Sharp chest pain at rest after exercise.

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Very scary very sharp pain that subsides quickly centre to right side of chest. This happened a couple of weeks ago after joggingwhilst I  was recovering and getting my breath back.I saw a doctor who did an ecg  and didnt think it was serious enough to stop me exercising so today I went for a gentle jog and it happened again.- as sudden sharp pain that went away quickly but was very scary. I am now afraid to exert myself for fear of it happenig again. I am a 6 foot 59 year old male non smoker very light  drinker and weigh 13 stone. Additionally I have very low energy levels often poor sleep patterns and was hoping the exercise would raise my metabolic rate. Any advise would be appreciated as I am fed up with sitting around doctors surgeries etc and not getting any answers.

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  • Posted

    Hi Pete

    Sorry to read about your experiences and can understand your anxiety. Sharp pain anywhere, especially in the chest, that you can't understand or get a satisfactory explanation for is very scary. To my surprise, but also my relief, when I mentioned them to my cardiologist said he wasn't concerned about the transient sharp pains I got sometimes, it was the other more persistant ones he was trying to sort out.

    If your energy levels are low Pete, perhaps you have tried doing a bit too much too soon and your body is just letting you know.  Gentler exercise such as walking might be a better place to start for you, perhaps eventually gradually building gentle jogging, over a short measured distance, into your walks, increasing the distance gradually as your confidence grows again but dropping back to a shorter distance if you get problems again.  Some exercise is better than no exercise at all and for many people (myself included) lack of exercise in the past has probably contributed to the pain they experience in the present.

    If you do get more pains then you should go back to the doc - sitting around in surgeries is sometimes necessary even if the medics can't give all the answers. Sometimes they can tell you what it 'isn't' more easily than they can tell you what it 'is', and oddly perhaps that can be almost as reasurring. For me, I hold on to what my cardiologist told me, that my condition can be troublesome, persistant, painful and debilitating but - and this was the thing I needed to hear - it isn't life-threatening. That knowledge doesn't solve my problem but it does put it into perspective for me, takes the fear out of it and gives me back some control over my condition.

    I do hope your pains do not return, but if they do, keep going back to your doc until you do get some answers - if only to find out why your energy levels are poor.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for taking the time to reply Jillie. Any sort of explanation is reassuring. Not so sure some doctors realise how worrying this sort of thing can be. I'm of the same opinion that I should perhaps try and build my fitness at a steadier pace. My concern is that immediatly I feel this pain it does feel as if it could be life threatening for those few moments any way and I havent had any sort of explaination for what it may be and I am perhaps jumping to conclusions. Thanks again Jillie.
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  • Posted

    Hi PETEF,

    Sharp pain isn't associated with Angina pain, well as a general rule anyrate, none the less how it presents itself is very scary stuff, Has your GP  run some blood tests ? Perhaps your iron levels are low, Sharp pains in the chest can mean a lot of things from a pulled muscle, indigestion (stitch feeling whilst jogging) to pleuracy......Haven't had any lurgies (viruses) of late ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Samuels. I have blood tests recently and the only thing it showed up was slightly high colesterol level of just over 5.  I had the tests because I had felt tired and unwell for a long period, over two or three months and also lost some  weight . Frustrataing in a way that nothing showed in the tests. The ECG was ok accordig to the doctor I saw on the day and she also checked my oxygen levels. The tests were done after the first episode after I went for a 5 minute jog around the block and it happened twice whilst catching my breath - sudden sharp stabbing pain in the right center of my chest consistent with my heart beat which took my breath away twice for an instant. The monday after I was feeling unwell and checked my BP and it was sky high at 177/111 which scared me a little. I have since improved i myself still feeling a little light headed and my BP is averaging 135/88. higher than I would like but much improved. I have had a nasty virus in the last couple of weeks flue like symptoms with a cough and high fever for four or five days so tha contributed I would imagine.  Some years a go I did suffer a bout of dry pluresy very very painful so I know what type of pain that is. Im frustarted with my GP's as much as anything as they dont seem to have an answer and have told me to keep on exercising which I am now afraid of doing.Any how thanks for your reply and concern it does help to be able to tallk about this and to get another opinion.
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    • Posted

      Hi PETEF,

      I fully understand your position with Doctors, Been there myself, it's as if they are only in the job for the money (slight sarcasim there smile ) it has taken them over 5 years to come up with a diagnosis with me .....Prinzmetal Angina, I too have very high cholesterol it was sitting around the 20 mark ,medication did help but gave me the severe side effects so I can't tolerate statins , I have managed to get it down to 7 , that was 12 months ago , haven't had another test as of yet, even though my cholesterol dropped over time ,in that same time though my Triglycerides had doubled ??

      I have put this question to my last 2 cardiologists "Can high cholesterol perhaps cause chest pains" My first cardiologist had said in theory "yes" but in practice "No"  . The second cardio said straight out "No" , after have a Troponin rise 4 months ago I had a different Cardio doing the rounds on the ward and he explained to me in laymens tems about the lot and how he concurred with an emergency doctors original diagnosis of Prinzmetal Angina tied in with high cholesterol and how it sends the arteries and small blood vessels into spasms.

