Worried about Pericarditis...

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 21 female.About 3 months ago, I was diagnosed with Pericarditis. I was prescribed Ibuprofen and eventually colchicine. Weeks passed (I'm sorry, I'm very bad at keeping track of time) and I got an echocardiogram. The cardiologist told me that the pericarditis was gone, I can stop taking the medication, and that I'm safe to return to work (I'm a cashier).Back to work and the pain came back. Chest pain, pain in the collar bone, left arm pain, pain in the left side of neck/jaw, shoulder blade pain (as well as in between), dizzy spells, nausea, migraine/headache, low-grade fever. This would wake me up at night as well. And lately, my pain has been localized in my shoulders. It got so bad that I went back to the ER (and I've been in the ER so many times these passed 3 months). After another round of EKGs, chest xrays, blood work, and echos, the doctor told me that my pericarditis has returned and I am to resume my previous treatment.And so, back to ibuprofen and colchicine. But it doesn't seem to be working this time around. The pain and everything else persists. I think I've been getting palpitations too, like my heart feels like it's bouncing around or something. It just feels... weird.I'm very worried that maybe there's something else going on. It's been months now and nothing seems to be resolving. And my upper back pain is really concerning me... I've heard that this could mean a warning sign for a heart attack, especially in young women. I guess the good thing about all of this is that I have absolutely no troubles with breathing. But... I'm scared, honestly.The nurses at the ER are confident in my otherwise very healthy heart since there's no family history of heart attacks or anything else, and all tests so far have checked out just fine (just the slightly elevated troponin and anemia, but neither spells emergency and troponin level is related to pericarditis). But I'm not satisfied at all. I can't help but think all of this are just warning signs and that I'll just drop dead or never wake up sleep. Or that maybe I've had a heart attack before and this is the result of it.But what a small effusion I have. It's like... 2-4mL or something. Very small. Not constricting in the least. And I find is appalling that it's causing THIS much pain. They also tell me that it looks like it's improving. Well... it doesn't feel like it is at all.I've been feeling very lost. I also have anxiety and depression issues. I've spent most of my days isolated in my room, waiting for the worst to come. I've felt emotionally disconnected from everyone and everything around me.I'm simply freaked out. I have an appointment with my cardiologist in a week, but with each passing day, I wonder if I'm ever going to make it. Right now, my shoulder blades are burning. The pain is continuous, sleeping only helps.There's a heart hospital that I want to go to and I might go to today. Has anybody had pericarditis like this? It just feels waaaay to similar to a potential heart attack. And it never lets up.And sorry if this sounds like a jumbled piece of mess. I didn't get much sleep last night.

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  • Posted


    Anxiety, and, even depression can cause all sorts of pains and strange sensations in almost any part of our bodies.  It seems highly unlikely for someone your age to be having a heart attack, unless, of course you're doing illicit drugs.  I met a young man about your age 20+ years ago while I was rehabilitating in cardiac rehab after 

    a heart attack.  I was 43 at the time, he was about 23.  I asked him what would bring a young man his age to cardiac rehab.  He stated very plainly, " I was doing

    some lines of cocaine".  I said to him, " I hope ;you learned your lesson".  He was

    lucky, he didn't suffer severe damage, mainly because he had  no blockages.  They take years to develop.  He had a vasospasm, which is what can happen when you use "coke".  You can also have these spasms as a result of high blood pressure, which is what caused mine.  Unless you had high blood pressure since you were a small child, that's not likely to be the case.  Stop fretting about some-

    thing that didn't happen, because stress in and of itself can eventually make ;you sick.

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    • Posted

      I'm trying my best to relax. It's just frightening with the constant pain.

      My blood pressure has elevated, to the prehypertensive range, so that's something. It does run in the family. But it also goes down overtime, and for the ER doctors it's probably just anxiety. I do question the vasospasms though, only because of stress.

      No, I don't use any illicit drugs.

      I know it's very rare, but I can't help but think I'm probably part of that tiny percentage...

      But thank you, this really made me feel better.

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  • Posted


    And lastly, pericarditis can make you feel miserable, I had a relative who had that

    years ago when she was in her fifties, she had an uneventful course, except for the

    stents she later had to have placed in her arteries due to her smoking for so many years.  She's still living, and she never had pericarditis again, and she also stopped smoking.  Pericarditis is an equal opportunity illness, it can strike at almost any age.  The good news is, it's never life threatening, and it can be managed.  I wish you the best.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. And I'm happy to hear she's still living and stopped smoking! 

      I've been dealing with pericarditis for months and it just feels like forever. But I feel very hopeful that it'll go away. Thank you.

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  • Posted

    I have had pericarditis, I could only sit up, could not lie down, felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, called ambulance and they transported me to the hospital.

    There I was given voltaren (sorry spelling), an anti-inflammatory, as there was no other reason I had the condition.

    Discharged the following morning, still in pain, I then went to GP, he could not understand why the hospital had not done an x-ray, he had one done straight away, and it only confirmed the pericarditis, or fluid build up between heart and the sack the heart sits in, as I understand it, he gave me more anti-inflammatory tablets.

    Now every time I get even the most mild virus i notice the pain in my right shoulder comes back, I know what to do, go back to the GP, get another x-ray, and more inflammation tablets, I know I have developed an auto-immune condition, arthiritis, but I wonder also if my peri-carditis comes back to some extent, would not be surprised.


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