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Old 04-19-2004, 02:12 PM   #1
EWF EWF is offline
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possible angina?

Hi - I'm new here. I hope to get your opinions on the symptoms I've been experiencing since Dec. 2003. I'll try to keep this brief!

I'm 35 years old, female. Normal weight. Very fit. (I'm a runner.) Coronary artery disease on my father's side. When checked last year, my total cholesterol was 245. LDL is 144. But my primary doc said that my HDL is extremely high, and therefore, I shouldn't worry.

Starting in Dec. 2003, during my runs, I started to notice discomfort in the center/left of my chest, above my left breast. Within a few weeks, this discomfort while running started to spread over a wider area, originating at the same point as before, but also stretching across my chest all the way to my left shoulder. The best way I have found to describe the discomfort is that it feels as though someone took a thick band of duct tape and stretched it firmly from the center of my chest to my shoulder.

Since I also lift weights a few times a week, I figured (and still do assume, I think?) that the pain was/is from chest muscle or skeletal strain. Not sure why it would only act up while I'm running, though.

Anyway, over the past month and a half, the discomfort mentioned above has occassionally gone beyond my left shoulder and into my left arm pit. I was doing speed work the other day and felt discomfort on the left side of my neck and into my upper jaw (just under my left ear).

Three times in the past 2 months, I've awaken in the middle of the night with terrible pain that encompasses my upper chest, across both shoulders, and down both arms to just below my elbows. The nighttime pain feels like pulsating squeezing of the entire arm. In other words, it doesn't feel like muscle ache, or joint pain. It lasts for around a minute or so.

The day before one of my first nighttime episodes, I had run 15 miles that morning. And just as I was drifting off to sleep that night, I felt my heart flutter for around 10 seconds. Later on, that's when I awoke with the pulsating pains in both arms.

I know: I should see my doctor about this. I have a routine visit with him scheduled for mid-June. I may wait until then because I fear being deemed "just anxious."

However, my question is: I tend to doubt that what I'm experiencing is heart related since the symptoms don't radiate in the same direction each time (i.e., sometimes to the shoulders, armpit ... sometimes to the neck, jaw ... and then the nighttime pain in both arms.). If this were angina wouldn't would the pain always occur in the same fashion?

Last edited by EWF; 04-19-2004 at 02:20 PM.

 
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Old 04-19-2004, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: possible angina?

EWF:

I would not wait until June to see a cardiologist.

What you're experiencing may not be heart related. But the fact is that nearly all the symptoms you've listed can be angina, as you obviously suspect. There is absolutely no danger of your being considered "anxious" with the symptoms you've listed.

I had a severe heart attack in 1974, had six bypasses in 1981, and coexist to this day with occasional angina, congestive heart failure, and bouts of atrial fibrillation. If I were you, I'd go to the doctor now to rule out heart problems, or to take corrective action if the heart is involved.

Sincerely,
Bill

 
Old 04-20-2004, 03:34 AM   #3
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Re: possible angina?

Agreed..especially with the jaw pain..this occurs in women more than men, hence the many years of women being mis-diagnosis... my dr even gave me antibiotics thinking I had a dental infection, I nearly died. See a cardilogist. Lupines
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Old 04-20-2004, 05:06 AM   #4
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Re: possible angina?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EWF
However, my question is: I tend to doubt that what I'm experiencing is heart related since the symptoms don't radiate in the same direction each time (i.e., sometimes to the shoulders, armpit ... sometimes to the neck, jaw ... and then the nighttime pain in both arms.). If this were angina wouldn't would the pain always occur in the same fashion?
EWF:

Based on your fitness level, age, and a higher HDL to accompany your slightly elevated LDL, your chances of having CHD are pretty low...however, I did have my MI at 35, but I was also sedentary, obese, had high triglycerides, hypertension, and very low HDL.

I agree with others, that you do want to at least ask to have a stress test done (Thallium & Technicium injection during exercise), just to see if there is any ischemia that can be noticed in the images.

