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Old 04-28-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Angina or Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me either way!

Hi
I am new to this forum, although I have being popping in to read posts from time to time before signing up.
I am really worried and confused and I hope someone out there can help me. About six weeks ago I thought I had a heart attack during the night. I was on my own when it happened because hubby is disabled and was in bed with a throat infection and I didn’t want to disturb him. By the time it got so bad that I realised I needed help or should call 999 I was in too much pain and too short of breath to do anything. The next day I wrote down what had happened because I know the passage of time can blur distressing and painful incidents and I somehow knew I had to remember this one, it felt kind of important. This is how it was:

"2.30 am woke with pain in middle of chest, couldn’t get comfortable enough to go back to sleep because of pain. Sat up in bed, sipped water, gave it 5 minutes but pain getting worse so went downstairs – didn’t want to disturb G. Felt dizzy, disorientated, pain was increasing, getting short of breath. Went to kitchen to get indigestion tablets but pain was still getting worse, and it was really hard to breathe. Scared. Couldn’t get packet open, tablets went everywhere. Thought I was going to collapse with the pain and lack of breath.

Fell to knees from the pain, was very scared. Managed to get to bathroom - had a sort of fullness in stomach too, as though I was going to explode from the pressure. Sat on bathroom floor with back propped up against the cold tiled wall. Having real trouble breathing, every breath was laboured; thought I would die from lack of breath. Didn’t have enough breath even to call out to G – I didn’t want to bother him, anyway, incase it was just indigestion.

Crawled back into kitchen to get a heat pad as by now I couldn’t stand up – dizzy, disorientated, pain increasingly bad and coming in waves, sweating, beads of sweat on forehead. Pulled myself up by the worktop, managed to microwave the heat pad while leaning over on the worktop to support myself.
Sat on sofa in front room with heat pad, alternating it between chest and abdomen, as it was hard to locate the exact source of the pain. It didn’t help much, anyway. Tried controlled breathing like I used in childbirth/use now for pain control, but my breaths were irregular so couldn’t establish a pattern.

Felt suddenly nauseous so got myself back into bathroom. Couldn’t be sick because of the pain and shortness of breath. Saw in the mirror that I was very pale with whiteish lips. I knew something was very wrong – this felt like nothing I had never felt before. But G was ill with a throat infection and I didn’t want to disturb him.

Went back to lounge and sat on sofa trying to cope with pain, holding heat pad to chest/stomach and sipping iced water. Tried controlled breathing again. Covered myself with a blanket, put feet on footstool and watched TV to detract from the pain.

The waves of pain very gradually eased and I felt more ‘normal’. My breathing gradually went back to normal. It was 5 am before symptoms actually stopped and 5.30 am before I felt safe to go back to bed, but even then I slept on my back and propped up, just incase. I was really shaken by what had happened."

Even reading it now makes me shudder. Anyway, I felt sort of ok the next day, no more pains, just a bit tired and a bit down, and was having quite a few palpitations. But we had family coming round for dinner so I carried on as normal. However, the next day I came over feeling really panicky and scared and got an emergency appointment with my GP. She listened to my heart and said it sounded normal and sent me away with an appointment for an ECG in a month’s time - no blood test, nothing. I was so upset and really shocked that I wasn’t being taken seriously.(I have a high pain threshold and rarely complain or make a fuss…) My husband eventually managed to get the receptionist to change my ECG to two week’s time instead of four, but by the time I had it, the ECG and blood test were too late to show any signs of a heart attack.

My GP called me back in because the blood test showed that my haemoglobin was a bit low at 10.8, so I took the chance to reiterate what happened that night, and that I would like further investigations – or something – to be done. He said, “If it was a heart attack you wouldn’t have walked away from it”. I argued that symptoms can be different in women, and he said, ‘Oh well, I suppose it could have been angina” and wrote out a prescription for statins and aspirin, which I have been taking for a couple of weeks now. I am still getting palpitations and shortness of breath. I had a 24-hr Holter monitor test last week, but it’s too soon to know the results. In the meantime, I am left not knowing whether I have a heart problem, if it's angina, or what it is.

I am disabled myself and also carer to my disabled husband. I also have two grown up children to whom I haven’t mentioned any of this, as I haven’t got anything firm to tell them, but I feel as though I am keeping something from them. I think my GP wants me to wait until I have another ‘incident’ so that I’ll go to hospital and let them do the ECG, enzyme tests etc, but I worry that next time I might not be so lucky.
Sorry my post is so long, but I wanted to tell you the whole story incase you recognise anything you have experienced yourself. Any comments or advice would be most welcome.

