Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor
Informed patients make better patients.
I feel like I have heart cramps. What could this be?
I have high cholesterol and I am only 19 years old. I am in very good health other than that little issue. I run a 6 minute mile everyday and I lift weights. I am also in Air Force ROTC. When the summer started I've been having what feels like a heart cramp. In the area around my heart I feel pressure then it will go away after a second or two. I always feel fine working out and doing physical things. The most common time these "anomalies" happen is when I am sitting down or in a weird sitting/laying position. A heart cramp is almost the only way I can describe it, but it is not a normal cramp. Another way to describe it would be - it feels like someone is poking my heart. It's possible it maybe a strained chest muscle but to me it just feels deeper than the pecs [pectoral muscles] and I honestly believe it is my heart. When I was checked out by my doctor about 4 months ago, she said everything was fine with my heart. Vitals were all fine, blood cell count was excellent, and blood pressure was that of a cross country runners. Heart disease and heart attacks along with high cholesterol run in my family. If you can send me any information about this, I would surely appreciate it. Thank you.
submitted by James from Conneaut, Ohio on 8/19/2011
by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, George Younis, MD
Chest cramps lasting one or two seconds when resting without any pain when exercising vigorously are not likely related to heart disease. Muscle cramps, stomach pain, and stress/anxiety are more likely causes for your symptoms. However, only your doctor can appropriately draw final conclusions about your symptoms (and risk factors).
See also on this site:
Has your question or a similar one already been answered?
Search all the Heart Doctor questions and answers.
To search for a doctor or access St. Luke's physician referral service, use the "Find a Doctor" link at the top of this page.
Updated August 2011