Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you get Angina at any age?"
I?m only 23 years old but I?ve been having chest pains and shortness of breath. Could I have Angina at such a young age? Does it affect young people?s hearts too?
Unfortunately, heart diseases do not discriminate. Most often, it affects the middle aged and those advanced in age. But certain heart conditions can be common in young people as well. For example, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart muscles are enlarged causing it to get ischemic as well as poor function. This condition is common in young people, especially in African Americans. There are also heart valves diseases like rheumatic fever where the valves are damaged. A damaged heart valve can cause the right, left, or both sides of the heart to fail. There are few signs other than the ones you mentioned that signal a heart problem. But most often heart failure or ischemia will cause chest pain that is more like pressure "a elephant sitting on my chest." Most of the time pain is brought on by physical exertion. You should tract the kind of activities which leads to the chest pain and shortness of breath. Of course, respiratory diseases can also lead to chest pain and shortness of breath as well but usually pain is not the main issue. On the other hand, general anxiety and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause similar symptoms of chest pain but rarely shortness of breath. You should definitely follow up with a primary care physician who will start with a thorough history and physical exam and may order an EKG to study your heart rhythm and laboratory enzymes.
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