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What causes severe back aches,stomach issues,heart palpitations and dehydration?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1980
Answered : 1357 Questions
I've consumed alcohol heavily for 3 years. 1. For over a year now I've had pain in my back just under my shoulder blades and extending down to the bottom of my rib cage. More intense and further down on my left, almost like sore ball of muscle just to the left of my spine right above mid back. Like where my left nipple is, but on my back. So I guess just below shoulder blade. These pains aren't really troublesome until I inhale or exhale deeply, arch my back, or lean my torso left or right about 45 degrees. They do not bother me when I drink. The pain almost feels like a muscle when I move my arms up and down. But I doubt it, unless I've had a sore muscle for over a year. Its a dullish pain, only sometimes its almost a burning sensation. On both sides. 2. I have stomach issues. It hurts daily. Eating might make it better or worse, usually better. This sounds weird, but to my knowledge, it makes my face slightly numb on either side daily, mostly my right, and makes either arm feel weak daily. They are not really weak, I still retain full strength, its just a sensation. This sensation almost feels like it leads back to my stomach. But I don't know what could cause it. I receive a pleasant warm sensation in my stomach sometimes also. I've seen a doctor for each. The first said there was a signal problem between my brain and stomach and it could cause the numbness and weakness. I failed to tell him about drinking. He gave me Buproprion XL. Hardly took it because I got to feeling better. Had I told him about drinking, he probably would've said gastritis or something. I did not have back pain at this time. Second doctor tapped on my abdomen and said he couldn't feel any swelling or anything wrong. He contributed it to GI pains, asked me to ease off on alcohol, and not to worry about it. He said the best cure was to quit taking what caused the pain. He also had never heard of my stomach condition before. Don't know what the condition is called, I don't think he ever told me. ... XXXXXXX .. Army doctors. I also wake up feeling really dehydrated at night (sober), at least twice. I keep water by the bed. I get thirsty more easily than I used to. And recently more tired, of course that could be from recently switching to a night shift at work. few weeks ago. Wasn't frequently fatigued before then. I also experience a heart palpitation or 2 almost daily, but this usually happens when I'm tired, hungry, and thirsty. Other than that, I feel great. My body functions normally. No blood in urine or stool. No vomiting, no anything. No abnormalities whatsoever. It just hurts. For over a year. It never really gets any worse, it just stays. Well it probably slowly gets worse, but not fast enough to notice.
Posted Wed, 25 Dec 2013 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 3 hours later
Brief Answer: All Problems are due to chronic alcohol intake Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX Thanks for your query. Firstly, in order to PINPOINT the exact cause of your problems; give you a SOUND professional advice; and, TRUE VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY, may I request you to kindly provide additional information as follows :- * Do you ever have reflux of stomach fluids in your throat/mouth? * Do you get episodes of severe headaches lasting for hours? Nausea or vomiting? * Do you get "pins and needles" in your legs, feet, hands? * Do you ever feel 'off balance" or unsteady? Nevertheless, pending receipt of additional information, all problems appear to be due to chronic alcoholism, which are as follows :-(I'M AFRAID I AGREE WITH YOUR DOCTORS' OPINION):- 1. Chronic esophagitis, leading to persistent spasm of your back muscles. Also, constant strain on chest muscles due to asthma, leads to constant spasm of these muscles. 2. Alcoholic Gastritis with GERD induced esophagitis with associated H.pylori infection of the stomach/duodenum.- which mimics your symptoms in toto. 3. Chronic Pancreatitis or Pancreatic calcification and consequent possible diabetes (which would account for stomach problems; backaches; and, increased thirst (the first symptom of diabetes). 4. Vitamins Deficiency, particularly of Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), Riboflavin and B12 (methylcobalamin), which account for episodic facial numbness and muscle weakness. Investigations advised :- - Ultrasound and MRI of Abdomen for liver, pancreas and spleen. - Endoscopy for visualizing alcohol induced gastritis and biopsy for H.pylori - Blood sugar tests for diabetes - Serum Amylase (for pancreatitis) and liver function tests (for alcoholic liver disease. - EKG and 2-D echo of the heart for cardiac enlargement or impulse-conduction disturbances (alcohol-induced) - Chest X-ray. Treatment advised :- * High protein diet * Supplement of Thiamine 100mg/day + B12 (1500mcg/day) + Pyridoxine * 2 weeks' course of anti-H.pylori therapy along with a Pro-kinetic drug: followed by (from Day 15), daily dose of Proton Pump Inhibitors for 3-6 months. * 4 weeks' course of Probiotics + pancreatic digestive enzymes. * A short course of a combination of anti-inflammatory drug + muscle relaxants to relieve spasm --> pain of back muscles. * LASTLY, STOP ALCOHOL!! (The ultimate therapy). Consult your doctor and apprise him of my opinion. I am certain that he will agree with my opinion; order required tests, and prescribe the advised treatment in appropriate doses. Hope I have addressed to your concerns to your complete satisfaction and you find my response helpful and informative. I will be happy to answer further queries, if any. In any case, I am awaiting additional information as requested. Take care Dr. Rakesh Karanwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes severe back aches,stomach issues,heart palpitations and dehydration? 3 hours later
No to all questions except feeling unbalanced. Although i do have some loss of sensation in my left foot in and around the ankle bone, but i have no idea how long that's been there. My off balance happens only every so often and I cannot recall when it last occurred. Say I have my foot propped up on something. Say a pallet or curb. I'll have to lean back a little bit, just for a second, to keep balance. Like "woooah, ok I'm good" This seldom happens. It's not like I'm walking down a hall way and have to step over my own two feet to keep upright. I've been blood tested for liver function and everything checked out ok. I'm sure they checked for other things too while they were at it. Nothing was ever said. That was XXXXXXX of this year. I was in more pain than I am now. Any slight abdominal or side pain has long since subsided and never returned. He said ab pain was more than likely my stomach at the time. I've had multiple EKGs. All normal. This was quite a while ago when I thought my heart was going insane. They told me it was stress and anxiety. Also, is there anything related to this that would cause one's eye to become slightly, well, less focused I guess than the other? I noticed this the other night while walking through the grocery store. It seemed there was something in my right eye, so I brushed it away and it didn't really go away. It's just slightly out of tune to my left eye. It's not really accompanied by head aches, more like a sinus pressure ache feeling... maybe. Can't really tell. This pressure has only occurred once for a few minutes, but my eye has been constantly out of tune. This symptom is very new. A few days. Or I haven't noticed before.
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 8 hours later
Brief Answer: All problems, except eye problem=due to alcohol Detailed Answer: Hi Mr. XXXXXXX All problems- including numbness, momentary feeling of unbalanced state- are due to consequences of heavy alcohol intake: Vitamins' deficiency, alcohol's effect on the heart, stomach, esophagus, pancreas and the nerve cells. Consult your doctor to enquire if the recommended tests were done. If some of them had not been done, request the doctor to order for them. The eye problem does not seem to be correlated with alcohol, though sudden loss of vision due to heavy drinking is a known entity. Get your vision tested by an optician or ophthalmologist. Lastly, the treatment recommended my me will certainly improve all your problems. I will be happy to answer further queries, if any. Take care, Dr. Rakesh Karanwal
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