Hi all, Saturday I was walking about a half mile with hubby&friends from the car to do volunteer work and got winded. I had tightness in the center of my chest. I have had an ekg and stress test before(in May)and thalium stress test only showed heart scarring. Should I be concerned? I seem to get out of breath doing the most normal things such as walking from the living room to the kitchen which is only about 10 steps at the most and when I get up to answer the phone I am breathless. When I had the stress test 5 months ago the dr.(PCP)said the scarring might have been a previous heart attack, but with no other signs of heart problems this was nothing to worry about. I like my PCP, but should I see a cardio for this or is it truly nothing to worry about?
i would have your PCP refer you to a cardiologist to be on the safe side.. a work up wouldn't hurt and would put your mind at ease.. they can review your family history - your health history - previous test results and get an updated ekg and additional testing to rule out the basics.. again its better to be safe than sorry .. best of luck to you
Thank you, khudsonwv for your quick response. I did ask him if I should see a cardio and he said it was up to me. He said the only other option to rule out heart problems is to have a cath and since I've had a blood clot and am on coumadin it would not be something to do unless it was really worrying me.
Get yourself checked out by a cardiologist. The shortness of breath and chest tightness upon exertion is a concern. Have you ever had a nuclear stress test? This might show if there are areas of the heart that are not getting enough oxygen.
I had a thalium stress test in May. Is that the same thing as a nuclear test? I don't know what any of the results were except for the heart scarring. I guess you are right and I should see a cardio with this on-going concern about the tightness and the breathlessness.
Thanks a lot.
Yes, the thallium stress test is the same as a nuclear scan. Just want you to know though that sometimes even that test will not indicate blockage when there actually is a blockage. Your symptoms were much like mine were. I would sometimes be out of breath walking across the parking lot to get to my place of work. Walking up the stairs at home would occasionally cause shortness of breath but not every time. A cath was the only test that confirmed the blockage. The symptoms you describe are classic for heart blockage.
Wow, cutup! That is scary. I have had this shortness of breath before within the past few months. When I had an ekg they said everything was normal. I also had a PFT(Pulmonary Function Test)because I smoke and have elevated cholestral,but my PFT hasn't changed in the past 5 yrs. I get one done every year.
I was in the ER last month, but it was the day after I had symptoms of breathlessness and chest pain. PCP was concerned so sent me there. I am also being treated for a bloodclot I had back in January 2003.
Sorry this is so lengthy.....
Can an ekg be normal and a person still have heart trouble? I was diagnosed with PVC's in May after wearing a heart monitor. Sometimes these palps are so bad they keep me awake at night. Ugh! Do you agree that I should have this checked out by a cardio? I dread the answer, but I know what I SHOULD do. Now if I can only get my feet moving and do it!
Thanks for the response. How did your chest pain and shortness of breath turn out? Are you okay now?
Originally posted by KaP: Can an ekg be normal and a person still have heart trouble? Do you agree that I should have this checked out by a cardio? How did your chest pain and shortness of breath turn out? Are you okay now?
I am not even close to even a lot of medical knowledge. My advice comes only from experience. I was a 41 yr. old female non-smoker, no diabetes, no hypertension, slightly elevated triglycerides and a low HDL, with a family history of heart disease. The ekg's and stress tests all missed my heart blockage. It may very well have been that the person interpreting the tests did not do a good job. You certainly have more risk factors going on here and your symptoms of the shortness of breath and chest pain on exertion alarm me. I ended up having 75% blockage at the top of the LAD. When the cardiologist found it he said that if it had totally blocked off I probably would not have survived because of the location of the blockage. The only way it was found was through a catherization. I really am not trying to scare you here, but I think you should see a cardiologist and I wouldn't wait too long.
I am doing okay now, but I had to have a stent put in the artery then the stent closed off and I had to have emergency heart bypass. Being a woman age 41 made it much harder for me to get the medical care I needed. Even after the stent was inserted and I began having a return of symptoms, I had a very hard time convincing the doctors that something still was not right. By the time they listened to me the artery that was stented closed to about 97%. The good Lord had to have been with me all that time because amazingly I did not have a heart attack through all of this.
Get yourself checked out. It just isn't worth the risk of waiting.
Hubby saw dr. today and I told dr. about my symptoms Sat. but he didn't know what to think and didn't seem too concerned. His nurse, however was very concerned. Dr. says with all my tests not showing anything,he would have to think about what to do next. The nurse said if it happened again to call her and she would do what she could to squeeze me in that day. See what I am up against?! It seems so hard to get a dr. to take a woman seriously when they have chest pains and other heart symptoms. I'm just leery about insisting on a cath or going to see a cardio when being on coumadin raises all kinds of problems with doing any procedure. I know my health is important, but I have a sick hubby with bradycardia and I just seem to forget about myself. Is that so wrong? Well, yeah, but I do for others rather than myself right now. We are battling a cardio right now to get hubby a pacemaker after he continues to pass out and bump his head. He had a concussion last week. I can't be sick too. Life isn't fair right now!
I need your prayers 'cause mine don't seem to be working.
Thanks for listening.
i am so sorry to hear of your problems - but you will not be much help to your husband if you don't take care of yourself. EKGs and stress tests can be normal and there still be a problem.. see a cardiologist.. it can only help.. ohh and no offense but you should really try to stop smoking.. that is a major risk factor!!! i hope things get better!!!
yes, I know I should quit smoking. I've quit about 10 times in the last 15 years. No offense taken. You only told the truth and that's what I need to hear.
