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chest discomfort and shortness of breath
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chest discomfort and shortness of breath

I like many other of you am having problem finding a doctor to give a name to my pains.   I have asthma, but the shortness of breath that has taken over some days is unlike asthma.  I am 48 a woman was in good health except for some sinus problems which I had 4 surgeries for and was to the point of needing a pic line for antibiotics. And was on them for over 26 yrs as well as many many times as a child.   I like many of you have been to the doctors and felt like it was all in my head.  It is not.  I have had three stress tests in the last three years, all normal. This last one was especially disappointing because the cardiologist sat down looked briefly at the EKG pages quickly like he was bored with a magazine and said, it's ok.  The family doctor isn't convinced it's not my heart. He said the EKG's are not conclusive. He had a 70 yr. old man have a stress test one day, this cardiologist tells him it's ok. That night he dies from a heart attack.  I have a heaviness in my chest most all the time, then I get a dull shooting pain in the left side of my chest.  Sometimes it feels swollen.  I was told it's muscular too.  Now I am getting sweaty and then all of a sudden get so cold I have to cover up or put a sweater on.  I am tired all the time, and when I try to do anything with excertion, my muscles thighs and arms get to feeling weak and tired and I get a weird feeling all over like I am going to pass out.   I read some of you posts and although sad, it's refreshing to hear them that we are not alone.
Tags: Chest, Heart
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74076_tn?1189759432
Hi DMG,

Sounds like you have been through a lot.  As you can imagine, it is  difficult for me to see why you have chest pain.  There are a few other options to investigate like small vessel disease, diastolic dysfunction, or coronary disease.  A cardiac cath will tell you if  you have large vessel coronary disease and some sophisticated invasive tests can also help diagnose small vessel disease.  Diastolic heart disease is usually diagnosed by filling patterns on echocardiograms, but certainly left heart cath pressure measurements can help as well.  It all depends on if you doctors think you need a catheterization.  Other problems like blood clots going to your lung can also cause shortness of breath and chest symptoms.  If you are not moving around a lot or have other risk factors for blood clots, a CT scan or V/Q scan can help evaluate this possibility.


Regarding the "70 yr. old man have a stress test one day, this cardiologist tells him it's ok. That night he dies from a heart attack."

This is not the information that stress tests give.  They tell you if you have obstructive coronary disease and help prognosticate your long term survival, but they do not do a good job of predicting heart attacks.  We just aren't good at that yet.

