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Here I am again. Angina?

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Old 10-16-2004, 07:12 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 15
Here I am again. Angina?

Hi everyone -

I posted here earlier this year (late winter/early spring) because I was having chest pain while running as well as waking up around 1-2 times a month with all-emcompassing pain flowing from my upper chest and down both arms. The pain while running was always more apt to occur in the cold weather.

Since I'm only 36 and am a runner, I held off on telling my general practicioner about my symptoms until my regular check-up in June. By then, the weather was warm and I was only rarely having chest pain while running. My doctor told me there was a less than zero chance that the pain had anything to do with my heart, but he still sent me for an echo stress. My heart passed the test with flying colors. During the test I was able to run for so long - at even the most advanced speed - that the P.A. was late seeing his next patient.

I had chest pain only a few times this past spring and summer - on days that were wet and raw out. But this fall, on the first cool day, the pain while running started up again, and here I am again, having pain everytime I run. When I run up hills and do speed work, I'm still able to do it, but it's much more difficult than it was this past summer. The same hills I flew up this past summer, I now struggle with. That said, even with the discomfort and the need to work a little harder, I'm still able to complete my runs.

I don't know what to think. Since my stress test went so well, and my doctor is quite sure that I don't have a heart problem, I guess I should drop this issue and assume the pain is benign? I'm tempted to give our local cardiologists' office a call, but I may be wasting their time. I don't know...

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Old 10-16-2004, 07:55 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 785
Rick7799 HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

Go to a Cardiologists and you will feel better about it. I am 50 and have been bike riding for 25 years. I have had chest pain for at least the last 15 years. I never get when I am riding. It can be dull pain or sometimes it is sharp. I have been to a Cardiologists twice and passed with flying colors. Just like you he told me he never seen anyone on the stress test so long to get my heart rate up to the maximum. He says it's either chest muscle pain or maybe something with the stomach. He says with certain stomach problems you can feel pain in the chest area. I don't think it's the stomach because it never got any worse. Anyway after the second visit I quit worrying about it.

Old 10-16-2004, 09:32 AM   #3
carol thomas
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: woodland hills, ca, usa
Posts: 64
carol thomas HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

Hello to both of you.

Sounds like you've each had "chest pains" and so on for some time now.

You are both very young and appear to be in good shape. I am female, 55, have various health problems, but have been told on several occasions that I am at low risk for heart problems.

Two years ago I had a stress ECHO (which you would've aced but it nearly killed me) after which they said I was really out of shape but otherwise OK.

I've had oddball chest pains and aches over the years and we women are told that we should have everything checked out. At that rate, many of us are seeing the docs frequently!

Two nights ago I was awakened just before I normally wake up with a pain attack in a very bizarre (I thought) locale: Left sided breast area pain and pain below it, under the rib cage. Near as I can recall, and I tried to carefully assess it, there was no pain in the central chest area, i.e., sternum, which is typical for angina. This "pain" lasted less than two minutes, I would guess, and I just rubbed the area(s) until it disappeared, as quickly as it had hit.

I saw my cardiologist within 5 hours and an EKG was done. He was perplexed and had no answer for me (surprise!) but suggested as an afterthought that I COULD have another type of ECHO done if I wanted to just for the heck of it.

As guys who are obviously in shape and have had various pains and been told "it's nothing" -- do you just resign yourself to this and move on? Or do you obesess about it? I tend to obsess and make myself crazy, possibly for no good reason.

I've talked to others with various suspicious pains and they all say the same thing: the medical pros put the fear of God in us about every little thing; then so often cannot come up with anything. I have to wonder why I am so often in the "who knows what's wrong with you?" category.

Good luck to both of you and keep on riding, working out, etc. All I can do is walk a lot now due to a back injury years ago, but at least I can do that and keep my weight down. Keep posting, as many others here are interested in your outcomes.

