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Question
Posted by: Heidi | 2011-11-07

CHEST PAIN &  SHORT BREATH

Hi, I am 37, non-smoker, non-drinker. I have a family history of hear attacks - mom had heart bypass at age 48, died of heart attack at 56. My brother had heart attack &  bypass at 34.
I get chestpains with my left arm going numb. Short of breath. BP was 145/110 last week, high stress levels.
ECG &  heart x-rays show no problems.
Could it be anxiety? Do I treat that phsycologically of physically?
Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCardiologist

Hi Heidi.

Your pain does not sound like heart pain, and you are young, you are female, you don’t smoke, and I presume you are pre-menopausal. Your risk of heart attack and vascular disease at this stage of your life is therefore low.

However, you have a strong family history of coronary disease, so your chest pain needs to be taken more seriously, and we should remember that a normal ECG by no means excludes the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. I suggest you should see your doctor and make sure your pain is thoroughly assessed, by a cardiologist if necessary. It is also very important to check your cholesterol, your blood pressure and your blood sugar so that abnormalities can be treated - in order to reduce your long-term risk of heart disease.
The pain is almost certainly due to anxiety or to a non-cardiac cause, but I would only accept that diagnosis after a cardiac cause has been eliminated.

Best wishes. JT.

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: Cardiologist | 2011-11-10

Hi Heidi.

Your pain does not sound like heart pain, and you are young, you are female, you don’t smoke, and I presume you are pre-menopausal. Your risk of heart attack and vascular disease at this stage of your life is therefore low.

However, you have a strong family history of coronary disease, so your chest pain needs to be taken more seriously, and we should remember that a normal ECG by no means excludes the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. I suggest you should see your doctor and make sure your pain is thoroughly assessed, by a cardiologist if necessary. It is also very important to check your cholesterol, your blood pressure and your blood sugar so that abnormalities can be treated - in order to reduce your long-term risk of heart disease.
The pain is almost certainly due to anxiety or to a non-cardiac cause, but I would only accept that diagnosis after a cardiac cause has been eliminated.

Best wishes. JT.

Reply to Cardiologist

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