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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chest Pain

If you have new chest pain, see your doctor.  That's the most important thing I'm going to write today.  Plain and simple.

Some people are embarrassed that they're making a big deal out of nothing.  And to be honest, less than half of the new patients that I see with chest pain actually have pain due to heart disease.  But, I have encountered a man in his mid 30's who attributed the pain in his chest that he got whenever he exercised to "gerd", or reflux.  At 37 years old, he had a heart attack and underwent emergent bypass surgery.

Many things cause chest pain, other than heart disease -- a pulled muscle, inflammation of the cartilage of the ribs, esophageal reflux, esophageal spasm, anxiety, depression, injury, amongst other possible causes.  But do not wait -- get it checked out.  See your primary care doctor, and if needed, come see me or another cardiologist for an evaulation.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

May be good advice, but isn't it true that in the majority of cases you will get an EKG, told you are fine and made feel like you wasted your 3-4 hours in the office, to tell you how much you weigh.

VeganHeartDoc said...

Anon, not sure what to say in response to that other than better to be safe than sorry. When I see patients, and I presume the same for other cardiologists, we determine whether your chest pain is cardiac or noncardiac, and in addition to that assess your overall cardiovascular risk, which includes weight.

Don't Forget the Comma said...

Absolutely better to be safe than sorry! My grandpa was having chest pains, a trip to the ER discovered he had 90% blockage his arteries. After bypass surgery he was still having pain. They finally diagnosed acid reflux, but had the pain not been in his chest near his heart, we'd have never known how bad of shape his heart was in. He is very active too, thankfully he has improved his diet a lot. At 82, he's still playing at least 9 holes of golf a day!

Anonymous said...

Maybe at the ER, they will indeed look carefully. A trip to a cardiologist will most likely waste your time.

VeganHeartDoc said...

Anon -- I disagree completely. The role of the ER is to make sure that you do not have a life-threatening condition. Beyond that, and several thousands of dollars later, they often do not discern the cause of chest pain. A cardiologist in an office setting has more time to sit down with you and figure what's going on, even if the chest pain is not cardiac.

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