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Old 06-02-2005, 10:37 AM   #1
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heart pain

Just a question that may sound dumb. I am 50 years old with a very strong history of heart disease in my family, (mother, brother, grandparents, etc.) Off and on, I have been having severe chest pains around my heart. It feels as if a clamp is being squeezed and released. It lasted approx. 10 min. and afterwards, I felt weak and lightheaded. I wish now that I would have gone to the hospital, but I don't want to be made to feel as if I am stupid. Also, I have no insurance. Does this sound like it could be my heart? Also, does anyone know of any programs that could help me with medical? I just do not know what to do. Thanks

 
Old 06-03-2005, 09:57 AM   #2
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Re: heart pain

I thought I was a healthy 54-year-old with no risk factors until I started with chest pain - central position and just like something was pressing on my chest for 5-10 minutes then it would lift. Turned out I had extremely high cholesterol (genetic) and had a positive exercise ecg. When I had an angiogram I was found to have very bad blockages (one 95% and one 90%). They have now been sorted and I feel great after my angioplasty. I'm getting back to good fitness again.

When I look back I cringe when I remember that I delayed going to see my doctor, I had 6 definite bouts of angina before I went. I was playing with fire!

Don't be like me. Go and see your doctor. The squeezing pain you are getting sounds like it could be angina. It can be described as crushing, pressing, squeezing rather than sharp. Do go and get checked out.

Good luck. Take care.

 
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Old 06-03-2005, 11:44 AM   #3
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Re: heart pain

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I guess I am really playing with fire. I am so happy to hear you are doing well and I hope for your continued good health.

 
Old 06-03-2005, 01:18 PM   #4
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Re: heart pain

Rosie it is very important that you get checked out. Delaying can not only cause death but it can also cause permanent damage to the heart that can leave you disabled.

 
Old 06-04-2005, 04:04 AM   #5
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Re: heart pain

Yorklivr... Thank you so much, I live in Florida. It is so surprising that people blow off these symptoms as you did and as I am now doing. I will find some help asap. I really appreciate all the wonderful words of encouragement, although it is a bit frightening. My main concern, i guess, (which, I know is ignorant) is thinking it may be something and feeling like a fool. I will take your advice and thank you so much. I can not believe you have 5 stents. My mom has 3, my younger brother has 1 stent, my older brother had quadruple bypass and my mom triple bypass. My mom is not doing very well, it has been over a year now since her op and she now has congestive heart failure. She says, "no more surgery". Why have you been hospitalized so many times? Was each one pertaining to your heart? What you have been through is amazing.

Last edited by rosie31650; 06-04-2005 at 04:14 AM.

 
Old 06-04-2005, 10:36 AM   #6
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Re: heart pain

Bunny,
Don't feel bad...I delayed for 10 years but 2 incompetant doctors were complicit. "It's just your blood pressure...nothing wrong with your heart!"

rosie,
Yes, it sounds like your heart. Does the "squeezing" sensation get worse with exercise like running up a 4 or 5 flights of stairs; do you get winded with exertion? If so, you really should get tested for angina.
I know how scary that is with crucifying medical costs these days but you really MUST work something out...a stress test as a bare minimum.

Last edited by Lenin; 06-04-2005 at 10:37 AM.

 
Old 06-04-2005, 02:11 PM   #7
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Re: heart pain

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie31650
Just a question that may sound dumb. I am 50 years old with a very strong history of heart disease in my family, (mother, brother, grandparents, etc.) Off and on, I have been having severe chest pains around my heart. It feels as if a clamp is being squeezed and released. It lasted approx. 10 min. and afterwards, I felt weak and lightheaded. I wish now that I would have gone to the hospital, but I don't want to be made to feel as if I am stupid. Also, I have no insurance. Does this sound like it could be my heart? Also, does anyone know of any programs that could help me with medical? I just do not know what to do. Thanks
If I was having severe chest pains and your other symptoms, including the history of family heart disease, I'd get my hands on something like NitroQuick, which is a nitro tablet that someone puts under the tongue to treat and relieve chest pains. If the problems were heart related, the NitroQuick might help.

Do you have a doctor that would give you a prescription for NitroQuick, or some free samples? A lot of heart doctor's offices have samples of nitro.

 
Old 06-05-2005, 06:35 AM   #8
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Re: heart pain

Or, along the same line of thought...lay your hands on a beta blocker(or 6)...any of the BP drugs ending in -ol and give them a try. If they eliminate or markedly reduce the mid-chest pain, then you are half way to a diagnosis.

Problem is what does a person without insurance DO with a diagnosis of angina.
My bill for ONE uncomplicated stent and one day in a Manhattan hospital was $48,000...It's as if they are talking another LANGUAGE!
Can you FIND some kind of insurace BEFORE you get a diagnosis...then you can honestly say you have NEVER been diagnosed with a heart condition. If you are fine then you can drop it. Or take a job, no matter how miserable that offers coverage at least for the time being.

We should not HAVE to go through this in an industrialized nation.

