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    Valo1679 posted:
    This is kind of a long story so please bear with me. It all started Thanksgiving Day 2011. I was playing football with my family and got a pain in my chest. I figured I had strained something and brushed it off, went home and went to bed. I woke up still having the pain and feeling out of it, like I couldn't concentrate as well as I used to. I slowed down on my smoking and this went on for about a month and I noticed it was gone one morning shortly after Christmas when I woke up, like someone had flipped a switch. The month of January I was feeling normal and good except that I was coughing up thick stuff that had blood in it. That lasted a couple weeks and quit. The pains and loss of concentration and everything came back February 2, 2012 and it hasn't gone away since and I'm so tired of worrying it's my heart and feeling out of it. I just want to be my old self again. I've been to the ER countless times. They've done EKG's, blood work, and chest x-rays each time I've gone but everything came back normal each time. I've talked to my regular doctor about it and she ordered a few tests. I've had: and MRI on my head, a CT scan of my chest (one looking at my aorta and another checking for blood clots in my lungs) and I asked for a referral to a heart doctor and they did an ultrasound on my heart and a stress test. Again everything came back okay so I've left it alone and have done my best to quit worrying about it. She talked to me about it being anxiety but I've never been an anxious person. I'm always calm and I never get mad. Lately the symptoms have been getting worse again. I went to the ER the other night and they did an EKG, blood work, and a chest x-ray as usual, and everything came back okay. They diagnosed me with Pleurisy and Bronchitis but it doesn't hurt when i breathe, it just comes on randomly. I've also been to a neurologist and he ordered a test where they put electrodes on my head and monitored my brain activity while asleep, with flashes of light and other things, I've forgotten the name of it, I'm sorry, I believe it was an ECG? Everything came back normal though. I drink absolutely nothing almost but Diet Mountain Dew for a few years now. They told me it could be the caffeine so I switched to caffeine free Diet Mountain Dew but it hasn't helped. The pain is normally just to the left of the bottom of my sternum, but I've had pains in my back left shoulder blade, my neck, my left side, and my left arm and leg. I've had one episode where my arms and face started tingling like they were falling asleep and it felt like there was a tourniquet around my chest. I went to the ER that time as well and everything came back normal. It also seems like my ears constantly need to pop like they do when you're in higher elevations. I'm just at my wits end because it's really affecting me everyday with me thinking it's my heart. I never leave the house without 2-3 aspirin in my pocket just in case it is my heart. I'm just hoping someone could give me a little advice and thank you for bearing with me and reading all of this. Here are some facts about me:

    I'm a 26 year old male.
    I'm 6'4" and 160lbs
    I've smoked for 9 years now, but I've cut back a lot. I smoke maybe a pack and a half a week.
    I've never had any major illnesses or diseases.
    I don't have the best diet
    Opal40 responded:
    Quit smoking!!!...Stop drinking (detox from) ALL soda!!...Watch Dr. Oz daily!!....You can do all of this then do what my sister in law did.....Go back to it!....
    IamIrene responded:
    I think that the test is called EEG.
    Just my opinion but I think that you should stick with your regular doctor who knows all of this. If she can't diagnose you she is sending you to other specialists so you know that she is listening to you.
    So your being treated for pleurisy so that can't hurt.
    I don't want you to get mad at me but maybe you could try the treatment for anxiety? Smoking is never okay but it might not be time for you to quit with all this stress in your life. Maybe talk it over with your doctor.
    There is always places like Mayo Clinic where they treat or diagnose people with rare medical problems. Kind of like a hospital of Doctor Houses, LOL I love House, ok.
    Eating right is always important but most Americans don't get malnutrition and you have probably had all the blood tests that would show if you had any vitamin shortages.
    You have your own doctor who is taking care of you. If you like Dr. Oz then cool. If you don't (I don't like him) then please don't waste your time esp that you have a doctor who is trying to find out whats going on with you.
    Lastly I don't have any medical knowlegde except my own back surgery and pain management. My husband's mother is a nurse and helps me a lot with my own medical problems.
    I hope that you get well.
    PEDMM responded:
    Okay I was reading your post and I got blown away in the symptoms you described. The reason being is that I am now 37 yrs old but when I was around 23 -24 or so I had the same exact things happening. The thing was that I also had stress test and ekg numerous ER visits and doc visits and they couldnt find anything either. Well let me just ask have you had any issues with BP at all? The reason I ask is that after most of those symptoms, I did develope hypertension. Then I became super stressed and would start having anxiety attacks oftern. Enought to were I would not be able to drive. Since then I have been placed on BP medications as well as been diagnosed with anxiety and given meds for that. I did eventouly give up drinking I did drink. I didnt smoke though never liked cigs. The cardiologist ruled out my heart as well but I have to be careful with my hypertension. So I would just watch that and dont be embaressed but maybe it is anxiety. I was scared to admit that. But it happens and there are meds for it. Im not saying thats what you have, just something to look into. I wish you all the luck. Just couldnt believe when I read your symtoms. Took me back, Good luck
    Valo1679 replied to PEDMM's response:
    Thanks for all the input guys. I figured quitting smoking and drinking Diet Dew at once would be a little too hard so I've been cutting back on both, switching between water and gatorade. I've cut back on my smoking a lot as well, used to smoke a day what I smoke in a week now lol. They did blood tests at the neurologist for vitamin deficiencies and all that came back good too, so I'm really at a loss. I've also started taking the One-a-Day vitamins for men too to see if that would help and it hasn't yet. The highest I've seen my blood pressure was during the stress test, and, it was a few months ago, but I want to say it was like 170 something over close to a flat 100. The other night when I went to the ER it was 141/83, though I'm not sure what a healthy range on blood pressure is. Also, there's no family history of illnesses or diseases. A couple family member have had stroke or heart attack but they were over twice my age. My Dad had blood clots in his lungs but again he was 50 and had been smoking for 30 years. I always got enough exercise what with work and keeping the house straightened around (I live by myself taking care of my 11yo sister since my mom passed away from COPD) so I thought I'd come here and get some suggestions, even though I wasn't sure if I posted this in the right section lol. Again, thanks for the input and bearing through that long read, I figured it best to tell the entire story at once.
    Onehurtguy replied to Valo1679's response:
    Your BP was normal every time?

