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  • Should I ask for a stress test?

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    Old 03-04-2006, 04:00 AM   #1
    elphers
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    Should I ask for a stress test?

    Hi All,
    I know, it's me again, but I need some advice! I don't think I'm being paranoid, but...
    In case you don't know, I had chest CT scan and an echo the first week of Feb. I finally had my appointment at my hemo (who ordered the tests) on March 2 and not one word was mentioned about the results! Ok, so I figured that they were allright. He didn't ask me if I was still having my chest discomfort or back pains, which I am ! I have had these "angina" symptoms since November. So I made an appointment for this Tues with my GP and asked for the results to be sent to him. My question is-- since I had a chest CT scan and the echo, am I stupid in asking my GP if I need a stress test? Would the CT scan show the same thing as the stress test? I just still don't feel right and am tired of this achiness and constant pressure in my chest everyday! I just feel for my piece of mind that I should have a stress test done. What do you fellow members think? Thanks!

     
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    Old 03-04-2006, 08:23 AM   #2
    enie
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    Re: Should I ask for a stress test?

    elphers,
    I imagine the Doctor felt that you would have mentioned it to them at the time of the appointment if it were that important to you. Many times Doctors don't read all the chart and only see the test results that need addressing. If you feel that you are in distress and the Doc is not responding to your pleas, then go to the ER the next time you feel you are having a heart attack or feel distress.
    You more than likely already know it, but, I'd like to share with you a lesson that took me awhile to learn about referred symptoms: If we are hurting in one area of our body, sometimes because of pain or weakness we tend to overcompensate and put undo strain on other parts of our body. Thus, when we hurt our knee, our back or foot might hurt. Why? Because we are afraid to use that weakened area the way we usually do.
    We also could have pain in one area of our body, and the pain can radiate through nerves to another area. Thus if we have gerd, kidney stones, gallstones, or even heart problems, it can cause back pain. Doctors know that where we feel our pain is not necessarily where the problem is.
    The perfect example for me was five years ago when I broke my leg. I kept thinking I had a broken foot also. It turned out that I had nerve damage but the pain was in my leg and in my foot. On top of that, my back and hip were hurting because I was overcompensating. Another example was when I was having terrible earaches and it turned out to be a type of neuralgia.

    Now on the other hand we shouldn’t get carried away about every symptom we might get. If I ran to a heart Doctor every time I had arm pain or a jaw pain, thinking it was my heart problem, I just as well live at the Doctor’s office.
    enie

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
    started04
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    Re: Should I ask for a stress test?

    Hi elphers,

    The echo calculates chamber sizes, heart wall motion irregularities, valve compliance, and calculations for heart pumping efficiency, etc. It doesn't reveal any blocked arteries...but the echo will show the results of any disorder or a heart attack (MI)!

    A stress test is helpful to show ischemia (lack of blood flow) to the heart muscle. With ischemia, usually, but not always there is angina. A stress test will measure one's condition on a time line with increasing exertion. It will be evident if and when there is a lack of blood flow to the heart during the test. With ischemia, angina develops with exertion (but not always) and goes away almost immediately with rest (depending on one's physical condition). Physical and/or mental stress when associated with ischemia can bring on angina episodes.

    Whether your pain is angina is difficult to determine or assume based on just chest and back pain. If your discomfort happens with exertion/stress and goes away with rest, that would clearly indicate angina and a possible heart problem. A stress test would be recommended.

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 09:47 AM   #4
    elphers
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    Re: Should I ask for a stress test?

    KenKeith,
    Thanks for the reply. My "angina" symptoms are constant and not brought on by exertion or stress and I have the pain and pressure when I go to bed. I read that there are 2 kinds of angina-- stable and unstable. I'm not diagnosing myself, but mine could be unstable angina. I will just have to wait and see what my GP says on Tues. Do you know what the chest CT scan would have shown? Thanks!

     
    Old 03-05-2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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    Re: Should I ask for a stress test?

    You are correct. Stable angina with ischemia is pain with exertion, and a more advanced condition is unstable angina that may develop with little or no exertion. For severe cases, a dose of 0.3-1.2 mg nitro at the time of pain and almost always provides relief.

    The ct provides images of the heart at different angles and views for heart wall defects and thickness, abnormal chambers sizes, valves structure and functionality, etc., and it does provide images of vessels. But it is difficult to get a sharp image of any blocked vessels, and a fuzzy image may or may not be misleading.

     
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