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Ask Dr. Gott 2/24

Possible 'silent heart attack' worries reader

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DEAR DR. GOTT: Last year, I experienced what I thought might be a "silent heart attack." I had chest pain that extended up to my jaw and ears with a feeling of pressure, etc., that lasted for about two minutes. After another bout of the same thing a week later, I went to my family doctor, who did an EKG and ordered a barium swallow. The final diagnosis was "esophageal spasms," and nothing else was said or done. It seemed to go away for a while, but the other day, it happened again, and it scares me. I was wondering what causes this, and is there anything that can be done to eliminate this occurrence?
DEAR READER: Recurring chest and jaw pain should be a red flag for any physician because such a symptom could reflect angina (heart-muscle pain from an inadequate amount of oxygen in the blood). The fact that you had a normal cardiogram does not rule out the possibility of significant coronary disease that should be addressed by a stress test. Perhaps your pain is secondary to esophageal spasm, but I believe that further cardiac testing is appropriate.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Coronary Artery Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

DEAR DR. GOTT: I am very concerned for my son, who has psoriasis. He has seen several dermatologists and none have helped. He has had shots, pills and creams, and nothing has helped him. The itching is getting worse, and dry skin falls off on his clothes, in a chair or on the floor. Can you offer any help?
DEAR READER: I am not aware of any new medical breakthrough in the treatment of psoriasis. However, several readers have had success using Vicks VapoRub. It won't hurt to try it.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I have always purchased bottled water. However, recently we purchased a new refrigerator in which water and ice are available on the outside of the door. We will change the filters as recommended. We live in Florida and are in our early 60s. Is this water as safe to drink as bottled water, and which is best for you?
DEAR READER: In my opinion, bottled water is not a necessary substitute for tap water, especially if the tap water is supplied through a municipal source. And tap water is less expensive than the bottled brands that are so popular today.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 82-year-old widow in good health, but I have hemorrhoids that are hanging from my anus. They don't hurt or itch, but they are annoying. Is there something that will shrink them? If I tie them up, will they fall off?
DEAR READER: If your hemorrhoids have ballooned out of your anus, you could certainly consider ligation (tying them off), a painless procedure that is usually more successful than are creams and notions. See a surgeon to obtain a second opinion.
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