possible heart problem?

I just turned 36 on April 11. I have been having many different problems for the past year. My problems started with pain in my left leg for a year and a half before I started having all the main problems. After the pain in the leg went away I started having bleeding problems where I would get my period for 3 weeks straight then off three weeks then again and again the same thing with some heavy bleeding each time. I also started having swallowing problems. I have not eaten anything but liquids for the past year. Six months ago I had a heart palpitation that put me on the ground for 20 minutes and ever since that heart palpitation I have had the same bad disgusting feeling in my chest that just won't go away. I do not know how to explain the feeling in my chest but it is there every day and last for up to two minutes each time and I feel quite ill when it happens. This feeling tends to get worse at night also. I have been to three different doctors and nothing. I have a family history of heart disease. My grandfather died when he was in his late thirsties of a heart attack and my two uncles the same and also my father had two heart attacks by the time he was in his late thirties. I am quite concerned with whats going on with my health because this feeling just won't go away and I have nine kids to think about. If anyone could possibly help me out with some information it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for reading..

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17 replies. Join the discussion

Connie:
I was 39 when I received my first stent (my history is in my profile). Despite my strong family history of heart disease, doctors would not listen to me. There is a common thread that you will see on this board. When we are worried and have a strong gut feeling, we keep pushing until we get an answer. I am on my 4th cardiologist and I can't tell you how many general practitioners and ER doctors there have been in between. Even after being diagnosed with coronary artery disease and having a stent, I still had doctors refuse to believe my symptoms were heart related. I put myself through a lot hours in emergency rooms and doctor's offices and testing facilities to get the care I deserved. You have to be your own advocate in this day and time. Please keep stressing your family history and someone will eventually listen to you. Take care. The ladies on this board truly care. Please stay in touch with our community and let us know how you are doing -
Dianna

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Connie, dont give up. Try to see a cardiologist that cares. My first one was a joke, he would speak his mind and never answer my questions. I went into the hospital and the cardiologist there was great. You will feel the connection between the both of you right away. Since then he double checked the stint from the first quako-which is fine. However I had an aneurysm that the first doc didn't even see attached to the lower left side of my heart. So I had a defibrillator put in just 5 weeks ago. I'm still recovering. I had a silent massive heart attack when I buried my father back in Jan 2005. Two years later is when I found out. My primary doctor should have noticed when every EKG came back irregular. Which they are not very smart. Go to different doctors get second and third opinions. I wish I would have, and now I wouldn't have had the surgery I just went through. My cardio doc said if I didn't have this surgery that I would have had a 2nd heart attack and not be so lucky. This defibrillator is my insurance for my life. If you are interested my cardio doc is Dr Gatto out of Doctors West Hospital on the west side of Columbus. He and his staff is great. He won't give up on you until he finds out everything about your health and will make it right. I wish you all the best and if you need further info let me know. Also have your children be your support team. I only have one daughter and she is the best support person I could ask for. Take care and keep in touch.
Your Friend, Patty

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Hi everyone and thank you for replying and giving me your thoughts. I have been to a few doctors now and each just says oh it is anxiety and they do not even listen to what I am telling them. I have been having too many health problems for it to be just marked down to anxiety and I am so mad that these doctors can act like they know everything when they do not even take the time to listen to their patients that are explaining their health problems. I know they do not care because it's not them with the problem and it's not their mother or sister or daughter but still they should think of it as you are their sister or mother and maybe just maybe something would get done and they will actually take you seriously. I am going to try and find a doctor this week and hopefully have more luck then what I have been having this past year. I really want to be around to see all my kids grow up and my grandchildren ya know. Thanks again everyone, your support is trully appreciated and needed at this time.

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I just checked and see you are living in New Zeland. I have not a clue what the medical system is like there, but here is something I just tried yesterday with a new doc and feel fairly confident that I got his attention and covered everything we needed to discuss.

The night before I typed out a list that included-
-names of all my doctors that I have seen
-date of my HA
-list of medications and dosages
-included copies of any blood lab work I have had done

-then I wrote out the questions and symptoms I had that I feel need to be addressed.

I was able to give this to them for my file - including my notes and my observations and my questions

Doing this helped me to organize my thoughts and make the most of the 15 minutes of time I had with the doctor. All too often I experience brain freeze in the exam room and later think of the things I wish I had said or asked.

I hope this helps and good luck in finding the right fit of a doctor. Be persistent - excellent doctors are out there.

