Avatar universal

Constant chest discomfort and SOB in 21 y/o?

21 y/o skinny male here (5'10" and 135 lbs). My left chest has been hurting for the past 9 months or so.

My pain is about a 2-3/10 in intensity.  It is probably wrong to call it a pain.  It is fairly mild, more of a discomfort.  It is mostly centered around the left-center of my chest, maybe 1-2 inches left of my sternum.  It is about level with or 1-2 inches higher on my chest than my left nipple.  It is often somewhat of a generalized numbness/heaviness felt throughout the left side of my chest. I sometimes feel it in my left shoulder.

I have experienced this pain virtually 24/7 for the past 9 months.  The pain is very hard to describe, although if I had to describe it I would say it is more of a dull/aching pain, or a slight heaviness. It sometimes feels sharp for a period of a few seconds. Breathing in VERY deeply seems to cause some tightness on my left side, but normal breathing does not usually affect it.  I am not coughing at all.  Pressing on or massaging my chest does not affect the pain.  I often feel palpitations to some degree, and my heartbeat is often noticeable enough that I could probably determine my pulse without pressing my hand to my body.

I experience shortness of breath mostly after running for a few minutes or trying to walk uphill.  Walking on a flat surface or even jogging downhill usually does not worsen the pain.  I was in very good shape prior to the onset of this pain.  I would run for 2-5 miles in the mornings, and on weekends I would go on 10+ mile hikes with 6000'+ feet of elevation gain without issue.  Now it is hard for me to jog for more than a few minutes, and hiking has become difficult enough that I have just about stopped altogether. There is a 8-mile 4000' gain hike near my home that I used to complete fairly easily.  Now I take more time, have to make constant stops to catch my breath and feel much more fatigued afterwards.  Even walking up a flight of stairs can leave me somehat breathless.

I also have noticeable bags under my eyes feel a bit more fatigued in general even though I eat well, generally stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.

There were three things that immediately preceded the onset of this pain, and I am not sure which is to be blamed.  The pain began a few days after I returned from a long flight across the country, during which I was in the same plane seat for 9-12 hours each way.  When I returned, I had a possible case of pneumonia during which I had a heavy and productive cough.  I will also admit that I first smoked marijuana around this time.  I let the smoke sit in my lungs for a few seconds before exhaling, and I was coughing heavily.  I also experienced a rapid heart rate, palpitations and heavy left-side chest pain/pressure while intoxicated.  I have not smoked marijuana or used any other drugs since.

A basic workup was performed at the ER, which included an EKG, chest xray and troponin blood test.  They all came back normal.  They also performed a routine blood test, and my results were excellent except for a slight b12 deficiency.  They gave me a b12 injection before discharging me with instructions to follow up with my pcp.

As for family medical history, my sister has an asymptomatic heart murmer and my uncle was found to have an enlarged heart chamber and a problematic valve after collapsing during exercise (he was 22 years old).  He had shortness of breath for weeks leading up to the incident, and subsequently underwent surgery to correct the problem. He is now fine.  All of my grandparents and great-grandparents lived to a ripe old age (85+).

I have an appointment with my pcp coming up and plan to get a stress test and echo to rule out cardiac issues, but I wanted to post here to get an opinion on the differential diagnosis or see if someone has experienced something similar. 

Thank you very much for your time.  All responses are greatly appreciated!

1 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Yes i am also having this type of pain on my left shoulder and left side of the chest from 8 months. This started after 1 month when i come back from a long flight and my age is 20. We can talk more because we have same symptoms waiting for your reply
Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Heart Disease Community

Top Heart Disease Answerers
159619 tn?1538180937
Salt Lake City, UT
11548417 tn?1506080564
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is a low-fat diet really that heart healthy after all? James D. Nicolantonio, PharmD, urges us to reconsider decades-long dietary guidelines.
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Fish oil, folic acid, vitamin C. Find out if these supplements are heart-healthy or overhyped.
Learn what happens before, during and after a heart attack occurs.
What are the pros and cons of taking fish oil for heart health? Find out in this article from Missouri Medicine.
How to lower your heart attack risk.