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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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i am loosing my mind or is their something really wrong?

Resolved Question:

Hot flashes, twinges of chest pain on the left side, heart flutters,limbs feel swollen but no apparent swelling, and a cough. I was diagnosed six months ago with anxiety and depression i have been on meds for both. i also had a vitamin d defincency i am currently taking meds for it. i was fine until a couple days ago and i had some pain in my back in the middle of it. i wondering what this is?i also have occasional dizziness
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer Health.

Your symptoms sound like classic anxiety symptoms. They are caused by suttle changes that occur in the body when one is anxious. What typically happens is that when anxious the breathing is more shallow and sometimes more rapid (due to tenseness). Over time, this causes slight imbalances in the blood stream, such as less oxygen and more carbon dioxide. This can lead to minor heart flutters (arrhythmia) and the sensations such as you describe in the extremities (arms and legs). Dizziness can occur related to this as well (also be sure you are drinking enough fluid - a common cause of dizziness in warm weather is lack of adequate hydration - more likely if you dizziness is occurring when you stand up). Chronic anxiety can lead to long term release of stress hormones and eventually can result in long term physical changes to the body.

Vitamin D deficiency often results in fatigue and muscle pain and other symptoms as well, but those should rapidly resolve as you are supplementing now.

Anxiety often increases as one starts to feel physical manifestations. But now that you know that anxiety is at the root of many of the strange physical sensations you are experiencing, you do not need to be anxious about a real heart attack or such occurring (of course if you had not already been checked out by your physician and been placed on medication, we would have first recommended that you be evaluated by your physician so other conditions could be ruled out).

Besides medication and therapy, to combat anxiety and the physical symptoms you report, other effective measures can be taken in order to resolve or at least manage the symptoms. These measure need to be worked into your daily life and become habits. They include physical exercise, adequate sleep, and paying attention to breathing pattern, (such as you might learn in a yoga class or a stress relief course.)

You can learn about these measures and start to practice them now by going to this website:

I've linked you to the section on stress as it explains how anxiety and stress effects your body and also has details on how to relieve these effects. You will also find a section on the website devoted solely to anxiety.

Let me know if you have further questions regarding this.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
well i had talked to docor david earlier he suggested a holter monitior preferably the activities. like i told him i have had 5 ekgs ,2 chest exrays,a throid test and a complete metablic panel all which came back normal. i have also had cat scans and a test that they use dye in to see if there is any blockage , not sure about the name, all have came bak normal. i beginning to think i am losing my mind. five days ago i was ok dealing with the anxiety very well, all of a sudden it went back to all these strange symtoms and feelings, worrying about everything. so is this monitor still a good idea? then i have a cough i can't seem to get rid of. why?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
haven't responded
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
Hi sorry,, I waited for a response, but did not hear from you and got involved in something else.

It sounds like you have had thorough medical evaluations/

But, it would certainly not hurt you to have a holter monitor test. A holter monitor is like a 24 hour per day EKG, so is more thorough than having a random EKG. (But that your random EKG's were ok, it is still a very good sign that your issues are not heart related).

As far as your cough, do you smoke, live with a smoker, have a history of Asthma or live in an area with poor air quality? I would assume with all the testing you have had, including the chest x rays that nothing has been found as causing your cough?

If so, then it is likely that your cough is anxiety related.

If all physical problems are ruled out - which it sounds like you are at least close to having all physical problem ruled out, then starting to focus on anxiety relief measures would be recommended.

Let me know your thoughts. If I don't get right back to you it is because I am working on something else, but I will keep checking to see if you reply.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
i do live with a smoker but no one is allowed to smoke inside. i make sure i'm not around and sometimes my jaws hurt aa well and grind my teeth when i get anxious. My sister also has the same problem teeth grinding and jaws hurts. my mom has ptsd she has been on paxil for a number of years could this all be hereditary or is anxiety something that you develop?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
Well, just as an aside, there have been many studies done regarding the effect of smoking on family members and even when a person smokes outside there is still a higher rate of asthma and other smoking related issues in the spouse and children (or house mates) of those that live with a smoker. I worked on a long term research study measuring these effects, so had to review all the literature. (Yes, it helps and decreases the effects upon you that they do not smoke in the house, but their can still be effects through the clothing, etc.)

This may not be the cause of your cough, but I just want you to know that second hand smoke can still effect you to some degree even if no one is smoking in a closed environment near you. It might be interesting sometime for you to have a urine test for nicotine or cotinine (Cotinine is an alkaloid found in tobacco and is also a metabolite of nicotine.) just to see if you were getting some exposure somehow.

But, to be clear, I doubt that your problems are solely or even mainly caused by living with a smoker.

Yes, grinding teeth is common in those with stress and tension and often results in sore jaws. To start with you can consider getting a mouth piece to help prevent the grinding when you sleep. Of course the relaxation exercises, physical activity daily, will help to decrease the tension and teeth grinding. So you can always work to stop the symptom (in this case teeth grinding), while also work at resolving the underlying issues causing the problem.

As a reminder PTSD is Post traumatic Stress Disorder.

Yes, anxiety and susceptibility to stress can be hereditary in part, but also is influenced by the environment around you.

If your mother has PTSD, then you were likely to pick up on this and it is only natural for a child to experience anxiety if their caretaker who they depend upon is anxious.

If you experienced your mom learning coping skills to deal with her PTSD, you might have learned these too.

There are many factors to look at.

The main thing is though, is that we know that the brain has some plasticity, even as adults. This means that even if you grew up around anxiety provoking situations or have an inherited propensity to it, there are still coping skills you can learn and ways to decrease the amount of anxiety you experience. To be honest there is no magic resolution, and although medication can help, one must tackle the problem from several angles. It is a chronic condition, but over time one can learn how to relieve much of it so that it is not severely effected by it. Often lifestyle changes are needed. This may mean adding rest periods or meditation and deep breathing periods into your life, and of course exercise is very helpful in relieving anxiety which is caused in part by excess stress hormones in the system building up - you can 'use up' the stress hormones (adrenalin, cortisol) through exercise. Humans have always had stress, but in the past we responded physically by running, and worked it out of our systems so that it did not effect us as badly.

Some people may not need medication, but many do. This does not mean that learning anxiety relief measures will not still help you.

Susan Ivy and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
How are you? Did you get a holter monitor? Are you looking into the website link I gave you and starting any new methods to help deal with the anxiety?