Should I be concerned?
I know I should see a doctor. I'm gonna go after work.
Anyway I got woken up in the wee hours by chest pain. It felt like someone poking needles into my side. It's been on and off all day since then. My first thought was angina ( I have a family history) but it doesn't match the descriptions I've read online.
There are two types of Angina.
Stable angina occurs only after a reasonable amount of exertion, ie while running or excercising of even walking around.
Unstable angina occurs any time, such as sleeping as in your case, and is far more dangerous as it may often precede a more serious complication with the heart. You should see a cardiologist (if you have one) right away, or go to any medical facility to have it examined. If fire and ems systems where you live are joined, you can probably even go to a local fire station and ask them to do a 12lead ekg on you for free.
Does this pain last longer than 30 minutes?
Originally Posted by BudoMonkey
Then it meets all the criteria of unstable angina. I'm a paramedic btw, not talking out of my ass, it's something we encounter. Go see a cardiologist, or go to the er for a cardiac workup.
I would suggest starting with your primary care physician, rather than a cardiologist. Angina is a strong possibility, but it's not the only one. And self-diagnosis and getting diagnosed by folks on the internet after describing it one paragraph probably isn't the wisest thing.
Think of your primary care physician as the quarterback. He's got knowledge in a broad variety of categories, and can direct you to the precise specialist you need, if you need one. For example, I used to get sharp, brief chest pains but it turned out to be intense muscle spasms in the intercostal muscles. The solution for this is completely different than the solution for angina.
A cardiologist is going to a fantastic specialist if the condition is indeed heart related. But he's a specialist, he's only going to see what's inside his specialty. Talk to the primary care doc first to see if it is indeed a cardiac problem. If it is, then the next step is cardiology. If not, he'll be able to advise you of the proper next step.
Valid point, tae Bo master. I suggested against primary care because 9/10 do not have the equipment necessary to know what is really going on, and most of them will end up referring you elsewhere anyhow. Also, given that if it IS unstable angina and how this may be a direct precursor to a heart attack, I recommended he see the er or take immediate action of some kind, just in case, instead of waiting to make an appt with primary care, then waiting for a second refferal, etc, just to diagnose the problem.
All I know is, his problem meets all the criteria of unstable angina, and if he was my patient I would take him directly to the er to be on the safe side.
I've also had intense muscle spasms of the chest. They suck.
Well, getting the proper referral is kinda my point. The primary care doc may or may not be able to directly treat your condition, but he's gonna know more than just about anyone about what it's likely to be, and how to treat it. Plus, if you're with an HMO or most other types of health insurance, you're probably going to need a referral to see a specialist anyway.
What I'm saying is that the best possible advice to give this man, over the Internet, is to go see the er immediately considering if it is unstable angina that they often foreshadow a heart attack. Compared to telling him "Oh, it's probably nothing, this happened to me bla bla, wait and go see your primary." like you said, don't take anyones advice over the Internet. Which seems like the most responsible suggestion?
To the op. Don't trust anyone over the Internet. Google unstable angina and read the signs and symptoms yourself, and if it fits, make whatever choice you see fit.
And if you have to trust anyone on the Internet, take the word of a health care professional over a guy named freaking tae bo master. This very well could be nothing, but in case it is, I advise you check soon.
No offense, tae bo master.
Paramedics are trained to take people to the ER. Thus, everything they see requires an ambulance ride. They're not trained to diagnose people, especially over the internet in 5 minutes, and it is in fact highly unethical to do so.
Cardiologists are trained to treat the heart. Thus, everything they see is a heart condition.
General practitioners are trained to be your wide angle lens.
If I were you, I wouldn't listen to either one of us. Listen to a doctor. But I'm willing to bet money that you'll save both time and money going through a general practitioner first. And again, most insurance providers are probably going to require a referral from a GP anyway, so going there is likely your fastest solution anyway.