Could i have angina?

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Hi everyone, I'm a 33 year old male and being a male I tend to avoid the doctors and hide my weakness.

For quite a while now at least a year my health has been suffering. I can become very fatigued at random and for no apparent reason I can even be sat down watching tv and boom this feeling of total exhaustion hits me like a truck. The scariest part is the chest pains. I get 2 different types of pain the first one is the least pain full of the 2.

Pain number one occurs to the right of my heart and to the left of the centre of my rib cage. This pain can only be described as an exploding pain. It starts in one spot and spreads out but seems to stay centered around my heart.The pain is fairly mild kind of sharp and can sometimes feel like a pushing sensation. On a scale of a 1 to 10 it's about a 5 it's more scary than painful.

Pain 2 is the worst and more than once I have genuinely thought my time was up and I was going to die. This pain starts in the centre of my chest and builds. It feels like a tight compressing pain that will travel up my neck, down my left arm and into my back and sometimes even my jaw. It can be extremely scary.

I have tried taking ant acids such as ranitidine etc and they do nothing at all I just have to wait for it to pass.

About me, I am over weight ideal is 83kg and I am currently 122kg and have been overweight most of my life. Heart disease is in my family my granddad died from n stage heart failure. I did used to smoke but gave up many years ago. I have not lived the healthiest of life styles to be fair.

I can not think of any triggers as such but I have had a tough time with family issues over the last few years and stress has been high. Stress can bring on pain sometimes but it can also happen when I am resting. I have been woken up by pain 2 on occasion as well.

My doctor has done tests recently for thyroid function, blood pressure, resting ecg all of which are normal. But these pains are real they are scary and I know that something is not right.

I would like to know what sufferers of angina think to my symptoms? Is it worth asking my doctor to investigate this as a possible cause?

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  • Posted

    Hi Matthew,

    do you suffer stomach pain as well ? Also have you had your gall bladder checked out? Angina or heart pain isn't sharp so the only advice one could really give is that you go see your doctor and he/she should order a full blood work out including cholesterol  and perhaps an endoscopy, As an angina sufferer the pains you mention doesn't really fit the bill hence why it is important for you to seek medical advice from your doctor as stranger things have happened.

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  • Posted

    Matthew, I am a nurse and I have angina, so please listen.  Angina can present itself in several different ways.  Both of the scenarios you describe can be angina.  Sharp pain is usually muscular pain and sometimes anxiety.  However, the exploding feeling and pressure can be angina, and is what I get with my milder attacks.  The second scenario you talk about is the more typical angina/heart attack pain that men experience.  The pain going down your arm, into you back and in you neck and jaw is called radiation.  The next time either one of these things happen, you need to go to the ER.  When I was working (I'm now disabled), I worked in the ER and the ICU, so I have a good amount of professional experience in this.

    You are definitely young to have any cardiac issues, BUT you have listed a few risk factors.  Family history makes a huge difference.  It awesome that you quit smoking, but even a history of it goes against you.  You mentioned you were overweight, have been stressed and live a sendentary (not active) lifestyle.  All these things put you at higher risk tham the general population.  The last thing I want to do is scare you and it's great that what your doc has done so far looks OK.  But, a little more investigation is in order.  Ask to see a cardiologist, and by all means next time it happens, go to the ER.  Sometimes ECG changes and labs having to do with heart issues only are abnormal for the time surrounding the episode you experience symptoms, so it can only be diagnosed if you go during that time.  You are a young guy, which is in your favor, but that doesn't mean you can't have heart issues.  I was 32 when I was diagnosed.  I hope this has been helpful to you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Cathy,

      Sorry my fault for keeping my answer short and sweet sad .

