Chest Pain at 27? - Des Moines,IA

Updated on December 21, 2011
H.1. asks from Des Moines, IA
23 answers

Hi ladies,
My husband is 27 years old. He stresses so much about work and said the other day he is worried about his health because he was feeling chest tightness he believes is due to stress. This is saying a lot if he acknowledges a problem and is concerned. What can this be and what should we do?

A bit of background info: he works for a financial company doing IT work. In the last few months he has been putting in lots of extra hours as he has been put on top of a difficult project. Even in all other work situations tough he puts much stress on himself where he doesn't need to. He is a perfectionist and gets "obesessed" with projects of any sort and really struggles to tell himself to take it easy or when something really isn't THAT important. Think high school student freaking out about not getting an a+ in everything! And I find it strange because his work isn't life or death, its not even like his job is on the line or anything like that. He just likes to suceed and likes to impress....when he doesn't meet up to his own standards it causes him so much stress. He knows he does this but can't figure out how to change his mindset.

What can I do next?

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answers from Cumberland on

Get him to a cardiologist-it may be anxiety-but you need to know-believe it or not-a 27 yr old can have a heart attack.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

He needs to see a doc. It could be his heart....or stress....or something else. We're not doctors. He needs to see one!

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answers from Boston on

There are a lot of causes of chest pain, some indicative of serious conditions while others are much more minor. Chest pain can be caused by heart issues, lung issues, stress, indigestion, gall bladder etc. It is probably a good idea for your husband to get it checked out. If it is due to stress, they might be able to give him an anti anxiety med to get him through this stressful period. If it is caused by indigestion or stomach issues, maybe the pain can be alleviated by changes in diet. At any rate, chest pain can be scary! And if the cause is stress, the pain is likely to cause more stress (vicious cycle!). I hope he finds out what the cause is and figures out some way to work through it. Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Anxiety and stress affect people differently.

Since he's a hard-core type-A personality - I would make an appointment with his doctor - for a full physical - blood work and all.

hear attacks can happen at ANY age...seriously...not trying to scare you - but it does happen.

So get him in. Get him checked out.

Have him talk to the doctor about his anxiety/perfectionist/stress and see if there are some techniques that he can learn to combat the self-inflicted stress.

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answers from Richmond on

He should go get a full physical, 1- to have this checked out, and 2- I bet he hasn't had one since high school ;)

I have really bad anxiety; when I'm super stressed and overwhelmed, my chest gets EXTREMELY tight, like I can't push the air out of my lungs, and I can't take a deep breathe (which starts my whole hyperventilating thing)... I think it's probably stress/anxiety related.

He needs to get his blood pressure checked when he's having these pains, and any new and unusual symptoms warrant a trip to the ER immediately. Warning signs: numbness of EITHER arm, but not both, lax facial muscles, just acting 'not himself', drooling, gibberish, severe fatigue/headache... you get the picture.

Hope he feels better!

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answers from Norfolk on

It would be good for a doctor to check him out just to put his mind at rest.
Not every chest pain is a heart attack.
It's important to balance ones work life with an outside of work hobby that you enjoy.
Some guys fish, hunt, golf, go bowling, ride bikes, run/jog, make bird houses (work with wood), make stained glass lamps - you get the idea - something physical and/or mentally stimulating that helps you step back from your work mindset for awhile.
Something that helps you step away from work can rest you in ways (even if it exhausts you) that help so that you can step back into it with a renewed vigor.
I think something physical will be good in helping with his stress levels.

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answers from Dallas on

Start with calling the family doctor to get a diagnosis. He will probably do an EKG and decide whether you need a referral to a cardiologist.

If he agrees it is stress related......An anti-anxiety medication might help your husband. Does he exercise? Exercise helps to relieve stress. However, if when he exercises, he feels short of breath or the chest pain increases..... then get to the doc ASAP.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I used to have nasty chest pains that were diagnosed as esophagitis, and that was related to stress, too.

If your husband wants to handle this in the perfect way, he should see his doctor and get a complete checkup. Chest pain is a symptom of many things, but heart attacks do happen to people in their 20s.

If there's a physical problem, he can follow his doctor's instructions to the letter and impress himself with his own conscientiousness. Maybe he can ask his doctor for advice about what to do for stress symptoms; doctors sometimes get the message through better than loving wives do. Even driven people can learn how to take care of themselves.

