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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Having throbbing chest pain and feeling discomfort. Am I at any risk?

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Dr. Muhammad Ishfaq Habib

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2010

Answered : 661 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 5 Jan 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: Hi. I am 37 yrs old and for the past 3 days I have been having throbbing chest pain in the entire chest area...all above the breast bones and from bra strap to bra strap. Yesterday I experienced some discomfort on the front side of my left shoulder, but seemed to fade away after taking 1 aspirin (325mg). Unfortunately the aspirin only helped my shoulder, not my chest. I do smoke (about 3/4 pack a day) but eat pretty healthy and am at 5'3 in height, weighing 120lbs...which I think is ideal. I am also coughing up a white-yellow phlegm a few times a day, but the pain does not worsen when I cough or take XXXXXXX breaths. With that being said, I am concerned it could be my heart and not my lungs. I've had bronchitis before but never had feeling like this...it always hurt to cough. I am planning on calling my doctor on monday if this pain still persists, but with an upcoming weekend I am worried it could be something serious/life threatening and I need to take action immediately.
Also, I have not done any heavy lifting or any exercise that would effect this. The discomfort lasts all day long but seems worse in the evenings. I am not short of breath unless I'm carrying my 2 yr old daughter. My heart rate has not changed that I can tell. Please let me know what it possibly could be. I appreciate your help and hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you!!!
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Answered by Dr. Muhammad Ishfaq Habib 2 hours later
Hi
Thanks for the query

You have provided a very detailed history which is quite helpful in identifying your problem. The chest pain especially on the left side is always taken very serious because of the heart lying in the chest cavity. The most of the chest pains are often very confusing as most conditions have similar presentation like in stomach ulcers, heart attack and plueritic chest there is left sided chest pain which radiates to back also which is where confusing for the doctor to diagnose without proper history, examination and some necessary investigations.

In your case you already had history of lungs disease plus you are also a smoker and you have an age of 37 in which there should be no heart problem ideally but you do have shortness of breath on exertion as by lifting weight like your daughter and you are also responding to aspirin.

All these features are suggestive to two things which probably could be. The first thing is your lungs as you might have relapse of disease or you might have developed plueritis but still the confirmation can be made on an X-ray chest and the second is obviously the heart which causes similar pain in ischemic conditions or pericarditis but exaggerates with exertion and often very much disturbing and causes anxiety also. So, an ECG is recommended to look for the cardiac problem. Additionally Aspirin is a life saving drug in heart pains as relieves ischemia by its anticoagulant action and also relieves pain.

If you still have some query, feel free to ask

Thanks
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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