Are my doctors wrong?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/7/2012 7:07 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi to you all . . . this is my first post.

As I’m writing this I’m having another bad start to the day and really need some help with my situation as not one doctor or specialist I’ve seen so far has been able to help me in any way . . . apart from telling me my heart is not the cause of my problems.

I’m a 60 year old male, BMI just slightly above what is recommended, always been active and have no history of heart problems in my family.  For the past two years or so I’ve been finding myself increasingly short of breath after having exerted myself physically.  It started with my feeling breathless, nauseous and physically exhausted after I’d had a really hard day doing physical activity (such as gardening or major work on a house renovation).   Increasingly over the past two years I've found that the level of activity it takes to make me feel really unwell has decreased to the point that now, if I just spend an hour doing gentle physical work, or even taking a walk, I’m totally exhausted.  Breathlessness, feeling like I may vomit, a feeling of heaviness all over my chest area, fatigue, stiffness in my shoulders and neck are now normal for me after exerting myself only mildly. 

But the thing I can’t understand is why I often feel fine when I’m actually in the process of doing the work or during a walk, and sometimes for the rest of the day, but feel total exhaustion the day after?  It often takes me two or three days before I feel well again and my energy levels are back to normal.

I’ve seen my own doctor many times and each time he’s always told me my heart is in good condition.  Not totally convinced, I asked him to refer me to a cardiologist and a lung specialist.  I was tested and told my lungs are fine and show no reason for my shortness of breath.  I had an echocardiogram and the cardiologist found that I have both “very insignificant” aortal and mitral regurgitation.  I had a stress test done (cycling) and a 24 hour holter test.  Both of these, he said, showed nothing which would cause my problems.  He said I don’t need to have my heart checked again for at least three years.  My own doctor said that if he were to pick 100 men off the street, 50 of them would have the same sort of mitral and aortic valve issues and that it is definitely not a problem.    The lung specialist said the same.

So, if I listen to the experts, I shouldn’t be writing on this forum at all.   But, when I read about the symptoms that many people with heart problems have, I have to wonder if my experts have got it right.

I don’t know if it may be a part of my problem but if, during the night, I’ve strayed and slept on my left-hand side, for even a few minutes, I start to feel unwell.  It’s as if I’m “bunching up” my shoulders and chest together and in some way restricting my lung capacity (difficult to explain).  But then I immediately find it difficult to breathe and start to feel sick.   By then, no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of that feeling and it’s with me for the rest of the day, along with the exhaustion, total exhaustion, and stiff neck and shoulders.   I know sleeping in a bad position can cause neck and shoulder pain but I can’t see it causing shortness of breath and total exhaustion for at least a day after.  I also know that patients with heart failure often can’t sleep on their left-hand side because it makes them feel unwell.  Could this be a regurgitation thing?

So I’m not convinced by my doctors that my heart is OK.   I hope they’re right.  But what should I do now?   I can’t keep on like this because I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t do to make my days normal again.   I don’t know how to manage this on a daily basis and my doctors, after two years, have not helped me.   Has anyone on this forum had the same symptoms?   Can anyone make any suggestions?   Thanks in advance anyway.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/7/2012 10:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  If your Drs. are all in agreement that you are physically fit I am wondering if any one of them mentioned anxiety as a cause for your symptoms.  It is amazing how anxiety can cause physical symptoms and we do not even recognize we are anxious.
Do take a look at this website:
I have a 30 year history of anxiety so I do understand how it can cause a person to feel physically ill.
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship" ~ Louisa May Alcott

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/17/2012 5:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kitt,
Yes, anxiety has been but forward as the probable reason for my feeling unwell many times.   But, I have difficulty connecting the two because the time-frame often doesn't fit.   I can understand that, if I'm going through a particularly anxious period, I may begin to feel unwell physically.   But, very often, I feel unwell, short of breath and extremely tired, and worse, even though I'm enjoying a period of happiness without any stress.   I've looked at the website you suggested and it does make a lot of sense.  But, probably like many people, I'll never be convinced that anxiety is the real cause until I, with or without the help of my doctors, have ruled out pretty much every other serious possibility.  Unfortunately, my experience (and those of some of my freinds and family) with doctors has left me with little condfidence in their true abilities.  I've peronally known a father and his son who both felt unwell (many years apart) and who visited their doctors only to be told that they were both in good condition heart-wise.   Within three weeks of that diagnosis the father died of a heart attack (aged 51) and many years later, the son died (aged 38) two days after a heart check-up with his GP with the doctor telling him all was fine, even though he felt very ill.  Not an every-day occurance, no, but it sort of makes you worry about the abilities of some doctors and just how much you should take note of what they say.
The anxiety diagnosis can be an extremely easy one for a doctor to make because it's so vague and non-commital and difficult for a patient to argue against.  The more I read that my problem may not be heart-related, the better I'll feel.  The same with lung issues etc.  Eventually, when all the major possibilities have been checked, I'll be more convinced that it could be anxiety.   A process of elimination I suppose.  It makes no sense to accept anxiety as the cause until other problems have been properly ruled out, but my doctors don't seem to see it that way.  It's as though I should blindly accept their opinions without question when, in fact, they could be missing something serious.  Time will tell.  I'm going to look, once more, at anxiety as a possible cause and see what I can do to eliminate or reduce it.  The website you recommended is where I'll start. 
Thanks for your help Kitt. 

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 8/17/2012 7:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

Kitt is currently away from the forum.  I am not familiar with issues of the heart much, but if I can help in anyway, I would be more than happy.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, September 24, 2018 6:23 PM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 3,006,231 posts in 329,318 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 161825 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, TheRayf.
208 Guest(s), 7 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
SoMuchFun, mauricesr, xpeetzax, sebreg, Aurora2013, Bigbassman, GuitarHunter