ZocdocAnswersCould I have a heart attack?

Question

Could I have a heart attack?

18 years old, male, diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder. I've been having chest pains and arm pains and jaw pains for a while now, maybe 2-3 days. it hasn't been too bad but enough to worry me. these pains come on and I have palpitations and everything. my blood pressure is fine, I got an ekg and blood work done 7 months ago but since then haven't been very active or eating well. I've also been stressed out a lot about it too, I don't want to worry about this at such a young age. I dont do drugs or drink, I had the chest pains earlier but when I took ativan I didn't really have anything. but that was hours ago, about 5 PM, now it's 2 AM and right before I fall asleep I have chest pain, arm pain and my breath just goes out, it only lasts for a few seconds maybe a minute and then I relax again and I'm exhausted and just want to sleep.

Answer

In anyone experiencing severe chest pain, arm pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath, I recommend prompt consultation with their primary care physician. In general, in someone your age with a known panic disorder, these symptoms are most likely caused by a panic attack. However, heart attacks also often present as left-sided chest pain radiating to your left arm, palpitations, and shortness of breath. Certain autoimmune conditions can make this more likely in a young person. Additionally, certain genetic conditions that cause abnormalities of your blood vessels can predispose you to an early heart attack. Therefore, it is critical to discuss this with your physician. Certain arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, can also cause chest pain and shortness of breath. This is because they can cause your heart to beat so rapidly that it cannot adequately fill and pump blood to the rest of your body. Some common examples include atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia. Additionally, a viral infection causing inflammation of the fibrous sack around your heart, called pericarditis, can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations in a young person. These symptoms can be worse based on specific positions of your body. You will need a thorough history, physical exam, and EKG performed by your physician to determine the cause of your symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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