I have been having some really uncomfortable heart symptoms and my gp feels it is Angina, i am going to have a treadmill test done in the next 2 weeks and in the meantime she has given me some tablets to put under my tongue for when my chest hurts. I know nothing about angina, but the last time i saw my heart consultant ( about 3 yrs ago) he just rused me through and said nothing was wrong and i should not keep worrying. He did ecg, chest xray and echo, all fine. This time my gp has asked for a 24 hr heart monitor, but this does not give time for the chest pain to come on. I want one of the week long heart monitors, does anyone know what they are called. I live in England and dont know where i stand in asking for one, but am pretty certain the consultant will say no.
My symptoms include, terrible chest pressure, chest burning when i am walking or rushing, if i get really worried/frightened i get breathless and chest pressure, also if i eat a meal i get terrible breathlessness. thousands of palpitations in one day, this does not happen every day but will happen in a week, so i want one of those monitors that you have for a whole week,but what are they called???
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They are all called event monitors -- ambulatory event monitors I think -- I had one for 30 days, which sounds like it might be good for you.
Also, it sounds like you might have GERD (acid reflux disease), especially with all of the "burning" and "chest tightness" symptoms you describe, especially if you get symptoms right after meals. GERD can cause really bad chest pain that is often mistaken for heart problems. Definitely discuss that with your doctor. There is a really good acid reflux medication you can get over the counter in two week regimens, Prilosec OTC. I would try that for two weeks and see if you get some relief!! If not, you can also try a prescription medication, Nexium, which is a little stronger and works well for me.
They are called Holter monitors and are really small ECG machines that record the electrical activity in the heart. They aren't particularly useful for angina. I imagine they exist for either daily or weekly monitoring but wearing one for a week would be a chore. The 24-hour version is the only one I've ever heard of however.
There might be a bathing problem with any that are attached for more than a day...they must be kept dry.
How are you making out with the nitrates (under the tongue.)
Make sure you are taking daily aspirin and keep your meals small until you can have your stress test.
I have not yet taken any of the nitrate tablets, i went for a walk to my local shops this morning and had no chest pain, but as soon as i started walking i got the feeling of thumps in my heart/palpitations. Is this part of angina or just normal palpitations!!. I forgot to take my gtn tablets with me on my walk to the shops so couldn't take them?? I still wonder if it is definitly Angina as the dr said it has got to be confirmed, and i wonder if i am just worrying and making myself get the symptoms, but the dr did say she felt it was angina, and i know that the chest burning/ache is very real, i just doubt myself sometimes.
I don't think it's angina you have, my grandfather is 71 and has had angina since he was in his 40's and has had a triple bypass done and an artificial heart valve put in.
He says the sensation of angina is like someone is grabbing your heart and squeezing it, trying to make it stop. He also says it feels alot like a heart attack but not as bad.
When he gets an angina attack he suffers breathlessness for longer than half an hour, along with that he feels giddy and then needs to sit down and rest and take 2 sprays of his nitrolingual spray (the one in the orange bottle) under his tongue, more if it is really bad!.
I would see your Doctor about your symptoms still as everybody is different, I hope it's not angina, nobody would wish that on anyone!.
I hope you start to feel better soon and I hope it's a passing thing and not anything serious for you.
Thanks panthera25, i am so confused with all this. My Dr says she feels it is angina, but some days i can walk over a mile with no problems, can someone with angina do this!! Yesterday i went to visit my Dad who is in hospital, i had to walk up a steep hill, i was so badly breathless i felt i could not breathe, i got this chest soreness so after a while i stopped at a bus stop and sat down, i got out the gtn tablets for under my tongue and popped one in. well 10 minutes later i was still waiting for it too disolve, i was under the impression that these tablets melt under the tongue but mine just stayed there, in the end i spat out what was left of it, it burnt my skin but did not dissolve. I dont understand how when i have this treadmill test it can show if i have angina or not, as i said some days i can walk on the flat for a mile or so, but on other days i will walk 200 yards on the flat and get this really uncomfortable feeling and a burning in my chest and it wont go. I have looked everywhere on the web for a support group for angina as i find this is where you can get a lot of help but as of yet have not found one. I will just have to wait for this treadmill test and go from there?