    I think it's weird that it only happens on your left side too.. I'm not a MD, I sell construction supplies so PLEASE don't listen to my medical advise! But DAM, that's not good for a man your age.

    I remember when I was a kid, maybe nineteen or so, I had this girlfriend that would make me so angry that I had some tingling in my head, almost numbing. I figured she was gonna give me a stroke before I was of legal age, so I ditched her for a Japanese model.... Much less stress!

    Good luck with that man, it's definitely not normal!!!!!
    Opal40 replied to Valo1679's response:
    Really Valo, Gatorade?....Now you are replacing bad habits with other bad habits.....Unless you have to rehydrate, like from exercise, diarrhea and vomiting, you don't drink sports drinks.....They are called sports drinks for a reason.....You should look it up as I don't think you want to read a book.....Drink water, club soda and add a fresh lemon....All the diet crap has Aspartame and the sweetness levels are 10,000 times higher than sugar.....Since you had a stress test and it was negative, then you aren't going to have a heart attack.....Get to the gym.....You will learn alot there.....Cutting down on cigs does nothing....Been there done that.....DETOX and it isn't going to be easy as this was the hardest thing I ever did in my live.....There are addicting chemical in cigs.....There is more support and tools than there was 30 years ago....And whatever you do after you quit, DON'T have just one because you are stressed.....Keeping active is healthy for body and mind..
    Valo1679 replied to Opal40's response:
    Yeah gatorade because there's a lot of physical labor where I work. It's hard even just cutting back lol. As I said I'm not sure what a normal, healthy range for blood pressure is, but as far as I know it was normal each time. That's why I was always thinking it was my heart, or maybe my left lung. Just throwing maybe's out there because I'm all out of ideas. Might try the anxiety stuff my Dr was talking about but I was really hoping to avoid it
    Opal40 replied to Valo1679's response:
    Gatorade has a flame retardant chemical in it to hold the color.....I think it was on 60 minutes but don't quote me the 60 minutes show because it could have been another news show and I could be called a name on this blog.....We have alot of unecessary chemical added to our food.....Gatorade in 1975 is not today's Gatorade.....O.K. next ingredient salt.....It is in everything like acetaminophen.....Salt increases BP.....Someone may have a difference of opinion on that.....I would exercise and change bad habits before taking meds....If you decide later to go off them you cannot just stop.....You have to wean off....I am not a fan of meds unless you have to.....That ought to start some crap!
    ctbeth replied to Valo1679's response:
    Hello Valo,

    Below is a list of the ingredients in Gatorade Fruit Punch flavour:


    The questionable ingredient, bromated vegetable oil, aka BVO, had been used as an emulsifier,

    An "emulsifier," meaning it distributes flavouring evenly so that it doesn't collect at the surface.

    BVO was used in two varieties including orange and citrus cooler.

    As of 25 January 2013, Gatorade removed the controversial ingredient.

    An ten-oz serving of Gatorade has about 130 mg of sodium.

    General sodium recommendation for adult men is about 2,500 mg of sodium per day.

    If you've been regularly drinking Gatorade and your blood pressure is normal, a couple of glasses per day shouldn't be a problem, especially if you're exercising or performing physical labour.

    Water would always be a healthier option, but if you really love Gatorade, your age and body mass can probably handle it.

    Seltzer, and the flavoured seltzer (unsweetened) have neither sugar, artificial sweeteners, or sodium. Club soda does have some sodium, but unless you're on a sodium restricted diet, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Unless your MD has told you that you should restrict your sodium intake, a man your age should not trouble yourself with such matters.

    That you've significantly cut down your cigarettes smoking is a fine thing. Of course you know that you shouldn't smoke- every smoker knows this; you do not need to be told.

    You can always try the anti-anxiety med and see if it helps. If it does, you may feel much better; if is does not, you don't have to continue taking it.

    Either way, your MD should be notified if it helps you or does not help.

    You've not stopped by in a few days.

