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Chest pain, breathlessness, rigid neck, stressed. Can I have heart attack with normal BP?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
I dont know what's going on with me. Im 37 years old, and im feeling something that is not normal for me , im gonna explain the whole situation and im so sorry about my english.

I was a smoker for 16 years, and i quit my bad habit about 6 months ago, using the electronic cigarette. Everything seemed to be working fine until the las few weeks...

I started to feel scared almost about everything that i feel in my body, is nothing so bad but when i feel any pain i cant stop thinking about it and that makes everything worse.

For example: (this is the one that is worrying me more) on friday i started feeling like a pressure on my chest, but i could breathe normal, and clean my house, and eat, and everything else... i went to sleep at night and it went away, the next day i woke up fine.
Then during the afternoon i started feeling like a pain under my left breast, and on the back (upper left side), i feel my neck rigid and with pain and the back of my head was hurting.

I took my blood pressure and it was normal 115/75, my pulse 85, everything normal but i feel so scared.
I dont know why i cant stop thinking about a heart attack, still knowing that it is ridiculous because i had all these symptoms for 3 days and i sleep fine, no pain or nothing wake me up... then.... whats wrong with me?

all the time im so scared of something happening to me while im alone with my 3 year old girl.
im not a doctor, im not a nurse or nothing like that but i have the feeling that this is just tension or stress.... i dont know.

all i need to know is:

can it be a heart attack that last for 4 days? (i feel ridiculous asking this question)
can i have a heart attack with a normal blood pressure?
if not.... what is wrong with me!
what can i do to get rid of those thoughts, its driving me crazy.

please i dont want as an answer: "go to see your doctor" i cant do that right now, thats the reason i have to be paying and asking here, i want a professional opinion.
thanks in advance.
Posted Tue, 1 May 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 8 hours later

Thank you for your query.

I understand that you are undergoing a lot of stress and that you feel a discomfort in the chest for the past few days.

The immediate concern is whether this is a heart problem and whether there is a heart attack. Since there is a lot of variability in the symptoms of heart attack and since you were a smoker, the BEST way of ruling out an acute heart attack is to take an ECG (Electrocardiogram).

You can upload the ECG to the query page so that I can analyze it and get back to you with a specific answer.

You have a feature to upload the reports / image by yourself at the right side of the query page, please utilize that so that I can answer your queries better.

To answer your doubts, yes, it is possible, though rare, for the pain of a heart attack to last 4 days. Obviously, it would be a minor one since nothing serious has happened to you so far. A major attack would have had disastrous consequences by now.

Yes, the BP (Blood Pressure) can remain normal or unaffected during a heart attack. Again, a big attack left untreated would have caused a drop in BP.

If it is not a heart attack, it could still be cardiac ischemic pain (not amounting to an attack, but only angina), it could be other non-ischemic cardiac pain due to changes in heart muscle, some valve disorders or even inflammation of the coverings (pericarditis) of the heart. It could also be non-cardiac pain due to acid peptic disease, stress, musculoskeletal causes, etc. Only a detailed clinical evaluation and relevant investigations will enable us to pinpoint an exact diagnosis.

I hope this answers your query. Feel free to contact me for any further clarifications.

With regards,
Dr RS Varma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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