Ihope this helps a little and that  you feel better soon.  Good luck.
25 Comments
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I also have an ache in my chest most of the time.  I do have small lumps on my thighs and arms, which I was told this is just cysts. Well why are they there, which is a question they aren't answering.  I was told to see a rheumetologist now so I am hoping he can help.   The family doctor said it could be an autoimmune disease and he mentioned lupus or scleraderma. Two of my blood tests show a higher then normal level of inflamtion. I was disappointed with the pulmonary doctor because all he wants to check into is a sleep apnea test.  We do know our bodies and we know when there is something wrong.  
  So if anyone has any insight for fatigue, left side of chest pain into the back, sweaty then cold and at times a gurggling in the chest at times.  I would appreciate your input.
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Thank you for your responses.   The family doctor did mention an auto immune disease.  That's why the appointment with the rheumetologist.    The internal medicine doctor did mention an embolism, so we will see what she says.  I started going to a woman internal med. to see if it makes a difference in how important it is to try to find out what's going on.  It certainly made a difference in how she treats me and suggesting to looking into things.  She is so quick to say about checking this or that till we find an answer.  
   But what you said  about other things, I have been looking them up and reading them, but sadly most of them have the same symptoms.  Yes my father had a stroke when he was 53 and my mother had one when she was 70 along with triple by pass at 73 and my oldest sister a stroke at 48 and then a five bi pass at 55.  It does run in my family and but my blood pressure is always normal always been on the lower side, except when I get nervous at the doctor. Cholesterol is a different story which I am working on that.  But most of us know our own bodies and know when they are sick.  I have been telling them to look into my hormones causing this and they say no.  However, when I always get my period I always got sick the week before, meaning had fever and sinus infections or something else. One lady told me she had sinus infections too until she had a hysterectomy, and realized one day no more sinus infections.  But I will keep being an aggressive patient and pushing them to find out. I was so very disappointed with the pulmonary doctors I have been to. The first one about 18 years ago gave me inhalers for my asthma but told me I am depressed, so I tried them, I got very bad anxiety attacks and went off of them.  So I went to the family doctor for my asthma and he told me that dr. wasn't very good with women. So he tried me on other inhalers, which worked and we also did the allergy shots. Which didn't work.  about 8 yrs. ago I went to another pulmonary dr. and he acted the same way the first one did and didn't take me seriously.  I had difficulty breathing at that time again and he said just keep doing what your doing.  GRRR.   So it was suggested to try one again since I was having problems breathing just going up the stairs.  All he wanted to do is a sleep apnea test.  I wanted to be able to breath better and he did not say anything about how to make that possible.  Was very frustrating. Aren't they supposed to try to find out why and try to get a patient breathing better.  It makes me so mad when I hear commercials or people say,  tell your doctor, well if they don't wnat to work at trying to get someone better then what do you do? They usually don't say anything until I suggest doing something.  I had to threaten to take my records else where for the doctor to do a chest x-ray and do more blood work.  Two of the blood test showed inflamation (inflammation), ere the rheumotologist.  So we all have to be aggressive patients. Ya have to ask questions and do your home work and write symptoms down at home and questions, we can't wait till we are in the office to do it, we don't think of everything.
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88793_tn?1290230777
I am always very tired. left side of chest pain into the back shoulder and arm, sweaty at night and wake me up. Cold, ghost bump on and off.  I've an irregular pulse as well.  Finally my cardio told me I HAVE A FIB.  You take care.
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To PikaPika88>  I do have the pain in the left side of chest into my back, pain in my left arm and swelling in hands and ankles and feet, but I do not sweat at night, mostly during the day. Feel like I have a flu most of the time, but the fatigue is bad some days.  What is FIB, is it fibromyalgia?  Which the family doctor  did say I have, but I think it's just a name for anything they can't find what is the cause in women. Plus he didn't talk to me about medication that could help.  
  I do take hawthorneberry syrup for my chest pain and some other herbs for the heart, and I take something I make at home for circulation, it does help some.  I know some do not like to hear about alternatives, but I think the herbal people I work with  seem to help my symptoms better then the doctor. And the herbs can be healing. They tell me the medical field should be working with those experienced in natural ways. I totally agree.  I have only started going to the herbalists 3 years ago.  They are also iridologists which he does see black marks for my heart and lung in my left eye and last year when the pain and discomfort in my chest were feeling a bit better, those marks got lighter. I had told my family doctor I didn't want to go on Lipator, I said I was trying some natural things and it did take my cholesterol down, so he said if it works keep doing it.  So he is open to doing natural things, but isn't knowledgable in that area.    I do know diet has some to do with it and must get back to taking sugar, white flour and white potatoes out of my diet.  We do not eat red meat more then a few times a year, mostly chicken and some fish at times.  
Thank you for the response
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Avatar_n_tn
you probably have a few things going on, perimenopause may be one...the other thought is have they checked your thyroid? with the thigh muscle aches, sweating , coldness etc...good luck
