Microvascular Angina: My Story

By Zora Majeed

I remember when my symptoms started – it was 2005 and I was in my mid 20s, when out of the blue I began experiencing fatigue, joint problems, and abdominal pain/digestive issues. This was accompanied by an intermittent feeling of numbness down the right side of my body with a sense of pressure in my head. I admit, I was extremely anxious as I had never experienced anything like this before.

What followed over the next few months included numerous trips to my general practitioner (GP), two trips to Accident and Emergency, and frequent online searches to try to gain some insight into my symptoms. After various tests, which were either normal or nothing significant was found (aside from mild gastritis), I began to relax a bit more and carried on with my life as it had been prior to this episode. I felt my mood lift as I was certain there was no serious or significant cause for my symptoms.

However, the almost “perfect health” I seemed to be enjoying was not to last. In 2011, my symptoms returned, but this time my main issue was chest tightness and left-sided breathing difficulties with my usual activities. As I have a strong family history of cardiac problems, my GP referred me to a Rapid Access Chest Pain clinic and then to Cardiology. Once again, all the standard tests were normal, and I felt like I was back to square one. My lung function tests were also normal.

Feeling somewhat reassured, I tried to carry on with my life, although my symptoms of fatigue, joint problems, and breathlessness were now present on a daily basis. Blood tests revealed slightly elevated inflammatory markers, but nothing major.

It wasn’t until 2018, when I was referred back to Cardiology, that an MRI scan showed that I had microvascular angina, which is chest pain caused by spasms within the very small arterial blood vessels that result in reduced blood blow to my heart. I was obviously worried, but relieved that finally there was an identifiable cause for my symptoms. Medication was prescribed to help control my symptoms, and it has helped to a degree. I also made changes to my diet and increased my daily exercise in intensity and variation.

I am currently experiencing spinal and joint issues that cause neurological symptoms, including the sensation of pins and needles, tingling, and tinnitus, but they are becoming manageable with help from the medical profession and by researching online for ways to improve symptoms via self-care. It was through my research that I came across HealthUnlocked, a social media site for those with health conditions (diagnosed and undiagnosed). This site has been an excellent source of information and support and has definitely helped me in my quest for better health.

Although my work life has been affected due to my health, I hope in time I will be able to resume a somewhat normal life. I also hope to travel a bit in the future as I have a keen sense of adventure!

Zora Majeed lives in London, England, where she is currently on sick leave from her job as a receptionist/administrator for a GP Surgery clinic. She enjoys walking, exercise, and researching health topics and medical information/treatments. 

Thank you, Zora, for sharing your story of courage and hope with our readers.

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