What does angina feel like?

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I have been having some chest 'pains' for a couple of weeks.  I have been seen at A & E and also the rapid chest pain clinic where I had blood tests and ECG's and was told that everything was normal last week and that I was 'low risk' but that they would send me to have a CT Coronary Angiography but my appointment is not until the end of May.

I don't get the pains every day and they are not always the same.  They come on if I am doing nothing (but usually after eating).  It sometimes feels like someone is holding and squeezing my ribs with a bit of heaviness and a strange sensation goes across my chest sometimes up the back of my neck to my head and under my jaw or like my sternum is being pressed hard and the pain is there.  The feeling is almost like when you get embarrassed and feel yourself flushing but a bit prickly.  It's not painful compared to having babies and root canals or gallbladder stone blockage.  

I do have costrocondritis and have had gallbladder problems in the past (a failed operation to remove it so they put slits in the duct for stones to fall through if there were any). It is making me very anxious which obviously won't help matters.  I've been told angina is excrutiating and I would know about it but I can't help worrying.  It's making me so anxious which obviously doesn't help matters.

I am a 53 year old, perimenopausal woman! (A very scared one!!)

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  • Posted

    If you are suffering from angina then it should respond to a nitrate spray, so if you buy a spray (Nitromin Spray) and use it when the feeling occurs​, and the feeling improves, then this would indicate that maybe it is angina rather than another cause such as oesophageal spasm or similar, such as passing a gallstone (which does feel somewhat like angina).

    So maybe give a spray a go, 2, 3 or 4 pumps (or follow the instructions) and see if it helps smile    

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    • Posted

      Nitro lingual spray is also used for oesophageal spasms and reflux, so if it's either of them it is going to respond to them conditions as well. I'm thinking more along the lines of Menopausal  symptoms.

      Unstable angina doesn't always respond to GTN as well as other long acting nitrate medications, it can be a "hit and miss" with some unstable angina sufferers.

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  • Posted

    Hi hannah, You're doing the right thing and getting your heart checked out, now the doctor should of been able to make some kind of diagnosis or at the very least told you what he/she thinks it could be, perhaps they did ? I see that you mentioned the pain is never the same, in angina the pain is pretty well much the same in both stable and unstable angina attacks.

    There a a few quick and easy tests that a doctor can do and they are non invasive to  determine angina pretty quickly, one symptom that you mentioned does fit with angina and that is after eating,are they heavy meals that you have been having ?

    I here a lot of irritable bowel sufferers mention this kind of symptoms you mention and also have heard of menopausal women discussing similar symptoms. I hear from family and friends that menopause is both nerve racking and can at times be extremely painful on every part of the body,from digestive problems to arthritis feelings etc etc.

    Hope all goes well and an answer is found relatively quickly  for you in regards to what is going on.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your replies.  I forgot to say that after I get the chest issue, my stomach then starts to feel bloated and churns for up to 5 or 6 hours.  I did notice last night in bed, pain on the right side at the back which went diagonally towards the front - which now makes me think it is my gallbladder.

    My doctor did give me some asprin and GTN spray but I haven't taken it as the rapid pain clinic told me not to - I then queried this with a doctor I saw at an A & E visit and he said I don't need it either.  Another A & E doctor also said he suspects it's stomach related and I should have it investigated.  (I've been to A & E twice)  I missed the window for seeing my doctor this morning as I was up most of the night - but will definitely go back.

    I feel fine (apart from worry) except after eating - the worst pains have been after a tuna (in sunflower oil, drained) sandwich and chicken in cream  sauce and to a lesser degree with other things - a day when I only had a vegetable smoothie and soup I was ok... 

    Thank you all again :o)

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  • Posted

    I tried the GTN spray this evening twice and it didn't do anything other than give me a headache.
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    • Posted

      smile it will do that for first time users, how did you use it, by that I mean 1 spray wait 5 minutes or took a double spray or just randomly within the 5 minutes....As you can feel it was doing it's job by opening up your arteries because of your headache, the universal method of the use of GTN is one spray under the tongue every 5 minutes, I can't remember what the possible out come is now, paramedics here are only allowed to give you one spray every 5 minutes now( research has shown that it can potentially lead to something) my GP has instructed me to only use it 1@ 5 minute intervals but my cardiologist has told me to do as  Benny Blanco has mentioned 4 sprays at once for a couple of regimes, but can't do it to often as your blood pressure will zero out ...