The palps are NOT usually part of the angina picture. BUT any feeling of pressure or any burning sensation especially that radiates upwards towards the throat or shoulders or outwards towards the left arm, especially if accompanied by shortness of breath is the COMMON symptomatology for angina.
I think the USUAL pattern is for angina to subside in 5 minutes although i can well imagine that it can be longer in senior seniors. I've never sufferend more than 3 or 4 minutes after stopping the exertion.
True, you will just have to wait for the confirmatory test, but I'd be very much surprised if the nuclear stress test showed negative for angina.
Being able to walk even 10 miles does not negate angina if a person cannot comfortably run for 1/2 mile...or up one hill.
Hi Willow -- You sound rather panicky over all of this, and it's understandable. I agree palpitations should not be part of the discomfort of angina. Stable angina usually comes on in the same way, while one is active. I'm not convinced you are experiencing angina because it sounds a lot like panic/anxiety to me along with indigestion. Take a look at panic/anxiety message boards and see if your symptoms fit with much of what is described.
Of course you should have your test done anyway, but I have a feeling it may not be angina at all. Please let us know, and try to relax as much as possible!
Yes i do probably sound a bit panicky, i do get anxious sometimes but only if i feel the drs are not taking me seriously. This is EXACTLY what they are doing this time. The consultant has now cancelled my treadmill test without even seeing me, he will not admit it but i feel he thinks it is just me getting worried over nothing. He has told my dr he does not feel i need it, but he has not even seen me nor has he even spoken to me. My own doctor says i have many high risk catorgeries against me, 1) my mum had a stroke aged 36, 2) mum had angina aged 42 and died aged 53, 3) i already have a mild heart condtion,4) my cholesterol is high,5) my platelets are high,6) dad is dying in hospital of ****,heart failure and atrial fibrilation. she says this alone puts me in a high risk catorgory, and she feels it is angina. I am getting chest discomfort, sort of like a tight cramping, a burning/raw feeling in my chest, chest tightness and very short of breath but i do carry on as normal and lead a perfectly normal i do not let any of this stop me doing my normal daily routine, i just get anxious as i feel the consultant is not listening to me at all. I have a disabled child to look after so need to be fit and healthy. I get lots and lots of bad palpitations and i know nearly everyone in the world gets some palps at some stage in their life, but sometimes my palps can somtimes get so bad feeling very strong and making me feel very uncomfortable and they may not stop for the whole of that day, but i still go to work and do my normal day but i just feel sort of unwell. I have lost my confidence now, mum died as they did not listen to her and when they did it was too late, she lived for 3 months after they took her seriously, now they have apologised as dad is now dying, they said for years there is nothing wrong with him, now he is terminal. I do NOT want this to happen to me.
Last edited by willowthewisp; 05-13-2006 at 07:10 AM.
Reason: something was wrong???
its driving me mad at themoment, now withthe chest discomfort/pain and the racing heart. I cant wait to see this consultant i have an appointment with on Tuesday next week. We are flying to America next month and my insurance company have now refused me health insurance. So when i go to this consultant next week i am going to ask him to put into writing that i DO NOT have angina or any other heart problems. I feel he might think differently when i ask him to put it into writing. I will update you after Tuesday.
Hi, I have angina. I found out very recently and immediately accepted the fact.
The symptoms of angina are pretty much the ones you describe.
However, you don't mention your age, weight, physical condition and exercise level, blood pressure or cholesterol. However, your family history may be an indicator.
Angina is generally reproducible (but not always) and a very easy test is simply walking up a steep hill. From what you have said that does bring on angina-like symptoms. Chest pressure, squeezing, sometimes with pain, breathlessness, dizziness (whether exercising or not), cold or numb fingers and hands during exercise, are all common symptoms.
