Having Chest Pain-Is It Your Heart?

A few words on getting info across to Docs. Just watching the news can give you ‘agita’ (Italian slang for indigestion, so can your Aunt Sophie’s spicy casserole but intermittent chest pain (termed angina) can be caused by heart disease. Many use the term ‘pain’ others ‘discomfort’. It is important to decide if chest pain is caused by your esophagus in spasm, your stomach or your heart.

Most describe ‘angina’ (heart pain) as tightness, taking breath away, squeezing around chest. Many say they have a sense of ‘impending doom’. Others especially woman may describe a band around chest, indigestion or feeling faint. Elderly may just say they feel weak.

Not to miss/ignore Angina, describe to your Doc the pain/discomfort.

Pain is perceived differently. We are all unique hence our body talks to us in a different manner. By relating pain level to a past condition that was diagnosed (ex. broken bone, tooth abscess), your tolerance or lack of – to pain can be gauged.

Communication in a succinct, preferably written form, will help guarantee that your descriptions – the ‘what when where’ are heard. Be sure to mention if something relieved your pain.

It is up to you to try to get the best possible care.

CPR & You

 Would you stop if someone collapsed near you?  Would you know what to do? Yes call or shout for help. What next?
Please use common sense, find out if person is responsive -breathing.

 A nationwide Japanese study just published (Circulation) showed bystanders starting “Hands Only CPR” allowed 40.7% of out of hospital cases to survive at least a month functioning on their own! Very impressive numbers.  A system was in place that started with bystanders performing “Hand – Only CPR” & public access to a defibrillator (paddles placed on chest –machine prompts you). These are in many public spaces through out the world

What I am getting at –   YOUR doing the recommended “Hands Only CPR” can save lives! It is straightforward –

Not breathing/responding

Find the middle of person’s chest (between nipple) & middle breastbone (sternum)

-Place flat of your hand over each other lean over lock elbows and push fast and hard (about 100/min.). It is said The Bee Gees disco song “Stayin’ Alive” is in sync with pace needed to make a difference. Please go online and spend 60 seconds watching this AHA video.

End of Year To Do List -Health Check

You feel fine so you did not take time for wellness check-ups. Yes you were told they were a good idea but…

Whither you have health insurance or not there are certain wellness checkups you need annually. So read this wellness to do list and get the screening you need:

Bone density Scan (for osteoporosis)- for women over 65/men over 70, unless other health issues factor in. Yes men get osteoporosis!  According to results you may need to be tested again in 1, 2 or 10 years.  Painless and non invasive. ‘Porous’ bones affects over 10 million Americans.

Diabetes – over 45  & overweight you need to be checked for prediabetes. Just a quick blood test. If under 45 with one or more risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Diabetes during pregnancy), you need the blood test.

Eye Exam – ‘Visual’ exam (what your eye sees) vs. ‘Eye’ exam (inside health of your eye) are recommended once every year or two dependent on age, medical history and findings of last exam. The eye provides tremendous information about overall health – if a trained eye looks in!

Heart Health – every one over 20 should have a ‘lipid profile’ (total cholesterol, components (HDL, LDL) and  triglycerides). If you have normal values – recheck every 5 years. After age 18 blood pressure checks every 2 years if normal.

Skin Test – cancer of skin most common form of cancer in US (listen to DocHandal’s podcast). Only a dermatologist can totally check every inch of your skin start at age 21 and repeat as frequently as the Doc tells you.