Chest wall pain, or musculoskeletal chest pain, is pain which originates in the muscles or ribs of the chest. Chest wall pain is a common diagnosis in people who seek emergency care for chest pain. There are many causes of chest wall pain, and while most are benign and self-limited, some require a definitive diagnosis and treatment - so it is important to pin down the specific cause whenever possible.
Evidence from clinical trials now indicates that in patients with stable angina, medical treatment can be as effective as the more invasive treatments we hear so much about, treatments like bypass surgery, angioplasty and stents.
But what, exactly, is medical therapy for angina? It turns out that treating angina medically is an art that involves the judicious use of several treatment modalities, some of which are well-known to doctors and others less so. You can read all about the medical therapy of angina here.
The medical name for fainting spells, or a temporary loss of consciousness, is syncope (sin-co-pee). Syncope is a pretty common symptom, and it it thought that most people will experience syncope at least once in their lives. Still, because it may be a sign of a serious underlying medical problem, if you have syncope, you should contact your doctor to discuss the need for an evaluation.
Insomnia is common enough in anybody. But if you have heart failure, you are especially prone to sleep disorders of several types that can rob you of your rest, leave you with chronic sleep deprivation - and worsen your cardiac condition.
If you have kidney disease, in addition to all the other health issues you need to pay attention to, you need to consider the effect of kidney disease on the heart. People with kidney disease, unfortunately, are at an especially high risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, there are things you can do to substantially reduce that risk.
One of the most common symptoms experienced by people who have heart failure is poor sleep. And, while there are several causes of sleep disorders in heart failure, the most common is sleep apnea - prolonged pauses in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea causes several problems, including lots of disturbing symptoms related to sleep deprivation, hypertension, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Sleep apnea is a serious issue in anyone, but it is especially a problem in people with heart failure. Not only can sleep apnea make heart failure worse, but worsening heart failure can also intensify sleep apnea - leading to a potential vicious cycle. Sleep apnea can be treated - but first, it has to be recognized.
More and more people today are being told that they have "diastolic dysfunction" (or diastolic heart failure.) Diastolic dysfunction occurs when the ventricles of the heart become relatively "stiff," and thus it becomes relatively difficult to fill the ventricles with blood in between heart beats. Read what causes diastolic dysfunction, how it is diagnosed, what it means to have it, and how it is treated, here.
Q. "My sister has Raynaud phenomenon, and refuses to do grocery shopping because, she says, she can't walk down the freezer aisle without her fingers turning white. But she skis all day, out on the cold slopes, without complaining. I say if she can ski, she can go out to buy the frozen mac and cheese for the family. Am I right?" John from Ohio
A. John, it turns out that your sister may very well be telling the truth, and not just trying to get out of her chores. The causes of Raynaud phenomenon can be extremely variable, even in the same person.
Pulmonary embolus - a blood clot that becomes lodged in the pulmonary artery - is a very common and very serious problem. Up to 30% of people who have pulmonary embolus will die unless they receive treatment.
In some patients with heart failure, a new kind of pacemaker can re-coordinate the muscular function of the damaged heart, relieving the symptoms of heart failure, and reducing the odds of dying. Read about CRT here.