Angina can range from slight to very serious and is a common precursor to a heart attack (heart attacks also occur without any angina indication). For this reason you must slow down and avoid chest discomfort until it is fully investigated.
Don't let the thought of angina get you down - dismiss that from your mind until after the diagnosis. Tell yourself nothing has changed and that you can cope. Many thousands of people have angina and can live on indefinitely with it. It's only a progressive disease if you do not take appropriate steps to arrest it. That will mean lifestyle changes, especially giving up smoking if you smoke, losing weight, and controlling your BP, cholesterol and diet. If you are a senior these are things that you should do anyway and things that can even bring more enjoyment to your life.
Good luck with it, Beefsteak.
thank you beefsteak for your reply, i am a 42 yr old female, dont drink dont smoke but am overweight. Recent blood tests revealed i had raised platelets, high cholestrol at 6.9, and my liver was slightly raised, dr said the liver was probably down to recently having flu. I do worry that the consultant is not listening to me, and we all know we only have one chance to look after our heart. Last Friday i had an appointment to go to, i was rushing because i did not want to be late, i walked up a hill and was fine but 200 yards later on the flat the chest discomfort started, and after a while i had the worst chest discomfort i have ever had, i just could not carry on walking it was so very sore. After resting it finally went away but for the whole day my heart hurt, it felt like someone had a very tight grip on it and would not let go. If the echo and ecg came back ok surely this means it cannot be Angina. The echo did show normal tachicardia. My local dr is great and listens to me, she says she feels it is certainly Angina, but this consultant who has not seen me says it is probably just anxiousness. i have lost my confidence, and am due to go on a long flight next month and am very worried that i will get chest pain on the flight, it is my first time flying and i am very very nervous about it. Would you be happy to tell me how you first felt something was wrong with your chest and how it got diagnosed, what tests etc. Thank you
Im from the UK and am going through the motions of being tested for angina. I will be having some kind of nuclear stress test which shows if you have angina and whether you have any blocked arteries. I have been having my BP meds changed recently and this started when i was put on candesartan. Im sure its all ffrom the drug but they say not. Anyway ive stopped it. I was fine on my atenolol for 20 odd years but now my pulse rarely goes over 47 so that needs investigating as well. My symptoms are chest pressure when im walking my dog which makes me stop. No spread up the arms but i am very breathless. Good luck to you.
thank you beefsteak for your reply, i am a 42 yr old ... Would you be happy to tell me how you first felt something was wrong with your chest and how it got diagnosed, what tests etc. Thank you
I have known for over ten years that I had trouble running any distance - however I never associated that with angina. I had been a smoker and I thought it was simply breathlessness associated with the smoking - I stopped smoking over 20 years ago. I just assumed I now had a reduced lung efficiency.
I was also a moderate drinker but 2 years ago I stopped drinking altogether and then, about 6 months ago, I began to notice more obvious breathlessness when walking, especially on hills. My GP could not believe I had angina, as there was no family history which he said was a strong indicator, but the heart specialist said I had it nevertheless and immediately did an angiogram where he found a very restricted secondary artery. There is always a period of denial, but I just added it up and finally accepted it. I had historically high cholesterol (6.0-6.9) and moderately high BP, and for years I did nothing to address these issues.
I don't experience angina during normal activity, it is just when I rush around, work hard in the garden, or walk up hills. Sometimes even the smallest hills brings it on. Exercise especially after eating also brings it on. I realize now that the discomfort I had felt before, which I had always dismissed as just breathlessness and not important, was really angina.
I am in my 60's and have had a good life, but I am determined to fight very hard. The disease has a record of progression in many, or even most, cases. I don't accept that and firmly believe that angina can at least be halted, provided the correct lifestyle changes are made and adhered to. A friend of mine in his 40's also has angina that was treated with a stent. He was, and remains, a smoker. He also eats fast food and does not exercise much. There are many people like that who have angina but do not, or cannot, make the necessary lifestyle changes. They think that once the stent is fitted they are okay and back to square one again.
