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Avatar universal

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.
25 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432

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.
Avatar universal
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.
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.
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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, 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.
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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 because I always thought they knew what to look for but I am finding out different.
Take care
Avatar universal
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 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
88793 tn?1290230777
Opps!  I haven't finish typing and it posted!!!

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


Avatar universal
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.
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?

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