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Feeling shortness of breath. Having heartburn, slight nose bleeding and sore arm. Looking for cure

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Cardiac Surgeon
Practicing since : 1972
Answered : 9 Questions
I have been having shortness of breath for a while. I am not exerting myself. When I wake up I am okay, usually this happens while I am standing . I also have heartburn, sometimes while I am speaking to another person, I lose my breath. I also had a slight nosebleed yesterday. upper left arm was sore. I have an appointment with a Cardiologist on Monday. I also have started chewing aspirin.
Posted Tue, 28 Aug 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Joan F. Tryzelaar 53 minutes later
Shortness of breath (SOB) can associated with many different diseases that may include your heart & lungs, but also acid reflux (heart burn).
The symptoms that you have could be due to heart disease or simply reflux. Only an EKG and stress test can help us decide what’s wrong . Also, remember that aspirin can potentially worsen your symptoms if you have GERD.
To find out whether you are at risk for developing heart disease, please take this test; it will help me assess your cardiac status a little better: WWW.WWWW.WW The most common symptom of coronary artery disease in both women and men is chest pain. Women are more likely than men to have signs and symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as
Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Unusual fatigue
Age, hereditary factors, high cholesterol, weight, cigarette smoking, blood pressure, exercise history, and diabetes are all important in determining your risk for heart disease.

Heart valve problems may also cause SOB as well other symptoms:
Reduced exercise capacity
Light headedness or fainting (syncope)
To check this out, you need a consultation with a doctor such as you are scheduled to do. Tests may include a chest X-ray, an EKG, lung function tests and urinalysis, as well as a variety of blood tests that include a CBC (your blood count) and a metabolic profile. This will hopefully help determine what is wrong with you.
As of now I don’t think we’re dealing with an emergency and we can wait till Monday to find out. If at any time, the pain or shortness of breath becomes very severe, please go the ER. We don’t want to be taking any chances here.
Treatment depends on what is found.
Hope this helps,
Dr T
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feeling shortness of breath. Having heartburn, slight nose bleeding and sore arm. Looking for cure 15 hours later
Hi Doc,

Thanks for answering my email. I read your response and you mentioned GURD, In my twenties to mid-thirties I suffered from Bulimia. Would this have caused GURD? I am also writing down when I experience SOB. It seems to be very strong mainly while standing. I only started chewing one aspirin a day until Monday when I see the Cardiologist. In my mind, I'm thinking this might prevent me from a heart attack... lol I know it sounds a bit crazy.

I also tried to complete the risk assessment test. I don't know my cholesterol levels as of now. I am overweight, BMI 40, quit smoking in 1999, started up for a month in 2006 when I found my mom, she died in her sleep. Doctor ruled her death a Heart Attack. However it makes me nervous that I am adopted with no medical history to relay on. I quit a month later. Then a month ago I started up again, due to stress. I quit within a month. I am not smoking now and have no desire to do so.

Moreover, reading the symptoms you provided I have pain in my neck, and upper shoulders, sometimes in my lower back. The SOB scares me. Oh I also forgot, I am bruising easily. I was sent for blood work last Tuesday just for a CBC count, I have not received word back from the Psychiatrist. I was concerned that one of the pills I am taking might cause the bruising. A year ago I had to come off Zoloft, due to that reason. Several months ago I had SOB and it was severe. I went to the doctor and they performed a complete blood test, I was borderline anemic, and from what I remember my cholesterol was high. However ever time my blood pressure is taken it is okay. Like I stated before I am nervous. I can't wait to see the Cardiologist on Monday.

Your expert advise on the above email?

Thank you,
Hope to hear from you soon. :)
Answered by Dr. Joan F. Tryzelaar 2 hours later

GERD has nothing to do with bulimia.
At your age and with a BMI=40, SOB, chest pains and the easy bruising all need to be evaluated with the tests I recommended in my previous answer, plus probably a stress ECHO:
and possibly long-term (a week or so) heart monitoring:

The easy bruising should be checked with additional blood tests than just a CBC.

You may have taken too much aspirin (only one baby aspirin 60 mgm/day is needed).

Since I don't know what other medications you are taking, I cannot comment on their risks.

Hope this helps. Do write back for further queries that you may have.

Dr T
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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