Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Chest Pain

Two times in the last 5 years my wife has had the feeling that she was having a heart attack. Both of those times, she felt extreme pain in her chest and arm. The first time we rushed her to the emergency room and waited 3 hours to see a doctor that told us it wasn't a heart attack, but a lack of a particular vitamin. Little did we know that the attack was brought on by a lack of Pottasium in her cells. As soon as she took Pottasium vitamins, the pain stopped and she was OK.

She had the same issue this last week. She had the chest pain with arm pain and a general feeling of dizziness and lack of energy. We realized quickly what it was and immediately started treatment. We learned the first time that salt can push the pottasium out of the cell, which literally causes the bones to ache. So, we have gone back through the routine of increasing pottasium in her diet and decreasing salt intake. We were amazed when the doctor gave us a list of the sodium content in normal foods we were eating. This has been a hard shift for my wife since she craves salty foods, but she has done great to stay away from the bulk of it.

We are not sure how all of this ties into Multiple Sclerosis, but I would be curious to know if anyone else has had this same issue. We know that vitamin deficiency and MS is an issue, and we have taken vitamins by IV and orally for a long time. This time, we were able to easily fix the issue but last time my wife's health deteriorated rapidly after the pottasium issue. One of the issues we realized was the blood tests for vitamins are not always accurate. The doctor told us that what you are seeing on the test is the vitamin outside of the cell. The problem is that you can't see what is in the cell, and it is hard to replenish those vitamins after they are pushed out.

The first time she had the problem, we had to take IV drips to increase the pottasium enough to make a difference. This time we caught it soon enough, but it is a reminder of how MS is always lingering. Living with MS is like living with a puzzle where you never seem to find all of the pieces. You get a piece here and a piece there, but it doesn't ever seem to come into view clearly. I will keep studying these issues and we will figure it out at some point, but until then, life is always interesting.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. BTW, why don't you change design :).

Mandolin said...

This is interesting. I've been told I may have MS and I sometimes have terrible chest pain at night....and it feels like a heart attack. My pulse is super fast and often my BP is high.

The strange thing is that my feet also feel very cold when it happens and I find getting in a very hot tub relaxes the chest pain and my heart rate. I will have to try this potassium idea....load knows I could probably reduce sodium.

Bob said...

I'm thrilled i came across this . i am 17 and am living with MS. I have been trying to find out the reasons for my chest pains and it seems to be getting worse over time. Thank you for posting this.

Cory said...

Bob, thanks for commenting. My wife can sympathize with you concerning having MS at such a young age. She started having symptoms in her late teens, and really had her first attack when she was 19-20 yrs old. Please let me know if there is anything else that you have questions about or any way we can help you.

Anonymous said...

I have been having chest pains and severe vertigo and thought I to was having a heart attack. The last time this happened was a year ago and I went to the ER and my speech was slurred and they did ekg's cat scans, and mri's and they found nothing except my MS. This disease is so hard do you ignore chest pains and just blame it on the MS or do you go to the ER every time? Your ms friend

Cory said...

Anonymous, thanks for the comment. I understand the frustration of not knowing and trying to figure out a crazy disease. We have struggled just like you and I wish I could say we have figured a lot of it out, but we haven't. I know what works for my wife, but I have seen other MSers that the same thing doesn't help. Please let us know if you have any questions and keep trying to figure it out. We have found some answers, but only after years of trying things.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that I'm not crazy! I'm 23 and have MS and have been experiencing bad chest pains and SOB for the past 2 months or so. My primary assumed it was asthma due to my below normal breathing test results, but after some research I figured it was probably related to my MS. Seeing a lung doc at the end of feb. hope they can help!

Michelle said...

I ran across your blog accidently while trying to find out what could be causing my husband's chest pain. Some also related this to the MS "hug" that my husband feels every so often. Thanks for the insight and I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

Anonymous said...

i also have MS and im very glad i found this post,ive been diagnosed for 2yrs now im only 32 and for the past 2 weeks ive been getting a pain in the left side of my chest and muscle spasms in my left arm the post have put me at ease that im not having a heart attack and in fact its my MS,although i have been feeling rough lately,maybe in about to be beat up again by it ! xx

Anonymous said...

thnx for this...i am 24 and have had ms for 2 years that they know of,,,last night i had really bad chest pains felt like i couldnt breathe,,,curious you know anything about the numbness of the mouth? and is your wife on any kind of treatment?

