Having heart palpitations, feeling short of breath. Doctors say it's anxiety, what do I do?

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I'm a 19 year old male with no history of any health issues as such. I've been to the doctors multiple times regarding palpitations etc and had around 4 ECG's, all in which came back normal. Eventually I was prescribed sertraline 50mg for anxiety, as they thought it was that. I can't shake the feeling however that there's something wrong and they just haven't picked it up or something, maybe it is health anxiety, maybe not. I get palpitations most days and very often feel short of breath. Any advice? Is the amount of ECGs I've had a good indicator that it's just anxiety?

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  • Posted

    I had some extreme palpitations when I was in college. Never even consulted a doctor about them.  There was no pain, just this thing jumping around in my chest!  It took me ten years to figure it out, but it was triggered by a particular food item - certain spicy foods including curry and Chinese chili sauce.  Which were of course my favorites!  Since then I've asked a dozen doctors if they ever heard of such a thing, and all they do is shrug.

    So, if you can look for an association with a food trigger, well, that's something to try, anyway!

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  • Posted

    ECG will not help in detecting palpitations.You need to do a Holler monitoring.Based on which your cardologist or better an Electro Physiologist may take a decision. I had palpations after angiplasty and put on Cardoron tabs and Palpitations stopped.Now I am on a maintenance dose of cardoron 100 one tab in the morning along with other medications.please check and hope it helps.Take care and God bless you.

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  • Posted

    Maybe you have palpitations, and even if you do, they are nearly always of no concern.

    The NHS over the course of two years failed to detect my palpitations because the wearing of their 24 hour Holter monitor never co-incided with the occasions of my symptoms.

    So I bought my own ecg, a "Prince 180B", that way I could record what was happening when it was happening and then show the results to a doctor. Might well help reassure you to have a doctor see what is occurring with you and to reassure you it is nothing to worry about.

    If you click on the box below you will see an example of mine I took with my little machine whose tracings perfectly match the ones they take in the ambulance.

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  • Posted

    I promise you it is anxiety, I am 71 and have had this for 43 years, my heart checked out fine for years except the palpitations which they weren’t concerned about.
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  • Posted

    I'm a 33 year old female and I kept getting the anxiety 'diagnosis' also...As a psychologist, I'm well aware of anxiety and I'd be the first to know if that's what it was. Firstly, it's not uncommon to feel anxious once you start feeling short of breath or faint and that's the main difference - if you start feeling unwell AFTER an anxiety trigger (for example, if you're about to do something that causes anxiety and you start getting palpitations), then you can put that down to anxiety. However, if your anxiety is triggered AFTER you start feeling unwell, then that's more than likely not an anxiety condition.

    I was finally correctly diagnosed by a specialist cardiologist - I wouldn't waste my time with GPs or emergency departments. Unfortunately, being young means you don't get taken seriously when it comes to cardiac issues but a specialist will at least explore the possible causes.

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    • Posted

      I used to have a responsible job, the palpitations through nerves were dreadful.  I would go home and lie down but it seems once they started they would not stop until I slept.
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  • Posted

    So, yes, there are some heart arrhythmias that are VERY DISTURBING when you have them but are (mostly) "harmless" - you can walk around with them for many years. 

    But they are not "caused by anxiety", they are in some way organic.

    And having a doctor shrug and tell you, "I don't see anything to worry about" is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE DIAGNOSIS, it is not a diagnosis at all.

    But it's pretty common anyway.

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