Laura

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Hi, Connie.
I agree with Laura and the ladies. The key is not to give up and to listen to your body. So often we don't follow our gut when a doc tells us we are okay. I went to 3 cardiologists and spoke to countless other health care professionals before I actually got my life back. It took persistence and I would not give up. I knew I was with the right doc when she listened to my story without judgment or a lack of empathy. She believed me, listened to my symptoms and then put me on a medication regimen that worked. There are Women Heart Centers in the states that do not treat women like little men. I don't know what you have there but talk to as many people as you can for their recommendations. Trust yourself, talk to others in NZ who have walked in your shoes and ask who they go to. Ask, ask, ask...that's why WomenHeart was created. You are not alone!
Take care and keep us posted with your progress.
Best,
Kathy K

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This is special to me because I have a daughter with the birthday of april 11. I had my first heart attack at 43. I have 4 daughters. This is all I can say. You MUST find a Dr. who you trust and go with it. Unfortunately this forum will give you alot of data from women who have heart disease. Just as many as do, don't. Your family history definately suggests the possibility but... if there is a chance you have anxiety, which I can't imagine not having with 9 kids, that needs to be addressed also. Anxiety is serious and definately leads to heart problems. Treatment is quite different though. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. My April 11, daughter had an angiogram as suggested by her physician because of my heart history. She was only 30. Her results showed her to have a clean heart. Her Cholesterol needed attention which could be controlled by diet. Lucky for me my kids take their history of heart disease seriously. You are wise is seeking information but... at some point you need to take heed in what your Dr. tells you. Each of us is different. Because some have bad results doesn't mean all do. Prevention is great but don't let it stress you out to the point that your way of life is affected. For all, each day is a gift, to be enjoyed and treasured. I am always happy to share my history as are my daughters. You can reach us at smokefreeme1@juno.com.

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I can honestly say it is not anxiety. I have a great life and no worries other than this heart stuff. I have never worried about anything until having the heart palpitation and now this feeling in my chest every day that just does not go away. I can say now after having this past doctor and how he did not listen to anything I was telling him about whats going on that I have anxiety now at this stage yes because it is still there and no one is listening. I told this doctor that family history means alot to someone that comes from a family of heart problems and this doctor said to me that if I said that to anyone over here that they would laugh at me for even suggesting that my family history may have something to do with whats going on with me. He thought it was a big joke. He said that over here that they do not believe that family history plays a part in your health problems at all. This is what I am dealing with, so wouldn't anyone that is not getting a word in and their doctor just isn't listening have anxiety at this point??

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Connie,
You are absolutely correct. Of course you feel anxious and frustrated, you are not being listened to let alone heard and have chronic daily chest pain. It's time to take your symptoms and go to someone who will listen. Family history is a risk factor for all people all over the world. It's not just a risk factor in the states. If you have a father or brother age 55 or under who had a heart event or a sister or mother under the age of 65 that had an heart event that puts you at risk for heart disease. Please use your anger and frustration to get the help you need. Let us know how it goes.
Best,
Kathy K

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Hi everyone, I went to the ER last night for chest pain and nausea and also vomiting. The did an ECG and took blood and said everything looked ok but the ER doc said it would be good to have a stress test done. I have been having the chest pain since then and had some numbness in both arms, should I be worried or just wait and see what happens? I don't want to die because I have too much to live for and my life is good ya know.

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Connie:
It is good that someone is starting to take your symptoms seriously. I am so sorry that you continue to have the pain and other symptoms with it. Do not let them delay your stress test for long. Keep after them. If your pain and numbness continue, please go back to the ER and do whatever it takes to be heard and get immediate testing. These symptoms could be nothing, but they could be something. I have walked in your shoes and told several doctors that the only thing causing my anxiety was not be listened to by them when I knew I was sick. Also, if you have your stress test and your symptoms persist, please don't let this go. I have never had a positive stress test yet I have had 2 stents, triple bypass, heart attack and a third stent - I am 42. Stress tests are notorious for giving false negatives in women. Until your symptoms go away and you are comfortable with the treatment and care you are being given, don't give up. It is a hard battle to fight, but it is for your life so it is worth it. Remember we all stand behind you and are here for you. Stay in touch -
Dianna

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Connie,
I was waking up at night with chest pains. They lasted only 1-2 minutes each and I could not move when they happened. It felt like an elephant stepping on my chest and the pain went up my neck into my jaw. I found out I was having unstable angina attacks. I passed my stress test and my mri but doc thought perhaps the little mass that showed up was just breast tissue but he did a catherization and found the blockage in my main artery 95% blocked. I got a stent right then and there. He said I was ready for either a major stroke or heart attack. Please let me know how you are doing. Pat

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hi connievickers , i too am undiagnoised having severe chestpains i have been through hell and back with doctors telling me it is all in your head its taken me almost a year for a doctor to listen to me and im feeling 100 times worse when first got the symptoms they have finally put in for a request for an angiogramme all my stress tests come back normal my ecg bloods you name it the best thing to do is get tested for all the things that they say like anziety gerd things that they can rule out because if its not on paper they dont listen and than you can turn around and say ive been tested for that and than they will take you seriously i know how hard it is especially when your young they dont take you seriously i to have children who depend on me ive just had my forth child so i really understand you there ive travelled here there and everywhere sick as a dog for answers still havent got any but am now on the right road . keep incontact would really like to know how your going . fairy

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Hi Fairybell and thank you for your thoughts. I just got my blood cholesterol levels checked again which was twice this year and each time the doctor says it's ok. My cholesterol is 5.5mmol/L and is suppose to be below 4.0, my HDL cholesterol is at 0.7 and is suppose to be above 1.0 and you need to have high levles of this, my LDL cholesterol is at 3.2 and it is suppose to be at below 2.5 and you need low levels of this, my total chol/HDL Ratio is at 6.2 and is suppose to be at below 4.5.. I think this shows something is needed. I am a vegetarian and have been for a year. I cannot swallow anything solid anymore since last april and was forced to have a great diet. So no saturated fats in my diet. I read that it is something that is sometimes inherited from family members. Like I have said earlier, my dad had two heart attacks and my grandfather and uncles all had died of heart attacks before 40 so I am really worried. What do you all think I should do? The doctor keeps saying everything is fine. I really could use some help. Thank you all for being here for me.