Old 10-18-2004, 07:44 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 460
NineLives HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

I always get a little concerned when people say they passed their stress tests. I was able to jog on the treadmill with no pain or shortness of breath. Six weeks later I had a stent placed in my artery for 75% blockage of the LAD artery. I know that I felt mild discomfort from this blockage way before it got to 75%. It was very subtle such as shoulder and upper back discomfort and rare periods of shortness of breath as much as two years before the blockage was found. It just kind of snuck up on me and I ignored alot of it just thinking that it was part of getting older. I was 41 when my blockage was found and not a smoker. I'm not trying to scare you or make you feel insecure about your results. Some times stress tests alone are not reliable. They are better when given along with a nuclear scan and then are not infallible. My nuclear scan didn't indicate a problem either. My blockage was found only through an angiogram. It is possible that the cold is causing the arteries to restrict the blood flow and if an artery has narrowed a bit maybe that restriction is enough to cause a bit of angina. I would look at your age, your lipid levels, and other risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease. If you are not satisfied with the diagnosis by all means get a second opinion. Listen to your body.

Old 10-18-2004, 08:47 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 434
Jack51 HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

I have had 3 nuke stress test. One was inconclusive. One said I was fine. I had a heart attack 6 months later. The last I had was in February. Said I had significant increased blockage, which led to a cardiac cath and they found no significant increase in my blockages. Go figure

Old 10-19-2004, 05:45 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 15
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

Thanks for all your responses. I, too, don't necessarily trust normal stress tests. My father had a normal stress test 12 years ago, and six months later, when his jaw pain (he never had chest pain) became severe (triggered even just from walking from his office building to his car) he demanded to have an angiogram. The doctors were shocked (one was actually in tears) upon discovering that my father had 100% blockage in one artery and 95% blockage in an other.

And that's why I'm not clear on whether or not I should drop this issue without talking with a cardiologist. My stress echo had been set up by my family doctor and had been monitored that day by a cardiology P.A., but I have never discussed my symptoms with a cardiologist. I am concerned, but not panicked about it. I just have this nagging thought that having chest pain only while exercising in cold weather isn't good and I keep wondering if I'm actually taking the issue too lightly.

NineLives, your sitution is along this lines of what I'm concerned about for myself. I'm so happy - and relieved - for you that you were finally helped before it was too late.

Carol Thomas, I'm a woman. I've experienced the opposite of what you've experienced concerning being urged by doctors to get every little thing checked out. In my experience, doctors have been more apt to say, "Nah, don't worry about it," whereas if my husband sneezes too loud, he's apt to be sent for an MRI! (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. ) To answer your question about resigning myself to being told "it's nothing." I do move on with my life and trust that "it's nothing" if (that's a big IF) my gut tells me that the doctor is correct. If I have any doubts though, I persue the issues further.

Old 10-19-2004, 08:05 AM   #7
carol thomas
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: woodland hills, ca, usa
Posts: 64
carol thomas HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?

Sorry, EWF, for mistaking you for one of the guys here. You said you were a runner so I foolishly figured you were male.

As for my experiences with doctors here (L.A. suburb), I think it's my over 50 status that makes them think "heart" when I complain about pains and such. I do hear that women in their thirties or younger are given a bit of a brush-off.

It sure sounds like hardly any of these tests can be considered conclusive given what just these few people on this thread have reported. So it's hard to know how far to pursue these complaints. I had my gall bladder removed 5 months ago and am finding out that all sorts of abdominal and chest, etc., pains can linger for months or YEARS after that surgery. Even my gastroenterologist confirmed that. He said I need to give it a least a year before dismissing various pains as non-gall bladder surgery related.

It makes sense to take all factors into consideration when determining cardiac conditions. As for me, I have elevated total cholesterol but virtually everyone laughs when they see my HDL -- in the 80's to over 100 because HDL trumps everything. And my triglycerides have never been above 60. Usually the heart patients have different types of numbers, mostly with low HDL and high trigs. They can even have normal total chol. and low LDL and still have problems.

All I know is that there are a whole lot of people out here freaking out from fear of who knows what and undergoing test after test -- Doctors don't rush anyone into angiograms or cardiac caths, but perhaps in some cases they should. I wish I knew the answer but am going to try to RELAX instead of driving myself insane with all of this.

Good luck to you in your quest for the truth about your symptoms!

Old 10-19-2004, 06:07 PM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Hampton, GA USA
Posts: 386
Fizzickle HB UserFizzickle HB UserFizzickle HB UserFizzickle HB User
Re: Here I am again. Angina?


Be patient. I had my gallbladder out in 1978, after a bout of pancreatitis caused by a gallstone.

I still have various types of pains around the incision site, but have finally come to terms with them.



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