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Having anxiety, left arm pain and heart beat. ECG normal. Having pain in shoulder. Take Topiramate for seizures. Suggest

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I am completely worried about heart attack. I have been feeling awful for over a month now. even though I have received an answer that said my issue was most likely not cardiac related, I am still worried because of what I am feeling.
Anxiety, Left arm pain (whole arm-numbness in fingers, tingling), rapid heart beat occasionally, upset stomach, right arm pain (occasionally), feeling run down,.. sometimes chills and sometimes feeling very shaky. I went to see a doctor and he did an EKG (ECG??) the short electro-test with the sticky pads (ten pads) and it was normal. He also did three blood tests, and were all normal. I do have limited range of motion when lifting my left arm. I feel pain in my shoulder, that seems to improve for a short time with a massage. I have recently had some sleep disturbances. Feeling so bad that I am awake at 3 am trying to calm down. Is there any way that I can tell that what I am experiencing is not a heart attack? I am a 34 year old woman, non-smoker, non-drinker, no drug use. I am so worried, that I am making the situation worse. I have been feeling this for a month. I take Topiramate for seizures 300 mg per day. no family history for premature death. *I am a full time college student, and work full time in an office. On a computer, typing (might cause the arm pain??)
Posted Tue, 2 Jul 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later

Thank you for this query.

I feel honored having this opportunity to address your health worries today. I am so sorry about what you have been experiencing.

I am Dr. Ditah and would be helping you out with this today.

I understand your worries. I have had many patients who keep thinking they have issues with the heart despite evidence that it is not. The symptoms you have reported don't point exactly to a heart disease. They could be explained by a lot of different things like panic attacks, anxiety disorder, stress etc. The mere fact that you can't get over the worries of having a heart attack will even make them worse and more pronounced.

Symptoms like these cannot be interpreted in relation to a heart disease without first evaluating your cardiovascular risk factors. From the information you have provided, your current risk for having a heart attack is very very low(Non smoker, no drugs, very active, no family history of heart attack, no high cholesterol, no diabetes, no hypertension etc). It will be a rare occurrence to see you go down with one. Your 10years risk of having a heart attack is less than 1%. You may also calculate it here at


Back to the symptoms, a pain related to the heart does not affect range of motion. It will not also respond to massage. This is more of a musculo-skeletal pain that may be explained by your office duties as you rightly suggested. Heart pain will come on each time you do some physical activity, mostly located in the chest and will be relieved by rest. This is not what you are experiencing and makes the idea of a heart attack less likely.

Also, you have done some basic tests which offer you more reassurance that there is nothing wrong with the heart. I think you should be able to tell yourself you are okay.

Being a full time student and working full time can be overwhelming. This alone can explain most of the symptoms you feel. Most of these symptoms also raise the suspicion of panic attacks. Also, the sleep disturbances can be explained by this same fear you have and the workload.

I hope these explanations help you forget the fearful and troubling thought of you having a heart attack. This alone will greatly improve your health and symptoms.

I wish you good health.

Please, feel free to return and ask for more information or questions if need be.

Dr. Chobufo, MD.
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