30 w/ heart problems? any other ideas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2003
30 w/ heart problems? any other ideas?
9
Fri, 07-02-2004 - 12:24am
I don't know what is going on, and with all you hear about doctor's making mistakes, I'm a bit worried. I thought I'd post our scenario here, and see what other's had to say about the situation, especially those that have been through (themselves, or with family) heart related issues.

First I'll start at the beginning. Sunday night (early Monday morning) my husband collapsed. He's only 30. Although groggy & disoriented, he refused to go to ER (typical, stubborn male). Because he had tightness in his chest at the time when it happened, and remained tired all day long, we (the family) convinced him to go to ER by 9:00 p.m. that night (monday). They did an EKG, X-ray of the chest, cat scan of the brain, and drew blood. All those tests came back "normal". However, they took his blood pressure laying down, sitting up, and then standing. Laying/sitting was normal. Standing, however, his blood pressure spiked (up!), which is very far from normal.

They sent him home w/ a 24 hour heart monitor. That only showed a few spots where his heart rate dropped a bit, but to "just" borderline of being below "normal"---nothing obvious enough to say-"that's it!". He has continued to be lethargic, tired all the time, and cannot accomplish every day living tasks without getting "whipped right out" & needing a 2 hour nap! This is a "guy guy" who is usually active from sun-up to sun-down. He mows lawns (for fun!) fixes everything around the house, including our cars, and has minimal body-fat content (muscular). He was rarely sick, & now can't even carry a load of laundry up the stairs w/out having chest pain & shortness of breath. All this (chest pains, shortness of breath, tiredness) started immediately after his collapse Monday morning at 1:00 a.m.

So now we've been referred on to a cardiologist. He's scheduled for a stress test, and has been given nitroglycerin (spelling?) & told to take a baby aspirin every day. My question is, how likely is it that his problem is cardiac? It does run in his family, both sides, but no one ever developed problems until they were well into their 50's. Any ideas on anything ELSE it could be? Our primary dr, who is a General practitioner, is fairly certain (because of the test results & symptoms) that this is indeed a cardiac case. He's not certain of which type, of course, and hasn't totally ruled out everything else, but that's his diagnosis at this point.

Any thoughts, encouragement, whatever on this would be greatly appreciated. I'm only 28 myself, and wasn't bargaining for all this for another 20-30 years at least. We have 3 young daughters, and I'm scared to death!

Chrissy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 07-02-2004 - 4:12pm

First of all welcome to this fine board.

Hugs,

Cecilia

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2003
Thu, 07-08-2004 - 1:05am
We seem to have hit a "stall" in my husband's medical care. The hospital's "soonest" opening for his stress test is July 30th! Our PCP had given my husband a tentative return to work date of 7/9, thinking he'd have had the test & the cardiologist would have kept him out of work longer. Now, instead, we're going back to the PCP for a check-up, and to see if Rich (my husband) has improved any.

Well...he hasn't. It's very strange seeing him take naps, and stranger still not having him take care of everything around the house. I knew he did a lot before, but I didn't REALLY know how much he did---until he couldn't do it any more. He's out of his mind with boredom, and of course has pushed himself a few times-only to get dizzy spells, or worse yet tingling in his chest. He gets frustrated...I get worried, ask him if he's ok, then he bites my head off. I know he's not mad at me...I have one of the best husbands in the world, but this is really, really getting to him, this not being able to do anything.

In my first post I said that this wasn't in the family (having heart problems under 50), but I'd forgotten he does have one cousin who had a pace maker at 16, and another cousin's child (around 5-6 now) has had heart surgery already. Because the famiy isn't what you'd call close, I'd forgotten about them, and even now I'm not certain of their individual diagnosis...I just know they've had heart related problems at very young ages.

A couple other things we've thought about...one of those hindsight type deals that you don't think much of at the time, but then something like this happens. One is that my husband has always complained of "poor circulation". I know (especially in winter) his hands can get very purple looking, swell up, and are painful & difficult to move. Of course, being a "guy guy", he just ignored them & worked along anyway, maybe mentioning it once or twice a year since he was 18 (when I met him).

Another thing that started a little over a year ago was having his arms fall asleep at night so that when he woke up he couldn't feel or move his arms...they'd just hang there--WAY past the point of tingling...absolutely dead. I blamed it on the mattress...even though I myself didn't experience anything remotely like it, and we'd changed pillows, gotten mattress pads, all sorts of things. This had been happening more & more frequently just prior to his collapse in the bathroom.

I have no clue if either of these are related, of if they'd even be a cardiac thing or not. I do know we'll mention it all to the doctor when we go see him tomorrow night. Whatever it is, I can't help but feel we've gone from a young, happy little family & jumped straight into "old age"! I'd anticipated one of us having multiple dr appointments at some point...mostly due to the fact that we both smoke...I just thought it wouldn't be for another 20 years or more. Unfortunately, I'm having an easier time staying away from the cigarettes right now than he is. I don't want no part of them, don't even mind the cravings when I'm at work-then I get home & he's smoking what's left of my carton. Of course, being right next to him smoking-then the cravings kick in harder & I light up too. But that's a whole separate issue altogether.

I mostly posted as a place to vent & "air it out". I'm pretending to him that everything's going to be "ok"...but I know him. I know how he "normally" looks, acts, talks, works, DOES...he's just not himself.

Chrissy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Thu, 07-08-2004 - 11:43am

I can clearly see how this has affected your whole life.

