Neuropathy? Heart issues?

After experiencing pains that feel like a pulse in my chest and back lasting less than a minute, I have had two echocardiagrams and 2 EKGs in the last year and all have come back normal. Aside from a minor amount of fluid around my heart that has not changed during that time, my docs can’t find anything wrong. My doc says it is just normal for me. I still have a nagging feeling that something else is going on. I am on Labetalol (because I was trying to get pregnant) for my blood pressure which is normally 120s/70s most of the time but spikes occasionally to low 140s/low 90s. I am now experiencing pain in my right leg that feels like a circulation issue and minor swelling only noticeable to me in the evenings. I am going to schedule a stress test tomorrow. I am not sure if it it is my own paranoia or actually something going on that is being missed and it is freaking me out! Is it neuopathy? Am I going to have a heart attack tomorrow? I have never been this freaked out about my diabetes.

If you have heart issues and/or neuropathy in your legs… how did it start? Do my symptoms sound familiar? I would just like to know if my docs are being to laid back about this because I sure am not!!!

Thanks for your feedback and please excuse my paranoia!

Your heart IS probably alright. I have similar problems to you and had a whole battery of tests - including a stress test. Turned out that I have spondylitis in my neck which is pinching nerves in the left side of my neck - causing the brief pains that are like this. Heart problems would normally feel like a crushing pain in the chest right in the centre, into the jaw and down the left arm, an inability to draw breath and blue face.

As for the leg thing, if you are on your feet and legs a lot most of the day, it is probably just about fluid gathering. I know it is hard, but try to sit down with your feet up every so often. The pain is probably from the pressure of the fluid, or possibly a pinched nerve in the spine. If it is noticeable only to you, then it is nothing serious. Heart failure would cause what I call elephant legs with very stretched skin, ankles swollen so you cannot discern the bones etc and pitting but not returning - so if you were to press your finger into the swollen area and took it away, the indentation would remain.

I have neuropathy, and it is generally a lot of pain in the feet, pins and needles, numbness, loss of feeling (somehow different to each other) and an inability to feel rubs and sores - except if they are really bad. Neuropathy generally gives a feeling of insects crawling from the knees down.

Hey Ladies,

Thanks for your feedback. So I feel a little better about my heart. None of my pains are crushing and I am never out of breath or blue in the face. I do have restless legs but I have feeling in all parts of my legs and feet and no band like sensations - just the shooting pain down my right leg. Hopefully this means all is well. I will still schedule a stress test but if they tell me all is well, I will try to chill out and decrease my anxiety. My A1cs have been in the 6s for the last few years so hopefully my vessels are not being torn up to much by sugar in my blood. Its so crazy… diabetes for 20 years and nothing stresses me but tell me something is wrong with my ticker and I am going off the deep end! Thanks again.

Actually, there are different kinds of neuropathy and the others described peripheral neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy can affect your heart – it affects your blood pressure and heart rate. Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves most commonly in your hands and legs and autonomic neuropathy affects your internal organs. I have both peripheral and autonomic neuropathy and have had problems with chest discomfort for years. I have been thru 2 heart catheterizations and they both came back clean. I have flunked my stress tests because of the neuropathy and had to go thru the heart cath.

My blood pressure goes from very low to very high. I have gastroparesis and that is also part of autonomic neuropathy. I have something called gustatory sweating (your face sweats when you eat certain foods), which is part of autonomic neuropathy. You don’t have to have all the symptoms to be diagnosed with it.

It is good to have the stress test done, but don’t freak out if you flunk it. Neuropathy does impact that. I had my last heart cath done 2 years ago after flunking a stress test and my cardiologist said my arteries are very clean.

I have been diabetic since the age of 11 and was diagnosed in 1989. I had my first heart attack in Aug 2008…only symptoms that I had prior was increased fatigue, a little short of breath and nauseated on quite a few occasions. PLEASE have this checked out by a cardiologist. 20 hours after my heart attack I had a perfectaly normal EKG…the ER doc (bless his heart), ran some blood work and it was only then that they discovered that I had a minor heart attack. Two and a half years later (this March) I had 5 vessal bypass surgery (at the age of 33) after my second heart attack. I am not saying this to scare you, just for your peace of mind, get it checked out TRUST your instincts…I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong both times, but could never put my finger on it. That is one of the signs of heart problems, increased anxiety.

1 Like

Wow! This is what I have been worrying about. I keep seeing all of these commercials on TV about women and heart disease and how it doesn’t look the same for us as it does in men. I have great confidence in my cardiologists but it is always possible to miss something. They aren’t God. Did you ever have an echocardiogram (sonogram) of your heart? I have had two with nothing of significance.

The pains that I have been having are very brief like a pulse and I will feel a few of these “pulses” through out the day and sometimes not at all. I am never short of breath unless I am working out or otherwise exerting myself. I am not trying to conceive right now due to some other things going on but I do want to start again this fall and this has me completely freaked out. I would hate to get pregnant and then find out that something is wrong with my heart.

So what do you do for the neuropathy? Can it be improved or reversed?

Hi Sara. I don’t have any knowledge about your symptoms, and my experiences are very different but I want to tell you I understand the fear about anything to do with heart. I have had an arrythmia for many years that just seems to get worse, is exacerbated by acid reflux (I can’t tell them apart) and doesn’t respond much to the meds. The first cardiologist I saw did all the tests and told me that arrhythmia is uncomfortable but not dangerous as long as it was not symptomatic of underlying heart disease which the tests showed it was not. Each time it seems to change or get worse I will go to a cardiologist and do the whole process again to hear the same reassurance. I believe that it is just arrythmia and not dangerous…that is my head believes it…but when the symptoms are bad or increase I get scared. Over my life I’ve used cognitive therapy techniques to deal with my fear. That is, telling myself, it is ok, it’s normal to be scared but you are not dying. It sort of works but then I get scared and need to do it again.

