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ask: What is the likliness of a 20 year old female having a heart attack?

By Anonymous
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- 2o year old female
- had an EKG done recently and they said it came backgood
- was at hospital for chest pain they said it was chest wall pain, but now it feels like im having sharp pains in my back (top of my back)
- but feels like i was having some pain in the neck at the side i don;t know if its bc im thinking of it bc they said if any signs liek that occured to go to ER again or call 911
- also have anxiety/panic attacks

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EmpowHER Guest


I'm 23 and for the past 2 years or so, I've been to about every doctor in the book due to a consistent chest pain problem. I would present with the same kinds of symptoms listed here.. Chest pain in the middle/left side of my chest that would move to my left arm, causing tingling feelings and pain. I would have back and neck pain, and because we all have access to the wonderful (or anxiety-inducing) internet, I was convinced time and time again that I was DYING. I took several trips to the ER, saw numerous different doctors of different specialties: Cardiologist, gastroenterologist, internist, infectious disease specialist, acupuncturist (which surprisingly really helped!), and finally a physical therapist. I want to tell all you ladies reading this- no matter how silly you might feel, you should get a full work-up done! I heard time and time again that I had Costochondritis, and I just was convinced it had to be something more. In my case, I have realized its a muscular issue. My muscles are spasming in my chest (pectoralis major and minor) and they bother the nerves that are connected to my arm. Physical therapy really did help me.

I have to admit, although I am armed with all this knowledge that my heart has been thoroughly checked from numerous ER visits and a top cardiologist in NYC, I still to this day get anxiety when this pain happens. I'm constantly thinking, "Well what if this time its NOT muscular, and its something more serious and I ignore it and it ends up being too late!"... I'm currently going through this right now, but typing all of this out is reassuring to me- I am a HEALTHY, active 23 year old woman with little to no family history of heart problems. I hope my situation helps bring others some peace of mind, or some kind of guidance of things that you should get checked out. I had a wonderful primary doctor in New York who was not going to give up on figuring out what was wrong with me! And I have to say that its one of the most important things, finding a doctor who believes you and supports you in your recovery!


August 5, 2015 - 1:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

20 yr old female. Chest pains started a couple months ago and shoot down my left arm. Pain is on the left side of my chest. Ranges from a hard achy feeling to sharp pain and sometimes the arm pain feels like the circulation is being cut off. Been to the ER twice for the pain getting almost unbearable. Chest X-rays, ekgs, blood draws all were fine. D-dimer was a little high but ruled out PE. Nothing makes the pain better or worse. I have been given naproxen and reflux medication that have not changed anything. This pain comes and goes but is worrisome. It is not accompanied by shortness of breath or anything like that. I have not injured myself and like I said nothing makes it worse like moving my arm or whatever. I am taking metformin, birth control, and aldactone for PCOS. I take Dulera and Ventolin for mild asthma. Pepcid for occasional heartburn. I take Paxil for depression. I don't think the issue is stress related because honestly I am doing great and having an awesome summer. Besides this pain. They seem to keep brushing it off as pleurisy. Just want an answer not more pills!

July 19, 2015 - 10:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have been having chest pains for a while now they started around 5 months ago after I had my son and they came once a month and I dismissed it as an anxiety attack and went on about my business. This past week however it has been happening every single day without fail. It starts in the middle of my chest then spreads to my back and it feels like someone is trying to run me through with a knife repeatedly and it lasts for hours I go to sleep with the pain and wake up with it. Then it turns into what feels like a weight sitting on my chest and someone poking me as hard as they can in the back and eventually it turns back into excruciating pain. I went to the ER today and they did their blood tests and EKG and CAT scan and told me I was perfectly fine. I however don't believe it because if I was fine I don't think I'd be having this problem everyday. They told me I could follow up with my Dr and he could order more tests but honestly what would he be able to think of that they haven't already done. I need help but am honestly starting to lose faith in people who work in the medical field in my area. Any idea on what could possibly be wrong with me?

July 14, 2015 - 9:19pm
Maryann Gromisch RN Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anonymous,

See my reply to your second post.


July 15, 2015 - 8:37am
Katprack (reply to Anonymous)

It also makes it hard to breathe and 2 nights ago the pain was in my entire upper torso and hurt so bad I was in tears. I just want it to stop but the Dr's near me all seem not to know what the hell it is that they are supposed to do to figure out what's wrong

July 14, 2015 - 9:31pm
Maryann Gromisch RN Guide (reply to Katprack)

Hello Katprack,

I can appreciate your frustration. Any one would know that there is something causing these symptoms and indeed you are not fine.

From my experience as a critical care nurse, the blood tests done in the ER included cardiac enzyme studies.

Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of enzymes and proteins that are linked with injury of the heart muscle. Low levels of these enzymes and proteins are normally found in your blood, but if your heart muscle is injured, such as from a heart attack, the enzymes and proteins leak out of damaged heart muscle cells, and their levels in the bloodstream rise.

I am guessing a CT coronary angiography was done in the ER. This test is the most accurate and effective noninvasive imaging test for evaluating patients presenting with chest pain.

If it is any consolation, all the right tests were done. However, your symptoms may not be cardiac in nature.

You may be a candidate for a gastrointestinal workup, including an upper endoscopy. GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause chest pain.

Chest pain stemming from GERD may affect your upper body in some cases, but is most often centered either behind your sternum, or just underneath it in a region known as the epigastrium.

Hope this offers some help,

July 15, 2015 - 8:36am
EmpowHER Guest

Hey, I recently just turned 20 and I started experiencing pain in the center of my chest. It lasts for about 10-20 minutes and it comes and goes every few days. I didn't think anything of it until recently. The pain stays in the same area every time. Should I be concerned?

July 5, 2015 - 7:09pm
Maryann Gromisch RN Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

I think it is something you should have evaluated by your primary care physician. Any pain, intermittent or persistent, should be checked out.


July 6, 2015 - 9:08am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, i am a 22 year old lass. I have been experiencing minor chest pains which radiate to my left arm; they dont last more than a few minutes. But it gives me allot of anxiety; i also get small twinges of pain in my neck and jaw... As well as a bit of burning in the mouth of the stomach and nausea. I really hope this is nothing serious, but should i go see a doctor?

July 3, 2015 - 5:21am
Maryann Gromisch RN Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

Since these symptoms are causing you anxiety, scheduling an appointment for a complete physical examination would be wise.


July 3, 2015 - 8:50am
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