Hugs,

Cecilia

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-08-2004 - 1:06pm
Unfortunatly it sounds cardiac to me, and am I rather surprised that they did not admit him to the hospital and perform some other tests on him. Heart problems don't happen just in older people anymore, with the way that many people eat nowadays it's not uncommen for a younger person to have a cardiac event.I knew a woman who was a former Army sergeant, a little heavier than normal but not fat, had total cholesterol of 167 with goods & bads where they should be, ate very healthy, exercised and did not smoke and had no family history of heart problems. The only issue was controlled (with meds) high blood pressure

but this person had a heart attack 2 years ago at 38 years of age. I know it happened because that person is me! So it can happen to anyone. There is nothing you can do except keep your husband from doing heavy tasks no matter what, but try not to treat him like an invalid! Just keep him contented and try not to stress-that will be bad for both of you and the kids will feel that vibe and get nervous, too.

Keep vigilant about watching him for any signs that he is having another event-one of the signs of an imminenet heart attack (that one will probably occur) is the extreme fatigue that you spoke about. I hope that the stress test is soon.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 07-09-2004 - 11:06am

Hugs,

Cecilia

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2004
Sun, 07-11-2004 - 6:15pm
I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this. I am not a doctor, but thought I would mention something to you. I am 34year old female. I was athletic as a child/teen, diagnosed with asthma. Typical asthma treatments didn't consistently help though. I have had migraines since my teens. Starting 12 years ago, I began to have TIA-similar episodes. Some affected my motor control, some my speech, etc. WHen it all started, MRI was okay so they said I had migraine with neurologic symptoms. I didn't have any for 8 years, then began having them about once a year. Last summer, I decided I'd had enough and went back to a neurologist. Several tests were done, including cardiac. In the meantime, I became increasinly short of breath on even minimal exertion. They determined I had a Patent foramen ovale, and scheduled closure. When they went in, (via catheter in my groin area)they discovered it wasn't that at all, but a very large FISTULA from my pulmonary artery to pulmonary vein. A bunch of my blood was getting from one side of my heart back to the other and up to my brain, etc. without passing through my lungs to pick up oxygen. That explained a lot! Four and a half hours, and 5 vascular coil/plugs later, I was fine! THat was in January of this year. I have not had a migrained or been winded easily at all since then! There are no guarantees, of course, but in case any of those other symptoms are there, I thought it worth a mention as this problem is not easily found or diagnosed. Best wishes to you and your family - I know it's a scary time!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2003
Fri, 07-30-2004 - 1:57am
I'd like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. It really does help to know there are others out there who have experienced trauma at a young age and survived.

We did not get the stress test scheduled any earlier. That is why I'm up posting at nearly 2:00 a.m.! We're scheduled to be at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. this very morning. I'll let you know what the results bring.

We did receive one positive test result...and that was for carbon monoxide poisoning. A heavy smoker, smoking 10 cigarettes in a row, may reach a 4 or 5. Rich's level three weeks after his collapse was 9.5. We've tested the house & cars (of course) and they're safe. Of course, if they weren't, it wouldn't have only been him with the carbon monoxide poisoning.

His PCP feels he could have some sort of flaw (I got so much information about carbon monoxide that night, I can't remember ALL the details) with his heart that would make him more prone to carbon monoxide poisoning. The way the dr. explained it is 10 people could be exposed to minimal amounts of carbon monoxide, but Rich would be the only one to get poisoned (IF he did indeed have this certain flaw in his heart). That is why we're still going ahead with the stress test. Also, because carbon monoxide is a nasty stuff and could have CAUSED heart damage where it wasn't present before.

I don't know what to think about the issue. I guess we'll know for sure after all the tests are in. He wasn't in any place alone where he could have been exposed without others getting sick too. However, he HAS gotten better with time (the only "cure" for carbon monoxide poisoning is time). He's even started digging in a ditch, filling a wheelburrow, and leveling out our driveway without severe exhaustion. He isn't 100% back to normal yet, but at LEAST 85% and is just dying for this to all be over so he can go back to work! (which, of course, is HIS only priority!)

Like I said, I'll keep you posted on what the stress test reveals. 1/2 of me suspects there's SOMETHING there, or else where would he have gotten poisoned? The other 1/2 says, he's getting better. If he did indeed have a flawed heart, it doesn't seem like he'd be getting better. As for the cigarettes....he's had too much time on his hands, and that's made it harder (if possible) to even think about quitting. That'll be our next goal.

THANK YOU AGAIN! EVERYONE! The support on this board is amazing, and I sincerely appreciate all your warm wishes and encouragement.

Chrissy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 07-30-2004 - 11:39am

I am so glad that he is at least feeling better.

Hugs,

Cecilia

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2003
Fri, 07-30-2004 - 10:34pm
Rich had is stress test today. We won't know the results until next week, hopefully Monday or Tuesday at the lastest. I don't know if it's a pass/fail thing or not, but I guess he couldn't get his heart rate up to the 160 they wanted 'cause he got dizzy & had to be helped off the treadmill. I don't even know if that would be soley a carbon monoxide poisoning reaction (it can take months to overcome).

I'm still worried, and still feel like we don't have any answers. He's pretty committed to going back to work sometime next week, and that scares me even more. He uses grinders & such & I'm just afraid that he'll have a "spell" at work & fall on one of them (he does use hand-held ones from time to time). If 15 minutes on a treadmill "whipped" him, I can only imagine what 9 straight hours of physical labor is going to do.

I said I'd post an update after his stress test, but I feel like I have nothing new to offer other than more worries. :( Can't wait to see the end of the tunnell---right now, he's a tired & drawn out as he was when he first collapsed over a month ago.

Chrissy