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So worried, boyfriend is possible heart problems ?

My boyfriend is 22 years old and generally in good physical health, however over the past two months or so he has been suffering with some episodes of symptoms he has convinced himself are heart-related. They are: - Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing - Feeling like he s getting palpitations - Pain in chest and sometimes pain in right upper arm and armpit - Lightheadedness and dizziness - Rapid heart rate (I ve felt his pulse racing when he has one of these episodes) He s been to his doctor about it a few weeks ago and was told he is suffering from panic attacks. Trouble is he doesn t experience any feelings of anxiety or panic and the episodes usually occur when he is at rest. He doesn t look like anyone having a panic attack that I have ever seen, and none of the suggestions they gave him for dealing with panic attacks have helped. He has also been to the ER about it, where (I think) they gave him an EKG and that was all normal. I m so worried about him - I know with his age a heart condition is unlikely, but not impossible is it? He thinks he s ****ed himself up due to smoking - he s quit now, but was smoking fairly heavily on and off for the past year or so, and sporadically before that since the age of 16 or so. What are the possibilities here? How can he make his doctor take him seriously and do some more tests to determine the cause of his discomfort? It s beginning to affect him mentally and emotionally as he can t concentrate through worrying, which I think is making it worse. :( Neither of us feel like the doctors can be bothered to find out the true cause.
Asked On : Fri, 18 Dec 2009
Answers:  3 Views:  731
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  User's Response

Hello my husband has all the same symptoms as well but he doesn't smoke or do anything to cause these so called panick attacks. They started when he was 22 and they started to happen when he was laying in bed and not doing anything. Sometimes he would wake me in the middle of the night because these attacks would happen when he was sleeping and his heart would be racing like he was running for a long period of time. Now hes 26 and he still wakes up with these attacks in the middle of the night. It sometimes is triggerd by him eating bad foods or drinking caffine. When he works out and stays really healthy for a while or has less stress in his life they seem to go away for a month or so. But sometimes they happen everyday it seems to be getting worse for him now the heart thumping gets harder and feels like it's hard for him to breath. We have went to the emergency room and cardiogist also a stress test  and they say all the same thing that it is panic attacks. I would like to know how can it be a panic attack if he is not thinking about anything bad or good. His heart seems to want to be give out on him. I don't know what to do this happens to him daily please i would like for someone to help us. Because it's really scarry I don't want something to happen to him?? I keep looking online to see what other people with these symptoms are diagnosed with. Because It could be something really rare....... If you know anything that can help him

Answered: Thu, 14 Jan 2010
  Anonymous's Response

Hello, I'm 21 and have basically the same symptoms as your boyfriend. I've been told I have Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia, which is apparently common in young people who are otherwise healthy. I've been subject to many EKGs that turned out normal as well and thus have had a lot of doctors ignore my concerns until I showed up in the ER recently. My suggestion is for your boyfriend to cut out all caffeine (even some over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine) and IMMEDIATELY make an appointment with a cardiologist who can put your boyfriend on a home heart monitor (usually for a month). That way even if his EKGs are normal at the time, the monitor will be able to catch any arrhythmic patterns. P.A.T. can usually be maintained with a strict diet (no caffeine, no smoking, iron supplements for anemia, light excercise, no artifical sweetners) but there is also surgery availiable if your doctor determines your case is severe enough.

Answered: Mon, 1 Mar 2010
  User's Response
Fortunately --- or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it --- your boyfriend does SEEM to be suffering from panic (or "anxiety") attacks. Many who experience a panic attack, mostly for the first time, fear they are having a heart attack. Here are some common symptoms: # Shortness of breath # Chest pain # Palpitations and/or racing heart # Sweating # Shaking # Heart palpitations # Muscle pains or tingling Panic attacks are the most extreme manifestation of panic disorder, an anxiety response resulting from an over-production and under-use of adrenalin, the bodily chemicals that cause them. When the anxiety reaction has no use for adrenalin, this powerful hormone can create a group of physical reactions which can peak with the formation of a panic attack. However, just to take opposite view: my father had his first heart attack at age 30 and died at 36, so I am sensitive to the possibilities of early heart attack. That MAY be your boyfriend's problem, particularly if he smoked, so you may want to call up a cardiologist and get an appointment. There are a couple of genes for early heart attacks and you could check around in your boyfriend's family (uncles, cousins) to see if anyone else has experienced a heart attack in their 20's. More likely to be panic disorder, which you can read about in abundance on the web. Hope this helps!
Answered: Sat, 19 Dec 2009
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