desperate for help! gerd/angina?

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Sorry for being dramatic but I'm desperate for answers. I'm 47 years old, overweight but have been fortunate enough to be in fairly good health. Six weeks ago I began to get heartburn type pains a few times a day. Then on my way to work one morning the pains were so bad, I ended up in casualty as I thought it was a heart attack. Ecg and chest xray & bloods were normal so I was referred to the chest pain clinic two weeks later. At the clinic, my treadmill test heart results were normal but I'd only managed to walk for 2 mins before pain set in. I'm now due an angiogram on Friday. The doctor says if this is clear, then it could be a gastric problem. My problem is I've now been signed off sick from work for the past 6 weeks as I can't even walk to the bus stop before the pains cripple me now I can't lay down, sleeping is nigh on impossible as soon as I lay down I get a burning pain in my chest, then a numbness spreads to to shoulders and down to my elbow, I'm off my food (unlike me) & feel like there's a lump in my throat. I'm concerned about my angiogram as I need to lie flat for a hour but the pain won't allow me. I've been trawling thru medical websites for advice and am thinking of buying some zantac, gavisgon and tum tums. Has anyone else had similar symptoms? I also need to return to work and want my life back. I'm on levothyroxine for underactive thyroid and her tablets following my hysterectomy last year. Thank you xxx

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Your symptoms could possibly be from reflux. I have had numerous heart checks over the years due to chest pains (though not as bad as you describe) and taking into account my father died young from a heart attack, and my ECGs and Echograms etc. all come back quite healthy. I know my problems have always been from reflux (but that hasn't stopped them from fitting me with an implanted heart monitor to record if I do have any incidence.

    If it is reflux you're suffering from, acid suppressants may offer minimal relief. They're good at controlling acid but non-acidic reflux is frequently overlooked. It would explain the lump in th ethroat feeling (globus) where the cricopharyngeal muscle at the top of the oesophagus tightens in an attempt to prevent extra-oesophageal reflux into the respiratory system.

    To reduce reflux, you will need to reduce weight, avoid overfilling your stomach (eating little and often), avoid tight clothing and exercises after meals that compress the stomach. Leave at least 3 hours between last meal and bed and raise the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches on blocks.

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  • Posted

    Sorry. Do foods help relieve the pain? Is it worse with food or if you haven't eaten and your stomach is empty does it still start to burn? Food wise usually cream (plain vanilla ice cream or whole milk) can sometimes calm it down. You can always try the Tumms (I would almost eat them like candy) or OTC Zantac etc.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all your replies. I drove to the chemist earlier and bought tums, a bottle of gavisgon and a box of ranitidine. I've had stomach pains all day, so I've taken a ranitidine tablet an hour ago and my pain has subsided. Lately, even sitting hurts, standing seems to relieve the pain, so it looks like the tablet has worked for now. The hospital just called to confirm my angiogram appointment and I mentioned my lying down issues and she said the ranitidine seems like a good idea and to still attend my appointment and discuss with the consultant on Friday. She confirmed they prefer to enter via the groin for numerous reasons, but I feel a little better about it now. As for certain foods making things worse, it seems to be everything! I've dramatically reduced my food intake, mainly because the pain stops me feeling hungry, and also because im fat and really need to loose weight.
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  • Posted

    Renatadine tablets are brilliant  You can take up to 300 mg morning and night if you can get your Doctor to prescribe.  They have made a tremendous difference to me.
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  • Posted

    Chris 36850, I bought them but they're only 75mg, and box says only two allowed per day? I thought I would take another one at bedtime.
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  • Posted

    That's all you can get over the counter.  I see a specialist Consultant and normally take 300 mg at night.  He has told me that in times of trouble I can take 300 in the morning and 300 at night.  He is a renowned specialist so am covinced he is correct.  I also read on this forum that another patient was taking 600 a day too.  They really do help so I would try your Doctor
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  • Posted

    Thanks, I'll double up my tablets tonight and hopefully get a good night's sleep at last! If they work, I'll stock up on more tablets, are zantac just as good do you know? Also, even after eating a small meal, I'm now getting a really bloated feeling. Does that happen to most gerd sufferers? Bloodyhell guys, how do you get through life like this? I'd never heard of gerd until a few weeks ago, or know of anyone with the condition. Oh well, at least I'll lose weight (I hope, I've been fat since I was four years old) :0) Does exertion bring on the chest pain?
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  • Posted

    Hi, I was interested in your discussion because my poor Mum (78) is having the same symptoms and panic (about whether it was cancer - she's just beaten endometrial cancer so it's top of the mind). I was really interested by Chris 36850 mention and yours of Ranitidine. Not heard of that. After the doctors giving us run around we went private (cost a fortune) and he just prescribed Omniprazole (no affect) and then unceremoniously dumped us. Chris 36850 who is your expert? I am wondering what type of consultant looks after this area. I'm trying to find an expert in this field in London/W.London area. My Mum currently doesn't eat or drink anything after 6pm because of this problem. (Sad whenever we are celebrating or going out for dinner, or on holiday) But today she was in pain all day, didn't want to eat anything and I know she is scared. We've had heart checked so we know that's not the problem. Symptoms like you, pain in chest, feeling of wanting to clear throat or swallow down an obstruction. Yes, you do wonder how to exist with this affliction!

