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Tony1 07-25-2004 03:09 PM

Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
The last time I posted on my condition I had just received good news after my thallium stress test back in March. I had 3 - 5 ekg's, 1 stress test, and the thallium stress test. Saw a cardio who didn't think anything was wrong too. Well after the good news I decided to try to get on with my life because I had become obsessed that something was wrong with me especially after all the stories on the internet of people finding out there was a problem after lots of tests. After a couple weeks all of the chest tightness was gone, everything else gone too, ie., back pains, shoulder blade pains, tooth pain (which i do get with migraines). I started working out again 4 times a week. 40 to 60 minutes with weights and then 20 to 30 on a precor elliptic machine (pretty strenuously too). Well a couple weeks ago I was sick for a week and I started noticing chest tightness again. No coughing, just malaise, stuffy nose, a tickle in my throat when breathing in and lots of drainage from my nose too. The chest tightness has now become constant again. I am beginning to really worry again now. Could I have passed all of those tests, resumed my life with alot of strenous exercise only for there to really be a problem (blockage/heart). It is four months later. Chest tightness doesn't change with exercise but it does get tighter and more bothersome when I take a deep breath. I am experiencing the same problems as before. I have an occasional aching in my shoulder blade too just like before. The chest tightness has been constant for 8 days now since I began experiencing again. I would have thought if there was a problem 4 months ago I would have had something happen during this time while exercising or something. I appreciate any insight.

abbygirl2 07-26-2004 01:12 AM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Hi, sorry to hear your feeling bad again. Have you looked up chostocondritis? Have you had chest xrays done to rule out lung issues? What about asthma? Could it be positional?(sleep, posture etc)
Chest tightness although sometimes a warning of 'possible' heart related problems, does not have to be heart related at all. It sounds like you have had a good workup done on your heart.
Is your chest tender to touch? Does it hurt more when you use your chest muscles(lifting etc). I would rule out some other things before rushing back to the cardiologist.
One other thing, if you are stressed and worried, it could simply be your muscles tightening up from that. Have you tried anything to relieve the discomfort? Heating pad, tylenol or aspirin, muscle relaxers??

Hope this helps a bit, take care.


Sara67 07-26-2004 01:19 AM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Hello Tony

I hope you are feeling a bit better this morning. I am not a doctor so I can't diagnose you but I really think that what you are experiencing is tension and anxiety, not heart problems.

Heart pain is a crushing sensation in and around the chest but it would not be continuous. Angina pain is brought on with exercise and extreme emotions such as fear or anger. If it is angina, you would also get hot and clammy, you would be very breathless and you would be sweating. The pain would be reduced by resting and once you have rested, it would have gone completely. In most people, the pain would radiate down the left arm or up to the jaw. This is true or both angina and a full blown heart attack.

You said that after the tests came back negative and the doctor reassured you, you was free of pain and able to get back in the gym. It sounds as though you had a slight chest and throat infection and the symptoms of this have brought back old fears of heart disease.

It sounds to me as if you need to relax. You are so tense that your muscles are in knots. (Hense the term, uptight) I can say this to you because I have been where you are. I might even be back there one day, because that is how anxiety works. One minute you are feeling great and then bam, something happens and are you are back where you started. I have started to have cognitive therapy because I don't like the thought of being on medication. It has been really helpful. The therapist calls it "Catastrophic exaggeration". It is where even normal aches and pains are mistaken for life threatening illnesses. I tended to worry about cardiac problems more than anything because my mum died of congestive heart failiure.

Anyway, getting back to your problems: I really don't think you have anything to worry about. Get out there and live your life to the full and if you find yourself needing reassurance in the future, just look me up.

Best wishes


Pumpinaway 07-26-2004 07:46 AM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice pleas
Might I suggest you view the "My Experience with Cardiologists" thread on this board. You will note that Wordworks2001 had chest tightness caused by high blood pressure when he exerted himself. His resting BP was normal, but upon one minute of exertion, it became dangerously high. Despite the fact he has two of his coronary arteries 100% blocked, his heart was in great shape due to the body's ability to bypass blocked vessels on its own through angiogenesis or revascularization. His doctor started him on medications that keep his BP in the 100/64 to 90/56 range and the chest tightness completely disappeared.

