Heart Problems at 23?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2008
Heart Problems at 23?
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 3:49pm

I am a 23 year old female. I've had an irregular heart beat since I can remember. My heart beats faster when I breathe in and slower when I breathe out. Doctors never acted like it was a problem, and half the time never seemed to notice. Well, when I went to my female doctor last month, she noticed it was irregular and ran a blood test. Everything was normal, including my thyroid. My blood pressure is on the lower side - when I had it tested it was 102/60. I am not on any medications other than Yaz birth control. I am not overweight (5'7, 132 lbs) and try to eat healthy. I stay away from red meat most of the time and eat lots of fish and chicken. I love vegetables and fruit so I eat those often. I did used to smoke (about 5 cigs a day) but have cut down to one a day and will hopefully stop completely in the very near future. I don't have a history of 'early' heart problems in my family, but there are a few on both sides of the family that have had heart problems later in life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 8:45pm

Welcome to Heart Health, dear new friend! This is going to be a long reply, but I hope to give you some information to arm yourself with.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American adults today. And while everyone seems to be fully aware that heart disease remains the leading cause of death, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that only 31 percent of Americans are aware of the five most common early warning symptoms of an impending heart attack. This is very important, as the more quickly we seek care, the better the prognosis.

The bottom line: The symptoms of a heart attack have changed. Fifty years ago, the "classic" heart attack was extremely common -- hundreds of thousands of middle-aged men experienced a sudden onset of crushing chest pain, profuse sweating, severe anxiety and a strong sense of imminent death. More than half of these attacks were fatal. Today, heart attacks are occurring at a later age, the symptoms are less typical and women are as likely to experience a heart attack as men.

Here are the five most common early warning signs of a heart attack:

-- Chest pain.

-- Pain or discomfort in the neck and jaw.

-- Pain or discomfort in the arm, shoulder or back.

-- Sudden feeling of profound fatigue.

-- Sudden shortness of breath.

Women are more likely to ignore the early warning signs of a heart attack than men. What's more, women tend to seek help later, and when seen by a physician, the diagnosis is often missed or the symptoms erroneously ascribed to a minor ailment. As a consequence, women are much more likely to die from an acute heart attack than men. Many factors contribute to an increased risk of heart attack, including: being a male or a post-menopausal female, or having a strong family history, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, cigarette smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Sadly, even if you have none of these risk factors and seem the least likely individual to have a heart attack, you are still at risk. We all must know and be able to recognize the five early warning signs of a heart attack. If you suspect you may be having a heart attack, call 911 and take an aspirin. Early intervention is an absolute lifesaver.

The weakening of the heart’s pumping ability causes: Blood and fluid to "back up" into the lungs
The buildup of fluid in the feet, ankles, and legs
Tiredness and shortness of breath

Just as importantly, heart disease knows no age, gender or race. It may seem 23 is too young to have heart issues, but it's actually not. Having awakened, gasping for breath, could be a sign of a heart problem or sleep apnea. I know you don't want to hear this next statement, but you really need to see a cardiologist. From experience, I learned that some GPs would rather try to treat the symptoms instead of referring their patients to a specialist. Don't settle for that. Insist that you see a cardio and do so soon. My problem wasn't found until I did see a specialist and I owe my life to him. Literally.

You can learn even more about heart issues here >>http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/heart-attack.html?nlcid=hr|08-01-2008| and here >>http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/sleep-apnea-linked-night-heart-attacks.html?nlcid=hr|08-01-2008|

Please post back and let us know how you're doing and especially what you find out. My thoughts are with you and I thank you for visiting us here.

With Heart Hugs, Geri