I had been experiencing more fatigue, upper chest tightness, a bit more pain in my upper spine area, and definitely more palpitations than the previous month. There were times it seemed as if my heart stopped all together and then a resonating "boom" would kick it back to its normal rhythm. I have complained often of these strange sensations, but it had never been this pronounced. After all, several EKG's showed no abnormalities to worry about through the years.
Nonetheless, he ordered several tests since I hadn't had a full work-up done since 2007. The first ordered was a simple chest x-ray. Your doctor uses a chest X-ray to:
- Look at your chest bones, heart, and lungs
- See if your pacemaker, defibrillator, or other heart devices are in place
- To check on any catheters and chest tubes you may have.
You don’t need to do anything to get ready for it. But you do need to let the technician know if you could be pregnant. Luckily they had a chest x-ray machine in the building, so I trudged over there to perform the first round of testing.
The X-ray will take no more than 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll have to remove all of your clothes and jewelry from the waist up, and wear a hospital gown. And you have to stand very still while you hold your breath.
The process is painless and simple. It can show your doctor if you have:
- Fluid in or around your lungs
- Enlarged heart
- Blood vessel problems, such as an aortic aneurysm. This is a bulge in your aorta, the vessel that carries blood from your heart to your chest and beyond.
- Congenital heart disease (heart problems you’re born with)
- Calcium build-up in the heart or blood vessels, which could make a heart attack more likely. - Web MD.
The very next day I got a call back stating that there was calcification in my aorta. I can tell you my heart sank. As an individual plagued with fibromyalgia, the worst news you can get is a positive result when you are already dealing with a chronic illness. More importantly, that means more testing which is very difficult for those suffering from the illness especially if you have multiple chemical sensitivities.
What Is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis -- hardening and narrowing of the arteries -- silently and slowly blocks arteries, putting blood flow at risk.It’s the usual cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease -- what together are called cardiovascular disease.
How does atherosclerosis develop? Who gets it, and why? This deadly process is preventable and treatable.
First, an Anatomy 101 review: Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart throughout the body. They're lined by a thin layer of cells called the endothelium. The endothelium works to keep the inside of arteries toned and smooth, which keeps blood flowing.
Atherosclerosis begins with damage to the endothelium. It’s caused by high blood pressure, smoking, or high cholesterol. That damage leads to the formation of plaque.
When bad cholesterol, or LDL, crosses the damaged endothelium, the cholesterol enters the wall of the artery. That causes your white blood cellsto stream in to digest the LDL. Over years, cholesterol and cells become plaque in the wall of the artery.
Plaque creates a bump on the artery wall. As atherosclerosis progresses, that bump gets bigger. When it gets big enough, it can create a blockage. That process goes on throughout your entire body. As a result, not only is your heart at risk, but you are also at risk for stroke and other health problems.
Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause symptoms until middle or older age. But as the narrowing becomes severe, it can choke off blood flow and cause pain. Blockages can also rupture suddenly. That’ll cause blood to clot inside an artery at the site of the rupture. - Web MD
Well, I can ultimately say that my diet can not be the cause of this as it is very rigid. The other fault it could be is labile blood pressure. My blood pressure fluctuates within extreme highs and lows when I am emotionally stressed or overwhelmed. And, unfortunately, my BP medication can't always keep up with the normal flow.
Labile means easily changed. Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure. Labile hypertension occurs when a person’s blood pressure repeatedly or suddenly changes from normal to abnormally high levels. Labile hypertension usually happens during stressful situations.
It’s normal for your blood pressure to change a bit throughout the day. Physical activity, salt intake, caffeine, alcohol, sleep, and emotional stress all can impact your blood pressure. In labile hypertension, these swings in blood pressure are much larger than normal.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is defined as having a blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg and higher. This includes those individuals with any top reading (systolic) 130 and above, or any bottom reading (diastolic) 80 and above. People with labile hypertension will have a blood pressure measurement of 130/80 mm Hg and over for a short period of time. Their blood pressure will then return to a normal range later on. - Health Line
With this information in tow, I am off to see the cardiologist to see what information and preventative measures he can recommend.