiety that kicks in sometimes a year then it should have been gone in 2-3 weeks maximum. It's been more than 2 months!
I'm sick and tired of it. Sometimes I really feel I'm gonna pass out and I never really do.
I've tried to be diagnosed with sinusitis as when I'm waking up my nose is so congested! I cannot even breath from my nose.!
I have a slight muscle tightness everyday on my back and shoulders.
I also have a dry cough right now and it feels like there's a gentle heaviness on my abdominal area.
(I can also see my pulse in stomach when I lay down) I don't know if this is normal?)
I'm not crazy but I've tried almost everything , even allergy tests.
My brain is a little confused lately upon stuff. My concentration level is low.
The only part of my body i didn't really check is my stomach and intensils.
Do you reccomend to take a full body MRI to take me out of worry?

Is it possible that I have Asthma? or allergy to something specific..
I also recorded myself when I sleep at night and I grind my teeth and make some sounds..
I don't know if I have sleep apnea or something.

If you can guide me Doctor I would be really thankfull.!!!
I'm a scholarship student and this 'illness' is keeping away from going to school and having bad attendance.I can't afford to loose my they gonna send me back to my country :(
I'm also very scared of having something bad illness and then have to suffer or go undiagnosed and just die a sudden death..I know it sounds selfish but I cherish my life that's why i'm doing this all.
I was completely fine before February..I don't know whats happening recently.

Please help me.
Thanks a lot again
Posted Fri, 8 Jun 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 15 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

As your several investigations are normal, then there is no need to worry about any severe illness.

From your description it appear that you are having anxiety and panic disorder as diagnosed in past also. Severity of anxiety may vary time to time. In these disorder tests are usually negative which creates diagnostic problem for physician.

First thing in your case that you have to realize that you have anxiety disorder. It is severe and many time drug treatment become necessary apart from self control. There is no benefit to XXXXXXX different physician without treatment of anxiety. Concurrently you can XXXXXXX chest physician to rule out asthma which appear less likely to me.

Other symptoms of anxiety which may or may not be present in your case: nervousness, breathing difficulty (choking sensation), restlessness, mild irritability, excessive worry regarding own health, tremor, muscle spasm, heaviness in body, easy fatigability, headache, dizziness, poor concentration (lead to difficulty in focus), sleep disturbance, palpitation and dry mouth.

Anxiety occur due to neurotransmitters imbalance in brain most commonly involving serotonin neurotransmitter. You may need treatment with psychiatrist to treat your anxiety. It is not clear if you received any treatment in past, but believe me people life changes after treatment.

In drug treatment two types of medicine used. For immediate relief of anxiety benzodiazepines group of medicines are used and for long term relief most commonly SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Like zoloft) are used. SSRI takes around 3-4 weeks to show its effect. Non drug treatment like cognitive behaviour therapy (form of psychotherapy) also takes weeks to show its effect.

All these process is complex. I have just simplified it to make you understand it. Although I understand that you are suffering, but you may have to keep patience for 3-4 weeks for full improvement. So, visit to psychiatrist ASAP will help you.

Apart from above advice following simple measures will help you to some extent:
-Decrease worrying about symptoms as they will cure after treatment.
-Healthy diet: Milk and fruits in diet.
-Daily morning walk and breathing exercise.

Please accept my answer in case there are no further queries and recommend our services to your friends too if you have found it helpful.

Wish you good health.
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