Saturday, June 24, 2017

A stroke, heart attack or acid reflux?

Query: I’m a 24-year-old woman and have symptoms such as headaches and dizziness when I bow my head. I also feel faintish at times but this lasts for about three to four seconds. I do not actually faint but feel as if I am about to; this feeling settles down afterwards. I have also started developing occasional chest pains where I feel pain shooting up my chest. Sometimes I feel the pain on the left side and sometimes on the right. These symptoms usually last for a couple of seconds and then they go away. But since I have been getting them quite frequently, I have started to worry. I started noticing these symptoms over a week ago and have not felt them before. I wanted to know if this could be a heart attack, a stroke or gastritis or if there could be any kind of link between the symptoms
- (Madara Jayasinghe from Dehiwala).  
Answer: It is very unlikely that you are having a heart attack or a stroke. The dizziness could be vertigo, which is an imbalance in the middle ear. The chest pains are unrelated to this. You need medical attention however and it is advisable to visit your family doctor first. Chest pains can be related to many things, there’s not enough information to make a definite diagnosis. Since it doesn’t sound cardio-related, it could be muscular pains or even neck pain. Considering your age, it is highly unlikely to be a heart problem but it definitely warrants investigation. At your age, a stroke is not common and there should be more symptoms if this were the case. Unless you have a family history of strokes it’s unlikely that you would be diagnosed with one. There are many risk factors such as having a predisposition to blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol, which are very unlikely at your age. It could be gastritis but all this could also indicate an acid reflux. When you have acid reflux, you suffer from heartburn, belching and burping.   

The reason you are experiencing these symptoms so suddenly could be due to stress from factors such as changing your job. If not, they could be related to family issues, diet and lifestyle changes that trigger these symptoms. You could also be suffering from migraines, which are common at your age. Although it may not be very serious, you should definitely see a general physician and get medical attention.