Heart & Cardiology/cardiac tests

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Question
Hello,
I am a 59 yr old female and weigh around 125lbs. Five foot two inches tall. I walk one mile daily. I do not smoke or drink. I take a steroid inhaler for asthma as a preventative, I take fosinopril for high blood pressure and 10mg of lipitor for cholesterol. My trigliercides are 50 upon fasting. My total cholesterol is 200. I also suffer from insomnia and take ambien several times a week when needed. I take under 5mg. My brother who smokes like a chimney had a heart attack at age 50 and had 4 stents put in. Both my parents (deceased) had a heart attack in their early 70's. Both were smokers. My mother had double by pass surgery and also had CHF, Dad had several strokes. I have always had palpitations and on several occasions had a holter monitor. I have been told they are benign. I also have had two nuclear stress tests. One in 2007 and the last in 2011. Both were fine. I just went to my first visit to a cardiologist because on occasion I get a tightness in the lower section of my throat sometimes when I am on the treadmill or for no reason. It only happens from time to time. I get bouts of palpitations of fluttering and once in awhile I will get missed beats once in awhile. I sometimes get pressure in my right side of my chest. I must say I don't know it these things are related to anxiety. My primary doctor sent me to a cardiologist and he wanted to do a CT angiogram although he felt my family history was due to their smoking. He said I would be injected with an iodine dye however I am deathly allergic to shellfish. He also said they would give me a beta blocker to slow my heartbeat. I have asthma and it is contra indicated to use a beta blocker. I felt he should have known this. He did mention a calcium channel blocker. I asked if there was another test that I wouldn't be so anxious about and he said they could do another nuclear stress test and a calcium score test. Is the CT angiogram the same as that infamous 64 slice ct heart test everyone is talking about. What would you recommend I do? Sorry this is so long and I thank you in advance for your input.  
         Linda

Answer
Hi Lynn,
1. Discuss your concerns with your cardiologist.
2. Ask for a calcium blocker.
3. A stress test is a good plan:
http://www.cardiachealth.org/heart-disease-diagnosis/exercise-stress-tests
4. That is the CT angiogram and works quite well - nothing infamous about it:
http://www.cardiachealth.org/heart-disease-diagnosis/ct-angiography-for-cad/ct-a
http://www.cardiachealth.org/heart-disease-diagnosis/calcium-scoring
Hope this helps,
Dr T
http://www.cardiachealth.org/

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