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I had a blood test done for my thyroid and it was ok. But I do know there is evidence of symptoms of thyroid problems.  And I do know there are other tests to do for that too. The usual one isn't always conclusive either.  I was trying to post another new question about pulmonary hypertension and I couldn't today.  I wanted to know if a person has to have high blood pressure to have that. Those symptoms are like mine too.  I am getting checked for mold  to see if that comes out. But they said it's in conclusive sometimes.  My sister said something about lupus, but I go to a rheumetologist in two weeks, so we will see what he says.
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I read your post about someone having a normal stress test and then having a heart attack. I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease in  Feb, with 50%, and 30% blockages, I have been having problems ever since ( chest pain, fatigue ) I since went back for another follow up and had another Echo which showed Rheumatic Heart disease, and sclerotic aorta, I passed the stress test with flying colors. If I didn't already know I had CAD, from an earlier heart cath the Dr would have passed this all off as normal.
I went to an opthalmologist this week for dark things in my vision and he told me I am having TIAs ( small strokes) I really worry about all this because my Drs just treat me as if I am silly for being concerned. I know they see many people every day who are in really bad shape, but I am female, and only 57, and I worry about how fast this stuff progresses, and the Dr can't give me an answer. I sympathize with all of you who are confused about their health and can't get clear cut answers.Any more you do have to tell the Drs what you want, and I have never been very aggresive (aggressive) because I always thought they knew what to look for but I am finding out different.
Take care
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how did you find out you had blockages?  And it seems like doctors really aren't as worried about women in their 40's and 50's like they are men and older people, my mother got better treatment being older then I have being this age.  Don't they realize they need to help those of us at these ages, we are still young and because they pass us off, we are loosing our livelyness and it hurts our relationships.  It seemed since Feburary since I was sick with bronchitis the discomfort got worse in my chest and my energy did too.  My ankles and feet swell up as soon as it gets a little warmers or when I sit for my job. I have discomfort in my abdomain and I feel so bloated after eating just a little.   I am upset that they ask me about heart history in my family, but when they do a pulse ox for oxygen level and it's normal, I tell them that my father had emphezema and his was always in the 90's up until this past winter a month before he died his was under at times.   I can't seem to get it through to them that there is something wrong even if my oxygen level is normal.  I feel a fast heart beat in my stomach area and a gurgling in my chest and fluttering at night when I lay down.   The reason I started writing on here and looking at it was because I saw so many who had similar symtoms (symptoms) and most are women.  There is something wrong with this picture.  We are told to contact a doctor or call 911, if we have any of the symptoms they announce on TV or write  in a magazine.  Well if the doctors don't take us seriously why should be keep going.  That's one reason I went to the herbalist.  They keep checking into things and tell me to call or email and let them know how I am doing.  But I have to use the medical field for blood tests and other tests. The herbalist said to me last week they will probably find something on the stress test.  I knew they wouldn't, but the dark marks are still there and they are for the heart and lung.
    thank you for responding and I hope you get answers too. I am 48 yrs old and will be married 30 yrs. next month, I want to enjoy the next 30 with my husband, that's if we have that many. If you want to email snowgurl_45***@****  sometimes it helps to talk.  I can't talk to my daughter because she has been through  a car accident last Dec. and a tramatic dog bite in April and is going through so much and all this in the first year of their marriage.  I feel so bad I can't help her more then I do.    Take care God Bless
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Thank-you for responding. I feel exactly the same as you about how Drs don't listen to women. I just changes to a women Dr and hope it will be better. I have seen her twice now and so far she has done more and told me more .
I found out I had blockages in Feb, I was just not feeling well, my Blood pressure was up. Didn't reaaly have chest pain, but my back was killing me.I decided to just go to the ER. They did treat me agressivly . My EKGs were all abnormal and my blood levels, were off, ( Potassium, and b-12 ) I was admitted and had a heart cath the next day, and the Dr said 50% and 30%, then I was in the MRI machine getting my carotids looked at and I had some kind of a mini stroke, I couldn't respond to anything and get this they wheeled me back to my room and dropped me off, My husband asked why I was asleep ( i wansn't really I could hear everthing I just couldn't talk) They said we don't really know what is wrong with her. They released me the next day and I still don't know what happened. When I ask my old Dr he said it was all from my Blood pressure. He said I should just live my normal life, like it was all in my head or something. That was a tramatic thing for me and I have bad dreams all the time that I am dying, or that I can't wake up.
We just have to keep trying to talk to our Drs, and if they won't hear you out look for someone else till you find someone you are comfortable with.
I found out I have high platelets. The computer articles said it is dangerous , my Drs say, well it may be normal for you. I know how frustrated you get.
Take care.
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88793_tn?1290230777
Sorry for the late reply.  I'm 47, mother of 2.  A Fib is short for "Atrial Fibrillation".  

