Chest pains in 32 year old - what could this be??? New question post #17 Re: sleep apnea. UPDATE post #23!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband has been complaining of chest pains for about 2 weeks now. It is both sides (left and right) and not centrally like heartburn would be. He is a hypochondriac and is convinced it's some sort of ongoing heart attack. I know him and I know his body which under stress "creates" symptoms and illnesses which mimic bad things (our 3 year old has cancer, so it's been one heck of a stressful year for us). This happens over and over again with him. He also HATES doctors and refuses to go. He had this same pain about a year ago and I eventually convinced him to see a doctor for a different problem, but he did address this one. He had a normal ECG at that time as well as normal glucose and cholesterol levels. The doctor concluded it was heartburn and put him on heartburn pills. Over time the pain did go away. But, now it's back. If not heartburn (which DH insists it is not) what else could it be?? I see him rubbing at his chest with the heal of his hand all the time and the pain seems to be mid chest level and central to outer edge on each side. Any ideas?? If we don't nip this one in the bud soon he'll end up with more problems ie an IBS flair up which he interprets as colon cancer. I don't need this right now.
FYI DH is very overweight. We finally bought a treadmill a few days ago and he promises he is going to get in shape. I know a lot of his health problems are related to his weight.

TIA
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#2 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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#3 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 11:43 AM
 
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Few things here - he has a history of heartburn aka reflux. Back on the pills or get a dosage adjustment. Reflux can be triggered by stress.

Anxiety attack? It can manifest in many different ways for different people. Chest pain, rapid breathing, reflux issues, irritable bowel syndrome, physical pain, confusion and disorientation, odd statements, a seemingly hypochondriac type personality, obsessiveness...list goes on.

Walking pneumonia? Rib tip syndrome is another possibility (I have experienced rib dislocation over the holidays and RTS is very similar to a dislocated rib at the xaphoid process area or sternum area except it's recurring rather than a dislocation).

Does he complain of a radiating pain that runs down the left arm, shoulder or side? How's his coherency? Does he speak without slurring, is his balance okay? No muscle drooping? shortness of breath? rapid breathing? These are all signs of either heart attack or stroke.
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#4 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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Last year my dh had bad pains that got progressively worse over a 24 hour period. After a rush to the ER he was diagnosed with pericardtis, an inflammation of the sac that holds the heart. Treatable but very painful - as in he needed morphine to deal with the pain.

Hope your dh gets better.

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#5 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Few things here - he has a history of heartburn aka reflux. Back on the pills or get a dosage adjustment. Reflux can be triggered by stress.

Anxiety attack? It can manifest in many different ways for different people. Chest pain, rapid breathing, reflux issues, irritable bowel syndrome, physical pain, confusion and disorientation, odd statements, a seemingly hypochondriac type personality, obsessiveness...list goes on.

Walking pneumonia? Rib tip syndrome is another possibility (I have experienced rib dislocation over the holidays and RTS is very similar to a dislocated rib at the xaphoid process area or sternum area except it's recurring rather than a dislocation).

Does he complain of a radiating pain that runs down the left arm, shoulder or side? How's his coherency? Does he speak without slurring, is his balance okay? No muscle drooping? shortness of breath? rapid breathing? These are all signs of either heart attack or stroke.
Thanks. I am leaning towards the anxiety issues. He's had pretty much everything you've mentioned over the past few years. It took 3 years to diagnose our son and it was unbelievably stressful. It's been one thing after another with DH since all this began. He is a hypochondriac (and he will admit this AFTER the health crisis has passed). I can't tell you how many times he's had "cancer". It is very frustrating to say the least and really not what I need to be dealing with right now - I want to focus on my DS not my DH's problems. Hopefully this is the final straw in motivating him to do something about his health/weight. But, always in the back of my mind I wonder what if I am encouraging DH to ignore his symptoms because they are anxiety related and something really is going on this time. I'd feel really bad about that!!
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#6 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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Does he drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages. My DH went caffeine free at age 30 when he started getting chest pains all the time. He went through 2 weeks of wicked headache withdrawals, and has been caffeine free ever since (he's 41 now). Just a thought.

