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onnason 03-09-2004 08:31 AM

Angina at 38?
Hi -- I've posted several times, and hopefully, I'm not being written off as a hypochondriac just yet!

I'm seriously worried I may have angina. I very innocently went on-line to look up "lower teeth pain" and got thousands of unexpected hits on the correlation between lower teeth/jaw pain and heart disease. One hit lead me to angina.

I am 38 years old, about 60 lbs. overweight, have high BP controlled by medication. I do not have high cholesterol. I am VERY out of shape. I constantly have chest pain which travels between the right and left side. I have had this aching in my lower teeth for about 2 months. Saw the dentist last month and got a clean dental bill of health. As far as I know, I do not grind my teeth (my husband hasn't noticed it at night, either).

The chest pains and the teeth pain do often occur concurrently and are happening a lot more frequently. Neither is an excruciating pain -- more of a dull, constant ache. Sometimes it gets worse upon exertion, but it's never gotten bad enough where I've had to stop what I was doing to allow it to pass. Is angina ALWAYS a crushing/deep pressure pain? I do not break out in a sweat when this happens. I do get short of breath, but I attribute that to being so out of shape. I DO constantly worry about this.

My doctor has done a stress echo (not thallium) about 3 years ago. I see her every 3-6 months for a BP check. She swears this is all health anxiety/hypochondria -- she also says it is all weight related and if I lost weight, all my symptoms would disappear (including the high blood pressure -- she thinks it's weight/anxiety induced). I can almost buy that with the chest pains, but the teeth pain? Could she be right? Doesn't seem to jive.

I see her again today for a BP re-check. I want to bring this up, but I know I'll be dismissed again. Does anyone think I need to push this? Am I being ridiculous? Am I too young (I though angina typically hits older people)? Thanks so much for your replies.

CobaltBlue 03-09-2004 10:02 AM

Re: Angina at 38?

I read your whole post and it's hard to say whether you might feeling angina or not; although, what you could describe could fit it.

First off, and not to scare you, but yes, 38 year olds can experience angina. I had turned 35 and started experiencing angina. I didn't know what it was at the time. I didn't feel it in my teeth, but it did manifest itself as a pain in my shoulders and more pronounced on the left side. It was a dull ache rather than anything sharp. I felt a little short of breath, but never felt a crushing chest feeling. Then again, I was also an uncontrolled diabetic, which can affect how I experience angina and probably with the rapid progression of CAD/CHD. I was 80 lbs overweight, sedentary, had hypertension (treated), high triglycerides (treated), low HDL, and LDL usually less than 100. Essentially, I had metabolic syndrome (syndrome X).

I am guessing that since you saw the dentist, there were not cavities, nor gingivitis to be concerned about. With gingivitis, one test would be to drink something extremely cold and see if the pain increases.

If you chest pain increases upon exertion, then yes, that does fit. Mine increased also and never attained a level that was so bad that I had to stop. The night before my MI, the pain was excruciating in my shoulders and across my chest.

You said you had a stress test without radionuclides a few years ago. In your shoes (and knowing what I know now and wishing I had done this years ago) is schedule an appt with your physician as soon as he/she can see you. Request a stress test with Thallium and the Technicium tracer (Cardiolite...Sestamibi) to image you after you finish the treadmill exercise. That will usually catch any ischemia, but as others in here can recount from personal experience (I am thinking of the what happened to Zip2play), it won't catch it in everyone. The full stress test did catch both areas of my heart tissue where the blood flow was reduced.

I waited until after a heart attack to go in, and got lucky. I have since dropped the weight, exercise (run) daily, and eat carefully now. Hopefully, what you are experiencing is not angina, but should it be, it's better to take action now rather than wait.

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