MAILBAG: Decoding Chest Pain and Breathlessness During Activity

I’ve been having chest pain and shortness of breath when I’m active. Could this be a sign of a heart problem? What tests should I undergo to determine if there’s an issue?”


Hi Paul,

Regardless of past heart history, I always advise folks to seek medical help immediately if they experience concerning symptoms, including chest pain and shortness of breath.

These symptoms during physical activity could be potential signs of a heart problem, but it’s essential to NOT jump to conclusions without proper medical evaluation.

Various factors, some of which are unrelated to the heart, can also cause similar symptoms.

It’s crucial to consult with your primary care physician or a cardiologist to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. They’ll assess your medical history, risk factors, and current symptoms to determine the cause of your issue and the most appropriate treatments.

Several tests can be used to evaluate your heart health and identify any potential issues:

  1. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This non-invasive test records the electrical activity of your heart, helping to detect irregular rhythms, heart muscle damage, or signs of inadequate blood flow.
  2. Stress Test: During this test, you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike while your heart’s activity is monitored through an ECG. This helps assess how your heart performs under physical stress and can reveal issues that may not be apparent at rest.
  3. Echocardiogram: This ultrasound test provides a detailed picture of your heart’s structure and function, allowing doctors to evaluate the heart valves, chambers, and overall performance.
  4. Coronary Angiogram: In this more invasive test, a special dye is injected into the arteries of your heart, and X-rays are taken to visualize any blockages or narrowing of the coronary arteries.

Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate tests based on your specific situation. It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion about your symptoms, lifestyle, and any other relevant factors to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Once you have a diagnosis, you can decide how to treat it. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience persistent or concerning symptoms.

P.S. Check out my earlier post, “8 Red Flags There’s a Heart Attack in YOUR Future.”

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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