Last edited by jayemess; 04-30-2011 at 02:18 AM. Reason: Want to make title more appropriate.

 
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:36 PM   #2
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

So sorry to hear what you have been through. First of all please tell you children so they can check on you. As far as the Drs. explanation, sorry, not buying it.

My husband just before Thanksgivng had very slight chest pressure and shortness of breath along with what he said was indigestion and attributed it to him having a cold. This went on for 2 days and when I woke up on a sunday morning and found him sitting on the bed as he said he felt better sitting up, I told him to get dressed we were going to the ER.

At the ER they said everything looked fine, did blood work..EKG..chest X-ray but wanted to admit him for a stress test next morning and of course observation. During the night his Troponin levels went up so they skipped the stress test and immediately did an Angioplasty. By the time I got to the hospital he was coming out and they told me he did have a blocked artery and had I not insisted he go to the ER he would have had a full blown heart attack within a week.

PLEASE don't hesitate to go to an ER if this happens again or even if it resembles what you went through...get yourself help.

My very best of wishes...JJ...
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:16 AM   #3
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Hi JJ
Thanks for coming back to me. I'm glad your husband was in the right place at the right time.

I certainly will go straight to A&E if anything remotely like it happens again! I'd be too scared not to - even just thinking of what happened that night makes my stomach flip. It's just that I am worried in the meantime that I might have done some damage to my heart by not getting any medical attention when it happened - my doctor says that ECG's, if done at 10-14 days following an incident (which mine was), only show up 'electrical activity' and would not show a recent heart attack, if indeed that's what it was. (So why wouldn't they get me an appointment sooner?!) My GP even told me that if I was concerned and wanted to get an ECG done any sooner than they could get me one, I should "go to A&E and fake a heart attack/shortness of breath". Unbelievable.

I guess what I really want to know is if anyone on this forum has had a similar thing happen to them? And also, what should I do now, apart from take my meds and get to A&E if it happens again?

Have I got angina, else why has my GP put me on statins and aspirin, or was what I had a heart attack and should I have been told what to do and not to do to prevent a further one? I need this information so I can explain it all to my kids without alarming them.

I am so confused!

 
Old 04-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #4
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Hi again...Is there a way you can contact your Dr. and ask him/her exactly what they do think happened? I hear your frustration and I would be upset as well, as like you..I want answers.

The aspirin therapy is maybe a treatment to ward off a heart attack, as I know hubby has been taking low dose 81 mgs. for years. When he did finally think it could be him having a heart attack he immediately took a couple of 325 mgs. the night before and morning before I took him to the ER.

Hopefully you never go through this again but as you said, you want to know just what did happen and God forbid it happens again..what to do. I always thought even any EKG could tell if you have had a past heart attack but I could be wrong. Hopefully someone will clarify it for you.

Wishing you all the best...JJ...
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:30 PM   #5
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Re: Angina or Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me either way!

Sorry no one here has responded. I cannot believe how differently women and men are treated at the Dr.'s office. Several times I have to go to the DR 3 or 4 times, till I get tests and prescription. Then when my husband gets it he goes in and gets everything done and taken care of in his 1st visit. For example, I had inner ear problems, my Dr thought I was crazyyyyyy.......took months for it to go away....well I gave it to my husband. He went into see Dr. and got steroids, and prescription for it right away (and felt better in 48 hours) argh!!!!
Sure sounded like you had a heart attack. I know its nerve wracking to wait for more tests (or a heart attack).
I hope you get an answer quickly and feel real good soon!!!
I have my Dr appt tomorrow, I am soooo nervouse.
Best,
A.

 
Old 06-05-2011, 07:33 PM   #6
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Re: Angina or Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me either way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaskoby View Post
Sorry no one here has responded. I cannot believe how differently women and men are treated at the Dr.'s office. Several times I have to go to the DR 3 or 4 times, till I get tests and prescription. Then when my husband gets it he goes in and gets everything done and taken care of in his 1st visit. For example, I had inner ear problems, my Dr thought I was crazyyyyyy.......took months for it to go away....well I gave it to my husband. He went into see Dr. and got steroids, and prescription for it right away (and felt better in 48 hours) argh!!!!
Sure sounded like you had a heart attack. I know its nerve wracking to wait for more tests (or a heart attack).
I hope you get an answer quickly and feel real good soon!!!
I have my Dr appt tomorrow, I am soooo nervouse.
Best,
A.
ps. sorry just reread your post and saw someone did reply!!! Sorry about that!! BTW, do you mind sharing your age?

