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    Am I at risk for heart attack?
    issact posted:
    I'm not sure if it's okay to ask there sorts of questions here or if I'm in the right place, but I need some advice. My mother has been bugging me to see a cardiologist or doctor because of the symptoms I've been experiencing.

    I'm only 24, so I'm in complete denial that I could be at risk, but the past few weeks I've been paranoid. I'm obese at 365lbs and 5'11". I smoke, drink a lot of coffee, and don't have the healthiest of eating habits. I drink very casually, maybe 1-2 beers a month on average.

    I've always had problems with acid reflux intermittently depending on what I eat. I always figured it was because of my weight. But lately I've been experiencing random shortness of breath and tightening in my chest. I haven't had any sharp pains anywhere, though. The tightening is a weird sensation, like something is just there. It's like a sandbag is on my chest, and it comes and goes. It has only been really noticeable the past few days so I've been really paranoid lately.

    I'm considering calling my GP today, is it serious or just in my head?
    BillH99 responded:
    is it serious or just in my head?

    It is serious.

    Now I am not a medical professional. But without an exam and test it is not possible to tell from those symptoms if it is heart disease or acid reflux or something else.

    But untreated acid reflux can very serious problems.

    I'm obese at 365lbs and 5'11". I smoke, drink a lot of coffee, and don't have the healthiest of eating habits.

    While hopefully you have nothing serious, as you admit, you are not living a healthy lifestyle and it can lead to serious problems.

    Hopefully you will use this as a wake up call and make some changes.
    CardiostarUSA1 responded:

    "Am I at risk for heart attack?"

    Unfortunately, this seems more likely than not some day, though heart attack in those your age is uncommon-to-rare.

    "Is it serious"

    It may/could be, though there is no way tell for sure via the Internet.

    "I'm considering calling my GP today,"


    It has been known for quite some time now that atherosclerosis begins (the process/progression of) at a very early age, even as early as in the pre-teen/teenage years.

    Studies performed in the past have shown fatty streaks (represents the earliest precursor to plaque development and plaque is the pathological hallmark of atherosclerosis) as the beginning of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. Soft plaque (more dangerous and unpredictable than hard or calcified plaque) is the early stage of atherosclerosis.

    A study in the prestigious NEJM showed just how prevalent this problem is. Researchers performed autopsies on young soldiers who had died in combat from conditions other than CAD.

    Almost all the individuals had fatty streaks in the aorta (the largest artery in the human body). 50% of individuals under the age of 16 years and 85% of individuals under the age of 40 had them in their coronary arteries. More advanced atheroscleotic blockages were found in 30% of individuals under 20 years and 60% of individuals under 40 years old.

    The prevalence of these lesions directly correlated with increasing body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Cigarette smokers also had more widespread blockages.

    Best of luck down the road of life. Live long and prosper.

    Take care,


    WebMD member (since 8/99)



    Be well-informed

    LEARN ABOUT the Heart


    The Heart: (Human Anatomy) Pictures, Definition, Location in the Body and Heart Problems


    Heart info, cardiac tests (commonly performed, mainstream types) info, actual diagnostic images.

    _ . _

    Heart-Healthy Foods

    Avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Choose skim or low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt and reduced-fat cheeses. Eat more fish and poultry. Limit servings to five to seven ounces a day. Trim visible fat. Limit egg yolks. Substitute two egg whites for one whole egg or use an egg-substitute. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, breads and cereals. Use less salt and fat. Season with herbs and spices rather than with sauces, gravies and butter.

    _ . _

    Good to know, for the primary and secondary prevention of heart attack and brain attack/stroke

    Epidemiologic studies (EDS) have revealed risk factors (encompasses some new, novel, emerging) for atherosclerosis (typically affecting the carotid, coronary, and peripheral arteries), which includes age, gender, genetics (gene deletion, malfunction, or mutation), diabetes, smoking (includes second/thirdhand), inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), high LDL, small, dense LDL, RLP (remnant lipoprotein), high Lp(a), high ApoB, high Lp-PLA2, high triglycerides, HDL2b, LOW HDL (less than 40 mg/dL, an HDL level of 60/65 mg/dL or more is considered protective against coronary artery disease), high homocysteine (now questionable), and high C-reactive protein (CRP/hs-CRP).



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    Be a questioning patient. Talk to your doctor and ask questions. Studies show that patients who ask the most questions, and are most assertive, get the best results. Be vigilant and speak up!"

    - Charles Inlander, People's Medical Society


    It's your there.

    . .

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    James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
    I think that it would be a good idea to see your doctor.

    Whether or not your current symptoms are cardiac is something that you guys can determine together, but I think the bigger issue may be...the big picture.

    There are some risk factors for heart disease that we can't do much about - some of us have family histories or genetic make-ups that put as in a higher risk category from the get-go. But it's the things we do every day that actually contribute to about 80% of our total risk.

    Losing weight, stopping smoking - making these changes today will not only prolong your life, but it will improve your every day quality of life more than you can imagine.

    It's a new year. Think about it...!
    Joe Piscatella responded:
    I'd very much recommend you see your doctor right away, get checked out, then make appropriate lifestyle changes. As one who had bypass surgery at age 32 (I'm now 67), I know that age does not automatically confer protection.
    MySweetPumpkinPie responded:
    Maaaybe, it is time you change your diet. I am not a doctor either, but I understand where you are coming from. Definitely see a doctor and check out what you can do to eat better. You are still young and hopefully you can help yourself before you physically do something permenent.

    On both sides of my family, I have diabetes. My dad is legally blind and diabetic, my mom had every organ fail accept for her thyroid, shes had stints put in her veins, heart attacks, and was on dialysis because she recently past. I am glad she was in pain and very uncomfortable for a long time. I believe she is in heaven now in a body without flaws.

    All of this is from eating habits. I remember when I was younger, like in grammar to high school, I felt physically not that good, then I moved out. I got a taste of healthier foods and began to enjoy them. I also got very tired of the uncomfortable feeling, being tired, and a number of other things that were not that good. They all came from eating habits, so I looked into what I can do for me.

    It took me about 10 years to get where I am. Now, I am 29 and am considered healthy, I still struggle, but I am doing 10 times better. I exercise on a regular basis. Well I do a fast walk(for cardio) and work out probably 4-5 days a week. Honestly, I wouldn't start cold turkey, but start. You will feel much better in the long run. Walking is easier and just so long as you are keeping your heart rate up any fat that is stored in your heart will burn off including, pounds, and feeling physically better.

    First see a doctor and they can help you to understand what it is that you are feeling, why, how you can help yourself in eating better, how to look @ the packages, and so on.

    Hate to ramble on cause I can... I hope you feel better.

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