Is Propanalol helping?: I hope you dont... - British Heart Fou...

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Is Propanalol helping?

SpiritualT profile image

I hope you dont mind me posting here.

I am on Propranolol for sinus tachycardia. I suffer with a severe anxiety disorder and I mean severe.

I saw a Cardiologist in January of this year. I have had x2 echocardiograms, x3 24 holter monitors and multiple Troponin levels and ECG’s done.

I do have acid reflux which I think causes me chest pain.

I suffer with chest and arm pain (not sure if psychosomatic)

I am only 35 years old. My question is (because I attend A&E every single week) is if I was having a heart attack would I know? And If so, is the beta blocker helping?

For example I went to A&E 17 days ago with chest pain, the did my trop level ecg etc and it was fine and now I want to go again.

This obsession is ruining my life.

12 Replies

Hi SpiritualT and welcome.I'm on propranolol for palpitations and it absolutely does help.I've suffered with tachycardia for years which was put down to anxiety but at 54 I was diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure which had thickened the left side of my heart.This condition often causes palpitations and arrhythmias, both of which I have.

So propranolol helps lower your heart rate but it also reduces the physical sensations of anxiety.As I was naturally anxious about my sudden diagnosis, hospital stay, tests etc. my cardiologist chose this particular drug to ease my anxiety since raised anxiety equals increased blood pressure....to a big extent in my case.

So that's my experience but with you there is no evidence thus far that you have a heart condition.Now I am not denying your symptoms.I had chest pain when diagnosed for months, which I'd never had before..cue major anxiety but a combination of tests such as a five day ecg, a 24hour bp measure and a ct angiogram were ordered by my cardiologist to reassure me.Your tests are clear so try to believe that.

Finally you need to address your anxiety.I referred myself for CBT and had that online which helped.At the same time my GP arranged face to face CBT which also helped.As a counsellor I would also recommend that.I see in another post that you mention you have experienced trauma, counselling would help you deal with this.Check out the website of the BACP for that or the Counselling Directory or ask your GP for low cost options in your area.

I also started meditation classes to practise calming my body.It helps.There are meditations online which you can access to give it a go.Can you talk to your GP about your health anxiety?I know they are elusive but give it a try.

My doctors believe that my anxiety was a big factor in my high blood pressure.Now I think there were other factors but it sure didn't help.Try to nail this if you can and then maybe you won't need the meds.

Thank you for your response.

So the two heart scans and the monitors I have had done would have picked up something?

I am so petrified of a cardiac event at the age of 35. My cardiologist said with my tests I have a less than 1% chance.

It is ruining my life.

I really understand how you feel and I was the same.You've had a thorough examination of your heart and, as far as they can tell, all is well.But that is the point...no one can give us 100% certainty in life and that's all of us.This is where addressing your anxiety helps.Your trauma has left you feeling a heightened awareness that things can go wrong but you are hypervigilant which is making you feel ill.

When you are anxious you are always looking to the future...what if I die today etc.You need help to live more in the present moment and that will make you feel better.I have found that CBT and meditation has helped way more than I expected.But you also need to talk to a professional about the trauma to release it from your life.

On top of that getting a good diet and regular exercise also help.I addressed both of these and I feel calmer because of it.It will ease.🙂

Anxiety can cause palpitations- an erratic heart beat which is generally unpleasant but harmless. I also suffer from anxiety over health and panic attacks. They cause all sorts of physical symptoms including acid reflux and an upset stomach. I had a heart attack 2 years ago and trust me I did know the difference and strangely i didn't panic. I had no chest pain at all but when my arm and neck started to tingle I knew what it was. I'm now undergoing tests for cancer and again no panic. Please do ask your GP for help with the anxiety. It can ruin your life. I had hypnosis by a lovely lady who taught me to self hypnotise to control it myself. There is also CBT and mindfulness. Health anxiety is a well known condition and a good GP will be able to get help for you. You've had the tests and been told here's next to no chance of a heart attack. You must believe that but that alone won't cure your anxiety.

SpiritualT profile image
SpiritualT in reply to Qualipop

Thanks for your response. I am sorry to hear about your recent tests and your HA.

So I would know if it was a HA would I? I suppose it wouldn’t be my thoughts telling me it was one I would just know.

