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Lung problem. Had anxiety disorder, headache, eye strain, tingling sensation and chest pain and acidity. Taking zantac. Suggest?

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Practicing since : 2006
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I'm worried maybe I have some kind of lung or esophagus problem, though I also worry about my heart too. I wonder if anxiety can really be producing the degree of alarming pain I've been getting recently, or if it might be something more serious.

I've had anxiety disorder since September 2011, and since about January 2012 I've noticed increasing amounts of sensitivity with my stomach (I guess heightened anxiety has made my stomach acid activity increase). Around August 2012, I developed chronic eye strain that still hasn't gone away, accompanied by headaches that have slowly gotten worse over time. Even a month away from the computer did not relieve me of eye strain and tension headaches/migraines (constant opthalmic migraine - flickering lights in front of eyes [e.g. streaks of light, kind of looks like little camera flashes from a distant spot], sometimes a tingling sensation on my face).

I've had occasional chest pain prior to the genesis of my anxiety disorder over the past 7 years. Though only in the form of the rare and brief sharp pain in some random section of the chest. Notably after working a job that involves physical labor, or excercise, but sometimes just at a random time. It was very rare, though. At times I tried getting into jogging, but I did not stay committed for periods longer than a 4 or 5 months at a time.

For years, I've noticed that when I get sick, I have a rasping awful sounding cough. Friends have in the past mentioned that it sounds unusual and that I should get it checked out, but I never did. I haven't had a cold in probably 2 years now, but when I do get some irritation that makes me cough, the cough tends to escalate and worsen the irritation. Resisting the cough is the only effective response to it it seems, and it settles out after keeping from coughing for a while. I notice this feeling in my chest at such times, hard to describe it, like a scratchy irritated feeling on the inside, like it's in my esophagus, but in the chest. Drinking water does little to alleviate the cough or the irritation.

I did use marijuana with a friend about 6 or 7 times during the summer of 2011, via a Vaporizer and inhaling from a medium-sized vape bag. The second to last time, we did much more than usual, going through 3 bags worth. I also consumed much alcohol that night. I had an episode of panic after noticing in incredible dryness in my throat and perhaps chest when I swallowed. I tried alleviating this by drinking, but swallowing water and beer both produced much the same effect as swallowing normally. It felt like my throat was lined with a XXXXXXX wire; that's the best way to explain it I think. I felt a fairly brief disturbing discomfort/pain besides this general pain as the swallow went down past a certain point. This led me to feeling trapped, which led to trembling and full-blown panic. 4 weeks later, I tried again, and got the exact same experience right away after just a few hits from vape bag. After this second episode, I quit weed altogether. Besides this, I'd only smoked weed from a bong once a few years before, and from a joint a year prior to that.

I've also smoked cigarettes very occasionally, when offered by friends. I'd only smoke one or two. Maybe a half dozen times a year for a few years, and that was it. It was very rare. My family on my dad's side almost all smoke cigarettes, so I've been exposed to some minor amounts of 2nd hand smoke at the occasional family get-togethers over the years. That's the gist of my tobacco exposure.

I drank frequently from when I was 21 until I had just turned 26. Averaged maybe 2 or 3 six packs of beer a week. Completely quit after November 1, 2011.

While I believe a lot of my chest pain is from anxiety (I've had chest pain, heart palpitaitons, racing heartbeat, countless different sensations and sudden pains of various varieties since almost the beginning of my anxiety problem in 2011), lately I've been having weird symptoms. Well, for a long while, it seems I'll get a sharp chest pain if I press my back against anything for more than a short period of time (e.g. leaning back on my chair, or even just laying on my back or my left side in my bed - as a result I usually mostly lay on my right side). This eases up when I pull off of leaning on the surface.

Also, lately I've been getting a strong whopping sharp pain in the center of my chest (sudden but very brief, it's an instantaneous pain that then quickly fades away. Feels kind of like a knock or two), or just very slightly to the right, while standing, or lately, just as I begin to eat (like after the first bite or two [recent cases involved the first bite or two from eating canned ravioli, and from eating a few cheese flavored chips, and while having just gotten up from my chair, briskly walking to, bending over and sorting through a cabinet]). Not sure what details might be relevant so I may have been overly descriptive here.

I do have lots of stomach acid activity, and am very often getting gas going up my chest and having to burp it out to relieve bloating. Zantac 150 (Ranitidine) helps a little, and some weeks I'll take it few times, though I often go a week or two without taking it.

I work from home behind my computer daily, and rarely leave the house. Perhaps it's just because of going places for a long time on the previous weekends that I notice these heightened symptoms for a few days afterwards.

I weigh 141 lbs.
Height: 5' 7"

Notably, I drink almost exclusively water, with the only variation to this coming in the form of a small amount of milk or juice maybe a few times a month. I quit drinking caffeinated drinks back in Fall of 2011 when I came down with anxiety and panic problems. My eating habits consist of mostly quick convenience foods for lunch (canned spaghetti / ravioli, pizza rolls, french fries and chicken tenders), and either fast food or a cooked meal for supper. I stay up late, so I wound up just snacking at night; I haven't been eating breakfast these past few months.
Posted Sat, 25 May 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Satyadeo Choubey 41 hours later

Thanks for your query.

I went through your complain and it was quiet informative.

Your symptom very much seems to be of anxiety disorder. But before attributing your symptom of chest pain to anxiety, a thorough chest investigation is needed.

Since there is positional aggravation of pain, there may be some localized pathology, may be simple musculoskeletal problem or some local lung problem. I wish if you can go for chest x-ray and if report is suggesting something, a CT scan can be done.

Burning sensation and swallowing problem can be consequence of acid reflux. A Barium swallow and barium meal will help here in diagnosis. You can try omeprazole instead of ranitidine. It will be better to take a traditional meal rather than fast foods.

You must get your eye examined by ophthalmologist for the symptoms. This can be the reason for your migraine like pain and shadows.

Your weight is appropriate for height i.e your body mass index is 22.1 which is in normal range....
I congratulate you for quitting smoking and drinking as both may lead to increased acidity. Here let me make you clear that lung cancer usually occurs if one smoke one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years. So don't worry, whatever you have smoked is less likely to be converted in lung cancer.

Continue with propranolol.

Best wishes.
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