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Hi everyone. I'm a 27 y/o male. For about the past year, I've had acid reflux that has progressively gotten worse to the point where I'll have extreme heartburn, indigestion, and regurge. It's so bad I can't fall asleep. I've taken every OTC heartburn medication but nothing lasts long enough or is strong enough to stop my symptoms. I started taking prilosec OTC almost a year ago and that has worked the best for me but sometimes I still have to supplement with antacids for immediate relief. About 6 months ago, my resting heart rate started to increase to around 100 BPM, I would get out of breath quickly just going up the stairs, and I was getting chest pains and occasional palpitations. I was also getting a tightness feeling in my throat, a crushing pressure feeling on my chest, and I was feeling like I might die.
My family doctor did an EKG and sent me for an echo, both of which came back completely normal. He diagnosed me with anxiety and he referred me to a GI doctor to get the reflux symptoms checked out. He also prescribed me propranolol (a beta blocker) to treat the cardiac symptoms and prescription prilosec. The GI doctor wants me to have an upper endoscopy done (I'm having it done this Monday) especially since my grandfather has Barrett's esophagus.
I still get indigestion and regurge almost daily but no heartburn. I've been avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals. I've also elevated the head of my bed so I can sleep easier. My chest pains are now occuring almost daily and I often have the tightness feeling in my throat. The chest pains are usually dull but can occasionally be sharp and only last a few seconds to a couple minutes and they come and go throughout the day. However, they occur more at night. I'm suspecting it's Non-Cardiac Chest Pain (NCCP) caused by GERD. It's very hard to ignore chest pain when it happens because I constantly think what if this is a heart attack? But I don't get any other heart attack symptoms at the same time and they usually go away.
I'm also experiencing a strange pressure feeling in my chest and in my throat when I lie down on my left side or if I put pressure on my upper back when lying down. I typically sleep on my right side now. I also get extremely annoying palpitations almost every night when I go to sleep. I can feel my heart pounding when I'm lying down so now I usually prop myself up on 3 or 4 pillows so I'm almost sitting up and that usually alleviates the feeling. Also, as I start to fall asleep, I'll feel a horrible jolting, rushing feeling in my stomach and it wakes me up immediately and I take a big gasp of air. It usually happens once or twice a night but sometimes it'll happen several times as I'm trying to fall asleep. It's a very scary feeling and it can set off a panic attack, which keeps me up. Some nights I just stay up for hours with chest pains and palpitations and every time I try to fall asleep, I get that weird jolting feeling. I'll eventually become so exhausted I fall asleep. Sometimes I'll wake up in the morning and feel like I'm going to faint so I'll sit in bed until it passes.
I'm hoping the upper endoscopy doesn't reveal anything abnormal. I'm seeing my family doctor next week for an update (I see him every 3 months) and I'm going to tell him how much worse my symptoms have gotten. I feel like I'm going to die at any moment because of these strange cardiac symptoms. When all of these symptoms start happening, I'll have a sense of impending doom (classic anxiety symptom) and I'll have to distract myself and calm myself down. I'm not sure if the GERD causes the anxiety/cardiac symptoms or if it's a combination of GERD and anxiety. I just need some relief.
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