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Diagnosed lymphedema from previous breast lumpectomy. CT, cardiogram, MRI normal. Serious?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I have been experiencing a number of different symptoms. severe debilitating headaches, joint pain, weaknees ,feeling very ill at times, intermittent burning pain in my lateral chest, not related to breathing in or out, dizzyness and heart racing, swelling of my left arm which has been diagnosed as lymphedema from previous breast lumpectomy and probable removal of lymph gland, a contracture of my left elbow. All of these things have been investigated separately but have not been looked at as a whole picture. I have had CT of the head and chest, mammogram, xray of the elbow and MRI of the Lt arm and neck, doppler studies of the lt arm, emg of the arm , echo cardiogram, ecg, bone sacn heart blood tests have been negative. my CBC is normal, my ferritin was 6, other regular test were normal, no ESR or other screenings have been done.
Posted Sat, 5 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.      

It is good that most of your laboratory tests and imaging tests are normal. This rules out possibility of heart disease (which may be causing burning pain in chest and heart racing) and neurological causes (which may be causing dizziness and headaches).

However your serum ferritin levels at 6 are less. It is 13–150 ng/mL for females. Ferritin is the total amount of iron stored in the body. If ferritin is low there is a risk for lack in iron which could lead to Anemia. Ferritin stores are the last to deplete in Anemia.

So if ferritin is low, it means that there is severe due to chronic anemia, fibromyalgia (a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia (pain even on touching) or chronic fatigue syndrome (often manifests with widespread myalgia and arthralgia, cognitive difficulties, chronic mental and physical exhaustion).

If you are low in iron contents then you may be having iron deficiency anemia. You can have iron XXXXXXX foods like liver, lean red meats, beans like kidney, Lima, navy, black, pinto, soy beans, and lentils, iron fortified whole grains, XXXXXXX vegetables like spinach, tofu, broccoli, swiss chard, asparagus, parsley, chicken, nuts, egg yolk and dry fruits.

You can also have iron supplements along with these foods after consulting your hematologist.

Now regarding the burning chest pain, it looks like due to gastrointestinal reflux disease which may mimic a cardiac pain also. Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them, chocolate or spicy or greasy foods and instead take cold foods preferably liquids like milk and yoghurt.

It also might help to avoid eating or drinking for two hours before you lie down. You may also need antacids and proton pump inhibitor drugs for controlling the stomach acid.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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