Good luck with it, and please post again.
Thanks beefsteak, i also get the chest discomfort doing some things and not others. For example, the last 2 days i have had no symptoms at all, i have been supermarket shopping and have not had a twinge. But today i was walking for my bus to work, it is a short walk on totally flat pavement, but i noticed my chest started to feel slighty different, then it started to get sore/raw then it got so bad i had to stop walking altogher. I stopped and rubbed my chest,got my breath back as i noticed i felt breathless and carried on walking to the bus stop but slower . My chest still hurt though, once at my bus stop i took my pulse, seeing as i was only walking on the flat and i as walking at what i would say is a meduim pace i was shocked to find my heart was racing at 140bpm, i feel this is very wrong,normally my heart only goes mad like that if i am walking up a steep hill or steps. Surely this is not normal. I cannot wait to see this other consultant tomorrow, i am going to bombard him with questions and am also going to ask for a letter to confirm that i do not have angina if he says my pains are just anxiousness. I will post tomorrow after i have seen dr to tell you what he said. I am not too bothered about having Angina, what bothers me is not knowing what is wrong!! Thanks so much for your reply.
Went to see the consultsnt today, they did not have the results of my echo as the machine had broken down?? But the dr said that my 24 hr holter had shown that my heart is racing. He said it showed that my resting heart rate is 90 and then it suddenly peaks up to 146.He said this was ok and not abnormal, it is for one because i am unfit. and 2 because i am on a high dose of thyroxine, he says he does not feel it is angina at but to be on the safe side is doing a stress tess. Also has put me on beta blockers to stop the heart racing. i am relieved it is not angina.
Hi Its good to hear your news. The stress test should help resolve it for you.
The problem with the racing heart is not a characteristic of angina and so this may be the cause of your discomfort.
Unfortunately I am not experienced enough to help you in a more precise indication of the problem.
The use of contolled exercise to help stabilise and prevent the racing seems like a good idea. (I have read that elsewhere.)
In the meantime take care and keep your activities below the level of any strong chest discomfort.
Keep us posted.
Chest pain does not have to go on for a long time to be angina due to a heart blockage. It can feel like a squeezing. It can also just feel like your chest if very full. It can be pressure like something standing on your chest. It can just make you short of breath and feel kind of funny. Angina can be brought on just by walking across a parking lot and you don't have to be rushing. What may cause angina one time may not cause angina the next time. Angina can also be brought on just doing nothing. You need to take these symptoms very seriously. Often people try to explain their symptoms away and if you do that with your doctor they may allow you to explain it away and not look further. Burning chest pain on exertion is a real warning sign. These things I'm telling you are from experience. I experienced all those types of angina. My angina never lasted for more than a minute. I believe it's because I took my symptoms serious and didn't wait until I was on the verge of a heart attack. My artery was 75% blocked in an area that probably would have caused a fatal heart attack if let go. I was 41 years old when this happened to me. My 42 year old SIL just went through something similiar but her angina led to a heart attack. She just had six bypasses. She was sitting up at night taking antacids for the GERD that she thought was causing her burning chest pain. Amazingly her GERD has went away.
i do worry they may be missing something, but i am overweight and unfit so the dr said my cardi vascular? is not very good at all, so maybe i need to see to thatThe dr said he feels it is too much Thyroxine, i am going to try the beta blockers but have been told they can make you feel unwell, i really do not need that. I will have this stress test, which the dr has said he knows will be normal. I will say that this burning/chest ache is horrible, and it comes on on exertion. I also feel i may have gerd, as i have had a cough for 4 years now, when i go to sleep every single night i cough my guts up, then wheeze for a while, it keeps me awake for hours on end. So maybe this is related to this chest pain?? I really dont know, i get fed up with having these symptoms and them finding nothing.