Please help I have no insurance and feel like I'm dying

Hi I am a 36 year old female and I have been suffering from chest pain and fat I guess and pain in my shoulder blades for over a year now, I have been to the e.r about 50 times and had over 5 hospitaladmissions and all kinds of test done on my heart. I had a stress test echocardiogram and a ultrasound on my caradid arteries and everything came back okay. There was one time that I was hooked up to the monitor and the e.m.t said I was in afib but I have no insurance or doctor so I can't find out if I have afib or not but everyday I have some chest pain dizziness and I also have had a quivering in my chest that feels like my heart is going to stop. I do have high blood pressure and cholesterol and I have a history of anxiety but take nothi g for it. I know how anxiety feels and do not feel this is anxiety although I am sure some of my symptoms are causing some anxiety. I feel like I am dying can anyone please help me? Your comments are welcome thank you in advance.

14 Replies

  • In my opinion and I'm no expert you first need to get a good GP get your bp and cholesterol under control and your anxiety easier said than done I know the quivering feeling in your chest sounds like AF. As I say it's like having a bag of worms in your chest you are very young to be feeling like this I hope you get some help soon

  • Hi Chrissie, sorry you feel desperate enough to make that post but it is going to be difficult if not downright impossible, although we can empathize, for us to help you for the following reasons:-

    Without a definitive diagnosis it is really hard to comment as both anxiety and AF could cause symptoms you describe. The only way you can get a diagnosis is to have an ECG (EKG for US people).

    Good news about the tests coming back OK - celebrate that as it means your heart is structurally OK. That simplifies things a bit.

    As AF comes and goes getting that initial diagnosis can be elusive for anyone. To overcome this exact problem I invested in a device called Kardia (old name Alivecor) which works with an app on your smart phone so you can take your own ECG - then you get an interpretation. Perhaps you could investigate that - available on Amazon.

    What you would do with that after diagnosis I don't know as the US medical system is so different to ours in UK. if you haven't got insurance how would you access ongoing treatment as AF is rarely considered an emergency, even though it may feel like that to you.

    Perhaps someone in US could advise?

    So with that in mind, Mazza's suggestions seem very pertinent. There is a lot you CAN do to help yourself by controlling your weight, reducing your cholesterol and bringing your anxiety under control. But you will have to make the decision to take action. Lots of threads on this site of what people have found helpful so trawl some of the older posts or put a search up and go to the ones that feel pertinent to you.

    Many, many people have been able to control AF through lifestyle changes.

    AF rarely presents with pain, so the chest pain is more likely connected with anxiety, but always good to get it checked out.

    Anxiety is a disabling condition in itself and whether or not you have AF, in your shoes, that is the first thing I would work on - how to support yourself emotionally and psychologically,

    First remember if it IS AF - AF will not kill you, although it sometimes may feel as though it may. Read that sentence several times!

    Secondly remember that knowledge is power, so do try to get an ECG trace when you are having symptoms. Doctors will only diagnose from evidence.

    Thirdly make a plan of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it for your next step on this journey,

    Hope that helps a little, best wishes CD

  • I do have chest pains and at last consultation he arranged for an angiogram to see if there were any constrictions but did say it is not uncommon to have pains that are caused by AF because of irregularities in beat and circulation. Angiogram came up good. I am in persistent AF and also have moderate to severe leakage in tricuspid valve and heart shape abnormalities.

  • I know some people do have chest pains, which is always sensible to have checked out but an uncommon experience, purely from AF, which was my point.

  • Hi CDreamer, I am sorry to contradict you but AF can kill you by leading to a stroke, the atrium do not pump the blood strongly enough to the ventricles and it can lead to an embolism , which in my case got through to my lung and I had a massive stroke. Good news is I am still alive and kicking, but I feel I should warn other sufferers to keep the AF under control -don't miss your pills.