Last edited by Lenin; 06-05-2005 at 06:36 AM.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 09:09 AM   #9
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Re: heart pain

Well, I am so glad to have read this post. I finally went to the er the other night. My blood pressure was 178/112, pulse 112, feeling extremely lightheaded, pressure in chest, etc. ER started aggressive treatment, 3 sprays of nitro, nitro patch, shot in stomach (blood thinner) etc. They kept me overnight ran an echocardiogram and another stress test that uses drugs to imitate the heart under pressure. It all comes down to no abnormal heart, however, the Dr. told me that these tests would not show all blockages, however he did not recommend or even suggest a cath, I honestly believe this is because I have no insurance. He also said that there was most likely some block and also said that some of my problems may have something to do with the esophagus. What I don't understand is when in the er, the doctor on duty said that if it was the heart, then the nitro would get the discomfort under control, which it did fairly quickly. I just do not have a clue about all this. Perhaps, it is all in my head. I posted on another board under heart pain so you can see I really feel this is my heart. Go figure with doctors. I truly think I sould have had a cath. but I am still alive and don't know if I will ever go back to the er

 
Old 06-09-2005, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: heart pain

FYI.... 3 nitro tablets did NOTHING to stop the heart pain I was having while having a heart attack, in fact... the nitro caused the pain to intensify.

Best of luck

Cindy

 
Old 06-10-2005, 04:46 AM   #11
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Re: heart pain

Nitro won't do much for a heart attack which is usually a COMPLETE blockage of a coronary artery, but for any PARTIAL blockage that results in chronic angina pains the dilation of the coronary vessels usually gives immediate, albeit temporary, results.

rosie,
I think you got your diagnosis. I HOPE they gave you an Rx for some cheap sublingual (or spray) nitroglycerine. A prescription for a beta-blocker is probably also a MUST HAVE! Both are VERY cheap.
None of these will give you the long term "permanent" results of an angioplasty and stent but will get you through without pain until you can afford an intervention. Take a daily 325 mg. aspirin every day without fail.

Again, it is so sad that there is always taxpayer money for endless WAR but nothing for Health Care except for the completely indigent.

Last edited by Lenin; 06-10-2005 at 04:50 AM.

 
Old 06-10-2005, 06:48 AM   #12
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Re: heart pain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin
Nitro won't do much for a heart attack which is usually a COMPLETE blockage of a coronary artery, but for any PARTIAL blockage that results in chronic angina pains the dilation of the coronary vessels usually gives immediate, albeit temporary, results.
Nitro is also good for those, like me, who have almost no blockage, but still get chest pains. I think that my chest pain comes from either stress to my heart or irritation to my heart. Either way, I pop a nitro under my tongue, my blood pressure goes down, and my chest pains go away.

Quote:
Again, it is so sad that there is always taxpayer money for endless WAR but nothing for Health Care except for the completely indigent.
It would be sadder if the endless thugs and barbarians of the world would be able to enslave the world and destroy the US. They keep trying to destroy freedom and democracy. We keep stopping them.

Last edited by Machaon; 06-22-2005 at 09:02 AM.

 
Old 06-12-2005, 01:37 AM   #13
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Re: heart pain

Rosie: So glad you went to the ER! Sounds like they followed the typical protocol and good news that they even kept you overnight! I went to the ER three years ago with pain/discomfort like I get on rare occasion (and it sounds kind of similar to yours) and was only there three hours. Never again -- the bill even WITH my insurance was horrific.

Since then, however, I've had a few more weird episodes, about six months apart at least, plus had my gallbladder out and more. I've got a cardiologist I see on occasion but he is unconcerned about my many complaints.

Your ER seems to have done everything right. I would not be shocked if they were correct about your esophagus being part of the problem, too. Oftentimes digestive problems are mistaken for cardiac and vice versa.

You say you have no insurance... But do you live in a good sized city, or near one? And can you get your hands on $400, cash (or use a credit card)??? If so, you can get an EBCT cardiac calcium scan. These are state of the art and tell you if you have hard arterial blockages without any invasive methods being used. It's simple though somewhat costly -- $395 to $500. They are frequently advertised at $395 these days.

It's not a 100% guarantee that you do or don't have angina due to blockages, but a pretty close diagnosis. What it doesn't tell a person is whether or not they have "variant or Prinzmetal's angina" which is due to coronary artery spasm, not blockage, and is much more rare. But...in 2/3rds of even those variant cases people DO have significant blockage in at least one artery, and treatment, i.e., nitro for relaxing the arteries and a beta or channel blocker is the same as for regular old angina.

Good advice from someone else on this thread about taking the aspirin a day for good measure. Even my cardio doc recommends it.

A cardiac cath/angiogram is a lot more expensive, invasive and potentially dangerous than an EBCT scan at $395 - $500. I'd go for the EBCT scan first -- then if blockages happen to show up and are significant you can get treatment that possibly does NOT include more hospital time, i.e., the inexpensive nitro and beta and/or channel blockers. You might need a cholesterol drug which is more expensive but better than surgery or a heart attack!

Good luck with whatever you do. And try not to obsess over this -- worry only makes it all worse, trust me.

 
Old 06-22-2005, 08:56 AM   #14
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Re: heart pain

Cheer up,

Thanks for your post. It was a relief to see that you too have experienced these problems. It is also relieving to know that there are affordable tests that are not invasive. I really appreciate your time to this. You have a great day. Thanks again for your wonderful advice.
rosie

 
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