Week of:
Feb 02, 2018

Heart attack, heartburn, or something else?

Dear Alice,

I have been going to doctors for two weeks now and no one can find out what's wrong with me. Can you please help me? About two weeks ago, I started to have a terrible burning in my upper chest (the area about my breasts and below my neck). The pain was also in my left arm and back. Obviously, I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the emergency room of my local hospital. After five hours of tests, they said my heart was fine and that this pain could be due to digestive problems. I then consulted a digestion specialist. He did some tests and said I had a large amount of acid in my stomach and when I lay down, which is when I have the most pain, the acid goes up into my esophagus and causes burning. This still did not explain the pain in my arm and back. He said it could also be caused by the acid back-up. He prescribed a medication called Prilosec. He said this was a very strong drug and should work quickly to relieve my pain.

Well it's been ten days since I started taking the drug and no relief in sight. I can hardly sleep because after about 40 minutes, I am awakened by this pain and can only relieve it by sitting up for about an hour. But as I am writing this letter to you, this burning pain is in my back and my left hand is getting numb. Please help. I don't know what to do and I'm afraid it's serious.

All about a heart murmur

Dear Alice,

What are the symptoms of a heart murmur? Can a heart murmur go away and, if so, how long does it usually last? Is there a cure for it? How do you know when you have a heart murmur?

Am I having a heart attack or what?

Dear Alice,

Heart attack or not; that is the question?

Hope for guidance. Last July, I was taken to the emergency room with all the symptoms of a heart attack. Doctors ran all kinds of test, and there was nothing wrong with me. This happens to be the third time I am being rushed to the emergency room for the same reason. Last Christmas, while my husband and I were opening the presents for the family, I got extremely dizzy, my chest began to hurt, my arm got numb, I was shaking, sweating, and I was having problems breathing, and there have been times in which either the left or right side of my head gets numb. Needless to say, according to the test results, there was nothing wrong with me. I am very concerned about these episodes, and greatly concerned with the results. Panic attacks had been ruled out, and I am not acting this out to get attention. Emotionally and psychologically, I am well balanced; apart from the ups and downs of the days of my menstrual period, I am normally quite balanced. And no, these episodes had never been around those days.

I truly hope that you may have some suggestions about these symptoms; I am open to any helpful suggestion you may be able to provide me. Your answer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, and God bless you.