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"Could I be having a heart attack?"

ZocdocAnswersCould I be having a heart attack?


I'm 26 and female with normal bp and cholesterol, but I've been having chest pains. I went to the ER 4 days ago, they did blood work and an ekg and said it was normal. But today I made myself throw up (which is the stupidest thing I've ever done) and I felt it was hard on my heart. After that my body has felt heavy, like I can barely hold it up, and my left arm is heavier than my right. I don't have any chest pain though. I'm worried. I don't have health insurance and I can't afford another trip to the ER.


I recommend that you speak with your primary care physician. It is very hard for me to tell exactly why you're having chest pains, but generally speaking, I will say that this does not sound like a heart attack. Heart attacks in women your age are incredibly rare and usually occur in people that have genetic conditions that cause extremely high cholesterol. However, chest pain in people your age is very common for other reasons. It could be that you have some inflammation in your ribs that is causing chest pain. It could be that you have inflammation in your pleural lining of your lungs that causes chest pain. This would probably be the most likely cause if you had worsening chest pain with a deep breath. Pneumonia can also cause chest pain. Finally, panic attacks and anxiety are probably the most common cause of chest pain in women your age. I will also say that while rare, a small tear in your esophagus from retching is on the list of possibilities as well given that you vomited. Again, please speak with your primary care physician. After a detailed description of your symptoms and a thorough physical exam, your doctor will likely know the cause of your symptoms. He or she may order a chest x-ray but this might not be necessary. After the cause is found you should be able to get the thing that you need.

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