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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 18 years

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Did I have a heart attack ? please suggest

Alright im not sure if I had a heart attack tonight or what, but im really worried. I was walking to a bus stop with a few of my friends at about 7:45pm-it was cold out and the ground had about 6 inches of snow. It must have been 36-40 degrees(not sure, thats a really vague guess...all I know is it was COLD). We decided it would be fun to try and run through a meadow to the highway, well we all began running for about 35 seconds. When we stopped I had a really hard time catching my breath-I couldnt make full breaths and my heart was pumping very fast and very hard. I was in a store buying something (right after meadow-store is next to meadow) and I still didnt have my breath back, for some reason putting pressure on my heart helped somewhat. I was at the checkout counter and suddenly my left arm and the left side of my face got really numb, I got really dizzy and light-headed and my breathing became even harder. I walked to a bench as fast as I could and lied down for a few minutes, I felt okay when I tried to stand back up, and I can breath again-but not big breaths. Whenever I take a big breath my chest stings and I have to cough. My chest is still really sore! Im 17 years old, 5'11'', and about 189 pounds. Im a little overweight but its not bad. I have been going to the gym regularly for a month and a half now and doing rigorous cardio exercises. I have a hard time believing it's just because im out of shape... really worried. ...Did I have a heart attack? Does this need a doctors attention(immediatly?) Sorry for the long post! thanks
Mon, 14 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
First of all it is very unlikely that a 17 year old girl would be having a heart attack unless there is a history of sudden cardiac death at a young age (meaning someone in her family dropping dead suddenly without an apparent reason) or history of premature coronary artery disease or congenital coronary artery disease (such as an anomalous coronary artery). It sounds like your symptoms can be attributed to you running in the cold. I'm assuming you don't have any other significant medical problems, such as diabetes or dyslipidemia (high cholesterol). You should still get this checked out by your doctor, particularly if this is a frequent occurrence. To the poster who suggested an angiogram, that is definitely not indicated at this time. There are other less invasive tests that can be done first (if even needed in her case). An angiogram is a routine test that is done in patients everyday, but it is not without risks and should only be done if truly indicated. There are very few reasons for a 17 year old to have a coronary angiogram.
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