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Avatar universal

Did I have a heart attack???

I am 25 years old, I smoke heavily and drink moderatly. The other day I expirenced severe pain on the left side of my neck (it felt like something was squeezing it) that shot down to my shoulders, back, chest,and left arm. I had trouble catching my breath and was sweating heavily. When I moved my left arm the pain became more severe.
11 Responses
238668 tn?1232735930
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Unlikely to have been a heart attack but I've learned never to say never.  In any case you need to quit smoking now before you do have a heart attack and maybe this was a wake-up call.
Avatar universal
Dear Jeannie,
The doctor did not ask you about the use of birth control pills/hormones.  If you are using these, or taking any other hormones for other problems, you may have experienced what is known as a TIA.  If this is a possibility, I would stop taking the hormonal medication, and call your doctor.  Young women who smoke have a greater chance of having a blood clot and/or stroke when they use the birth control pill for any reason.
Sincerely,
Ginny
238668 tn?1232735930
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Ginny - Please refrain from giving medical advice.  Thanks.
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor,
I am sorry.  I will refrain from offering medical advice in the future.  In this instance, I was concerned about Jeannie's welfare and thought that this might have been a possibility in her situation.  Again, I am sorry and apoligize for any harm that I may have done.
Sincerely,
Ginny
238668 tn?1232735930
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
No problem.  I do agree that Jeannie needs to see a doctor but I do not want to unduly alarm her.  Thanks for your understanding.
Avatar universal
Could you please explain to me what a cardiolite stress test is?  Is it like a thallium stress test.  I am 42 and have had what I thought was indigestion.  I work at a hospital and had an ekg done during one of the episodes.  It showed non-specific anterolateral T abnormalities with T neg. in I,L,V2-V6.  EkG became normal after pain was gone.  My doctor looked at the EKG and said it was minimal change if any and said that the machines that read these things out notice the slightest of changes and he said he didnt feel like it was significant but that he would do a cardiolite stress for my peace of mind.  What I was wondering was are there any side effects to the medicine that they inject and is it worth risking these effects for the sake of peace of mind.  By the way, I do not have any risk factors except that I did smoke a half a pack a day until recently.  Thanks for any input you can give.  Oh, also with the indigestion like pain I dont have any shortness of breath, sweating or anything other than an uncomfortable feeling in my whole upper torso.
Avatar universal
Regarding Ginny's comment and the cardio's response.  Dear Dr. I understand the fear of untutored layman giving medical advice or dr's. giving medical advice without the benefit of seeing the patient first hand and getting more information from them and I totally support the caution necessary on this board regarding same.  

While Ginny's proposed diagnoses was inappropriate, the points she brought up were valid considerations, not only for the person posing the first question but for women in general.  Although there has recently been an increase in the study of heart disease in women, the information available is pitiful compared with what is known about heart disease in men.  While you did caution the young woman to quit smoking, her possible use of birth control combined with her smoking is an equally important consideration which was not mentioned.  Studies at respected medical schools like Harvard,have shown that we women (especially younger women) tend to discount heart disease because we think it can't happen to us but there are many lifestyle and genetic components that come in to play that can increase our risk.

Hopefully the information provided by both of you will help this young woman, and other women on the board, to stay healthy and free of heart disease.  

Avatar universal
I too will be 42 this December and am scheduled for a cardiolite exercise stress test next week.  I have a friend that is a radiologist specializing also in nuclear medicine....she works with many of the cardiologists in town.  She and her husband also own their own company selling and servicing the hardware (the nuclear med machines) used in these type of testing....mostly they sell the cardiac testing machines.  So when they scheduled me for the cardiolite, I called her!  She told me the cardiolite exercise stress test is just like a normal stress test except with the dye being injected to give better imaging.  She said it is extremely similiar to thallium stress testing....basically the same thing but the cardiolite is a little newer.  She said usually doctors will have a preference and choose the one they personally like the best, but the cardiolite and thallium tests are virtually interchangeable.  I couldn't find too many side effects from the cardiolite, except that if you are usually around children
under the age of 6 yrs you should not get any closer to them than 6 feet for 6 hours following the injection.  I guess Denise and I will both be finding out soon exactly what the test is like!  Dee
238668 tn?1232735930
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Lori - thanks for your insightful comments.  What you say is true and even young women can (although not commonly) get heart disease and blood clots.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, chest pains was started.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, MDeity attitude is what got me where I am was started.
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