Reflux is often a sign of food intolerances (as is IBS).

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#7 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does he drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages. My DH went caffeine free at age 30 when he started getting chest pains all the time. He went through 2 weeks of wicked headache withdrawals, and has been caffeine free ever since (he's 41 now). Just a thought.

Reflux is often a sign of food intolerances (as is IBS).
We don't spend our mornings together, but I think he drinks one or two large coffees every morning and that is it for the day. Occassionally one at night if we are out and driving by his favorite coffee shop. Pop only once a month or so. Beer once or twice a week (not caffeine obviously, but can't be good for his stomach/acid levels).
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#8 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Hypochondriac or not, he needs a full work-up. Even if the issues aren't as severe as cancer, he definitely has something going on that needs to be addressed, probably several things. And as someone currently suffering from health issues that triggered my panic disorder to flare, anxiety is no picnic. Keep in mind, what seems like overblown worrying to you is probably tormenting the hell out of him. Hence, he needs the physical to see where he's at with everything, help to calm down and formulate a plan to fix what's wrong, and prevent future ailments.

At status quo, being overweight, high anxiety, IBS, etc, even if he doesn't have a heart condition now, he stands a good chance of one coming up.

Another thought, it took me several years to figure out that I have supraventricular tachycardia, because they could never catch it happening. EKG's and tests would come back fine. Finally, my second round of wearing a holter monitor caught it.

Have him make an appt. with a good doc that is thorough.
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#9 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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Heart issues are usually felt on the right side, and usually go through to your back.

If he is having it on both his left and right side, i would day it is a lung issue, or anxiety. I get really bad chest pains when i have a high level of stress.

I would however still take precautions and get him to go to a Dr for a physical and an EKG.

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#10 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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I didn't read the responses and don't know whether anyone suggested it but I believe he gets pleurisy.

I've had it a few times and it feels like your chest is bruised.

It is basically a cold that settled in the chest walls. An inflammation. Vitamin C and D help. Also keeping the chest warm. If it's too mild to wear a coat, at least wear a vest.

To heal it, it takes warmth. Heating pads, and warm teas.
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#11 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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We don't spend our mornings together, but I think he drinks one or two large coffees every morning and that is it for the day. Occassionally one at night if we are out and driving by his favorite coffee shop. Pop only once a month or so. Beer once or twice a week (not caffeine obviously, but can't be good for his stomach/acid levels).
Caffeine/coffee in general isn't good for reflux, that's for sure. And 2 large coffees is what my DH was having when he started getting chest pains. If it is that, it's easy to find out. Go off coffee for 2 weeks (that's how long the withdrawal takes) and see if it gets better.

It is always possible there's a heart issue though, which can be looked into at the same time.

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#12 of 23 Old 01-28-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Hypochondria or not, chest pain just needs to be addressed.

If you dont want to go to the ER (and I cant blame you if you dont, I am an ER nurse and some days I dont want to be here ), then make an appt with your family doctor. at the very least, with his weight and stress level, a treadmill test wouldnt hurt and could put some fears to rest.

And 32 is not to young for a heart attack. and stress can induce very real symptoms. and it doesnt have to radiate to mean something. and while one poster mentioned which side of the heart means cardiac pain, I beg to differ. anywhere from the chin to the belly button can be indicative of cardiac issues. one lady had a massive MI and her complaint was nausea and a tooth ache.

I am sorry to hear about your child
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#13 of 23 Old 01-29-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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I had pains right in the middle of my chest like that. I thought it was indigestion. I would have it for a day or two then it would go away and come back some time later. Last June it didn't go away.. I had it for three weeks and got jaundice.. turns out it was my gallbladder. I treated it naturally with my ND.. and it went away. I still have my gallbladder.

