I'm a female, 49 years old. Chest pains started last spring, when I was under a lot of stress at work. They were just occasional bouts of chest pressure occurring when I was stressed. EKG, Nuclear Stress Test and Echocardiogram performed last summer revealed nothing significant. In general,it occurs several times a week, mostly during the day. Most often it's just pressure and usually when I'm not active or obviously stressed (just sitting at my desk at work). I've had 5 very strong, scary events (4 within the past 2 months), which included chest pressure, pain, burning, pain up into my neck or into my back, and if standing, weakness. Each of those times, I thought I wouldn't make it throught the event, but they did pass. Over the past month and a half, it has awakened me 3 times. Once it was major pressure sitting square on my chest, another time it was hot sharp pain the radiated through to my back and up and across my shoulders into my neck. The last time, I was awakened with such severe pain accompanied by gas, I couldn't think of moving, not even to get my nitro, and just kept holding my breath, hoping it would stop. I have normal BP, and my cholesterol, although a little high (213), has an excellent ratio, and my triglycerides are good. No family history of this. I don't smoke or drink, I'm not overweight. I watch what I eat. My only risk factor was being too sedentary. I'm on a calcium channel blocker (Cartia XT 120 mg.), which helps, but I'm still getting pains. How do I get on with my life? Exercise helps to alleviate the pressure. Since last summer, I exercise nearly everyday. When I exercise, I feel a real heaviness when I begin, but then it goes away and I feel better and my bp lowers from around 117/78 down to around 100/60 (I always thought BP went up when someone was exercising). What's driving me crazy is that I don't know when I should be concerned, and when I shouldn't. Aside from the chest pressure which I can count on several afternoons a week, that seems pretty stable, the incidents that wake me up, scare me. Is it stable, unstable, or variant. I don't know how to deal with this. This only adds stress and increases the chest pressure frequency. I seem to be in a vicious cycle. Any advise on how to move on past the fear, would be appreciated.
Thanks for your reply. I was put on Nexium last summer, but it didn't touch it. I mostly stay away from bread and wheat products, because they don't agree with me (make me bloated and moody). I will consider the allergy screening and the gastroenterologist, though.
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