I like my current cardiologist. If you’ve read any of my posts on here you will know that I don’t rely on doctors much for treatment of my diabetes…well, ok, not at all…lol. My experience has led me not to trust their knowledge as much as I trust my own. But heart is different. I can read a little about it, but it’s too complex for me and I have to trust my doctor. I do trust him, and when I need to I go back for tests or reassurances. But at 3AM when I’m alone in my bed and I’m having symptoms that won’t let me sleep, the fear comes back. This is my heart. So I understand how you feel and all I can say is trust your cardiologist, and make lists of questions for your visits and ask about treatments and explanations of what is going on. Do what you can, that is, to make yourself safe and reassured. Then just go on with life. Kind of like we all do with our D.

Thanks Zoe. Sorry to know that you have the same fears but it is good to know that I am not alone. Your case sounds all too familiar.

There are a couple of medications that you can take for the neuropathy - which takes on many forms. Apart from pain there could be (note COULD) numbness, tingling, weakness in a particular area, cold, heat, pins and needles (often in the feet and below the knees if in legs)

I have been offered Amytriptalin (which is an antidepressent but good for neuropathy in some people)
and Lyrica - an antiepileptic drug but again good in small doses for neuropathy. I could take neither for the reason that I was too drowsy during the day!

I take Alpha Lipoic Acid for the peripheral neuropathy. That has been shown to help regenerate nerves if you keep your BS in good control. Mine did seem like it was getting better for awhile, but I have been having more problems lately. My A1cs have been in the 5’s for the last 3 years other than one 6.1. I am in the process of being tested for Sjogren’s, and that also causes neuropathy so if I have that, that explains the worsening of the neuropathy.

Years ago, I tried Neurontin & that left me feeling like a zombie. Like Latvianchick mentioned, some people also use Lyrica. I never tried that because I have heard there are some nasty side effects with that. When I had pain, I took a lot of Vitamin B – that really helps with the pain. If you have bad circulation, Vitamin B can help with that also. I also took Benfotiamine, which is also made up of B vitamins. There is a newer drug (technically, it is not a drug but a medical food and you need a script for it) called Metanx. I just heard of it recently after participating in a webinar on peripheral neuropathy. It is actually made up of high doses of B vitamins but some of it is in a form that the body can absorb. I have a sample of that but haven’t tried – my insurance doesn’t cover it so it will be a bummer if I like it & can’t use it. I Googled it & it does have some good reviews but like most things, there were also people that did not like it. It might take up to 4 months to notice the benefits (it can be as short as 1 week also).

For the autonomic neuropathy blood pressure problems, you can take something called Florinef – I haven’t tried that because it helps your body retain salt & I have enough problems with water retention because of Lymphedema so don’t want to even try it.

The only drug available in the US for gastroparesis is Reglan and that also has some nasty non-reversible side effects. There is another drug called Domperione (sp?) that you can get from Canada if you can get a doctor to prescribe it but it is expensive insurance won’t cover it.

So in essentially, there is a lot out there that may work or not. I also have tried ALA after hearing a radio broadcast from Dr. Oz and a doctor who I cannot remember right now but he works with diabetics and thought that all diabetics should be taking ALA if they can. I think I am going to try it again. I started feeling like I was getting a rash (a side effect) but maybe if I can get over the “hump” it will subside. Have you experienced the side effects from ALA? If so, do they subside over time?

Thanks again for your feedback.

The ALA will actually help repair your nerves. B can help with pain and will repair bad circulation if you have bad circulation. I never had a reaction from the ALA. Maybe there is something in the fillers that bother you - you might want to try a different brand. Also, you shouldn’t take more than 600 mg a day and they say it is better to take 200 mg 3 times a day.

I take R-ALA and Benfotiamine for my neuropathy and I believe they help. R-ALA is a form of ALA that is supposed to be more effective, it’s also more expensive. Here’s an article about neuropathy that explains what is going on and why healing can take several years.

That’s a good article BadmoonT2. It’s encouraging to read that the tingling may mean healing.

I do agree that Dr. Oz is only for entertainment purposes but I do appreciate his forum and the questions that he asks on his XM radio show. I don’t watch his TV show. As with anything you have to do your own research, as well as with your own personal doctors. Anyhow, the gentleman noted that some people have problems with rashes or itching in general and I think that is what I started to experience after about 2 weeks. It seemed that I always thought something was crawling on me, even though nothing was there. I do think that I will try spacing it out though. I appreciated the difference it made in my bloodsugars and will put up with the itching if I can just get over the side effect hump.

In terms of how you take it…I’ve talked to some who say its works better on an empty stomach and others who take it on a full stomach and still see good results. I am bad about remembering to take things an hour or two before I eat. How do you take it?

I got mine from Whole Foods and so far they work pretty well. I usually get things like that from Swanson but they had too many different brands without enough info about the differences. Where do you get yours from?

Thanks for the article!

So, my stress came back normal and I am going to just try an relax, continue to eat well and exercise and not worry. Thanks for your help. I will still, of course, stay aware of how I feel but no more digging for what it could be that I am feeling. I am ready to put this baby to bed! Thanks for your feedback.