Does he have pains in his right shoulder also?
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#14 of 23 Old 01-29-2009, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I will encourage DH to go see his doctor again. He REALLY hates doctors and pretty much refuses to go, it usually comes down to me booking him an appointment behind his back and telling him last minute when the appointment is. I am fairly sure it is just stress-related since this isn't the first time he's had this, but a work-up certainly couldn't hurt.
He had a normal ultrasound less than a year ago - no gallstones at that point, so I am confident it isn't his gallbladder.

Thanks again....
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#15 of 23 Old 01-29-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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Has he looked into adrenal or thyroid issues? The panic/anxiety could be adrenal related.
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#16 of 23 Old 01-29-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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I'll just throw out another suggestion to add to the others. He needs to make sure he is getting enough calcium, magnesium and potassium. My dh thought he was having a heart attack and it turns out he was low in those minerals.
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#17 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH has sleep apnea and I remember reading years ago that it can cause a lot of problems if not treated ie heart problems. He's never had a sleep study so we don't know how bad it is...I just know it drives ME nuts! Anyone experience chest pains due to sleep apnea?? Should we ask for a sleep study to be done? DH had a bad weekend and is letting me call the doctor today to make an appointment....hopefully it is just anxiety....
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#18 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 10:02 AM
 
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Costochondritis? Just another suggestion above & beyond everything else here.

I'm a nurse, as well, (haven't worked in a while, though ) and I've seen many people admitted to the hospital with complaints of CP only to be sent home without a dx. Or, it seems that indigestion is a default diagnosis when all else fails, as with your DH. If you really want to get to the bottom of the issue and you decide to see a doc, be very descriptive about the CP ~ when it occurs, is it constant or intermittant, what it feels like, if anything makes it worse or better, etc, etc. This will give everyone a better idea & be able to narrow down the possibilities. If a 12-lead EKG is normal but you're still concerned, talk to them about a stress test or Holter (24hr) monitor. And mention costochondrities to them, too.

All that said, I'm a huge believer in the power of stress & sadly, you're going through some rough times right now. Aside from all the medical shtuff, maybe try encouraging your DH to go out with friends every once in a while, if he doesn't already. Or, spontaneously arrange a date night for the two of you. This always benefits everyone involved!

So, so sorry about your DC.

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#19 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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I would denfinately have him do a sleep study. My husband has sleep apnea and if left untreated it can cause some serious problems. Also, you're both probably not getting a good nights rest, I couldn't even sleep in the same bedroom with my hubby our first 2 years of marriage, after he got a cpap machine I could sleep next to him without wanting to kick him
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#20 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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My overweight dh has sleep apnea Not that he will go through the sleep study and get help but he has it. He also spent a couple of nights in the hospita a year ago for chest pains. He was under a lot of stress at that time and had a lot of anxiety. Unsympathetic wife that I am-I called it a fat attack.

Your dh should go to the doctor and have it checked out. Most likely it is anxiety related but it may be something else.

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#21 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would denfinately have him do a sleep study. My husband has sleep apnea and if left untreated it can cause some serious problems. Also, you're both probably not getting a good nights rest, I couldn't even sleep in the same bedroom with my hubby our first 2 years of marriage, after he got a cpap machine I could sleep next to him without wanting to kick him

DH has slept on the couch for the past 2 years since I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with DS2 and NEEDED sleep. Then we came to realize we both felt more rested in the morning (since I wasn't kicking him all night long and waking him up). You'd think that'd be motivation to him to lose weight, but nope.

DH is in Emerg right now. He was very distraught this morning and going to see his family doctor will take weeks to get results. Hopefully I'll hear something soon....
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#22 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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Let us know...

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#23 of 23 Old 02-02-2009, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So DH was discharged from the ER. They did an ECG which was normal. They did a chest x-ray which was normal (would have ruled out an enlarged heart due to sleep apnea too). They did bloodwork including the enzymes which indicate heart attack and heart failure. Everything was normal. They concluded it was heart burn/reflux and gave him a prescription for that. He is to follow up with his family doctor in one week. I guess if the meds don't work they'll dig deeper, but for now it looks like nothing serious which is obviously a relief. Thanks for all your responses.
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