      You mentioned that you was tired and unwell for ages and I was going to mention a condition til I saw that you had "poor sleeping patterns " ? the condition I was going to make mention of was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.....I had that for about 5 years and I don't remember experiencing pain like yours but everyone can present differently, I have heard that blood tests can pick up CFS now, I was diagnosed via urine sample. Have the doctors any reason not to ignore your heart or angina .. have they tried you on GTN spray or the tablet under the tongue to see if this helps with your pain ?  Does this pain only come on while exercising or can it come on anytime ? Has a lung function test been done on you ?

      If you're not happy with your GP's performance I would either ask him for a cardiologist referral or go see another doctor so that you can get to the bottom of it, there's nothing worse than a doctor playing around with us, especially our minds, I know I was at a stage where I was thinking "is it just in my head".......Nothing more frustrating sad

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    • Posted

      Hi Samuel  - and Pete

      I didn't think angina pain was usually sharp either Samuel (mine isn't) but wasn't sure so didn't like to say.  I too had wondered about a post-viral state Pete, so your comments confirm to me that might be part of what is going on for you.  I had ME for over 16 years and there is no way I could have contemplated jogging during those years; I think it would have put me into a state of collapse!  I did have a friend who experienced chest pain symptoms with her ME however, so it's not unheard of. In fact, I do wonder if my own pain is part of a legacy of having had to be so inactive for so many years.

      I must say my own experience with medics has been positive - my then GP recognised and diagnosed ME readily (I had never heard of it but he had come across it in someone else) and that was back in the days of 'Yuppie flu', 'it's all in the mind' and 'malingerers'! Then 3 years ago I spent 3 weeks in hospital as a result of the chest pain undergoing investigations which all came back normal except for the treadmill test. I was plied with different medications until the pain stopped given a differential diagnosis of Cardiac Syndrome X or gastrointestinal problems and a referral to gastro to get that possibilty investigated. All the gastro tests came back ok so was left with the cardiac diagnosis.  I had been stable on the medication for the best part of 3 years but have had a recent exacerbation of pain so am being checked out further and am trying a slight change to my meds. I usually manage to work part-time but have to wait now for an assessment on the suitablity of aspects of my role and in the meantime am trying to get the balance right between resting and increasing my exercise tolerance capacity again. After the years of ME at least I have plenty of practice at pacing myself and being patient under my belt!

      Like you Samuel I  agree that a good relationship with the right doc is key. If you stay away from the surgery the doc assumes you are ok. I too have had periods of wondering if things were all in my head. Also times when I wondered if perhaps everybody else felt like I did but were somehow just getting on with it, also 'if I just ignore it, it will go away' and 'am I being a nuisence?'. I don't think I have ever been made to feel like that by anyone in the medical profession though. Still the niggling feeling that things were 'not normal for me' kept me asking questions. On the whole I don't think doctors are 'playing' with their patients (though I can understand how it might feel like that sometimes), it's more likely that they are at a bit of a loss as to how best to manage a condition - especially when all their usual guidelines and markers in the form of tests come back normal! They are probably as frustrated as the patient at not being able to provide a workable solution. I have long since come to the conclusion that medicine is as much an art as a science - especially when it comes to diagnosis. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Jille,

      You are correct in saying that Angina pain isn't usually sharp, mine never is either, I just added the comment "as a rule of thumb" to cover myself smile as stranger things have happened, I have yet to meet another angina sufferer that experiences sharp pains.

      I've picked up a little bit over the years in our emergency department, you can't help but not over hear conversations between triage nurses, patients and doctors, I've heard nurses and doctors reassure patients that if the pain is sharp in nature their heart is not at fault.

      Because of the rareity of Prinzmetal Angina and the lack of how to "fix it" or even find the right drug to control it I have had a couple of paramedics and a couple of doctors lose their "cool" with me because I was being a nuisance and to them "clogging up " the system...I just brush them aside now as my cardiologist has explained to me what is going on , but he doesn't quite understand why the medications I am on doesn't completely stop the spasms, I'm on 480mg of Cardizem (Diltiazem) daily and that has done wonders. Just yesterday I had to call an ambulance for my Angina as I passed out for a brief moment (this has never occured to me until yesterday- passing out) and the attending doctor had never heard of Prinzmetal Angina ..... Going on that I don't think this kind of angina is taught at medical school ?

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    • Posted

      Really apreciate your responses. 

      Been experiencing some varied symtoms that are maaking me feel rather anxious and probably adding to the problem. Generaly feeling unwell, woke today up aching. Went for a swim yesterday and had to take it steady just dont seem to have the stamina - still did 30 lengths and also went for a long walk in the afternoon. Chest feeling heavy and at times trouble catching my breath after walking hard up steps. Today I am on my own at home and checked my BP which has gone high again after settling down over the last week or so. Felt light headed  and heavy chested again and more than a little anxious. Just dont know what to do now.

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    • Posted

      Hi PETEF,

      Just out of curiousty what do you do or did for a living ? Has Asthma been looked at, even emphysema ? I know you said you don't smoke but contrary to what doctors say, you don't have to smoke to get emphysema.

      You said these varied symptoms had made you feel rather anxious, have you ever suffered from a Panic/Anxiety dis-ability ?  A full blown panic attack can make you feel as though you are dying...I mean literaly (even though you don't from a panic attack ) It can mimic so many conditions.

      I'd be gong back to your GP and get him/her to dig deeper even if it means going to a specialist.

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