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High heart rate, anxiety, shaky-sweaty hands

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Not sure if this is the right section, but I can't find any closer ones so here goes..

I’ve been having recurring episodes of what looked like to me hyperthyroidism symptoms after some research. I’m a 23 year old male and these episodes started for me when I was 17. These episodes are infrequent, I say they occur on average once a year. Each of these episodes would last 1-2 weeks and go away without any medication or anything. These symptoms include pounding heart, higher heart rate than normal, high blood pressure (range: 136/86), hand sweat, shaky hands, slight headache (temples), anxiety, and moody. But I have not notice any increase fatigue or restlessness or bulging of my neck (if it’s hyperthyroidism). My family and I do not have any history of any heart ailments or diseases. I am not on medication of any kind other than daily supplement pills - vitamin C and Omega3. The first time I’ve had this (awhile ago) I went to the two doctors and both of them told me it’s no big deal and say it’s simply just stress and maybe hormones. Neither of them diagnosed or even mentioned to me the word “thyroid”. They didn’t perform any blood test or urine test on me. They send me back without any medication. Unsatisfied, I went back to them and performed two EKG tests, both of them showed my heart rate was faster than normal, but the doctor said my heart beats were fine and my heart is healthy. Convinced, I finally gave up and decide to let time heal it. After two weeks, the doctors were right, the symptoms went away all by itself. Then about a year or two later, the episode came back, so I just ignore it and live my life. Again the episode went away after a week or two. This cycle went on until now, which I am currently having the episode again. This is probably my 5th or 6th episode. Hopefully this episode will again go away like my past ones, but I’m just wondering if I should be alarmed as these are signs for something serious, like a thyroid storm which I read about if hyperthyroidism goes untreated, if this is even what I have first of all? Or is this a sub-acute thyroiditis? Since I am currently not medically insured, I don’t want to go to a doctor to have them sending me back home again like in the past. But is this a sign for something serious? I would like some professional opinion beforehand, thanks!
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First Helper todamax15
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replied March 15th, 2008
Hi,

for many reasons, trying to make a diagnosis by itself, is probably the worst thing to do.

However, you could find a physician who is willing to perform the right tests when your symptoms occur...it means a blood test first.

Regarding your blood pressure, at 136/86 we cannot call it "high blood pressure".
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replied May 5th, 2009
Your symptoms
Hi Todamax 15,

firstly let me say that I am not a doctor, but I write because the symptoms you describe strongly resemble those of classic pheocromocytoma, a disease which I suffer from and which is often misdiagnosed due to the non specific nature of the symptoms. This disease is extremely rare and I must therefore advise you that it is extremely UNLIKELY that you will be a sufferer - but as you seem keen for ideas I will describe what I can and allow you to pursue independent research or discount my thoughts as you see fit.

As I said, Pheo is a rare disease and proper, early diagnosis is important as the condition is easily treated but often missed by GP's and local MD's due to its rarity and the way it masquerades as many things, but nothing in particular. Pheochromocytoma are small tumours of the adrenal gland which as they grow influence your adrenal production and can vary the different types of adrenalin you are producing. This results in mild to profuse sweating, high blood pressure, awareness of heart, psychological and anxiety issues, visionary disturbances and in extreme forms adreanl attacks which can lead to hospitalisation (although these are very rare). If a tumour is present, it can be removed easily by surgery. Check out the following web resources for more info using the word pheochromacytoma and the following site names via a Google search
- wikipedia, Mayo Clinic and also the UK site Macmillan cancer (look under endocrine tumours)alternatively go straight to pheo.org where there is a plethora of non clinical information that is pretty accessible for the layman. Blood tests can be easily conducted for Pheo by your own MD, please note that 1-5 out of every 1000 hypretensive blood pressure patients test positive for pheo, but that it cannot be diagnosed under ordinary blood tests-they need to do specific tests for catechalomines - a group name for the collective hormones controlled via the adrenal glans, these include dopamine, metanephrine, epinephrines etc. Psychological symptoms are caused by variations from normal levels of these hormones within your body resulting in similar and unpredictable variations of the "fight or flight" response (hence a predisposition to feelings of anxiety). If you are indeed diagnosed as pheo, then please make sure that you attend a centre specialising in this disease such as the Mayo Clinic or NIH in the US, both of which are excellent with the NIH in particular forging ahead with new treatments - contact Karen Adams or Dr. Karel Pacak at the NIH. Please note that if you believe that a blood test is merited to check - then you have the right to insist this test is offered by your Doctor.I wish you the best of luck. Allen Wilson
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