Is this a heart problem, or an "anxiety" problem?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hello, I've been struggling with health problems for up to a year now and I haven't been able to find any relief.

I'm a 26 year old male that used to be quite active (bit of a gym nut lol) but since these symptoms started have been unable to support my usual activities

My symptoms are as follows:

  • Shortness of breath (+chest crushing/choking sensation) that worsens with exertion, or bending over
  • Chest pains
  • Palpitations
  • Hand twitching/shaking, leading to difficulty writing/drawing
  • eyelid twitching
  • balance difficulties

I've had some tests done since then including:

  • Treadmill Stress Test (normal)
  • Echocardiogram (problematic)
  • MUGA (normal)
  • Nuclear MRI of the heart (normal)

The Echo showed that my ejection fraction was less than 45 percent which concerned my cardiologist. He also noted that I presented symptoms of "angina" and raynaud's, which lead him to believe that my heart was, indeed, suffering from cardiomyopathy. This quickly followed with the MUGA and nuclear MRI. Ultimately these tests showed nothing all that concerning and my ejection fraction was roughly 55-58 percent. I won't be getting a follow-up until April so I'm assuming that that's the end of his investigating. Everything is fine, I guess.

This has lead my GP to believe that I've been suffering from some sort of generalized anxiety disorder. Another doctor suggested that I'm suffering from nutritional deficiency (I lost my colon to ulcerative colitis in my early twenties). I'm not entirely sure if I buy into any of this, but at this point I'm willing to do anything to fix this.

If anyone here can give me some advice I'd be thankful. Does any of this raise redflags, or should I stop being a neurotic millennial and just take the anti-anxiety drugs?

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  • Posted

    Have you seen a neurologist? The fact you are having balance difficulties, twitching and shaking as well as breathing issues would make me think that is something you may need to do. If you are concerned with the diagnosis, ask for a second opinion, you are well within your rights. Just a thought, could the chest pain and breathing issues be lung related?

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    • Posted

      I thought the same and I was referred to a neuro a while back since my GP thought I was presenting some telltale symptoms of MS. I had an MRI of my brain done and apparently it was pretty normal. While he noted that all my symptoms were "real" that's as far as my testing went.

      In regards to my lungs I briefly saw a pulmonologist (since I do have asthma) and there wasn't anything wrong there either. Very strange.

      I live in a pretty remote part of Canada so I'm not sure if I can get a second opinion anywhere else, but I've had more people leaning me towards a neuro problem than anything else. I'll try to focus on that, I suppose.

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    • Posted

      do you take any medications? Certain meds can have bad side effects which can give chest pain or even twitching, some side effects I have had from tablets I have taken aren't always listed on the information sheet. For example I take acid reflux tablets and they make me jaw swing and grind my teeth and I was on blood thinners which gave me serious anxiety and crushing chest pain, neither were listed as possible side effects.

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  • Posted

    You seem to have a lot of symptoms, they probably are different diseases in the cardiologist eyes so he's having difficulty in putting them all together and diagnosing cardiomyopathy. I think that the GP diagnosed stress because he has no other answer. Do you feel stressed, apart from worrying about your symptoms that is, maybe try taking the tablets for anxiety they will probably help at the moment, but don't take them for too long just a couple of weeks otherwise you will have a new problem trying to come off them.

    I recently had heart problems and was diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and when I'm tired if I'm writing etc my hand will twitch, I never had this before my condition was diagnosed, although I'm not saying that this is what you have because you don't, but maybe it could be the cardiomyopathy link ? I hope that they have some answers for you in April, write down any questions that you have and take it with you. Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.

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  • Posted

    These are anxiety symptoms. You need help with your anxiety, the first step is to see your primary care doctor, they can provide you with an appropriate treatment plan to help alleviate your anxiety.

    Your doctor will refer you to a mental health specialist if they determine your anxiety is not the result of any underlying health condition. The mental health specialists you will be referred to include a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

    A psychiatrist is a licensed doctor who is trained to diagnose and treat mental health conditions, and can prescribe medications, among other treatments. A psychologist is a mental health professional who can diagnose and treat mental health conditions through counseling only, not medication.

    Ask your doctor for the names of several mental health providers covered by your insurance plan. It is important to find a mental health provider you like and trust. It may take meeting with a few for you to find the provider that is right for you.

    To help diagnose an anxiety disorder, your mental health-care provider will give you a psychological evaluation during your first therapy session. This involves sitting down one-on-one with your mental health-care provider. They will ask you to describe your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.

    They may also compare your symptoms to the criteria for anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) to help arrive at a diagnosis.

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