Last edited by mamaskoby; 06-05-2011 at 07:34 PM.

 
Old 06-06-2011, 07:01 AM   #7
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

I think you should look for a new doctor! Chest pain always needs investigation! It is quite irresponsible of him to just assume that you are alright without thorough investigation! Take care.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:36 AM   #8
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

That's exactly what I have done! I kept going over it, thinking about how that doctor might have jeopardised my chances of having the necessary checks and that if it was an MI I could have some damage to my heart. I decided that it's not good enough and have now changed doctors.

At my first appointment with my new doctor - a sort of 'getting to know you' *** medical - she chased up my Holter monitor results, booked another blood test and referred me to the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic! I was impressed!
I had the RACPC appointment just a week later at which I had another ECG, a questionnaire, a physical examiniation of my chest/neck/back and a staff nurse and trainiee cardiologist who had all the time in the world to listen to me and to take me seriously. They thought the way I was treated (and overlooked) by my old doctor was laughable, if it wasn't so serious.

They picked up an anomaly with the q-wave from my Holter monitor, where it has a little blip or something, and as a result I have now had a cardiac ultrasound. They also picked up that my HG level plummeted in the blood tests following the 'incident' - angina attack/MI/whatever it was - and that it's gone back to normal now, which they said can happen after a heart attack. My cholesterol is also at a healthy 3, because of being on statins now.

I am now awaiting (with some trepidation!) an appointment for a cardiac angiogram/catheter - please see my post about this in the Heart section on this forum - so I guess there must be something they want to investigate further.

So thanks for all your comments and support - I still haven't got to the bottom of it yet, but I know now that I didn't imagine what happened that night, if they are having these findings and doing all these tests.

(Btw, mamaskoby, I am 51 and female)

 
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:45 AM   #9
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Well I'm very pleased to hear you FINALLY got some Drs. who paid attention and did something. Just amazes me at times how some Drs. just chalk everything up to nerves and send you on your way with anxiety pills.

Wishing you the best on your next test....keep us posted.JJ...
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:10 AM   #10
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Well I am glad you got taken care of seriously.....I am nervous about my apptmt. today after trolling these boards. I had chest pain a week ok during a walk....went away when I stopped. I am 44 female, high cholesteral (on statins for) and overweight. Scared me so bad I have given up meat and everything bad for you since then. Eating mostly vegetables for now. And brown rice. And fruit).
Thought after looking at *****.com the dr would say you have angina take some meds, thats it!! Buy after being on these boards looks like may say more tests are needed, ok, now I am terrified!
Wish me luck!

 
Old 06-06-2011, 08:27 AM   #11
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Try not to worry too much before your appointment, you may be getting worked up for nothing! But if there is something that needs investigation, then you will be getting the attention you need. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

 
Old 06-06-2011, 01:41 PM   #12
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

Jayemess,
Thank you so much for your reply.
So I had my appointment , my blood pressure was 130/70 my Dr did an EKG which was normal. Sending a referral for a stress test. Got blood work done. My Dr. said she didn't think it was diabetes (which I feared I had), nor high blood pressure (which I also feared i had) but maybe my THyroid, since I have Hypothyroid and take medicine everyday, maybe it has become hyperactive, causing me to feel my heart beating fast in my chest......
I don't know about that but I hope she is right, that is a quick fix!
Also talked to her about weight loss programs, since I need that anyway. I love my Dr. when I can get an apptmt with her she is awesome!!! I will post my blood results when I get them!!
Thanks again!

 
Old 06-09-2011, 12:24 PM   #13
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Re: Angina? Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me anyway!

To update you on my tests, all my tests came back negative, my thyroid was fine, no diabetes, and my cholesteral was 187. But it still nags me in the back of my head the pain I had when walking around.
Waiting to schedule my stress test.

 
Old 06-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #14
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Re: Angina or Heart Attack? GP doesn't believe me either way!

The nausea is from the lack of oxygen...could have been a bad arrhythmia, in which case, something must be wrong..get the holt results, but if it continues mention an ultrasound to see if it looks ok...arrythmias can be tricky unless u catch one in the act, or find the underlying cause...start eating flaxseed or linseeds in smoothies, it over cereal or salads....They help regulate the electrical currents in ur heart, assisting with palpitations and arrythmias... goodluck..

 
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