Experts have warned that “fit and healthy” women as young as 22 could be struck down by a little-known condition.
When you think of a heart attack, you immediately picture someone who is older and might already have underlying health issues.
But experts have warned that women as young as 22 could be struck down by a little-known condition. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) happens when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart, the New York Post reports.
It can slow or block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, abnormalities in heart rhythm or sudden death, experts at the Mayo Clinic say. In general, it’s an uncommon condition, but doctors are urging women to push for a diagnosis and care when it comes to the symptoms.
The condition is most common in women ages 30 to 60 – but experts have warned that it is reaching fit and healthy women as young as 22. One 33-year-old woman said she felt as though she had an “elephant on her chest” and could barely walk due to the condition.
When she first started feeling unwell, she felt as though she didn’t need to worry as she said she was “generally fit and healthy”. Michele DeMarco waited in a British emergency room for 45 minutes, with doctors dismissing her symptoms as a panic attack.
After multiple tests, it was revealed that she was actually having a heart attack, one report stated.
Doctors had believed Ms DeMarco had been “addicted to cocaine” and she claims that medics “didn’t know what to do”.
Read More: Little known heart attack striking ‘fit and healthy’ women