Cory said...

Hey anonymous, sorry to hear about your chest pains. My wife hasn't had any major chest issues in months, but when it hits it can really hurt her. She has had some numbness on the face but I don't remember anything about numbness in the mouth. I know ms can really attack some weird places. My wife has been treating her ms naturally for years, and we are now back in a town that has a pro adjuster chiropractor which is one of our main treatments. If you have any specific questions please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Im 32 and has had ms since I was 26 I have been having chest pain and,shortness of breathe for the past couple of months saw my primary ,then cardiologist ,wore a monitor 4 30 days just to tell me results were benign with ms everyday can be a?but the network of sharing info is a blessing I will definitely begin taking my vitamins regularly in hopes it will help .Thanks again!

The Hafen's said...

I may have MS (currently being tested for it) and have been having chest pains since I was 16 years old. The pain feels like a heart attack and it goes down my left arm and even sometimes down my right. I often have numb fingers, hands, toes, and feet. It would be interesting to find out if the chest pains are indeed related to MS.

Bev said...

I have been told I have MS, I was just in the hospital for 3 days, had an angioplasty, tons of blood work and no answers. Just returned home yesterday, still having pains. I also have lupus and Sjorgens; is it possible to also have MS. My doctors have not done a lumbar puncture, had two several years ago with terrible pains and headaches after the procedure, they did not want to put me through that again.

Cory said...

Hey Bev, sorry to hear that you're having so many issues. From the beginning of my wife's diagnosis, it was a mess. Until she met Dr. Swank, she went through a slew of tests and all of them came up negative for MS. Dr. Swank knew immediately it was MS, and just getting an actual diagnosis helped her to feel like she at least knew what she was dealing with. Diagnosis can be one of the most frustrating things with MS because our experience has been diagnosis based on a group of symptoms. If you have some specific questions please shoot me an email and we will try to answer them the best we can.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting because I've had primary progressive MS for eight years and only found out about it two years ago but have been waking up with chest pains and even had more today.

They lasted about three minutes each time and my pulse seemed normal.

I have severe pain throuhout my body from the MS and do take morphine and other meds but this pain broke through all the meds.

I wonder if my chest pains have been from the MS or if perhaps a heart problem. I am 48 now.

Anonymous said...

My name is Eddie and I want to thank you for posting this. Every time I have a pain, numbing, or stiffness somewhere in my body, I drive myself crazy trying to figure out what it is and what's causing it. I went to my GP today with the same symptoms. She told me it's acid reflux and prescribed Prilosec. I wasn't convinced so she ran an EKG, and of course it was clean. Thanks to you I now have some peace of mind. I might actually sleep tonight instead of tossing and turning with anxiety. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have had the same problem I was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago and I had the chest pain issues twice once was last night idk what causes it I have not spoken to my dr yet about it but I am curious to know!

Allison Taylor said...

i'm 27 just diagnosed with m.s and as of right now my heart feels like its being crushed, should i go to the hospital? i hate waiting in the hospitals ...but idk what to do, & i dont know anyone with m.s. Thanx Ally

Jennifer said...

Jennifer - I am very happy to have goggled this topic and come across your blog. I was diagnosed with MS in 2005, I have relapse/remitting, and since then have had about 3 or 4 more serious attacks.

In August of 2011 I went to Rhode Island and had the Liberation procedure performed (CCSVI) and have since been feeling good, no attacks. Well or so I thought, now I read this!

Since May of this year I have had bad pressure, pain, squeezing, crushing (all those descriptive words) in my chest. As well as a burning sensation. It was getting so bad I finally went to my GP thinking at first that maybe it was heartburn, but I have never really experienced heart burn so I wasn't sure. My GP sent me to do a full Cardio workup, stress test and all, everything came back clear. Saw a Respirologist who did a bunch of tests, again everything came back clear. I did a Gastro test which showed some acid reflux but not enough to think it was heartburn causing this.

