Anxiety? Thyroid? Something else?
I’m a 37 year old white male, 5’9′ 165 pounds. I don’t exercise much but I eat reasonably well- lots of fruits, veg and nuts, not too much processed foods, not much red meat, very little junk food and I drink plenty of water.
After having a massive panic attack out of the blue, I’ve started investigating and reflecting on my own health in a much deeper way and realised that perhaps there is an underlying health issue that is making me more susceptible to anxiety/panic attacks, as I am not an anxious person.
If I think back on my health history, about six months ago I noticed that I had started losing a lot of hair, and that my hair was becoming much thinner in texture than it had been before. Since the age of about 25, my hair has gone from dark blonde/brown to almost completely white (to the point where people ask if I have albinism!) and I have lost most of my eyebrow hair. My skin is usually very dry. People have always commented on the dark circles under my eyes, and my pasty white skin. I have a slow resting heart rate averaging about 52-54bpm, have occasional heart palpitations and I usually have five or six bouts of what I assume is some kind of central sleep apnea before falling asleep (which is pretty freaky!). My hands often have a bit of shake to them, and I get tingling in both my pinky fingers and ring fingers every so often. I constantly have to clear my throat. I am always hungry for air, taking deep breaths and yawning a lot, many times not getting a satisfying breath without concentration or body positioning. I have a low ringing tone in my left ear pretty consistently. I have elevated cholesterol (5.8 or 227). Bowel movements once every two days.
I thought most of this stuff was just due to ageing, and really didn’t concern myself with it too much. But more recently, I started getting major panic attacks with what I now understand to be typical symptoms – a huge surge of what seemed like adrenaline, feeling I was having a massive heart attack, fear I was going to die right there and then, shaking, sweating, pursed lips, disassociation with reality etc. I’m not an anxious person by any means, so it has really frightened me. After visiting the doctor and getting seemingly every heart test imaginable done (EKG, Stress Test, CT Angiography, 2D echo, Calcium Score, Chest Xray etc. – all fine), the doctor put it down to anxiety and prescribed me .25mg Xanax twice daily. But i can’t help thinking there is some other reason for all this, perhaps a thyroid condition or something.
I’ve had a fairly broad general health check up – CBC, THS t3 t4, abdominal ultra sound, chest X-ray, etc. and the doctor said everything was more or less ok, but he did mentioned the cholesterol specifically. On reading the results myself, I see from my ultra sound that i have a distended gall bladder but no sign of gall stones, i have simple kidney cysts on both kidneys, slightly raised MCV and MCH, lowish Globulin, highish A/G ratio.
So I think these panic attacks have woken me up to some health issues I need to deal with. Either that or perhaps I’ve suddenly become a hypochondriac!
I’d love to hear any opinions/suggestions on what might be causing some of these issues!