     

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    • Posted

      I am surprised that your consultant would prescribe Omeprazole without a test and diagnosis for H. Pylori.

      Unless he has some other reason for not pursuing the norm

      She is undoubtedly suffering from overacidity.Omeprazole is one of a group of drugs called PPIs.Some people get on better with a group of drugs called H2 Receptor inhibitors. Ranitidine is one of them

      Cimetidine is another.Get her Doc to change her prescription to one of those and see how she goes. At the same time ask him to let her have a test for HPylori

      Does she respond to antacids such as Calcium Carbonate and Gaviscon.?

      The throat problem again is a result of acid in the throat which can be exacerbated by an Hiatus Hernia which thousands of people have without knowing it.

      Acid reflux in the throat can be very dangerous if overacidity is not  counteracted.

       

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  • Posted

    My Consultant is Paul Dunkley who I see at The Winfield Hospital in Gloucester.  I am a BUPA paatient.  He also works at Gloucester Royal Hospital for the NHS.  I don't know if he works nearer to London.
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  • Posted

    Wow, ranitidine, my new best friend. Took one at bed time and slept like a log! I didn't sleep entirely flat though, I was pretty much propped up on pillow as I was scared of bringing the acid reflux on and my stomach was growling occasionally as I was so hungry, but I'm never eating before bed time again. I'm hoping this means I'll be able to lie flat for my angiogram on Friday. Susie 54250, maybe see if your poor mum would be allowed to try ranitidine. I've only had two tablets so far, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed as they appear to be working. The over the counter ones are a low dose like chris 36850 says in an earlier email, but they just might do the job until she gets a diagnosis. Xx
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  • Posted

    Hi, i have similar gastric problems to you. Bloating and gurgling noises in stomach, chest pains and lump in throat feeling. I had a endoscope a couple of months ago and was found to have small patch of inflammation and a small hiatus hernia. My doctor prescribed  Ranitadine and they do help but still get problems mainly if i eat the forbidden foods or late at night. Like a lot of people its the chest pains that are hard to cope with. Hope you find some relief.

     

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  • Posted

    Dear kmg

    With your symptoms - what the devil are they doing with heart tests.

    That is unless you are very very unfortunate to have both a Gastritis and a Heart problem.

    Your symptoms are typically Gastritis caused by overacidity and the reasons for that we will come to.

    The fact that Ranitidine is heping points directly to overacidity.

    Ranitidine is one of a group of acid reducers called H2 Receptor Inhibitors.

    The original H2 RI was Zantax and when its patent ran out other companies produced their own eg Ranitidine, Cemetidine and others.

    So Zantac is likely to work for you just as well as the others.

    The dosage is 150mgms twice a day, preferably taken first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I would hesitate to double up unless absolutely necessary - there are counter effects.

    If, between doses, you suffer from pain try an antacid -  You mention Gaviscon. Calcium Carbonate tablets from Boots are cheaper and work just as well. These products are just alkalis which counter acidity. Don't take them close on taking Ranitidine/Zantac. Having them by the bedside if you wake up with pain in the middle of the night is helpful. Antacids work more quickly than Ranitidine but are not as effective in the long run.

    In passing, I might add that H2 Receptor Inhibitors have been overtaken by a group of medicines called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). But I would suggest that you might need these later.

    Someone on here mentioned the possibility of non acid reflux. This is very unlikely in your case and you problems lay in the bottom of the oesophagus rather than the top. It is much more likely that you have a Hiatus Hernia ( don't worry thousands do without knowing it) and if so this will increase the acid level at the bottom of the oesophagus (unlike the stomach, the mucous lining there is not able to deal with acidity) and so giving difficulties there - including swallowing.

    Rather than messing you about with heart tests (with the proviso mentioned) your Doctor should have given you an H.Pylori test much earlier in the proceedings.  H. Pylori is a bacterium which is the main cause (there are more rarely others) of Gastric problems.

    There are four possible tests - a blood test (not as effective as the others), a breath test which can be conducted in the Surgery, a stool test which will be sent to a Lab. both the latter two are quite effective, and finally an Endoscopy (tube down the throat) conducted in a hospital.

    Try to get your Doctor to give you either the Breath test or the Stool test.

    NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT. You must not take Ranitidine or Zantac for at least two weeks before an H.pylori test and no antibiotics for at least four weeks before a test. OTHERWISE YOU WILL GET A FALSE NEGATIVE RESULT.

    Sorry but you will have to revert to antacids before a test eg Calcium Carbonate, Gaviscon etc.

    If you have any questions - happy to respond.

    All the best

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  • Posted

    PS

    I forgot to mention.

    You said you are taking levothyroxine.

    I have no expertise in this area but be aware that some medicines do not work together or can have harmful effects. Your doctor will be able to look up on that one.

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