The Respirologist that I saw did mention that it could be related to my MS, and I was at first a bit upset as I hear that a lot, "oh it's just your MS" etc. But as I am still having this pain really bad, worse when I am sitting, I finall googled it today to see if there was any merit in what the Respirologist said! So thank you, maybe now that I have been given a clean bill of health and see all these comments I see that it actually probably is my MS.

So thank you again! I am seeing my GP on Monday October 22 for a follow up on how to proceed and I will be bringing this up to her, instead of going through a gammit of more tests! I have gone 8 years without being on any treatments for my MS and I would like to keep it that way!

Thank You,
Jennifer

Cory said...

Jennifer, I'm sorry to hear about your chest pain. I know for my wife it was extremely painful, and she hasn't had this issue in some time now. So weird how these symptoms can come and go. Please let me know if there is anyway we can help.

Lisa Rattai said...

i have recently been diagnosed with MS (last week). i was told back in august that the results of my MRI looked, tasted, and smelled like MS. last week, my first neuro appt confirmed it was. i was relieved that it was, as for a while i almost thought i had a brain tumour with all the facial and head pain i was having (and migraines). so i am okay with it needless to say.
i have had unexplained chest pain for months off and on, and then i saw your posts on chest pain. i started taking potassium, and the pain went completely away! i am so happy.
now i am having heel pain in my right foot, almost like someone is shoving a knife into it. i only get this when i am on my feet a lot, and today was christmas shopping...so it makes sense that they hurt. i am hoping to figure out a way to get the heel pain to stop.
anyways, thanks for the awesome blog. it's really great. - lisa

Cory said...

Hey Lisa, glad to hear that the potassium worked for you. Every once in a while my wife will have some pain in her chest again and she will up her potassium intake and it goes away. I know my wife's feet can hurt but I don't remember her talking about heel pain. I do know that when she's on her feet a lot her legs can really ache and hurt. I hope you figure it out soon! I wonder if some gel insoles would help to take the pressure off your heels? Let me know if you figure it out and thanks for commenting!

Dee said...

Hi Cory! I've not been diagnosed with MS but am very suspicious that that might be my problem. I have been diagnosed with Lupus, but have no labs or any concrete evidence that, that's the problem either. I have Soany symptoms it's unreal.... Extreme off balance, achy, numbness of all kinds, facial around mouth weirdness-- Luke when you go to the dentist and are numb, and chest pain just too name a few. My chest pain got to be a worry around Thanksgiving when I decided to go to ER. My heart felt like it was jumping out if my chest. Showed on EKG but the hospital did nothing else because I had no insurance. I went to Rummy and she wasn't worried. Last night woke up from a sound sleep like I had been running with chest pain. Crazy!!
Has your wife had any confusion? Last week I had to go to Memphis and I felt like I was in a dream state all day. I got a ticket for speeding (which I have never got in all my 39 years), missed my exit and went to Mississippi, then ordered food at a drive thru where I processed to drive right past the window! I'm telling you... It scared me! I've done this before just not to that extinct. Been out and somewhat been confused about where I am. Usually I snap out if it within a few minutes but the other day I went home afraid I might hurt myself.
Does any of this sound familiar?? My eyes really bother me but they seem ok. Very dry, floaters, bad vision, night blindness, I have to sleep with my TV on because complete darkness makes me very dizzy. I've been complaining of like bubbles moving up one side of my eye. They so "oh how strange".
I appreciate any information you might have! Thanks!! :)

Cory said...

Hey Dee, sorry it took me a few days to get back to you. My wife has had the chest pain off and on and it has always been related to a lack of potassium for her. She can take a supplement of potassium and it stops. As far as the confusion, I know she has had spells where she can't process things well and forgets things easily. Rest is usually the only thing that clears the "brain fog" as she describes it. My wife has also had the floaters, and they were caused my a detached retina so I would just suggest making sure you have it checked. Please let me know if you have any other questions.