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Have heart burns, strange sensation in chest. Stressed. Potentially harmful or harmless?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1835 Questions
I have gotten heartburn infrequently since I was a teenager. A few days ago I had slight heartburn right after eating dinner and laying down. Since then I have been worried it might be more than heartburn. I have had strange sensations in my chest on the left side. They are painless and last for one-three seconds. Sometimes hours go by without feeling them sometimes minutes. Again no pain just kind of a sensation or spasm. A part of my feels it might be my imagination or anxiety as I have been more stressed about this lately. The only other symptom I have had is increased stomach noises, but no pain. I haven't had any trouble working out or exercising. The sensation is painless and localized, I can usually pinpoint exactly where I felt it, always on the left side near my nipple. I typically get very anxious about having potential medical issues though it always turns out to be something harmless. I am 25 overweight, but have recently begun to lose weight and eat healthy. I have normal blood pressure and no longterm medical issues.
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 1 hour later
Thanks for your query.

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

Important aspects of your query are:
•     25 year old male
•     Complaints of anxiety, palpitation (chest discomfort), spasm and excessive health worry.
•     Normal examination and investigation

I suspect anxiety disorder in your case. In anxiety attack patient develops severe anxiety with palpitation, restlessness and fear of some serious illness. After attack patient frequently visit physician usually because of fear of heart disease.

Common symptoms of anxiety: anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, mild irritability, excessive worry regarding own wellbeing, tremor, muscle spasm like tightness of chest, heaviness in body, easy fatigability, palpitation, sleep difficulty and dry mouth. Many of your complaints are matching with these symptoms.

Anxiety is associated with excessive worry related to health. If anxiety is severe then worry does not removed only by reassurance or negative investigation. You already mention about negative investigations. So if your physician does not want to investigate further then it is better to follow him and get investigated and treated for anxiety.

Same time you may need treatment with psychiatrist to treat your anxiety. For treatment cognitive behaviour therapy and drug therapy are used.

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) are used. SSRI takes around 3-4 weeks to show its effect and cognitive behaviour therapy also takes weeks to show its effect.

Apart from that weight reduction and regular aerobic exercise also help in anxiety reduction.

In last do not worry much as very effective treatment is available for your condition.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
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