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Last night my heart started to beat, I had this pressure on my chest like someone was sitting on it, my hands were clammy and I thought;  I’m having a heart attack.  Heart disease runs in my family, I have smoked off and on since I was fourteen years old, I am significantly overweight, I don’t exercise often enough,and my maternal grandmother had two massive heart attacks in his lifetime.  Or, I could be having a panic attack…more likely since I’ve had them for about five years…not everyday, not once a month, they come out of the blue, sometimes with no stressor, and they always come late at night when there’s no one to call except my mom.

The only problem with calling my mom is that she suffered from them for many years and I don’t want to worry her in case it sets her off.  Usually I can talk myself out of them, I can control them, prayer helps but last night was the worst.  I don’t want to take an anti-axiety because I don’t like taking prescription medication unless I absolutely have to and I don’t have panic attacks all of the time.  I called the nurses line and described my symptoms and the nurses told me that I should call an ambulance to go to the hospital but my husband was convinced that it was a panic attack and that I should drive myself.  So off I went in my van and I called my mom, she reassured me that it sounded like a panic attack and to just drive carefully.  When I got to the hospital they took blood tests and a heart trace test and while I was lying in the bed I could feel the pressure dissipating and all of the other symptoms went also, so that when the doctor came to see me he told me that my blood sugar was a little high but the heart test came back that all was well.  It was a panic attack, he told me do breathing exercises and to take a medication that you only use at the onset of a panic attack and not all of the time.

Panic/Anxity attacks are scary and can be debilitating if you let them.  Try to work through it and if that doesn’t work, talk to your doctor.  Don’t live in fear or guilt or shame if you do need medication, if that’s what it takes for you to live a full, healthy life then do it.  It’s your life and you need to feel safe and secure to be happy.

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