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to SpiritualT

Yes I'm sure you would know the difference. I have a lot of upper body problems; nerves trapped in my spine, stomach problems all of which cause chest pain. I'd been going to my GP for 2 years complaining of breathlessness but because it only happened if I went upstairs upright rather than my usual bent over hands and feet posture, he insisted it was muscular. It wasn't! I had 2 days of horrific indigestion. Took everything I had to ease it and of course my normal pain in my upper back. I never even considered a heart attack until I suddenly got tingling, prickling down my left arm and into my hand and then up my left neck. Immediately an alarm bell went off in my head. This was NOT what I'd ever had before. I didn't have any of the symptoms you read about like clutching your chest, grey and sweating and I could easily have ignored the tingling because that's how the trapped nerves in my shoulder feels only it didn't feel just like that. It was unmistakable. Don't read my symptoms and start thinking every burp or twinge is serious. You haven't lived with a crumbling spine like I have for 30 years. Everything I felt was normal for me except that tingling arm. Yes i do have health anxiety. I Imagine every new spot is cancer, every ache is serious; every eye floater means I'm going blind etc. I often can't tell my GP because I'm so upset. My husband no longer believes I have anything wrong and actually went back to bed while I was taken to hospital. I'm sure you've heard of the boy who cried wolf so often that when it happened no one believed him. That was me but completely unintentionally. You've been told you have a 1% chance of a heart attack. You MUST believe that. That's a lower chance than most of the population. Talk to your GP about your anxiety. Tell him you know you have health anxiety and you need help. He will appreciate that you admit it. Mine now sees me right away and in most cases I just need his reassurance so he explains every thing very carefully. It really helps.

SpiritualT profile image
SpiritualT in reply to Qualipop

Thank you.

Yes no-one listens to me anymore because I attend the hospital that much I am seen as a nuisance.

I am just so terrified of having a heart attack and I do not know why.

I get aching in my left shoulder and down my arm but when I went to get checked out my ECG was clear.

I am living in fear everyday of having a heart attack and at 35 I have no life.

I have seen a cardiologist and had all the relevant tests done.

I have spoken to my GP about my anxiety and I am having counselling

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to SpiritualT

Fears like that have no explanation. Once they take hold they are hard to get rid of but your counselling should help. If you feel it isn't because of he person doing it, don't be afraid to ask to see anyone else. When i last went I was put with a 20 something year old with whom I felt really uncomfortable. I'm 72. I wanted someone with more understanding and life experience so I simply asked to change. They understood. Have you tried hypnosis? Your GP should be able to refer you. It certainly helped me and I was taught how to self hypnotise. I was very sceptical and certain no one could ever hypnotise me but I was wrong. I was never "out of it"; fully aware of what was happening all the time. I was about your age when my problems started.

You know you have no heart problems so next time it gets hold, how about NOT going to hospital. Have someone with you and try to ride it out and see what happens.

SpiritualT profile image
SpiritualT in reply to Qualipop

Thanks Qualipop. So you are 72 years old? How long have you lived in fear with anxiety? I bet it doesn’t seem worth it now.

I feel like I am wasting my life.

I have chest and arm pains again but I literally had an ECG not yesterday but the day before so I really do not want to go again.

Its my daughters 12th birthday tomorrow and im making a birthday tea but all I feel is that I am going to drop down dead.

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to SpiritualT

I was your age when it started and took me about 3 or 4years to totally get control of it although it started to improve right away. Mine's a generalised health anxiety- any new problem and I panic but my GP understands and just explains things well to reassure me. It no longer controls my life. I can feel it start and can mentally talk it away; so much so that when I was told I needed tests for possible cancer about a month ago I just said "Oh OK" and haven't bothered about it at all. What's the point until i know more? You are not going to ruin your daughter's birthday party. You are going to enjoy it. Make that your focus. There is an anxiety forum on health unlocked. Why don't you have a look at that?

SpiritualT profile image
SpiritualT in reply to Qualipop

Yes. Thanks I have joined that.

Mine is health anxiety. I cannot even get earache without thinking it’s something sinister.

Im so exhausted. I cannot imagine being like this when im 72 I would have wasted my whole life.

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to SpiritualT

That's my point. I'm NOT Like that now. I got help that worked. It still pops up very occasionally but I can stop it in its tracks. You can learn how to control this. You are in charge, not your imagination.

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