    Do let us know how you're doing, I do hope that you're well.


    Valo1679 replied to ctbeth's response:
    Sorry, I've been busy with work and stuff around the house as well as my little sister. It seems to be getting gradually worse to be honest seems to be spreading to the right side of my chest and I've had a headache on the left side of my head and face for 3 days now. My heart keeps an elevated pace as well and it feels like it's like, beating hard or pounding I guess would be the word. The ringing in my ears has been getting more frequent too, however the symptoms seem to be worse at night than they are during the day. It's all just really worrisome. I had to let my insurance go because of bills etc so I'm going to have to wait on my income tax before I can see my doctor about it. Just not sure what I should talk to her about. Can anxiety really cause all this or is there something else I could talk to her about?
    77grace responded:
    Wow,it sounds like you really need a good check up!I know its a real drag when you feel lousey all the time.mew too!But I slso know that ATTitude really helps!!
    Let us know whaat happens!
    Valo1679 replied to 77grace's response:
    Yeah it sucks lol I hate it Has anyone seen the symptom list for long-term aspartame use? As I've said, I've been drinking almost nothing but Diet Mountain Dew for maybe 5 years now. However I've been doing research on aspartame and a lot of my symptoms seem to match. I went to as well as a few other sites and I'm pretty amazed at how bad it is for you. It's basically an artificial sweetener that they put in a lot of foods and drinks. Especially in diet drinks. I was just curious as to if anyone knew anything about it or thought that this could be a real possible cause of everything?
    ctbeth replied to Valo1679's response:
    Dear Valo,
    If you believe everything you read on the internet, then is seems that a chemical found in thousands of products is causing an epidemic of severe neurological and systemic diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus. The FDA, the companies that make the product, and the "medical industrial complex" all know about the dangers of this chemical but are hiding the truth from the public in order to protect corporate profits and avoid paper work that would accompany the truth being revealed.
    The only hope is a dedicated band of bloggers and anonymous e-mail chain letter authors who speak the truth.
    Armed with the latest anecdotal evidence, unverified speculation, and scientifically implausible claims, they have been ranting about the evils of this chemical for years.
    Undeterred by the countless published studies manufactured by the food cartel that show this chemical is safe, they continue to protect the public by spreading baseless fear.
    Hopefully, you don't believe everything you read on the internet.
    While there are many manifestations urban legend, I am speaking specifically about aspartame — an artificial sweetener used since the early 1980s.
    The notion that aspartame is unsafe has been circulating almost since it first appeared, fears surrounding aspartame have taken on a life of their own.
    I was recently sent a chain letter warning that aspartame causes MS (which of course can be cured by simply avoiding aspartame), and Snopes informs me that this particular letter first appeared in 1998.
    There are also hundreds of websites dedicated to smearing this much abused food additive. One site, run by Dr. Janet Starr Hull (she has a doctorate in Nutrition), responds to the latest report of aspartame's safety by writing:
    [blockquote>I will never accept the news of aspartame safety. I think it is a "business" decision to discredit/discount the research results that aspartame DOES cause cancer, major nerve disorders, birth defects, and brain imbalances. Think about it — can you imagine the chaos that will occur when the truth of aspartame dangers is accredited. The FDA has known about the dangers, the corporations have known about the dangers, and the medical community (if it is really worth anything) has known about the dangers.
    [/blockquote>The statement that "nothing will ever convince me" is a huge red flag that someone is defending an ideological position, one immune to evidence or reason.
    She is specifically saying that she will dismiss any evidence that is contrary to her belief that aspartame is not safe on the a-priori basis that such dis-confirming evidence is part of a vast conspiracy.
    Of course, Dr. Hull also sells an aspartame detox kit, which might lead a cynical person to conclude that she cares more about selling alternative health products and stoking her sales with unreasonable fear than about scientific evidence.
    What evidence does she have for such a conspiracy?
    The argument is fallacy — big industry wouldn't want it. It's also not very plausible. Products get pulled from the market all the time when new evidence suggests they are not safe.
    Also, the final safety net for the consumer is legal
    Now I am not arguing that corporations are all good citizens or wouldn't dream of sweeping some inconvenient evidence under the carpet.
    I am saying that a decades-long conspiracy among industry, federal regulatory agencies, the medical community, and multiple research institutions and individual researchers — all under the nose of the press and lawyers looking for big class-action suits — is implausible in the extreme.
    I am also arguing that we should fairly assess all the evidence, not just cherry pick the evidence we like and dismiss the rest out of hand.
    Caveat Lactor
    Caveat Emptor

    Valo1679 replied to ctbeth's response:
    No I don't believe everything that I read on the internet especially considering all the research I've done on it consisted basically of people pointing fingers and saying how bad it is for you, that's why I asked here to just get some thoughts on it. All the bad news I read about it seemed like it was a little too good to be true, as the symptom list that aspartame "causes" contain a lot of the ones I'm having. Just racking my brain in the time leading up to my doctor's appointment. I figured I've been drinking diet drinks since high school so I would look up some of the adverse effects of long-term intake of diet drinks and the aspartame thing come up so I thought it might be worth looking into.

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