I attend Tai Chi class as well. Only once a week for 1.5 hrs.  Heart goes mad during this 1.5 hrs everytime.  I attend TCM (Tradition Chinese Medicine) clinic so I'm on herb pill as well.  

I told them the western medicine took me to the railway line and operate the train.  It hurts my tummy.  I refused to take any of them. I went to the grocery shop and buy herbs (told by my mum from oversea) which one to take.  By compassion, he finally prescribes "compound danshen dripping pills" for me which is very good for the chest tightness.  It also contains "Tien Chi".  I can't take blood thinner because I'd low platelets before.  TienChi can eliminate blood clots and also stop bleeding.  Do some research for
"Danshen (Radix Salviae & Tienchi".  It is the goodies for heart.

One of his student keep asking me about the black mark in my eyeball.  They didn't tell me is related to heart and lungs.  Once stage, when I was on verapamil, they told me there're some purple colour spots at the side of my front tongue.  It related to my liver.  They also feeling the pulse as well.  They diagnosis my liver getting "weak".  It was the period that I was waiting for ultrasound.  Finally, the ultrasound result said is "evidence of early fatty infiltration of the liver."

Nice can have someone understand herbs and trust TCM treatment to talk about.  Normally, after I post about the herbs treatment then the topic will quiet and die.  See how is this one goes?

Pika.
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88793_tn?1290230777
Opps!  I haven't finish typing and it posted!!!

   Danshen = Radix Salvia Miltiorrhiza
   Tienchi = Noto or Pseudo-Ginseng

http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsTake/0,3927,553134%7CDanshen,00.html

http://www.healthymagnets.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/tienchi.htm?E+scstore
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It's so nice to talk to those who are in the same boat so to speak. I am so sorry about your situations, my mother said the same things after she was able to talk when she had her strokes.  But she was really paralized even with my dad letting her go over night until I went over and we called the ambulance.  We thought she would never come out of it.  But the therapy helped and she was so angry she had to take it. But we said she wouldn't be doing her house work without it.  I saw the new female doctor yesterday and she said my stress test was fine and that there isn't anything wrong with my heart.  Well, I am skeptical of her now because just by a stress test being ok, someone may have heart problems.  I am not looking for things to be wrong, I don't go to the doctor unless I feel bad and since this stuff costs so much to get checked out, it bothers me more that we get the run around.  There is a free vascular testing in our area this month, I work in a sewing room at the hospital here, (which I make the gowns people wear).  So my husband and I are going to do it again. Since it's free.  
   I am going to keep pushing till they find what is going on.  The hardest thing is getting out of bed and going to work.  If I had a computer job it wouldn't be as bad, but I have some physical work, not just sitting at a sewing machine all the time.  And my house is very neglected.  Just have a hard time wanting to keep cleaned up, no energy.  I do take the sublingual Trivita B-12 under the tongue, but doesn't help all that much and  that wears off witnin a couple of hours.  
   I will look into those herbs. I do know the herbs are a natural blood thinner.  I have to stop taking them with some tests because the one time when they took an IV out for a gallbladder test, it didn't want to stop bleeding and I never have problems.    I am hoping the rheumetologist can shed some light on this.  But I am leary of dr.s too.  Especially with what my daughter has gone through the last 10 months.   She married in May 2004, Dec. 2004 were in a car accident and had whip lash, but then found a jaw problem, and got the run around with the oral surgeons and went to one in Philadelphia in April, and he found she had a sprained jaw.  Almost too late to reverse the damage. now she gets shots in her jaw. Then in April the neighbor dog bit her seriously, developed a bone infection and the orthopedic dr. didn't want to do an MRI. a week later the family doctor had her in the hospital with the bone infection and had to have surgery.  Then developed a nerve disorder and RSD and had to be put on 900 mg. of medication to try to get rid of the nerve disorder from the dog bit.  Then he told her to go off cold turkey, which she had withdrawl (withdrawal) from it.  Now she sees a neurologist, and he is doing tests to see what's going on.  In the mean time she lost her job and the insurance stopped the checks for her wages because they don't see there is any need because of her jaw. She can't work because she has pain in that all the time and the neighbors insurance will not cover more then $1,000 of medical costs.  It's so maddening how the guy who hit her and the neighbor can get off scott free  and she is suffering physically and mentally along with her husband.  
   Sorry to get off on another subject, but it's was about the doctors really.
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Avatar_n_tn
First to DMG, I hope you keep pressing your doctors for answers, I think women do get treated differently then men. I think young women doctors may provide their patients with more information but they are trained just like their male counterparts--to provide more aggressive care to male patients!

