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Question:

How can I know if my pain is a serious heart matter or PTS?  

I had PTS (Post-traumatic Stress) about 10 years ago and have been using antidepressants (20mg per day). I was treated for anxiety. Nowadays I still experience severe heart cramps from time to time. The doctor says that it is anxiety, but I am not anxious or severely stressed. Sometimes the cramps come at night and lasts for 30-40 minutes at a time. Sometimes they come while I am teaching or even when I am relaxed. It is so painful. Can it still be anxiety attacks after so many years? I also use high blood pressure medication which works very effectively. The cramps are not accompanied with shortness of breath or feelings of hopelessness or stress, just one severe cramp that lasts for a long time. I am not extremely tired after such an attack and do not experience sweatiness or dizziness. Please help. What should I do, as it feels like heart attacks?

submitted by Thea from Saudi, Arabia on 1/29/2014

Answer:

Michael J. Mihalick, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Michael J. Mihalick, MD  

Dear Thea,
I assume that you have seen a cardiologist and have had a stress test, an echocardiogram, and an event monitor to record your ECG during an episode of pain. If these studies are normal, your symptoms are probably due to PTS and treatment should be directed toward this disorder.

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Updated February 2014
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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