I will go see a cardio and I know I should take care of myself better. What good will I be to hubby when I'm sick, right?
KaP you didn't mention your age in previous posts but your risk factors alone should cause your doctor concern when you are having the symptoms that you are having. If these symptoms continue I would discuss the risks of having the cath and not having it. I believe the statistics state that 1 in 3 will die from their first heart attack. Yes there are serious risk factors to consider when having a cath. You and your doctor will just have to weigh those risks. It is interesting that the nurse seemed concerned but the doctor didn't.
Yes, it was curious that the nurse was more concerned then the dr. I will make an appt. and insist I see a specialist(cardio)and then go from there. It is a bit worrying to me. I am only 52yrs.old today!
I wouldn't want to be the 1 in 3 who doesn't make it. Thanks for your great insight, cutup. What was the circumstances that led to your heart trouble. If you don't mind my asking?
When I feel the tightening in my chest it doesn't seem possible that it's because of heart trouble. It is too surreal.
Originally posted by KaP:
What was the circumstances that led to your heart trouble. If you don't mind my asking?
When I feel the tightening in my chest it doesn't seem possible that it's because of heart trouble. It is too surreal.
Well happy birthday. You share a birthday with my 85 year old grandmother.
KaP, it may not be heart trouble but when I read your first post I thought whoa that sounds like what I was feeling.
When you ask what led up to my heart trouble do you mean symptom wise or lifestyle?
i am glad to hear that you are going to see a cardiologist. it does not shock me that the nurse was concerned and the doctor was not. that happens a lot and not to scare you but usually the nurse is right... hope you had a great b-day and i am sure that you will have many many more..
Thank you, the nurse always seems to be right, too. Well, at least 70% of the time and that's saying something. I go get a flu shot Tues. and will make an appt. to see a cardio to set my mind at ease.
My b-day was great. My 2 sons came over and my 5 grandkids. Love those grandbabies. They keep me going.
Originally posted by KaP: both lifestyle and healthwise.
I was not able to find an e-mail address so here goes. Lifestyle wise I thought of myself as pretty active. I've not been a total couch potato. Probably the last 5 years or so I got so busy with my business that I was not as physically active. As far as diet I thought I was making pretty healthy choices. I very rarely fried foods. I do tend to choose carb rich foods including the vegetables. That is the one thing that I probably did in excess that I've wondered if it contributed to my heart disease. My triglycerides were not terribly high, but were elevated (183). I was not a smoker. I knew there was heart disease in the family (father was 59 when he had his MI in 1998), but I thought well I'm a young woman( 38 at the time) and I may have to be concerned about that when I'm older. I had a partial hysterectomy at age 37 so I've wondered did that contribute. I was probably 20 lbs overweight. I put a little extra fat on each time I had a baby. I may be in total denial but I really can't see that my lifestyle should have contributed to such an early case of heart disease. I look around at people(my family) who are excessively overweight or smoking and I can't help but think why me.
Healthwise it's been very good. No diabetes, no hypertension, lipid levels had always been within a desirable range. According to the levels I was considered to be a moderate risk. I thought that was a good thing. At the time that my blockage was found I had a low HDl (33) and trigs were slightly high (183). The warning signs that I had was occasional shortness of breath on exertion. Twice I had sharp pain on the left side chest within a year period. The night before my left shoulder ached (not severely) and I took ibuprofen for the pain and went to bed. The next day I was cleaning my beauty salon and had pain in by back between the shoulder blades that made me feel nauseous then it moved to the center of my chest and made me feel like I couldn't get a good breath(hard to talk). Called my husband and told him I think I'm having a heart attack. Sat down and waited for him and when the pain wasn't going away I called 911. By the time everyone got there the pain had stopped. At the ER I told them I thought I was having a heart attack. I was told that since the pain had stopped it probably wasn't my heart. Six weeks later after 3 ER trips and several office visits for chest pain they finally decided to do a cath. All the other tests(stress, nuclear, ekg were negative). They found a 75% blockage at the top of the LAD for which I needed a stent placed. Three months later the stent almost completely closed off and I had emergency bypass surgery. I still had chest pain and shortness of breath( side effects from meds I discoved later) for more than a year after the surgery. Finally now after 17 months I feel human again. In the meantime I sold my business, didn't work for at least 6 months. Now back to work and trying to get on with life.
KaP I noticed you were from Ohio and I didn't know if you were aware that you have the best heart center in the nation at Cleveland Ohio. If you don't get answers they say they are the best.
Sorry for being so long winded. It's not a story that I know how to tell in short form.
just a thought - the flu shot is typically safe but i would suggest speaking to dr again and see if you could see a cardiologist prior to getting any vaccines or innoculations.. if you are indeed having heart problems (even though not diagnosed yet) the flu shot could weaken your immune system temporarily..... glad your b-day went well!!!!
That was not too long a story. It helped me to understand better that anyone can have a heart attack and was a very interesting account of your heart problems. It kind of mirrors some of what happened to me. At the ER they said I was fine and it wasn't my heart, well, that maybe true, but since then I've had 2 episodes of shortness of breath on exertion and chest tightness/pain. Unfortunately, I don't live close to the Cleveland Clinic or I'd go there. I live in SWw Ohio. About an hour from the Indiana border.
I will ask to be sent to a cardio when I go for my flu shot on Tuesday. A cath might be the only way I will know something for sure.
Thanks for your story.