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Hi ConnieV,

You are the first young woman I have come across with the problems swallowing/liquid diet thing too. I had this from acute MI at 41.....For a year and a half beyond the heart attack I had such an extreme food aversion response, that I was only rarely able to sneak solid foods down. I survived on Ensure Lites most of that time. The gag response was so strong I could barely stand to wheel my cart around the grocery store....most of the food just looked like plastic to me...and I so wanted to eat but ended up going home with more Ensure cartons. 12 years beyond that I still deal with chronic nausea, have come up with all sorts of coping strategies to get good nutritious food down. My doctors remain clueless.

' I also started having swallowing problems. I have not eaten anything but liquids for the past year. Six months ago I had a heart palpitation that put me on the ground for 20 minutes and ever since that heart palpitation I have had the same bad disgusting feeling in my chest that just won't go away. I do not know how to explain the feeling in my chest but it is there every day and last for up to two minutes each time and I feel quite ill when it happens. This feeling tends to get worse at night also.'

Your description of chest feelings are ringing bells too.... weird fluttery squeezing high in upper chest and throat, this awful suction feeling in my chest....'disgusting' is as good a word as any. This kept on before and during the worst of acute infarction. I had vomiting too.....after stent inplant....for the next 4 days. My digestive tract had evidently closed down and needed to purge the tiny bit of food I came into ER with. I had gone into acute anemia (which can cause HA itself), due to severe blood loss (huge hematomas hogged blood in rock hard slabs all the way to bone) and had to be transfused with 6 units of blood over the next 3 days. By day 5, I could keep down ice chips the nurses kindly brought me to rub on my parched lips. Then apple juice. But food? I had to ask the nurse to take the food away when my first meal was delivered in regular hospital room...just the smells caused instant convulsions. ugh

Anxiety can be part of heart disease in women in addition to the logical stress of trying to get cardiac health care, knowing something is terribly wrong and the health care providers aren't feeling the same urgency about your situation that you are.

With all that bleeding you described, have you been checked for anemia? Acute or near acute anemia is a risk factor for heart attack.

And of course, anxiety and 9 kids could go together (smile).

I sure will be thinking of you.....this is the oddest symptom cluster I have heard. Maybe all separate issues......Please keep posting, let us know what's up in NZ. Are you anywhere near Christchurch where the best hospitals are?

Take care,
martzj

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hi i also get tight feeling in my throat like someone is sqeezing it i dont get the swollowing thing but think we all have our own individual symptoms like i got told by a dr that back ache is not an angina symptom but ive heard other women get this also been told feeling like your going to vomit is not an angina symptom when most of women on here have that . ive had panic attacks in past and feels nothing like what im expeirencing now i feel so exhausted and so weak and fainty while with anziety you feel like you need to run like you have too much energy that fight flight response when i get this i need to lay down as everything goes black i feel sick and so very weak that i could just colapse i get a presure feeling in chest left arm goes numb i allways have a feeling in my chest sometimes i feel i need to burp sometimes it feels like a headache in my chest with every heart beat i also get a sqeezing feeling in chest and throat and pain in back i have been tested for gerd as thort was that at first and i was so hoping it was i also wake up with left arm numbness and left leg this is all very scary but have to take one day at a time you will get there just keep stressing about family history . have you had stress test done another test that might be good for you is calcium scoring its ment to be good test for people who have family history of this there also is a test ct angio 3d though very expensive i couldnt afford it but not sure about new zealand if its different over there might want to check it out . i know how scary this is its so hard when you have children just take one day at a time i know its hard but stress and anziety will make it worse on your heart . just keep demanding tests you tell them not them tell you i am the most polietist person i would allways agree with people but when i got this i had to learn to have a voice and be demanding and take no for an answer all i kept thinking about was my kids now dr has agreed to request a angiogram im still waiting for a responce but praying god will guide me the rest of the way it is so very tyering but your life is worth the fight . all the best fairy p.s did you get the stress test yet.

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let us know if your ok havent heard from you in awhile?

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Connie,

Ask your doctor to evaluate you for Hyperthyroidism/Grave's Disease. Several things in your post(s) lead me to say that.....first, not being able to swallow solid foods, second the issues with your periods, thirdly the numbness you experience in your arms, and finally the palpitations. They can take blood and run TSH, T3, T4 levels to see; if your TSH is low, T3/T4 elevated, you should see an endocrinologist for further testing.

Teri

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