AND, I hope your daughter has sought legal counsel to resolve her auto and neighbor insurance battles. It's the only way to get protection at this point if the insurance is refusing to pay for medical costs and lost wages.

Pika, I think that most people are not familiar with chinese herbal treatment. But I think more people are becoming interested.

It's surprising to me that medical doctors would "poo-poo" an alternative therapy when they often have nothing to offer themselves. For example, chiropractic has been researched extensively for treatment of low back and neck pain, but do you think a medical doctor would refer you to one? Fat chance. Some of the posts of people with chest discomfort who get extensive medical tests only to hear that there is no heart problem have never said anything about being referred to a chiropractor to check their spine or ribs as a possible cause. I support medical science because they have some life saving treatments, but it is not the only science out there.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't mean to sound to stupid here but 30% and 50% fall below what I've come to believe (70%) when doctors consider it coronary disease..and then they don't like to do to much then  please correct me if Im wrong..

please read here:

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/cardio/archive/4535.html

So Im confused to your posting??
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Avatar_n_tn
Nothing is ever stupid when it comes to asking what something means.  But I am not sure what you are saying or asking.    

Although, many of us women have found that with going to a doctor or ER with chest pain, they dismiss females faster then they do men.  First hand experience with my father and mother.  But many of us women have chest pain, they do a stress test and stop there.  There are many other things that can  be wrong related to chest pain and doctors do not check into it. When speaking to my family doctor about the stress test being normal, he mentioned about doing an aortic ultrasound and some other tests. However, after speaking with him, I called his office to ask if there are any orders for some tests for this and other things, there was not. Many times we women are made to feel like it's all in our head and we need antidepressants.  Which was not my mothers case.  There is not room for middle aged womens problems in man doctors minds. Not saying all of them, but most.
  I hope I have shed some light on this and explained a bit.
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I agree with you about doctors.. even men have to push for tests or we get the brush off as well, I believe men in general hardly push the issue when something is wrong with them if there doc says your fine nothing to worry about. I would love to find a doctor who has chf/artery or some other serious disease because I think he/she would be more ready to help you. There is a doctor in my clinic that is fighting cancer, still he continues to treat his patients and is very aggressive with them in getting a diagnosis. My doctor was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never experience any very close serious illnessses so he brushes everything off as Anxiety or hysteria. I've had him now for 8 years and have had maybe 3 prescriptions filled by him he thinks everythings in your head. Im looking for a new doctor soon. I should have 4 years ago when I was very Ill and lost like 50 lbs.. he actually told me it was nerves.. and I believed him until I wasn't getting better so I went to a gastro specialist on my own and he found the problem and helped me almost immediatly..
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Glad you are going to see another doctor. Sadly I had one who was in our congregation at church and when I wrote him a letter that I felt it was time to change, he was upset and didn't talk to me for awhile and still doesn't so much.  But he makes one feel beneath him too.  That's why I changed.  Yes when a doctor has gone through something himself or a family member they do treat their patients differently.  As my doctor now does.  Although my daughter sees the same one and with her needs and me being family going there too, I don't feel he directs attention to my needs. We end up talking about her sometimes.  So I am seeing a female internal medicine doctor and she seems compassionate.   I hate to give up my family doctor because he is very nice and is personalble, but I feel that with our daughters many health problems from the accident and dog bite interfere.  
    But you need to seek out a doctor who you feel comfortable with so you get the medical attention you need.  They provide a service and if they don't meet the requirements we have, then it's time to move to another one till we find one who does.  I do belive stress can cause many things, but I think we all know our own bodies and know when there is something major wrong.  
   Keep pressing forward.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear DMG,

