Ask A Doctor Health

‘It pains near my heart when I have hiccups’

Over a few weeks, I’ve felt pain near my heart when I have hiccups. Is there something to worry about?

The symptom is not suggestive of pain related to the heart and is more likely to be muscular pain. Such pain can arise if there is muscle sprain (‘catch’) during violent hiccups or severe cough. You may wish to consult a doctor if you are frequently getting hiccups, to see if there is any organic cause related to that problem.

I am 42 and on medication for stable angina. But I live in fear of getting a heart attack. I have totally changed my lifestyle and diet. Will it help to keep me in the safe zone?

It is essential that you keep your risk factors under very good control, with healthy living habits and medicines as needed. Stress itself is a destabilising factor and can precipitate a heart attack. A positive attitude helps. As you are young; it is advisable to get a check-up periodically to make sure your risk factors are controlled and that the disease is not progressing. Beyond that, do not let worry weigh you down. Keep active, stay away from tobacco and eat a healthy diet. Healthy living habits do help to prevent or slow down progression of the disease. Set goals for yourself and work to achieve them.

I am 54 years old and have always taken the stairs to my office which is on the third floor. Of late I tend to get out of breath. Should I worry?

You should certainly pay attention to this symptom which is a recent change. It may indicate a deficiency of blood supply to the heart, due to blockages in the blood vessels of the heart. You should consult a cardiologist without delay and get it investigated. Most likely a Stress Test would be advised, after a resting ECG and routine investigations are performed. If cardiac status is normal after all necessary tests are done, other reasons for exercise-related breathlessness should be considered, like lung problems or even a recent weight gain.

Dr K Srinath Reddy is the President of Public Health Foundation of India; former president World Heart Federation; former Head of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

Nothing in this column is intended to be, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek independent advice from a licensed practitioner if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. Email us your questions at

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 4:37:52 AM |

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