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Avatar universal

Chest/Arm pain numbness

Hello, I'm a 19 year old male and I've been having some heart problems lately.

The heart palpitations started big time about 2 months ago. The feeling of my heart skipping a beat and then seeming to freak out was accompanied with stabs of pain from the center of my chest.
Now I have heart palpitations/murmurs every day, there's a constant pain in my chest and left arm, as well as a feeling of numbness similar to when you strike your funny bone in your elbow.

I am 19 years old, male, about 280lbs. I've been obese for about 6 years, and I get very little exercise. My family has a long vibrant history of heart disease and high blood pressure. My grandfather has Angina, and my mother has Pericarditis, so i feel there's a good chance I'm predisposed to heart disease.
I have NOT been to see a doctor, because until very recently my mother didn't take my condition seriously enough to warrant a visit.
I managed to convince her that I needed to see a doctor, but I was told that we have no health insurance. So no doctor visit for me. I'm hoping to get insurance sometime this week and get to see a doctor before week's end.
  A few minutes ago I had another one of these "attacks" and it was the worst yet. My heart seemed to explode, and it felt like someone was stabbing my left arm with a knife.  
    So please tell me, am I at risk for a heart attack or a stroke? I know i need to see a doctor, I'm just trying to keep myself sane and not sink into a panic attack. I'm constantly anxious and dwelling on my heart health, I can't seem to stop. Every time it happens i wonder, "Is it gonna be a heart attack this time?"
Is what I'm feeling typical heart attack symptoms? What else could be causing it? And how would I know if i really WAS having a heart attack? From what I've seen, the symptoms can be so commonly mistaken for heartburn or indegestion. How can i tell the difference?

Thank you if you read this, i could really use a little advice.
3 Responses
612551 tn?1450025775
You symptoms sound serious to me, but your young age is in your favor, but your over weight (you didn't give a height but if you are under 6' 6" + your way over weight) is a risk factor against you, as is the family history you quoted.

Consider a visit to the hospital emergency room, they will check you out.  They will not turn you away because you can't pay and don't have insurance.  I don't know how it works, the ER will bill you for their services and you'll have to deal with that some way, but from what I understand if you do not have the resources to pay ... I have had insurance for all of my adult life, so I do not have any experience with the ER methods, but I do know they will check your heart without first requiring you show the ability to pay.  At 19 you may be able to go there on your own, not put your parents as responsible, this I do not know either.

In any case, you do need to be checked by a medical doctor, best if one who specializes in heart conditions.  I think most ER facilities deal with several heart attack symptom cases every day so they are well qualified to make a determination.

Sorry to read of you "bad luck", but one thing is for sure, getting you weight back to somewhere near recommended for your height will help in many ways.
1137980 tn?1281289046
Hi i read your post this morning and sorry that you are going thru this.  First off let me tell you that your family history does not come into play here UNLESS someone has had a heart attack in your family under the age of 50 so if not relax a little bit.  You are definately stressing out your body a little bit with carrying around the extra pounds so your body is forcing your heart to work a lttle harder.  The main thing is that you live in the United States and you cannot be denied treatment anywhere here because of lack of insurance and if it were me and i was so afraid i would just go to the nearest emergency room probably sooner than later to be checked out.  The cannot tell you that you cannot be treated because of your financial situation or they could lose all fo their federal funding which keeps their doors open and you could sue them so don't wait if this continues.  You are asking what the symtoms are for a heart attack in a male....they are pretty specific and not general.....
1. A crushing or acute pressure in the center of the chest
2. Pain that radiates in the left arm, shoulder and into the jaw line
3. Shortness of breath
4. Dizziness
5. Nausea
6. Weakness/sweating
Understand that these symtoms may come and go.  Again do not worry about your family history  unless the above criteria comes into play or also if your family has a hx. of blood clots.  As to your question if you are at risk for a heart attack/stroke....well even in your physical condition you have age on your side which is very important here but you are not doing yourself any favors by carrying around the extra pounds.  If it were me and you can tolerate it i would make sure that you are taking a aspirin every single day and i mean one of those cheapo 5 grain type of aspirins to at least thin your blood in case the remote does happen here.  If you were having a heart attack you would know it trust me....the symtoms come on like a freight train....i couldn't even begin to guess what else it could be because there are possibly a hundred options from sciatic nerve issues because of the weight gain, to angina, to eating the wrong foods that are causing a vagus nerve response...all i know is that i would take an aspirin and if this doesn't subside head to the hospital anyway....you can't take chances with the heart and most hospitals offer if you ask them and tell them your situation a "write off" plan meaning that they all write off a percentage of their pts. that they see on their taxes....first thing tho is to put things into perspective.....are you having a heart attack?  i would look to the list i just posted and go from there...the odds believe it or not are actually with you even with the extra weight gain but you could have high cholesterol and a plaque build up because of your dietary intake.and what you are eating...i would not wait.....any chest pain is suspect .....
Avatar universal
Thank you, and Jerry as well, for your replies. I feel slightly better now.

In regards to your list of symptoms: I feel several of those symptoms every few days. Particularly the pain/pressure in my chest and left arm and the weakness and nausea. Also my hands are extremely sweaty.
My family seems to write these symptoms off, saying it can't be a heart attack if it happens so often.
My thinking is that these symptoms are a warning that SOMETHING is off that might cause problems.

My question is: How long do these symptoms show up before a heart attack? Can they occur for weeks?  And with these palpitations/murmurs whatever they are, could they be causing damage to my heart when they happen?

Be aware: For the last week or so I've been coming down with bronchitis (i get it almost every year.) So some of these symptoms could be totally unrelated or they could be being exacerbated. I've noticed that since I got sick I'm coughing up junk, my breathing is a little more labored, I'm achy, and my chest feels tighter.
My family also brings up that the constant pain in my left arm could be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. I am on the computer quite a bit, both for work and leisure, so this may or may not be the case.
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