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Menopause And Anxiety?
Panic Attacks? Depression? What To Do?

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Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Med. Dir. of The Panic Disorder Institute
Author of Surviving Panic Disorder: What You Need To Know

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Author: Subject: Scary Stuff on the Internet
Gia_Johnson
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Posts 130
Registered 7-28-2001
Location Northern California
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Mood: antsy

posted on 9-27-2004 at 07:44 PM
Scary Stuff on the Internet

The internet is great for information but can be downright awful for anxious people. Anybody else here *purposely* look for scary stuff on the internet, like symptoms of heart problems ( in my case) ?

Please tell me I'm not the only one

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jadebear
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Mood: finally moving uphill...

posted on 9-27-2004 at 10:34 PM
I used to "purposely" look up ALOT of stuff.....i ended up having(well,"thinking"i had)everything i read about.......as Mark Twain said(I think it was mark twain).....careful what you read in medical books,you may die of a misprint......i guess that saying applies for the internet too.LOL





"It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about." --Dale Carnegie

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ej
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posted on 9-27-2004 at 10:40 PM
You're in good company. I used to do that too. It's funny how there are always a couple of symptoms in common with any ailment and it's always the one that affects me.

I've stopped doing that kind of research and that's made a big difference with my "medical anxiety".

EJ





TODAY IS THE BEST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!!!

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Gia_Johnson
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 12:54 AM
I'm convinced I have heart thing out there. I see my cardiologist on Wednesday and I'm already thinking gloomy thoughts.
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Mattia
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 01:44 AM
Me too.

I just can't help it. I just have this "need to know" and I go right to the internet only to find out my current symptoms could be a variety of problems. Then I think the worst. I'm trying to stop it since I've too busy lately.

Sometimes I wonder about myself - meaning I could easily drive myself crazy.

Tina






Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather the moments that take our breath away...

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Gramz
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 01:57 AM
Gia....I do the exact same thing. I have this heaviness in my chest and it goes up into my neck and my heart feels like it will beat right out of my chest. I look it up and of course I'm convinced I am in the process of having heart problems. I'm exhausted all the time, I don't want to do anything because I just feel crummy. I went to my regular internist (and I don't know why I go to her because she is just wacked as far as I'm concerned) but she decides to order a CRP test and three weeks later she has her assistant call me and tell me to make an appointment because she wants to put me on lipitor because it is elevated. I ask how much and she says it came back .93. So I go out to the internet and look it up and it says that <1.0 is low risk of heart attack, 1.0 to 3.0 is a moderate risk and >3.0 is high risk. I mention that I'm still in the low risk and maybe I should just lose weight and change my diet first because my cholesterol is still under 200 and the cholestrol/HDL ratio is 3.0 and the average risk is 4.5 to 5.5 and I was rated low risk and my LDL/HDL ratio is 1.69 and the average risk is 2.34 to 4.13 so again I'm at a low risk. I decided to see a cardiologist instead and have an appointment this Friday. All I know is that I don't feel good and I feel like my heart is beating so fast and I'm so anxious. I take an ativan and it helps some but when the ativan wears off the anxiety and fast heart beat is right back. They also want me to start antidepressants again, but I have such trouble with increased anxiety with the SSRIs so I don't want to try any new ones. The depression is getting worse and so is the anxiety and I feel awful.
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joliejacq
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 02:52 AM
Gia,

For 10 years, I was certain the bloating in my belly was ovarian cancer that no one was finding in my numerous ultrasounds and pelvic exams. Spent THOUSANDS of dollars persuing this. I convinced myself that the technicians were missing things, the machines weren't working right, etc. Why do we do this to ourselves?

It was likely just plain old IBS. Hypochondria, however, is a real disease!





The sky and sun are always there; it's the storms and clouds that come and go.
- Pema Chodron

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joliejacq
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 02:58 AM
Oh, and by the way, all my info came out of the Family Medical Reference Book my mother-in-law gave us for Christmas one day. Putting this into the hands of a hypochondriac is like giving a former drug addict a hypodermic needle!

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are the same as IBS, or even simple indigestion! WATCH OUT FOR THIS INFO!

Being informed VS. ignorance is bliss.

Love ya!





The sky and sun are always there; it's the storms and clouds that come and go.
- Pema Chodron

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Kleeo
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Location Southern Maine Seacoast, USA
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 03:01 AM
I NEVER search out symptoms on the internet anymore!! I used to do that ALL the time and I swear I was a basket case! Every symptom of menopause seems to fall in the same symptom category of a major illness and it's just too depressing reading about it! My doctor told me to stop using the internet as a diagnosis tool because it was doing nothing more than making my anxiety level raise! And he was SO right!! The internet is a great place but it can also scare the pants off a person!





