• James James
    August 28, 2008
    Sharp in left side of chest - is it my heart?
    James James
    August 28, 2008

    I woke up about two months ago and had a sharp pain on the left side of my chest. This pain is always worse when I awaken and is persistant in varying degrees. I also have slight pain in upper left arm. I have also had several incidents of severe pain in the center of my chest that lasts for minutes. I am under heavy stress for about a year in several ways -- death in the family, smoker, loss of job, etc. I'm on meds for anxiety and depression from the VA (colonzepam and several others). 

    Any suggestions? I also have peritoitis dental, COPD, and alcohol use. How bad is this?



  • Martin Cane, M.D.
    Health Pro
    August 28, 2008
    Martin Cane, M.D.
    Health Pro
    August 28, 2008




    Thanks for your question.  It sounds like you have your hands full right now. 

     Though your discomfort is not typical for cardiac pain, this is still a possibility and needs to be evaluated.  Other causes include: lung or lining of the lung cavity; gastrointestinal such as esophageal reflux, esophagitis, ulcer disease; and, muscular sources. 

    With all your medical issues, you should call for an appointment with your physician to have this checked out.  He will ask you more questions, as well as examining you and performing an electrocardiogram.  If there is still a question, he might request further studies that could include a Chest X-ray, blood work, and possibly a stress test.  

    With your COPD, smoking cessation is a must.  Please review our Smoking Cessation site for suggestions on the best method for you.  Also, discuss this with your physician, who might recommend medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms.  Cutting  back on the alcohol to no more than two drinks per day is another suggestion.

    Best wishes.


    Martin Cane, M.D.

    Here are some links that might be useful:

    Heart Attack Symptoms and Warning Signs

    Stress and Heart Disease

    7 Ways Your Body Says You’re Stressed


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