Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"I am 39 years old and having severe sternum pain. What could this be?"
the pain goes into my left shoulder and is very severe and I have trouble breathing
Thank you for your question. In order to provide an accurate answer, I would need more information. I would need to review your entire medical history and also perform a physical exam. In addition, you may need other testing such as blood work, an EKG, an imaging study, and potentially a stress test. Only after collecting this information would it be possible to provide a diagnosis. Therefore, I encourage you to see a primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms. There are many potential causes for your pain. It is possible you are suffering from costochondritis, or inflammation of the cartilage connecting the bones in your chest. Although less common at your age, coronary artery disease leading to cardiac ischemia is possible. This often causes chest pain that classically radiates to the arm or jaw. You may require a stress test to help rule this out. Other diagnoses likely pneumonia can cause atypical chest discomfort. A dissection of the aorta classically causes tearing chest pain that radiates to the back. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause esophageal spasm, which can also cause chest pain. It is not possible to determine the cause of your symptoms without more information, and I strongly encourage you to see a primary care doctor.
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