Friday morning, I was plagued with constant pain on the RIGHT side of my chest accompanied by pain in my upper RIGHT arm. Eventually, it went away in mid-afternoon. Then, it returned for a short time on Saturday. Once again, it disappeared only to return around midnight on Saturday. During the night after that, it moved to the midportion of my right chest. By this morning, the pain was located at the bottom of the right side of my chest. I never had any problems with my breathing. During the night, Tylenol would help the pain go away. Once I got out of bed,the pain disappeared completely.
I never worried too much about the prospect that I might be having a heart attack. Why? Because for one thing, my pain was always located on the right side of my chest. Two, I have a mechanical heart valve. Before it was installed, the pain was throughout my entire chest. (My aneurisym was in my aortic valve.) Three. I will live on blood thinners for the rest of my life because of the m.h.v. So, since my blood is so very thin, no blood clots should have a chance.
Well, the R.N. adviced me to come to the emergency room as soon as the pain resumes so that blood tests including an EKG can be done. Alot more tends to show up on these tests if the pain is actually in progress. He also told me that even if you are on blood thinners, you CAN still have an attack. He also said that women can and often do have many totally different symptoms than men have. He knows of a woman who had a tooth ache and no other symptoms. Come to find out, there was nothing wrong with her tooth. SHE WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK!!! Isn't that scary???
Other possible reasons for chest pain as I complained of include angina, pleurisy and asthma.
1. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not get enough blood. It can range from mild pain to intense suffocative pain. It is treated from a variety of methods.
A. Lifestyle changes including slowing down or taking breaks when angina comes on exertion.
B. Avoiding large meals or rich food that leave a feeling of being stuffed.
C. Avoiding situations that make you upset or stressed.
D. Quit smoking. If you don't smoke AVOID SECOND HAND SMOKE. It is believed that second hand smoke can be just as harmful or even MORE harmful than smoking yourself. That is one reason that many restaurants and bars are now prohibiting smoking. (Thank God!!!)
E. Being more physically active. Of course, you may have to ask your doctor how much exercise is TOO much if you have health problems.
F. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
G. Taking ALL meds as your doctor prescribes, especially if you have diabetes.
2. Medications may be necessary.
A. Nitrates are the most commonly used meds to treat angina. They relax and widen blood vessels allowing more blood to the heart valve while reducing the workload on the heart. (In my case, I am not allowed to take nitrates as they will cause my blood pressure to drop and kill me.)
B. Other meds that may be necessary include beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, oral antiplatelet meds and anticoagulatants (blood thinners.)
C. Medical procedures. If meds and other procedures don't appear to fix the problem, angioplasty and coranary bypass grafting (CABG) may be necessary to treat angina.
D. Cardiac rehabilitation is the next step. It can include doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and psychologists or other behavioral therapists.
2. What is pleurisy? It is an inflamation of the pleura of the lungs, especially the parietal layer. The pleura are thin moist membranes that cover the lungs and line the chest cavity. They normally reduce the friction between the chest structures as the lungs expand and contract. Inflammation of these plurae causes breathing to become painful and less effective. The wet and dry pleurisy often accur from complications of respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, viral infections and Tuberculosis (TB) and are more likely to occur in highly susceptible people such as the elderly and other people who suffer with other diseases and ailments. It can also be caused by tumors or injuries. This is sometimes treated by the strapping of tight adhesive elastic bandages, painkillers and/or inflammatory medications.
3. The other culprit is asthma. We all know what asthma is. People with chronic asthma are oftimes treated with a combination of long-term control medications and quick relief meds, taken with a hand-held inhaler.
As for me, I suffer with both pleurisy and asthma. So, they are probably to blame for my pain.
I felt it necessary to put this information on my blog so that others are aware of these various things. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor. The R.N. also told me that whenever you are experiencing any major chest pain or breathing difficulties, you need to contact your doctor or hospital IMMEDIATELY! I have also been told that men and women should chew up and swallow an aspirin (not tylenol, etc.) as soon as chest pain begins. That does NOT apply to people taking various blood thinners such as myself.