ZocdocAnswersAm I experiencing panic attacks?

Question

Am I experiencing panic attacks?

Hello, during a recent visit to the hospital, I was diagnosed with GERD. But the weird thing is is that on a nightly basis around 7PM-8PM I start experiencing rapid heartbeat and a discomfort in my chest. I initially presumed it to be the heartburn relief medication I was on as I read it could potentially be an adverse reaction to Ranitidine. So today I skipped my daily dosage, but the aforementioned complications still occurred at 7PM and have continued. Through my own research, it seems like it could just be panic attacks, but as I don't have a doctor or insurance, I can't be entirely sure. As noted though, this has been happening for at least a week now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and have a nice day.

Answer

I'm sorry that you are having these symptoms as they do sound pretty distressing. I think that you are going to need to find a primary care doctor to provide you advice or go back to an emergency room or urgent care sent as soon as possible for additional evaluation. All of your symptoms still could be GERD, especially given that the symptom of discomfort tend to be at night (presumably when you are relaxing or laying down), which is classic for GERD symptoms. However, the sensation of rapid heart beat is concerning to me, as this could be a sign of a heart problem and not just GERD. Therefore, ruling out a heart problem, which a primary care doctor or the emergency room should be able to do, would be the first priority. Panic attacks or anxiety are also a possibility. However, unfortunately, panic attacks are a diagnosis of exclusion. This means it is important first to rule out other, more immediately serious, causes, which will require input from a doctor. When you are seen, the doctor will likely want to perform an electrocardiogram as well as, potentially, some basic blood work. Based on results, the doctor will be able to advise you about what to do next.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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