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chest tightness making me very anxious and emotional

(11 Posts)
PiggyMad Mon 12-Sep-11 22:26:26

I suffered quite badly with anxiety a couple of years ago and had lots of physical symptoms including dizziness, derealization, panic attacks and pressure feeling on chest. Symptoms have eased and I haven't really had a any for months.

However, over the past couple of months I've had three or four tight chest incidents when I've been outside. The first time I was walking up a hill and got palpitations and chest tightness. I shrugged it off as one of those things. Then I discovered I'm pregnant and had the same episode on the same place on the same hill, but really struggled to breathe for 15mins - could only shallow breathe and my chest felt very constricted like it was being squeezed.

I went to the doctor and I've had blood taken to check thyroid function and cholesterol levels and am waiting for results. He took pulse, blood pressure and listened to my heart and chest and said everything sounded fine. I told him I was convinced it was angina as had been googling blush. He said possibly stress. Not had blood results yet as got call telling me the nurse hadn't labelled them properly so have to go back and get them done again. Hate having blood tests as well sad

The same thing happened again today when I was out walking the dog. I was stood talking to someone then set off the walk away and the chest tightness occurred - probably lasted about five minutes and could only breathe quite shallowly.

I'm really worried I've got some sort of awful condition and have been googling this evening and have scared myself silly - keep crying and worrying. I haven't felt anxious recently - no more than unusual - but am now incredibly anxious because of this chest issue and the fact that I'm pregnant. I have asthma but it doesn't feel like asthma.

Sorry for ramble, just needed to let it out

zippy539 Mon 12-Sep-11 22:35:11

Hi Piggy - how pg are you? Could everything be getting a bit squashed and making you breathless. Also, I'm no expert (but no stranger to medical googling and driving myself demented with the results) but could the fact that the weather is turning be making a difference. I have v mild asthma but at this time of year I always get short of breath for some reason and it doesn't feel connected to wheezy asthma iykwim?

PiggyMad Mon 12-Sep-11 22:45:48

Thanks for your reply zippy - has calmed me somewhat already just having a response!
I'm ten weeks now, but the chest tightness thing has happened before I was pregnant which has worried me - thinking I may have some sort of heart disorder that a pregnancy might exacerbate!
I wondered about the weather changes as also suffer from hayfever and allergies. I suppose it could be asthma related or anxiety related - but I can't think logically about it and don't want to write it off as anxiety incase it is something sad

zippy539 Mon 12-Sep-11 22:59:30

Totally understand re your last sentence! smile But keeping on the anxiety track a bit - it's not unreasonable to expect that the anxiety might come back now and again. Is it possible that the first incidence (climbing up the hill) was completely exercise induced (and understandably so!) but had the unfortunate side-effect of prompting a tiny bit of residual anxiety in your mind (understandable as you rebuild your 'anxiety' confidence). Then that wee blip in the back of your mind was further triggered by some weather/pregnancy related breathing changes that your mind got a grip of and exacerbated?

Not at all doing down what you're feeling - I know how debilitating anxiety can be - but might be worth considering? Is there anything about the pregnancy that could be making you vulnerable to anxiety? Does it set off any of your anxiety triggers?

eaglewings Mon 12-Sep-11 23:08:14

Have you tried breathing into a paper bag?
Stress can cause all the symptoms you have, but keep talking to your dr

PiggyMad Mon 12-Sep-11 23:10:47

I'm hoping it is all about that and 'just' anxiety, but as it isn't like any symptoms I've had before during anxious episodes then I don't want to assume.

I was worried before getting pregnant that pregnancy and pregnancy symptoms might set my anxiety off and I've been worried about the increased risk of DVT as my mum suffered from these and had to inject herself with blood-thinners throughout both of her pregnancies.

Basically it is health anxiety I get mainly and pregnancy I suppose is full of weird and wonderful niggles which can easily be exaggerated by an anxious mind! My anxiety is also worse when I am tired and during PMT, so I suppose being extra tired and hormonal might be having an effect, although I've been feeling ok on the surface as have been blocking out pregnancy thoughts due to anxiety about miscarriage.

Lots of 'worry' and 'anxiety' words in that post!

Thanks so muc for your response and reassurance zippy grin

PiggyMad Mon 12-Sep-11 23:12:45

I haven't tried that eaglewigs as I just try to carry on and ignore it. It usually goes within five to ten minutes but just feels awful at the time.

LakeFlyPie Mon 12-Sep-11 23:15:26

Sorry to hear you've been having these symptoms, they sound horrid.

If other medical causes have been ruled out could it be hyperventilation syndrome?

This might help if you think it could be a factor.

Congratulations on your pregancy, hope your symptoms and anxiety settle v soon smile

zippy539 Mon 12-Sep-11 23:23:16

Just wish I could be more specific in my help - like I say I know how BLOODY SCARY anxiety can be. As Eagle says keep talking to your doc and build a relationship there - its important that you have confidence in him/her - and also mention the DVT thing just for your own peace of mind. Pregnancy is anxiety inducing at the best of times even if you don't have a predisposition to anxiety (been there got the tee-shirt) but parenthood brings a whole new set of anxiety inducing issues so the more confident you feel within yourself the better (sorry - don't know if you already have dcs). You've already managed to surmount anxiety once and you can do it again so you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and your new dd/ds smile Easier said than done I know but next time your doc mentions anxiety as a cause ask what can be done to help you ride over it - and don't accept answers like 'breathe deeply'. Ask for some professional help because it really does make a difference. smile

PiggyMad Mon 12-Sep-11 23:34:01

lake thanks for the links - I do tend to over-breathe as I have sinus problems and my nose is constantly blocked so that could be an explanation.

zippy it is my first dc so I suppose I'm concerned about the unexpected as my body's never been through this before. I do remember that I got myself incredibly wound up last time refusing to accept that my symptoms were down to anxiety so am trying to keep that in the back of my mind and not over-react.

I'll rebook the bloods tomorrow and maybe go to see the same doctor again just to go over everything.

Thanks for your responses ladies. Going to pop an episode of Sex and the City on and doze off!

LakeFlyPie Tue 13-Sep-11 00:01:55

HVS is a very under diagnosed problem and can cause really frightening symptoms.
Ironically the deep breathing often associated with 'relaxation' will make it worse.
It's well worth seeking advice from an expert e.g. specialist physio if you think it may be a factor, the breathing retraining is very effective but quite difficult to get the hang of initially.

Also, might not be for you but whenever I get the chance I recommend Natal Hypnotherapy CDs

I got mine from ebay and particularly loved the relaxation one.
Not only does it promote deep relaxation it subconciously boosts your confidence in your body to do the whole pregnancy / birth thing which can only be a good thing IMHO.

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