Your description of the pain could be consistent with angina, if you look below, I linked some earlier posts where Fizzickle, Zip and I described angina, and another where I tried to describe it in more detail. My descriptions of it were better back then (time passes and my recollection of how angina felt does fade). In the second link, I describe some incidents where I thought I felt angina, but was wrong (including some pain I felt while doing my morning run). The third one has some more descriptions of angina. The fourth link was written on the day before my 1 year anniversary of my heart attack.


[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=154798[/url]

[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=58828[/url]

[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=58874[/url]

[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=58501[/url]

Best wishes, and if I were in your position (and I have been), I would not delay--I did that once and could have paid dearly.

 
Old 04-20-2004, 05:30 AM   #5
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Re: possible angina?

Ubie,

Thanks for piling those links into one place...I think I'll save them together in a file to use later.

EWF,

I think you are right and the pain is likely from a small muscle tear, either in your left pec or the costos under it. Just the bounce of running can exacerbate these things.

If either of the following occur, however, the scenario moves more towards angina:

1. When running and the pain/pulling feeling starts is it usually preceded by shortness of breath (more than usual for a run)
2. Does it stop within 3 minutes of your run...alsost as soon as you feel the slightest slowing of your heartrate.

Try a couple/three aspirin an hour before your run...if the pain is much less than usual, it's probably a muscle.

I'd keep the appointment in June and maybe avoid SPRINTS til then. If the pain is still with you (muscle tear should be healed by then), then a cardiologist is a good idea. Your PCP will be useless...he'll take your blood pressure and then write you a referral.
First line is usually a treadmill and nuclear echocardiogram if you have insurance....an encouraging pat on the back if not!

 
Old 04-20-2004, 07:12 AM   #6
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Re: possible angina?

I agree with (most) all the others.... don't take a chance on your life, you only have one. Having any symptoms ralated to your heart is nothing to mess a round with. Your symptoms due point to Angina Pectoris. Please read this website I posted here and maybe this will convince you to go ahead and make a doctor's appointment asap. Don't delay, you maybe sorry later. [url]http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4472[/url]

Hope this help.... Keep us posted

 
Old 04-20-2004, 09:06 AM   #7
EWF EWF is offline
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Re: possible angina?

Hi everyone -- Thank you all so much for your responses. I'm a little overwhelmed with all the information you've thrown my way. (A GOOD overwhelm, though.) I'll write again soon, once I've had a chance to read through all your posts and links. Thanks again! I didn't expect such a thorough response, and so quickly! This is very helpful.

 
Old 04-22-2004, 04:22 AM   #8
EWF EWF is offline
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Re: possible angina?

Hello again --

I've read all of your responses and helpful links to additional information. Thank you, all. Very helpful.

Ubernier,

The first link you provided ( [url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=154798[/url] ) offered excellent descriptions of angina discomfort/ pain. I could especially relate to the descriptions there by you and Fizzickle; unfortunately, so much so that I could have written the pain descriptions myself.

As you noted, Ubernier, sometimes it's hard to peg which symptoms are related to your condition and which are from something else. Symptom patterns -- when trying to understand for yourself, as well as a doctor trying to make sense of it all -- can be misleading if there are some things thrown in that are angina and some that are not. I have epilepsy. Before my seizures were treated, there were a few things I attributed to my epilepsy that later, after my condition was treated, discovered were not caused by my epilepsy after all. That made for much confusion when nailing down the diagnosis.

Some of you recommend seeing a cardiologist right off, instead of seeing my regular doctor first. I'm unsure which I should do ...

Last edited by EWF; 04-22-2004 at 04:39 AM.

 
Old 04-22-2004, 04:33 AM   #9
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Re: possible angina?

EWF:

You can set up an appt with your general first, then ask for a referral to a caridiologist. I went the route of: have MI, go to ER, then acquire cardiologist.

In your place now, I would ask, during your appointment with your GP, for a stress test through a recommended cardiologist. Your symptoms could be related to something more benign than CHD--who knows? Better to find out now than wait though

Good Luck!

 
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