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"Why am I having chest pains and losing my breath?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy am I having chest pains and losing my breath?


I am a 20 year old female, and yes, I smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day. But I have been having very bad chest pains for about 5-6 months now and now I am beginning to lose my breath alot and I never have any energy. I went to the ER over my chest pains a few months back and the doctors only took blood and said that my chest pains were caused from acids, from eating spicy foods or drinking caffenated beverages, so I went home, cut out all that stuff for about 2 weeks, and was still having the pains. They start in the right side of my chest and then it is like a sharp pain shooting over to the left side, only it does it over and over again for about two to three minutes straight everytime. I would like to know what is going on with myself and why all this is happening, especially at my age.


It is not very clear what brings on your chest pain and shortness of breath. For example, are these symptoms related to physical exertion or are they random? Also, do these symptoms come on while resting and wake you up in the middle of the night? Does your ''chest pain'' feel more like pressure, like an elephant sitting on your chest, or does it feel more like a burning sensation over your breast bone? Unless you have a rare cardiac condition (hypertensive cardiomyopathy), this is probably something other than your heart that is causing the symptoms. My suspicion is that your symptoms are gastrointestinal related. You probably have gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (or GERD). It is actually fairly common for it to be mistaken for angina resulting in a cardiac work up. GERD can be very distressful, and fortunately there are good medical and surgical treatment options available. If this is the case (and you really need to have an upper endoscopy to diagnose), then you can explore medical and/or surgical options. The most common medications for this disorder aim to reduce your stomach acid out put. You may also want to try sleeping with extra pillows or elevated head of bed. If after a period of 3-6 months of medical therapy without adequate symptomatic relief, then you may need to see a foregut surgeon as well. I would suggest a consultation with a primary care physician soon.

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