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Forum Name: Ischemic Heart Disease

Question: Stress and Heart attacks at Young Age


 medint - Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:45 am

A friend of mine has a close friend who supposedly had a heart attack due to stress. She is about 21 years old, which is young for a heart attack. Can stress cause/contribute to this?
 Shannon Morgan, CMA - Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:32 pm

User avatar Your friend probably did not have a heart attack - 21 years of age is not old enough to have coronary disease.

Stress can be hard on the heart, though and many abnormalities can happen. In young people, mainly PVCs (palpitations), SVT (sudden very heart rate, even at rest) and tachycardia (heart rate over 100 bpm at rest).

If one's life is very stressful, it can attribute to coronary disease, however. This will usually show up in middle age or older. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule in medicine. Rarely, people as young as mid 30s have experienced heart attacks.
 Jackie E. Pool, LPN - Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:39 am

User avatar I would like to add to what Shannon has told you already. Having worked step-down unit on a cardiac floor for over ten years, I will tell you that heart disease can happen at any age. The American heast Association has a good discussion on statistics at their website.
SVT, Supravetricular Tachycardia has many causes and some can be dangerous.

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a general term describing any rapid heart rate originating above the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart. SVT is an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. Specific types of SVT include atrial fibrillation, AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

SVT generally begins and ends quickly. Many people experience short periods of SVT and have no symptoms. However, SVT becomes a problem when it occurs frequently or lasts for long periods of time and produces symptoms. Common symptoms associated with SVT include palpitations, light headedness, and chest pain. SVT may also cause confusion or loss of consciousness.


Treatment of SVT is aimed at correcting the cause of the arrhythmia or controlling the rapid heart rates. SVT can occur because of poor oxygen flow to the heart muscle, lung disease, electrolyte imbalances, high levels of certain medications in your body, abnormalities of the heart's electrical conduction system, or structural abnormalities of the heart. Your doctor will try to correct the cause of the SVT. However, if there is no apparent cause for the SVT, methods of controlling the periods of rapid heart rates are tried. Medications are generally helpful in maintaining a normal heart rhythm. Interventions such as cardioversion or electrophysiology study/catheter ablation may be required to control the SVT.

If you are having symptoms you think may be heart related, the FIRST thing to do is call your doctor.

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