    Another point is - AF is genetic., for years the doctors argued with me that it wasn't but now it is accepted by the cardiologists. so check your ancestors. 1946 I was born and my great grandfather died of a stroke(more aptly now called a brain attack ) My mother and all three of her siblings had strokes and AF, and two first cousins have died prematurely, sorry if I've scared anyone but AF should not be taken lightly.


  • Hi Chrissie 1979, I am no doctor but I have suffered from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (meaning there was no underlying heart disease ,eg blocked arteries) since my early 50s (I am now 70)and it really sounds like you have the same problem. I am presuming you are in USA if you are worried that you have no health insurance. In UK you would be given drugs to control your heart beat and keep it to the normal level. Believe me you can carry on living with AF so do stop being so afraid because stress is the worst thing for you. You need to see a doctor and perhaps wear a 24hour heart monitor. I am so sorry that wherever you are you do not get attention. I hope you can sort something out.


  • A 7 day or 72 hour monitor is much better.

  • yes it probably is but as I say I am not a doctor and am allergic to the sticky pads for the monitor , they bring me out in blisters.

  • Ask for some anti allergic ones.

  • Are you in the UK?

  • From very little to go on-I would 'guess' that you comfort eat to help your anxiety but this just exacerbates things?

    I would suggest that go to see your GP to talk about going on a controlled diet, and also to start a fitness programme. If you do this and follow it all to the letter-I would not be surprise if, in a years time-you wont even know your old self.

    Keep us posted.

  • Dear Chrissie,

    There's lots you can do to help yourself. If AF was identified on a monitor, then you can safely assume that you do have some AF events, ie you do have AF. If they can't find anything else after all those tests, then you have every reason to believe your heart is doing well. Unfortunately a bout of AF is often set off by excess adrenaline, so calming yourself down is very important. Look on the AFAssociation website, and read about lifestyle factors in AF. You could also try reading the website of Dr John Day: who is a cardiologist in the US who is also into healthy eating and lifestyle changes to treat AF whenever possible. Also try researching 'mindfulness' which many people find helps calm their anxiety.

    On the AFA site you should find the HASBLED and CHADSVASC tests. Do these and you will know if you are at high risk of a bleed or stroke. If not, then at your age it is not essential to be anticoagulated. Some supplements will help to lessen the risk of a stroke anyway, and are very helpful to health and the heart, such as garlic, fish oil, vitamin E and Magnesium. All these can be increased through diet if you prefer, eg by eating oily fish and lots of seeds and nuts, and will improve your health alround.

    Your heart will benefit from lots of exercise, little or no alcohol, probably very little coffee and a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, and very little sugar or processed food. Again see Dr John's website, or follow some posts here eg from SRMGrandma who is also in your part of the world.

    There is lots you can do, and as you do your research, make a plan and follow it, you will start to feel much better and more positive. We all feel very anxious at first - and then discover that this is not the end of the world, but just the beginning of a new and healthier one.

  • Hi Chrissie, lots of useful advice already posted. I just wanted to add that you may like to consider going completely wheat free - there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that some people find this very helpful for AF. It will also help with weight loss as part of a low carb diet, giving up sugars and refined starches. Look up Dr William Davis. He is a cardiologist in the US who has found going wheat free (and giving up other grains too) very beneficial for many of his patients.

    Good luck and keep in touch.

  • Hi Chrissie1979!

    First I want to say that I think it's awesome that you are being proactive with your health. Since you haven't gotten any real answers yet, but you have ruled out a few things on the echo (I assume your ejection fraction is good from the echo, like over 50% and you did well on the treadmill etc) but the one important thing you haven't done is see an EP! You must have some electrical problems with your heart. Any fluttery feelings which could be AF should be checked out with EP. And EP is an electrophysiologist. In the heart business, the "No news is good news" doesn't apply because sometimes an important issue gets missed. You might have a tiny extra beat or PVC or a problem with ectopics, who knows? If you live in USA we have Obama Care and you can go to the ER, they can't turn you away. Don't give up, it's your body. It's NOT anxiety, try try again. DO it and get back to us soon. Do NOT stop!

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