“You say ‘chest pain’ and the first thing that pops in their mind, no matter what their age, is ‘heart attack,’” says Albert Ahn, MD, clinical instructor of internal medicine at NYU Langone Health. But for younger patients without any known cardiac risks such as diabetes, it’s probably something benign, he says. Most times, chest pain in young adults is related to heartburn, stress, or anxiety, he says, or you might have strained your chest wall muscles during exercise. Still, better safe than sorry. Talk to your doctor if you’ve been having sudden chest pain, especially if the pain doesn’t go away on its own. Here are more scary chest pains you could mistake for a heart attack.
Like chest pain, a fluttering heart doesn’t necessarily signal cardiac problems. The wild beating can feel scary, but triggers can include everything from stress and and dehydration to lack of sleep and too much caffeine, says Dr. Ahn. “That’s all of us on any given day,” he says. In that case, cutting back on coffee and workout supplements (which often contain stimulants), and reducing stress with self-care should be enough to calm your heartbeat. Visit your doctor if palpitations become a pattern, or are paired with chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Ahn. Don’t miss these other weird symptoms you didn’t know were caused by stress.