      I didn't disect it like you did and very well you did it too smile the reason I asked about stomach pain is because of his "sharp " pains and the mention of his "ribs" in pain # 1 which as you know could carry on over to pain #2 , Now I have never had a "gall stone attack" but from people that have they tell me they thought their time was up as the pain is scary and excruciating they to hought they had problems with their hearts but testing of either ruled one or the other out, mine was tested "Gall Bladder" and was ruled out Endoscopy was done and nothing was found and yet wen I had my heart attack I felt like I had indigestion and ignored it until radiating pain went into shoulders and left arm and wasn't being relieved by GTN spray anymore. Nearly everytime heart attack is different in symptoms before previous one(s) some can feel the same .

      That's more than likely why I kept my answer short and sweet and said speak to their specialist/GP for tests.

      I don't know but I'm sure you wold know as being an ex emergency nurse, I regularly hear of young and old come into or emergency department complaining of chest pain, it is treated seriously as it should be but the questions the triage nurses ask are very specific in asking how the pain feels, like does it hurt to breathe, does it hurt when you move, is the pain sharp, dull, heavy, stabbing pain etc etc, I'm sure you know it all of by heart.... I have heard patients tell the triage nurse say their pain is sharp and the nurse then reassures the patient it's not their heart as it's an indication it's something of muscular nature, I found this to be a bit scary( I won't go into specifics as it would take half a day to tell you the conversation I over heard) in telling a patient this because what if the tiage nurse is wrong ? weirder things have happened in human health how do they know hat that patient couldn't of already had a heart attack with that sharp pain ?

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    • Posted

      Chest pain that is sharp in nature usually is muscular.  We have muscles between (called intercostals) that in addition to the diaphragm, we use for breathing.  If the pain is made worse by taking a deep breath (using those muscles), that would lead us to believe that that may be what is causing it.  Feeling like you can't catch your breath of that it is dificult to take a deep breath in due to a squeezing sensation, this would point more towards either anxiety or cardiac.  Some people feel sharp pain with anxiety.  He gave a pretty good explanation of what he was experiencing.  The radiation to the arm, shoulder/back and neck/jaw don't typically happen with non-cardiac pain.  Profuse sweating along with nausea and vomiting is also common when it is cardiac.  Someone's family history and lifestyle play a BIG role too.  So when we triage someone, we take all these things into account and base the likelihood of it being cardiac vs. something else based on that information.  In addition, each hospital has protocols that have been set up based on tons of research to guide the nurse.  Is it possible to have a heart attack with sharp pain, but unlikely, so unless the rest of the information strongly points to that.  For this reason, it will likely be treated as something it is more likely to be.  Depending on the information though, and ECG and cardiac enzymes (the labs the verify if there is a heart attack going on) should still be done. 

      Now onto the gall bladder.  In many cases, the symptoms are very close to that of angina,  Like angina pain, gall bladder symptoms can very from person to person.  Most people have stomach, back or chest pain, nausea and sometimes vomiting.  The pain is quite intesnse, like angina pain.  Both can be emergencies, which is why it is important to go to the ER when there symptoms occur.  Just as there are cardiac enzymes that elevate, there are labs that will elevate if it is the gall bladder.  Like the cardiac enzymes, they elevate during an attack, but will then return to normal when it is over.  So the best way to determine the difference, is treatment in the ER. Within this realm of gall bladder issues are inflammation of the gall bladder, a stone that has been produced by the body get stuck going through the ducts (tubes) it needs to pass through, of actual infection of the gall bladder.  After the labs are back suggesting that it ay be the gall bladder, an ultrasound is usually ordered.  

      I'm being discharged from the hospital RIGHT NOW, so I'll have to finish this at a later date.

      See ya!

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  • Posted

    Hi Matthew, My name is Brian. I am not a doctor but I am a heart failure patient. I am 52 and have been struggling with it for several years. I believe everything you have explained could very well be angina. My angina comes and goes as it pleases, no real triggers. It can feel like a weight on my chest, pressure and contrary to popular opinion it can also be sharp stabbing pain to the slight right and to the left side of my heart. You need to get an echo stress test and any test they want you to do. You are waiting to long. I think everything will work out well for you. Go and God Bless!
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