Tony1 07-26-2004 11:46 AM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Thanks for your replies everyone. I am going to see my internest today just to make sure it is not bronchitis or something of that nature. The last time few times I saw both of my doctors my blood pressure was fine. This tightness/pressure is constant whether I am exerting or not. When I woke up this morning the tickle down my throat was worse. Its hard to explain but I can feel the air traveling down my throat, it is very pronounced. The tightness and pressure like feeling is still there but definetely worse when I take in a deep breath but still there even without a deep breath none the less. I was wondering about asthma myself. The description of tightness and pressure are the same used to describe a heart attack which worries me alot but if it was I have been having this constant tightness for three days straight with no relief what so ever. I guess I am beginning to worry that it is heart related again. Apperently its not a heart attack (i hope) and like you said angina doesn't last days on end. I guess I will see what the dr. says today. I have a feeling he won't find anything and I will be lost as to what the problem is again.

NineLives 07-26-2004 06:35 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Possibly asthma? Have you ever noticed whether you are sensitive to allergens? I'm sensitive to mold spores and ragweed. I don't have asthma but sometimes allergens will create an asthmatic condition which might explain why it comes and goes and is constant when it happens. Also the drainage, and the tickle in the throat sounds like it could be allergy related.

Tony1 07-26-2004 08:46 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
I was tested for asthma today. A spec(somthing?) where you take a deep breath and blow out breath in and then use an inhaler, repeat. I have to wait for my chest xray because I was there late. My internest doesn't feel that it is heart related at all based on all of my testing, etc. I mentioned that I was beginning to worry again that it was heart related and I even mentioned about readinga post or two where people had negative nuclears and stress tests only to be found to have a blockage with an angiogram. He stated that none of these tests were 100% including an angio. He explained that this was very rare and each person is unique and needs to be assesed individually. He also explained that there could be just a little plaque found, the kind you treat with medicine which doesn't pose a serious risk at the moment and then one day a piece breaks off and causes a major problem. He doubted that my Cardiologist (they work in the same building and converse on my file) from the Texas Heart Institute would even do angiogram considering he didn't think a nuclear test was needed. The one thing that bothers me alot today is that I went walking and some jogging and the jogging made my symptoms worse. But the symptoms are still the same even after stopping. But of coures taking a deep breath does make it worse so it kinda makes sense I hope. I think all the hard breathing in and out for the asthma test irritated my conditon too. In fact as an experiment I just tried breathing in and out real hard and it seemed to make things worse. Yet it really worries me now that the hard exercising did make it worse. My dr. told me that the symptoms of angina or heart attack do not last 24 hours a day for 4 days straight let alone something like 9 weeks last time I had this problem. It just feels worse this time unless I am imagining it and it is starting to upset me again. Well I will keep everyone updated and thank you all so very much, NineLives, Sara67, Pumpinaway, abbygirl2.

sugarplum_pdx 07-26-2004 09:29 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Hi Tony,
Well, I just wanted to say I have symptoms very similar to yours and I'm going through the same fears. I've had mine for almost a year now! It is pretty much continual, but does seem worse after exercise, which worries me, just as you said it worries you. However, it doesn't go away completely when not exercising, which doesn't seem to fit with angina. It can be really bad when I'm doing nothing ... just sitting around and relaxing. I've had those tests for asthma too, and it was inconclusive. It showed a slightly diminished lung capacity which could be either mild asthma or something else ... anything from allergies to who knows what. What bothers me is that none of the asthma or allergy medicines I've tried have really made a difference in my symptoms. So the only thing I can think of is ... either it's something really bad that has yet to be diagnosed (heart problem or lung problem), or it's some kind of allergy that the medicines don't treat properly, OR it's anxiety. I've been trying to concentrate on making myself totally relax my chest and not tense up when I'm taking a deep breath, and it's helping somewhat.

Keep me posted!

Tony1 07-26-2004 10:13 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
What other tests have you had sugarplum_pdx, stress test, ekg's etc?Has it ever gone away at all for a period of time? Mine was completely gone for 4 to 5 months and I was surely active enough to induce an angina attack during this time. Nothing but now this :confused: Can taking deep breaths make heart related problems like angina, heart attack worse?? Or is this symptom totally on related? The tightness is always there but worse with a deep breath.

Sara67 07-27-2004 06:18 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Hi Tony

A few months after my Dad died, I had a pain in the middle of my shoulder blades that felt like a fist pushing into me. I also had a dull ache down both arms and around my chest. The constant ache and the worry kept me awake at night for months. I was truly terrified and I was thinking all sorts of things. It was like life was being squeezed right out of me!

