This is my first ever post. Here goes and please do let me know what you think about my symptoms. It would help me so much!
I am 31 year old British male living in the US for 18months, never had any physical or mental health problems in the past - generally quite fit. Last September (2013), I drank too much Vodka and Red Bull on a night out and had heart palpitations - was a bounding pulse rather than really fast beats. I was concerned about the palpitations but they decreased over a week. After another week, I had my first "incident" - I was working on my laptop and I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out or faint - loads of pressure on my head and a racing heart - with the inability to focus on anything for a few seconds. I walked outside for a few minutes and it felt better. Then the following day, whilst on my laptop, the same thing happened again. Feelings of fainting (blacking out) again but I got up and walked around although it didn't feel a lot better. So I went to the ER, who did a bunch of tests (blood and ECG), but could not find anything wrong (apart from low potassium) - said it may have been heartburn. I felt better after they told me nothing was wrong.
Over the course of the next month, I felt fine and reduced my caffeine intake. No palpitations, exercised fine, and feeling ok. In this time I split up with my girlfriend and was working/traveling a great deal. Then after a plane flight, I had the same incident as before. I was working on a laptop with poor posture in a cafe and the same thing happened. Felt like fainting and racing heartbeats. After this episode, I had really bad tension headaches and was unable to really concentrate. It was frightening. It lasted for two days, and then I had another plane flight back home. This time, I had the same incident on the plane! Felt like I was going to faint, so I had to get up on the plane and walk around but had so much pressure around my head, which got worse every time the plane lowered its altitude.
After this episode, I went to the ER again. They did another bunch of blood tests - nothing. But because of the tension headaches, they did a CT scan of my head - nothing. After leaving hospital this time around, I did not feel the sense of relief as the first time. My headaches were still there and still had a bounding pulse. They referred me to se a GP and a Cardio expert in the hospital. Before I could see them, my wellbeing reduced. I lost a bit of weight (I am already thin) and could see a small reduction in my hairline on my scalp. I also found it difficult to concentrate, which was affecting my work. I had en eye-test - nothing wrong - and a full sexual health test - again nothing wrong.
The cardiologist did a bunch of tests, and had an ultrasound (echo) and 30-day heart monitor, and nothing was found.
In this time, I also went to a chiropractor to sort out my posture (I was hoping anything could help). After three weeks of seeing a chiro and message therapist, I was feeling ok and he suggested I had a tense neck and shoulders - but still found it difficult to concentrate and bounding pulse. I tried to eat well and did not drink alcohol or caffeine, and even started yoga.
I then had to fly back home to the UK for the Christmas holidays. This was ok, but every time I had alcohol, my head felt really bad the next day (worse than a hangover). After a few days back home I went to see a massage therapist who stretched my neck out, but I think hurt my ribs (after all the chiro too!) and had some really bad chest pains after taking deep breaths or laying awkwardly. I thought the worst, and went to the ER. Nothing was wrong (blood tests and ECG), and suggested that I have costochondritis. But generally being home made me feel better.
Then I had to fly back to the US for a conference after New Years Day. The flight was ok (I am not a great flyer generally) but I had swollen feet and there was a rash on my feet (spotted rash on the top of the foot). The rash went after a few days but my feet started to hurt if I stood for a long time, and my legs and arms just started to feel lethargic. I also felt like my lower body half was going numb - although it wasn't. I also could see my pulse in my stomach - I had never seen it before.
Then flying home from the conference, I had the feeling of fainting on the plane - it lasted for around 15mins this time. Like before, every time the plane would lower altitude, my head would feel like it was going to explode. Tension? I don't know, but it was really difficult to concentrate on breathing, and my heart was racing again.
And since then, I feel tired a great deal of the time. If something gets me alerted I am ok, but otherwise I am tried. My GP believes that I have anxiety and panic attacks, and had high-ish blood pressure when I saw him a few days ago - 140over78. GP has suggested that I go on Paroxetine (10mg) and try cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). I am hesitant to go on Paroxetine because of it's mixed reviews (especially of coming off it) and I think my problems are physical and not mental - but I want to do CBT anyway. Maybe that is my problem? My mum and uncle have both suffered from anxiety, but I am not an anxious person although these health conditions have made me worry about my health.
So my current symptoms are:
- generally tired in my limbs (although I would like to exercise), unable to concentrate on work, a bounding pulse, and sweaty feet.
Please do let me know what you think about my issues - any help would be awesome as it is really affecting my life. Thanks!