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answers from San Antonio on

He needs to see an internal med doc or a cardiologist. He needs some blood work and some tests and a good talk or 2 with someone on managing stress. His HR dept. may have a list of professionals he can see.
A few yrs ago my husband (also a type A+ person) was working on a huge project and was very stressed. His blood pressure was very high and he put on a lot of weight. He had to check in with the company nurse 2 x's a week for a couple months to get his b.p. checked. If it was too high, she would send him home!!!
I finally talked him into changing docs. The other one he had was a blooming idiot and never got to the bottom of any issues and had horrible follow-up. In 2 weeks, my husband has an appt with an internal medicine doctor. When you think about it, as we age, we are more likely to need a doc who knows and understands all about the inside of the body and all it's systems. This is one reason we are changing from a family med doc to internal med as our PCP.
Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My husband and I both deal with anxiety issues. Before our wedding (at age 26), he ended up in the e.r. b/c of chest pain. Anxiety.
I ended up in the e.r. at 27 b/c of rapid heartrate (125bpm) that went on for a week! Ekg and all tests were normal. Anxiety.
It sucks. Really bad, but it's something that you have to learn to deal with and manage. Have him talk to his doc and see what they can't work out. I've chosen meds in the past, but don't like being on them so I'm personally working on it through prayer and lifesyle changes.

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answers from Washington DC on

It could be panic attacks. What Bethy and Rachel are talking about are panic attacks. They can be vicious. I have had several panic attacks. Once, it was so bad that I thought it was something else much more severe. I struggled to slightly inhale due to the tightness and pain in my chest. I was flat on the floor, couldn't move. I called an ambulance. They checked my vitals right away, I was shocked to hear that all the vitals were fine.... panic attacks. I'm 30, and have had panic attacks since I was 20.

I found that panic attacks can be worse if I haven't had enough water during the day- I've found they are much worse if I also have had too much caffeine.

A full physical is what is in order regardless of what it is.

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answers from Des Moines on

I didn't read all the responses, but he should get it checked out. I'm 31, and I've had chest pains for a couple of months. Been to the doctor several times, and they're looking into several things, none of which are cardiac. Mine is probably related to acid reflux, and there are some major problems that can occur with untreated acid reflux for as long as I've had it. Bottom line - something may be wrong, even though it may not be cardiac, and it could still be a big deal.


answers from Washington DC on

I certainly don't want to scare you but I want to share a few stories...
My husband well before we met had a mild heart attack at 21. He stated that he had tightness and felt very tired. He didn't have any scaring but, did go through many stress tests as well as an EKG.

Now my brother at age 39 just a few months ago had a massive heart attack. He lives with my Mom. He woke her up at about 2am one morning complaining of chest pains and said he felt like there was a belt being tightened around his shoulders and it was warm. She called an ambulance. They did an EKG at the house and thank the Lord that she did it incorrectly because the valve that was clogged was one that doesn't show on the EKG normally. Once he got to the hospital they did blood tests as well as another EKG. The EKG turned out normal at the hospital and the doctor was infuriated that he was given the 1st results. Once the bloodwork came back, he saw the enzimes in his blood that indicate that he in fact did have a heart attack. The next morning he was in surgery having a stent put in. They called what he had The Widow Maker. It is a silent killer and usually goes undetected. Heart and artery issues run on my Mom's side of the family.

Please get him to go to the doc and get checked out. It's better to be on top of these issues then to let them fester!

I hope he is in good health and just needs a break!
Take care.



answers from Chicago on

Chest pain can be lots of things but he needs to have the serious stuff ruled out. I suffer from costochondritis which minics many of the same symptoms of a heart attack including severe chest pain. Look it up.



answers from Washington DC on

As others have said -- first and foremost and immediately, while he is still willing to admit to feeling this way, have him get to a doctor and ask to be seen by a cardiologist for an exam. A primary doctor may dismiss it as "nothing" but it would be in your best interest to push for a referral for a full workup -- if only to eliminate the possibility of his heart being the problem. Very likely as you say, it's stress, but eliminate his heart as an issue first. Then at least you will know whether the heart is a concern or not, and let's hope it's not.