Some of the things you've mentioned ring a bell with me. I'm younger (35) but have a condition called POTS. I have severe nasal congestion all the time--for years really--and get swelling in my legs and feet, intestinal rumbling, heart palps, etc... This condition I referred to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a autonomic nervous system disorder where your heart rate and blood pressure respond to postural changes (laying down, standing, etc...) Check out www.potsplace.com and see if anything else rings a bell. Good luck.
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thank you I will check out the sight.  I had an abdominal ultrasound done, that seems to be normal, but still have pain in my torso area and chest.  I had some other blood tests done and have seen a rhuemetologist and had many blood tests done through him.  It's getting frustrating at this point.  I did not have an echo done and may suggest having that done and I am not sure what an ECG is but I may ask one of the doctors I am seeing.  I have been having more problems with my throat, they suggested that it may be due to the acid reflux which I haven't had any problems with that in a while. I am on medication for that and have been for many years.   I have seen an herbalist iridologist and he said he sees scaring in my esophogus.  But no one has suggested an endoscope or a barium swollow.  The herbalist also said my thyroid is bad, which the symptoms I have also go along with that. Tired, weight gain and thinning of hair on top.  The blood test was ok they said, but I may tell the doctors to check out the past results of that specific blood test.  
   thanks again for the suggestion about pots.
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I just discovered this site and I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that I am not imagining my symptoms.  I am a 38 year old woman with chronic chest pain, shortness of breath and night sweats.  I had a hysterectomy 8 years ago and suffered a mini-stroke 4 years ago.  I have a family history of heart disease...my father died from complications from his second heart attack at age 43....his father suffered his first stroke at 47.  I too finally started seeing a female doctor who is sending me to a cardiologist.  I have spent so much time thinking that I might be a hypochondriac.  I hate that there are so many of you out there suffering as I do, but I am happy to finally have some validation.
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i have a rumbling on the right side of my lower chest - right at the bottom of my chest basically where my chest meets my stomach. i cannot tell if it is the muscle or something internal. it does not hurt ever it it just pretty annoying. i also get minor twitches on other muscles in my body so im assuming its related and hoping its no big deal.

i am 27 do not smoke but i do drink some. im not in the best shape but im in relatively good health (i think)

just cant figure out the gurgling/twitching

appreciate any help
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Hey,I don't no were to begin. I am a 41 female, with very bad chest pain's. My mother and father, both had heart attach's and by-pass surgury's. Plus all their brother's and sister's. Plus my sister has had to open heart surgury's. My brother passed away at the age of 38 with heart complication's. My 10 year old newprew died from heart problem's. I have very high heart rate, so they put me on Loppossor. I am still having chest pain's, ecp. when I get up to start working in the house. I have shorthness of breath.... But my problem is that I have no Insurance...... I just go to a clinic... They send me to heart doctor's but I can't afford to pay. Most people don't beleive me when I say, they doctor's will not see me with out insurance. But beleive me, in this day and time , they want. I live in kentucky, were most people don;t have any type of insurance. I cry most the day because of the pain, don;t no how much longer I can live like this. I could go back to the E. R. Doctor's but all they do is send me to a heart speicalt... Then I ask them if I can paid some down, but what I can afford to pay is not enough for them, so they want see me.. Anyone here has anyone idea's or no of some programs that might can help me. Cause I have a 5 year old and 4 month old grandson's that need me.
god bless
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This is a crying shame, cant you see someone from welfare and try to get help. I think The U.S. is a great country , but thank I God i live in a place that not even a tourist is turned away because they can't pay for their medical care no matter what happens to them. We'll pick up the tab even if we have to fly them to the U.S. for very specialized treatment, then they can reinburse with what they can afford.Take care.
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i have had 5 stents and a double bypass in 2 years. i now have a problem with shortness of breath and a burning and numbness in my left arm and goes into the left side of my neck. this almost feels like when i had a heart attack but i have no pain in my back as before. i cannot do any physical things as i get reaaly short of breath. my doctor did a cath a month ago since i had these prob and he said everything looked good. the bypass they did showed the graph had kinked like a v when i had my heart attack and my doctor wanted to stent it but when he did the cath it was straight. i am hurting and dont know what to do. i am 54 years old and feel like i wont like for another month, also my ankels and hand swell as my stomach feels like it swells too. can you advise???????
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