I suffer from pain in my left arm and chest. My blood pressure is also sometimes high. What should I do?

Chest pain is a common sign of heart trouble in older adults, although thankfully problems like heart attacks are very rare in adolescents and young adults. Chest pain that moves into the left arm and that is worse with exertion and better with rest could be a sign of lack of blood flow to the heart, even in a young person, so it is important to be evaluated by a health professional. They will likely listen to your heart and may order blood work or a tracing of your heart’s electrical rhythm.

The best thing young people can do to prevent heart disease is to avoid all tobacco products, exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat and fish, and maintain a healthy weight. This will help prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which can then help prevent heart disease. In fact, young people who make it to age 50 with healthy diets and exercise patterns, who don’t smoke cigarettes, and who don’t have blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol problems, have been shown to live very long and healthy lives free of heart disease.

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