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How are GERD and panic attacks treated ?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
HI My questions are around not feeling well for some time - headaches, constant pain under right arm near the pit, light headedness, indigestion, numbness in arms and fingers, heart compression, depression and feeling panicky, slight shortness of breath: had stress test, blood tests for organ health, hormones checked, urinalysis, stools looked at for parasites, cat scan of head and right arm area, mammogram. All really good. NP suggests celexa, but I do not think my anxiety is driving symptoms but more a result of feeling afraid of everything I am experiencing. I am 49 do not smoke am not overweight, exercise regularly and eat very well. Where do I go from here? I really need help! Thank you,
Posted Wed, 2 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 4 hours later

Thanks for posting your query. An important point in your history is your perimenopausal age and that your stress test and other tests have come out normal. This rules out any cardiac disease.

Three important possibilities for your symptoms are :

1)     The pain under arms, numbness in arms and fingers and light headedness can be due to spinal causes like spinal stenosis or spinal compression which is effecting the cervical/ thoracic spine and causing these symptoms. It can be due to pinched nerves in the spine which may be causing all these symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis you need to get a MRI spine and NCV (nerve conduction velocity) test done from a physician.

2)     The second possibility is of anxiety and panic attacks because most of your blood tests and hearts test are normal. Panic attack is a response of the sympathetic nervous system and is characterized by trembling, dyspnea (shortness of breath), heart palpitations, chest pain (or chest tightness), hot flashes, feeling of warmth, numbness and sweating.

3)     The third possibility for heart compression and indigestion could be because of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them, chocolate or spicy or greasy foods and instead take cold foods preferably liquids like milk and yoghurt. It also might help to avoid eating or drinking for two hours before you lie down. You may also need antacids and proton pump inhibitor drugs for controlling the stomach acid.
I suggest you to consult a physician and get evaluated for these three possibilities and get these tests done.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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