"Kleeo"
"I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time."
~Charles Schulz~

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AimeeDecorates
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posted on 9-28-2004 at 06:52 PM
I agree, Don't search the internet!

The best thing I did for my heart disease fear was spend the 400 bucks on an "ultra-fast CT scan." It's done at a lot of local hospitals, but you don't need a doctors order. Also, it is very low radiation.

It shows the calcium build up (as in hardening of the arteries).





Your decisions decide your destiny, not fate, not chance.

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RedSarah
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Registered 9-23-2004
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Mood: futile & exhausted

posted on 9-28-2004 at 07:25 PM
Well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that does this. My thing is I think I'm hypothyroid, I have pretty much all the symptoms except being over weight, but then fatigue etc etc are pretty common/vague symptoms. My mother and my brother are both hypothyroid (they are not overweight either), but my tests (3 of them over 2 years) keep coming back in the normal range. Lately, I have been thinking the symptoms are all just this menopause thing
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Mattia
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Mood: Happy Again !!

posted on 9-29-2004 at 12:13 AM
Gramz,

I hope your visit with the cardiologist goes well on Friday. Will be thinking of you. I know how you feel, if that is any comfort. Glad to hear that you are taking it one step further by seeing the cardiologist instead of taking medication you feel may not be suited for you. Always trust your instincts.

I've gone a while without any real big panic attacks (which is odd) but this morning I could barely drive to work and thought my throat was closing up. I took 1/2 a xanax then 45 minutes later another 1/2 one.

I think what triggered it was:

(1) The hurricane this weekend and being so tense, worried, and sore all over, and

(2) Being called last night and told we were to report to work in a building that had power but no elevators, phones, or AC (due to the hurricane) and I would have to walk up 5 flights of steps. I made it up the steps OK then opened the door to the 5th floor to smothering hot old air that was close to un-breathable. Fortunately we had A/C within 2 hours.

I hope your panic attacks lighten up a bit for you. It's just been a month or so that mine have gotten better but I wonder if it is because I am so busy at work that I am preoccupied.

Take care & please let us know how your doctor visit goes.

Take care,

Tina






Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather the moments that take our breath away...

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Gia_Johnson
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posted on 9-29-2004 at 01:14 AM
Hi Gramz - I hope everything goes well with your doctors appt on Friday too.

I also have the racing heart thing. I start obssessing about my heart rate and then I make make heart beat faster because I'm freaked out about it. I was convinced I had atrial fibrilation!! After reading a ton of stuff on the internet, I've come to the conclusion that I do not have Afib. What in the heck do I think I am, a doctor?

The other ladies are correct. The more you read about symptoms, the worse off you are.

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gunner43
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posted on 9-29-2004 at 04:21 PM
You know I look in the mirror and think my eyes look not white, I can find anything on my body and freak out like the little spider veins under my lft breast on my ribcage - I sit there and look up things on the internet and it is scarry - I notice I do this when I have anxiety - I even called a vascular surgeon to ask them if they have ever seen spider veins there thinking I have some weird disease. I even get freaked out about going in for my physical - I think the dr thinks I am a total wacko - but I have learned to identify this area and know why I am doing it - it is freaky and when I am wigging out woa !! but I am so glad I have this site because there are women like me who act like me and I know I am not crazy - I live in the perfect town where everyone is the opposite of me - it would be nice to have a local friend who is having things like me.
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Gia_Johnson
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posted on 9-29-2004 at 04:48 PM
gunner - I noticed when I get stressed or anxious, I fixate on physical things. I start thinking doom and gloom thoughts. Right now my fixation is my heart. I stopped taking my pulse (thank goodness, pulse taking only made my anxiety worse ), But I'm starting to feel little pains and shorteness of breath now that I've stopped the pulse taking. I see my cardiologis today. Hopefully things will turn out okay.
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gunner43
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posted on 9-29-2004 at 05:41 PM
Gia- I am sure everything will be fine - I have never fixated on my heart because many of the anxiety symptoms show up with inc heart rate, increased blood pressure, when you are really enjoying something like your favorite tv show take your pulse - I use to go to those machines in the grocery store like when I walk thru the pharmacy ile my eyes would bline to the blood pressure machine - oh lets take it - well of course it was high - well I finally said to myself the next time oh well it will be fine - sure enough the pressure was low - I am a registered nurse and I know it is ridiciouls but I also found out if I do an hour every day of strenous exercise I know everything is ok. I have faith deep down but the health anxiety sucks - I remember when I was 21 - nothing could kill me - now I am 44 and afraid of spider veins on my rib cage and age marks on my arm. Another thing this election is enough to get anyone anxiety levey up.
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joliejacq
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posted on 10-6-2004 at 01:01 AM
Just wondering how Gia's cardio visit went?

Let us know!