      I'm more inclined to think this problem is to do with your  pre- menopause, my partner experienced very similar symptoms, played up with her digestive system something shocking, they diagnosed her with IBS, celiac....they even did an endoscopy and colonoscopy and took samples and all came back negative for any kind of gut problems, they then decided to put it down to being lactose intolerence, she saw a different doctor one time who decided to take a different path, she tested positive for pre- menopause and is now in a menopausal stage and it's giving her hell, like I said before,she can hardly move at times because of joint pain, digestive problems, hot and cold flushes....the list is long, very long the symptoms you can get from pre- menopause...menopause, my partner was pre-menapausal at the age of 36, she's now 48 and still suffering.

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    • Posted

      At times 4 sprays is like drinking lolliwater for me, especially when the clusters of my Prinzmetal Angina comes on. I can have 18 sprays and my blood pressure is 165/90 and that's with all the other anti angina medication onboard.... the only thing I think that has really helped my condition is the large doses of Cardizem, took awhile but it's working effectively now(with the exception of lowering my blood pressure), I was on 480mg daily but that has now been bumped up to 600mg daily, I've been told I may have developed a kind of immunity to monodur , nicorandil and the GTN
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    • Posted

      Tolerence was the word I was looking for.... GTN works but it only lasts between 3-5 minutes after I've had 10 sprays of GTN , 16 - 20 sprays is my normal before I call for an ambulance or if the pain is lasting longer than 30 minutes with continued use of the GTN
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    • Posted

      Sorry to hear you are still struggling neutral​ Since my last stent I've been really quite good, I've had wobbles but I haven't used GTN in months smile
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  • Posted

    Thank you for your reply.  I really appreciate it!  

    I took one spray and then after 5 minutes I took 2 sprays and nothing happened so I didn't bother to do it again.  I've had the pain in varying forms after eating at 7pm for over four hours this evening.  I can't even tell if I am bringing it on myself by thinking about it all the time.  I got up and walked around and it went and then started again when I started meditating - which is supposed to be calming!  I am going to the doctors in the morning - hopefully I will be seen as they have a weird 15 min slots for same day appointments so it's very limited.

    I don't feel unwell apart from this stupid discomfort - when it's not there I am practically normal!  I wrote all my perimenopausal systems down and they filled an A5 sheet of paper!  No one could make head nor tail out of any of it as it's all so random!

     

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    • Posted

      Yes I've heard menopause symptoms are very random and can be very painful for women.

      Yes if the GTN didn't help it is usually a sign that it's not angina even though GTN is used for other conditions, reflux and oesophageal spasm(more for reflux) is 2 that I remember my GP telling me.

      Sorry I didn't mention your primary question in the first place.Angina pain is a moderate to severe pain that comes on suddenly, it's form is generally squeezing, crushing and heaviness in the centre of the chest radiating to generally your left shoulder and down the arm(but can go to the right shoulder), the discomfort can also be felt in the jaw, back and neck, nausea, cold sweats, dizziness/weakness and shortness of breath can also accompany the chest pain, shortness of breath is usually always present with angina pain. In saying that though it is known that in women symptoms can be different at times, especially when one gets indigestion, this feeling is more prevelant in women and is just fobbed off as indigestion so doctors have to treat this with vigilance. Also a tooth ache can even turn out to be angina pain or at worts a heart attack. Stress ,cold weatherand even extreme heat can trigger an angina attack, there are several forms of angina, the most common 2 are stable angina (Predictable - bought on by exercising or just every day moving around , working, doing house work etc etc) then there is unstable angina which is where it comes on at rest, unpredictable, there are other forms that branch off from unstable angina , I can't think of their names just at the moment. hope this has helped you out

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  • Posted

    Ranitidine  & GTN spray /tabs  helpful .The temporary spasms  were  diagnosed as hiatus hernia before the heart attack.My gallstones ignored by NHS were sediment  which English Doctors seem not to know about it .Apparently according to Belgian surgeon who removed could be very dangerous!
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  • Posted

    Hello Hannah, i have Angina X Syndrome due to uncontrolled hypertension which damaged the small arteries leading to and from my heart. Who told you angina is excrutiating?? Are they a doctor or do they have angina themselves?? If neither i would suggest you ignore them as they no knowing, i can assure you angina is not excrutiating but more so debilitating and can make you feel extremely ill but not neccessarily painful, i have angina on a daily basis which causes pain and discomfort in my arm, jaw and chest but leaves me feeling very poorly and exhausted but not in pain. I guess it's different for everyone but try and work with your consultant to draw it to a satisfactory conclusion 

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