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Should I really see a doctor?

By Anonymous February 16, 2010 - 7:16pm
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I am 25 years old, I don't smoke or consume alcohol, I eat a balanced diet that does not include red meat and have recently began an mild-moderate exercise program to help shed excess pounds. At my last check up I received a cholesterol and blood sugar screening and passed with flying colors!
I woke up about a week and a half ago with horrifying squeezing sensation in my chest and a feeling that I could not catch my breath. I stumbled around my house confused and frightend until the sensation went away- it felt as though it lasted forever, I went back to sleep after the event- because I was both confused, exhausted and unable to wrap my head around what had happend. I donate plasma twice weekly, and since this event they have been deffering me because my resting heartrate is between 102-120 beats per minute when they check and recheck my pulse . I am such a calm person, I meditate and I feel like I should be able to relax this thing away, but it doesn't seem to be helping. My mother wants me to see my doctor, but I feel like I would be wasting her time after I just got a clean bill of health- it could have been some kind of night terror, and it could just be stress right? Who is right? my mom or I?

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You may not want to hear this, but I have to side with your mom. Here's my thinking:

You had a squeezing sensation in your chest and you found it hard to catch your breath. You mention confusion and fright during the episode, and exhaustion and confusion afterward. You experienced some physical sensations that you couldn't explain.

Yes, they could be night terrors. Have you had experience with those in the past?

Or you might have had a panic attack.

Or you might have something physical going on. This is unlikely, true, since you are in good health (and good job on all the fabulous habits you have created for yourself!) But we never know until we get checked out.

The reason why I think you should get checked out even if it might be a night terror or a panic attack is because those are physical too. They are not imaginary and they cause you physical discomfort and mental anxiety. They affect your body and your mind, as you know. And they can recur.

A doctor will be interested in exactly what happened, and will have more questions for you. There may be a couple of tests she or he will order to rule out physical issues. Because your meditation doesn't seem to be helping, I would want to be sure that there's not something more going on. Does that make sense?

Meditation helps us with our health and well-being, but we can't just relax everything away. We can exercise a lot of control and be mindful of our surroundings and our breath, but if there's something physical that needs attention, we need to take care of that as well.

Are you under a lot of stress right now?

Are there things in your life that make you very anxious?

Has anything big changed recently?

Are you on any medications?

How much caffeine do you consume?

I would love it if you would agree to a doctor's appointment to get checked out. I do not think it is a waste of money. Your resting heartbeat is higher than you think it should be; your healthy living habits and meditation are not resolving the issue, and you had a frightening episode without a known cause. I think getting all this checked out is a smart thing to do. And if you find out that it's based in anxiety or panic, you can talk to your doctor about talk therapy or medication that could help if you have more episodes in the future.

But being sure about your health? That's never a waste.

Will you come back and update us and let us know what you decide?

February 17, 2010 - 11:43am
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