The sky and sun are always there; it's the storms and clouds that come and go.
- Pema Chodron

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Gia_Johnson
Super Surgette






Posts 130
Registered 7-28-2001
Location Northern California
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Mood: antsy

posted on 10-6-2004 at 01:10 AM
Hi - Of course my echo came out PERFECT. I'm seeing my cardiologist tomorrow afternoon. I want a beta blocker to slow down this heart rate!
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chriscarol
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Posts 2828
Registered 8-22-2001
Location ct.
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posted on 10-10-2004 at 04:21 AM
The beta blocker will help the physiological
symptoms of anxiety. I had some left
from my hyperthyroidism and sometimes
it helps the tremors and palpitations,
at half dosage.





CHRISCAROL

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chriscarol
Super Surgette






Posts 2828
Registered 8-22-2001
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posted on 10-10-2004 at 04:30 AM
Cyberchondria! Oh, the doctors love
patients who have been feeding
their hypochondria on the internet.


I've come to the conclusion that the
internet is not a diagnostic tool.
However, it is marvelous for researching
maladies one has,and treatments
available. Just be certain to be astute
enough to discern a legitimate sight
from sheer quackery.





CHRISCAROL

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chriscarol
Super Surgette






Posts 2828
Registered 8-22-2001
Location ct.
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posted on 10-10-2004 at 04:32 AM
The election, now this is anxiety provoking.





CHRISCAROL

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Gramz
Surgette






Posts 26
Registered 6-16-2004
Location Sacramento, California USA
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Mood: Post menopausal with lots of sym

posted on 10-10-2004 at 05:46 AM
Tina and Gia.....I went to the cardiologist a week ago last Friday. First let me say that I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse in 1984. I chose not to use medications and was instructed to use antibiotics prior to dental work or surgeries which I do.

When I went to the cardiologist a week ago he was very good and listened to what I had to say and did not rush me at all. He feels that alot of the palpatations and anxiety are caused by hormone fluctuations as he said he sees alot of women during the menopause years that have alot of the same symptoms. However, he feels that there is more.

He listened to my heart and could hear the mitral valve but he noted that there was another valve that he could hear that perhaps there was a "slight leak????" in . I had a 24 hour holter monitor on Monday and an echocardiagram on Tuesday and I go to the cardiologist on Monday for the results. He wants to see the extent of the mitral valve problem and to rule out a leak in the other valve. Needless to say that scares the heck out of me.

He was also concerned with the fact that my CRP is elevated and that my cholesterol is 198. He would like to get my cholesterol down below 170 and to lower the CRP to .5 or less. However he would like to try and do this first by diet and exercise. I have gained 25 pounds in the last two years, have not exercised since last November so he would like me to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week and to try and lose at least 15 pounds in the next three months and then he will redo the blood work to see if the CRP and cholesterol is lowered. My HDL is really good and I'm in the low risk for heart attack but he still wants to get the cholesterol and CRP lowered because of family history.

If the diet and exercise do not do the job then he would like to try a statin drug to get it lowered. He also was concerned with my blood pressure which was 148/84 but he said it could be because I was nervous. He has asked me to monitor it at home for the next three months as well and to take it a couple of times a day (different times of the day) and if it remains high then he would use drugs to lower it. He said getting the weight off and exercising will most likely help that as well. He said that I needed to stay off all caffeine, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and possibly consider taking a stress management class and even a yoga class. I was very impressed with him because he didn't push drugs right off the bat and talked about hormones being out of whack, diet, exercise, stress management, etc.

I went to Curves on Thursday and worked out. A year ago I worked out there and did fine but on Thursday my heart rate went up to 180 which is pretty high since I'm 53. I'm going to ask him about it Monday. I can't figure out why I'm so out of shape in such a short amount of time. I used to work out at Curves 3 days a week and walk 3 and 1/2 miles a day, 5 to 6 days a week a year ago. Then some family issues came up. We have been raising a grandson since he was 6 months old and he is now almost 7, my husband was diagnosed with melanoma last October, my 80 year old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in late November and I was with her during her surgery and then the radiation for 6 weeks and then she had congestive heart failure in April and her health is failing very quickly. In was in February that I began to have such horrible anxiety and depression and chest discomfort. The cardilogist explained to me that the reason my heart races like it does is the hormone inbalance and the adrenaline that continues to keep misfiring all the time. He said the mitral valve causes panic attacks and the fluctuating hormones make it worse. I have suffered panic attacks since I was 28 and I've managed them. But this is different.

I just get scared thinking I will never feel "normal" again and I question everything. Everywhere you look you see someone telling you to do this and that and then you hear that isn't good, I have gotten to the point that I don't know which way to turn. What works? What doesn't work? I just want to wake up in the morning and go back to the life I used to know before menopause.

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