Just a quick question, I had my annual check up with my cardiologist this week and she agreed it was not necessary to do another full cardiac workup this year after two normal workups in the last two years. I have no new symptoms and my blood pressure (105/65) and cholesterol (165) are under control with medication so she said just to let her know if I ever have any new symptoms and other than that just check in after a couple of years for check up.
During our discussion, we spoke about angina and what to look out for. We discussed my exercise routine which includes 45 - 60 minutes per day on a treadmill to walk 3-4 miles. She just said if I develop any angina pains to let her know. She gave me a clinical description of angina, but I would like to hear from someone who has experienced angina and find out first hand what I would feel. I don't have any pain, discomfort or symptoms when working out but would be interested in knowing how severe the pain would be, would it stop me in my tracks or just be a subtle pain?
The type of pain from angina varies a lot depending on the individual. For many it's pressure or tightness in the chest region, not unlike gasping for breath after extreme exertion but with a tinge of dull pain. The pain can be more severe extending into the shoulders, neck and down the arms.
For most sufferers there is an exercise threshold required to bring it on. This is "stable" angina; a rarer unstable form exists where pain occurs more randomly.
You said you are "walking" on your treadmill - why not try jogging? That's the best way to bring on angina if you have a marginal diagnosis. (Doctors advise stopping once any pain or discomfort is felt.)
Cholesterol and BP are good to know, but I'd be looking at your family history and whether or not you have smoked and for how long. These are the two key factors.
Your weight, exercise regime, and diet are pretty much secondary.
I feel it as an intense cramping BURN miid-chest as if I swallowed strong acid. When it is at its worse the "burn" radiates to both shoulders and up my neck.
For me there is often an element of stress involved with exercise.
My exercise alone tolerace is quite high but add to it the fear of missing a train and I can bring on angina.
It is neither crippling nor slight but mid-way. It is always accompanied by a sense of fear (naturally .) A frequent scenario is a run for a subway and once inside and standing still THEN the pain comes on.
Before my angioplasty, a CERTAINTY to bring it on was walking into an icy wind in the morning.
Stable angina, the most common kind, will go away after 2 minutes or so.
Do as beefsteak recommends to check your angina level by RUNNING for 5 minutes or more. It think if you can run at 6-10 mph. for 5 to 10 minutes, you can probably forget about angina for the next decade.
Thanks for your responses. I would like to be able to run rather than walk on the treadmill, unfortunately I have RA which affects both knees, throw in a couple of complete MCL tears and my knees just are not stable enough to allow me to run, not to mention the post exercise pain. When I walk, I generally stay at 4 mph but bump it up to 5 - 6% incline.
Also, I have never smoked and have no history of early onset heart disease in the family so no risk factors there. I do need to loose another 50 pounds, already lost 50 pounds in the last 10 months.
Again, thanks for the input, I will try a short spurt of running during my exercise and see if I'm able to stay on the treadmill! Maybe I can hold out for 5 minutes or so.
In view of your RA and other knee probs you could just increase the ramp angle and work harder at it. (Better still would be an aerobic strider where the effort is spread between the arms and legs.) The main thing is to see how your system copes when you are exerting yourself at a level where you start to puff and your pulse rate rises appreciably. Five minutes may be enough, but to be sure I would give it about 10-15 minutes and see how you feel. With me I feel great at five minutes. Try it a few times as it can vary.
If you have no family history and did not smoke you are in a very low risk category as far as angina goes.
Just finished my workout and was able to include just short of 10 minutes at 6 mph, my knees just could not keep up with anything higher. It felt pretty good, no issues at all. Wish I had stable enough knees to try a higher speed, oh well we play the cards we're delt. I'll try bumping the incline higher and max out my walking speed and add occassional running bursts and see how that works. I should add that I am able to maintain a target heart rate of 145 bpm when walking at my normal speed and incline for a full 45 minutes with no issues as well. Running today pushed my heart rate to 162 BPM, felt good.