I'm new to the forum and wanted to post my HA/heart panic story... it's a bit long and crazy though. The whole thing started 3 months ago when I had a brace fitted on my teeth. I'd wanted one for years and was so happy to finally get it. But a few days after the fitting, I got a pain in my chest. I'd done some heavy lifting so thought it was probably related to that, but when it didn't go away I visited the nurse practitioner at my local GP surgery, and she told me it was probably indigestion - she suggested it was caused by my not being able to chew food thoroughly enough due to the new brace. When I got home I made the mistake of googling "indigestion dental brace"... and found articles about a teenage girl who had been to the doctor with chest pain and been told it was indigestion, but it later turned out to be heart failure due to endocarditis contracted during a brace-fitting!!
That's when all the panic started. I live in the middle of the countryside, a long way from the nearest hospital, and over the next few days I was terrified I was going to have a heart attack and/or have to have heart surgery. I kept taking my temperature, which was often slightly raised, and in the end I had a panic attack and my mum called an ambulance and I got taken to hospital (my pulse rate was 131 - it's apparently meant to be between 60 and 80!). At the hospital they did blood tests and an ECG, and told me I didn't have an infection, and the chest pain was probably just costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage around the breastbone - which could be caused by the heavy lifting).
I went home and after a few days the pain went away... however I had become fixated on my brace and my health, and when my gum became inflamed a few days later I rushed to my dentist, and wasn't very reassured when he said he'd never seen anything like it before. He took part of my brace off, and said something like "well, we know it's not an allergy to the metal as the other side's not the same". That put into my head the possibility that I might have an allergic reaction to the metal/glue, and I became obsessed with the idea that my throat was going to swell up and suffocate me. I developed blisters in my throat (isn't it weird how you can develop symptoms just by worrying about them?) which my doctor gave me some antibiotics for, but I was too scared to take the antibiotics in case I had an allergic reaction to them. It was around this time that I started having severe panic attacks - I felt trapped. Anyway, the results came back that there wasn't an infection in my throat - which the Dr said meant it was a viral thing - so I didn't have to take the antibiotics after all, but I still worried obsessively about it being an allergy. I kept thinking I could feel my throat constricting. In the end I went to my dentist and had the braces removed after only 2 months of wearing them (I was meant to have them for a year).
So I was left with crooked teeth but at least I felt better... for a few days. And then the chest pain returned. I also started getting pain in my left shoulder and arm, which freaked me out. My heart would race, I'd have at least one panic attack every day, and would wake in the night screaming in terror, my heart pounding for no apparent reason. I had blood tests (which just picked up that my body had recently fought a virus) and had a heart monitor fitted for 24 hours but it didn't pick up anything worrying - just several ectopic beats and that my heart would sometimes beat very fast. My doctor told me my heartbeat was nice and regular and it was all just stress, and she referred me for CBT. I have a lovely counselor who is good to talk to... but the anxiety and stress are still very much there. I've been prescribed Citalopram for anxiety but am too scared to take it.
I now not only get chest pain, I also get horrible palpitations which scare me. I have a fairly constant stomach pain (always down the right side of my stomach) and terrible acid reflux - in the evenings I'll be bringing up acid into my throat/mouth every couple of minutes. My doctor tells me to take Gaviscon but I'm scared of having a reaction to it. The acid reflux has been there for months but has got a lot worse recently. I also have a persistent cough and often get a feeling of pressure at the base of my throat. I sometimes feel sick. I've avoided exercise for ages, and sometimes think the pain gets worse/ I get out of breath if I run or walk upstairs, but my counselor thinks this is just my anxiety. I googled "cough and indigestion" to see if they are related, and found something about them being symptoms of a heart problem! I'm not worried about the endocarditis any more (although I do currently have a cold...), but I'm scared that I could have given myself a heart problem just from worrying about it so much!!! It's quite well-known that long-term stress can cause heart-attacks (though maybe not usually in 24-year-old women?).
On top of the heart panic, I keep worrying about other, less urgent things... I worry that the stomach pain/acid reflux might be a sign of stomach cancer (when I saw my Dr about it she felt my stomach and seemed more concerned than I'd expected, which freaked me out)... I keep getting a headache in exactly the same spot, and worry that that is a brain tumour (which could also explain why my personality's changed so much lately and I've become so anxious and withdrawn?)... I worry that the pressure in my throat is thyroid cancer... I worry that I have breast cancer or lung cancer... I've stopped taking my contraceptive pill (which I've been on for 5 years) in case I get a reaction/blood clot/stroke. It's completely taken over my whole life! I won't even eat peanuts or shellfish any more in case I've developed an allergy to them, and am really paranoid about being bitten by a type of poisonous spider that's been discovered in my area. I did feel better for a week or so, and thought I was over it all, but now it's back again and I had a really bad panic attack this evening. My family are getting so stressed out by it, they keep telling me I'm fine and need to focus on other things, and I hate making them miserable... but I'm so convinced that I'm dying! I feel sad whenever anyone talks about the future because I think I won't be there, and I get very upset if I ever hear about a young person dying on the news. Some days I feel so depressed I can hardly get out of bed. I've been to the doctor so many times I think they don't take me seriously any more, and on top of it all my hair is falling out. Even now, typing this, I feel a lump/pressure in my throat, and am desperately trying to think if I might have accidentally consumed something that I might be allergic to.
Soooo, that's my story so far! I hope some of you can relate to it and don't think it's too crazy... sorry it's so long. Please don't reply suggesting illnesses that I might have - I'm trying to convince myself my symptoms are all due to stress/anxiety! I haven't read through this thread as I know I will get nervous reading about other people's symptoms and will then start getting them myself, but I hope my story might help those in a similar situation. I'm fed up with all of this and just want to he healthy and happy and positive again! I'm really really hoping/aiming to be better by Christmas