I went to the GP (Here in England, we have to be at deaths door to get any tests done) He put my mind at rest and for a short time, it went. But it did come back and once again, I was unable to shift it

Several months later, I started getting very anxious. I was finding it more and more difficult to go out and do everyday things. I started to see a bereavement therapist and with her help, the flood gates opened and all of these buried emotions and hurts came flooding out. The ache went off but it did come back from time to time when the pressure of my grief built up, but I noticed that a good cry would get rid of it.

I think you are right to get professional advice. You owe it to yourself to get it checked out, but I do think that you should look at this problem from other angles as well. Is there stress in your life? Is work getting you down? Is there a reason for you being so conserned about your heart health?

Treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage or a nice relaxing swim. Try not to worry about it too much. Deep breaths would not make the pain worse it if was heart related. Trying to push air into a space that is constricted by tight, tense muscles would.

My body tells me when the stress is too high long before my brain does. I still get spooked from time to time, but on the whole, I have learnt to listen to what my body is trying to say, rather than fear it. Please let us know the results of the tests and in the meantime, please try not to worry

Best wishes


Tony1 07-27-2004 08:00 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Well I did 20 minutes on the stair climbing machine today with no increase in problems but later in the day I tried some jogging and the tightness seemed to get worse when pushing myself. It still feels worse when I take a deep breath so I am confused as to whether the heavy breathing from jogging made it worse or the jogging affecting my heart. This really has me worried now. The tightness and pressure sensation does not stop when I stop jogging it just feels a little better. I don't know if I should go back and see the Dr. again right away or not. I just don't understand how I passed all of my tests and had no problems exerting myself and now it bothers me. I pray it is just the heavy breathing irritating my condition and not angina.

Tony1 07-27-2004 08:08 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Thanks Sarah I just saw your post after I made another one. For some reason your post wasn't showing up. I am sorry to hear about your Father. I can't even imagine what kind of stress and anxiety that would cause. Infact over the last couple of months I almost lost both my mother and father one because of hematoma and the other pulmonary embolism. Yes I am always stressed and anxious. I was ready to chalk all of this up to stress and anxiety again accept for the fact that jogging seems to make the condition worse. I keep hoping that everything is just sore and irritated and the heavy breathing is making it worse vs. having angina. I am beginning to lose faith though.

Sara67 07-28-2004 05:18 AM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Having both your mother and father fall ill must have knocked you for six. It is scary to suddenly realize that they are not immortal and that one day you will have to face losing them. My father had lung cancer. The first we knew of it was when he had a dull ache in between his shoulder blades. Remember me saying that my symptoms of stress started with a dull ache between my shoulder blades. The therapist explained that it is quite common to experience the same symptoms as the person who you are grieving.

It seems ironic that you are experiencing the same chest discomfort as someone who has a chronic pulmonary embolis, don't you think. I am not suggesting that you have one. I am just saying that maybe it is subconsciously on your mind because of what happened to your dad.

If I were you, I would stop trying to test myself by pushing my body to the limit. It is only going to increase your anxiety. I would be terrified if I was doing the very thing that I thought would bring on a heart attack.

One thing I must ask... Is the pain preventing you from sleeping and as you are falling off to sleep, do you get sudden muscle twitches that wake you up with a start?

I sound really bossy don't I. I am sorry about that. I don't mean to be bossy, it is just that I have been where you are now and I know how awful it is to live with a big black cloud of doubt hanging over your head. I am not a doctor and I can't tell you 100% that you are in good health, but for what its worth, I truly do believe that this is all due to stress.

Take care and try not to lose faith


Tony1 07-29-2004 12:36 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
Thanks Sara, I am not worried about an embolism and this began about a month later. That was a good idea though and one gave much thought to. Sleep has been ok once I fall asleep. Last time I had this occaisanly I would have a quick tight feeling in my chest like someone squeezing me that would cause me to jump out of bed. I have had one of these but for the most part sleeping ok I guess. Yesterday I did a very strenous 20 minutes of the stair climber with really no increase in discomfort. Pushing myself tends tp help me in that I rationalize if it was angina it would get markedly worse. This morning I awoke with discomfort in my throat and the same tightness and pressure in my chest with a feeling of heaviness in my upper abdomen. Yesterday I was having what seemed like muscle cramps in my upper abdomen and throughout my back. Cardiovascular problems aren't supposed to go on hour after hour for days on end like this but I still think something is wrong. Thanks again for you support Sara.

Tony1 07-29-2004 12:37 PM

Re: Well I am back! I am now having constant chest tightness again, need advice please
I really wish some of the veterans of the board who have had angina, cad, heart disease, etc would add their thoughts.

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