You say he "knows he does this (is too perfectionist) but can't figure out how to change his mindset." That's because he can't do it alone. Heart problem or no heart problem, please, get him to a counselor or therapist who has experience dealing (1) with men, who often are reluctant to talk about themselves to a "stranger" and (2) with work-related stress and perfectionism. Others have mentioned getting your husband some anti-anxiety drugs and that might help but really he should take a long look at his total life pattern of perfectionism and the toll it is taking on him. H needs to learn to modify his behaviors, not just medicate them with anti-anxiety drugs.

If he resists getting help, please remind him he needs to do this not just for himself but for you and your kids. Be very frank with him: If he drops dead of a stress-related health issue, that leaves you and the kids in a horrible situation. Or even if he never dies from this, he will be always striving to be perfect and will work longer and longer hours -- hurting your family life and teaching your children his perfectionist, stressed ways, which will hurt them as adults.

I hope he is willing to get all the help he needs.



answers from New York on

Definitely go see a doctor. Rule out any serious physical issues - then see if it's anxiety. The good thing is that anxiety can be relieved quite a bit with medication and counseling. Also, anxiety comes and goes. So once you deal with it, it will hopefully go away at least for a while.



answers from Minneapolis on

Start with getting his heart checked out. If all tests clean then I suggest seeing a chiropractor to see if it is spine/nerve related. I had severe stomach pains that a doctor thought was an ulcer but was actually due to a pinched nerve in my back. I also get sharp pains in my chest (heart area) that are due to a specific spot in my back being misaligned. In addition, getting a good quality massage monthly can help relieve his stress.



answers from Rapid City on

When in doubt err on the side of safety. This means that if there is a question, it is better to go to the doctor then to wait it out to see what happens. There is many things it could be but we aren't doctors and can't give a diognosos over here. It is probably not as bad as the imagination can make it but just in case it is better to get it checked out.



answers from Redding on

Chest pains should always be checked out. Always.
They can be caused by anything or be the symptom of anything.

You won't know unless you get a professional medical assessment and take it from me, prolonging it just prolongs the stress added to not knowing what it is.
An EKG can easily detect if the pain is heart related.
Ruling that part out can be a big relief.

Anxiety can do bad things to the body and definitely mimic a heart attack, but you shouldn't make any assumptions without a work up.

Best wishes.


answers from Lakeland on

He should really see his doctor. Chest pains can be so many different things. It could be his heart, indigestion, panic attack, etc. But he should have it checked out ASAP.

Just because he is young doesn't mean he can't have a heart attack. My dad was 36 when he first had one and died from the second at 44. My older brother was 33 when he had his first and died at 42 from the second one. (Heart disease runs in my family so I am not suggesting that he has it too, I am only trying to point out that age has nothing to do with it).

I have also read at least three articles of high school boys this year that have collapsed on the field playing sports and died of heart failure. This is not something to just let go.



answers from Louisville on

he needs to go to the hospital right away if it happens again and by that i mean between now and the time he goes to the dr. call them today and tell them what happened he needs an ekg



answers from Minneapolis on

Have him go to the doctor, especially during one of his episodes, to rule out heart conditions, also you might want to do a blood test (watch for the inflammation index too). Then you can look at other possibilities. Chest pains is one of the symptoms of gull stones. I had chest pain spell that started out as sporadic and mild and lasting for half an hour and grew regular (once in two weeks) and severe, lasting for several days. It took 7 years and a pancriatitis to get a diagnosis, otherwise all doctors (one in ER) were telling me they don't see anything wrong.
Besides chest pains, gull stones when passing can produce symptoms of numbness-like aches in shoulders and pain in the lower back (in my case also slight numbness in hands and difficulty to breath).


answers from Jacksonville on

He should see his doctor. It could be something as simple as mild heartburn (trust me... I've been there, and then suddenly one day---POW. Full blown, thought i was having a heart attack. It was heartburn. Really). OR it could be something with his heart. OR it could be myriad other things that all these ladies have mentioned, OR possibly something they didn't mention. The only way to rule anything out, is for him to see his doctor.

Not knowing what it is could actually be causing it to worsen, as the added stress from worrying about what it MIGHT be could create more stress, worsening whatever it is underlying what he is feeling. Vicious cycle.

Get him seen. So you will all rest better. :)

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