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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 8999
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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I get anxiety about heart attack and blocked arteries

Customer Question

I get anxiety about heart attack and blocked arteries
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 11 months ago.

Hello. Welcome to JA. So what was the reason as determined for your chest pain? GERD? Do they label this attack as a panic attack? Do you get palpitations in your chest (pounding)? If you wish me to review your cardiac studies (EKG, stress thallium test or nuclear test, echocardiogram) please just paste up the studies here leaving off your name or identifying information and I can reply. Is the fear that you have a family history of heart attack or stroke, do you smoke? Let me know how I can help by asking questions. Dr Frank

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Mum had heart attack at 68 .smoked all her life ..I don't know the cause of fear but I suffer from depression ...I worry a lot about blocked arteries .I went hospital as sharp pain chest ..they said it could be acid reflux .and anxiety ..I had blood test and several ecgs and chest x ray ...still I panic
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
They found nothing at hospital wrong ..I am still worried that I have blocked arteries and get anxious about heart attacks
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What do you think ..do I need more test to see if I have blocked arteries .I just need to put my mind at rest
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 11 months ago.

So you have something called cardiophobia, a fear of heart attacks. this is fairly common, and the psychiatrist would suggest it comes from your experiences in your family, from you mother (?). If you can rule out treatable causes like GERD (reflux) or non specific panic attacks (GAD-generalized anxiety disorder) that can be treated with medications like SSRI's (sertraline is used most but there are many others), you should discuss this with a psychologist as there are some newer treatments that are behavioral, and non-medication.

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 11 months ago.

I would say from here that you don't need more tests, as you were symptomatic in the emergency room and your tests were negative. You might consider CBT (computer based therapy, or biofeedback) that a psychologist can teach you in his office, then arrange for home treatment sessions. I can send you information on that topic if you wish, or please ask questions and I will respond. Dr Frank

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 11 months ago.

Here is a sample of what I am talking about, this group is in Florida, but they are springing up everywhere as many people do not want to be medicated. this has been shown by the FDA as an approved treatment.

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 11 months ago.

http://www.psychologyandbehavior.com/phobias-symptoms-treatment-therapy-cbt/