I recently read of the tragic death of gay adult movie star Erik Rhodes.

On his Tumblr blog, Erik was quite open about his use of steroids, one of the elements that may have contributed to his heart attack.

While heart attacks normally occur over the age of 50, they can happen in very young men, even without steroids or substances. I have one patient who had his first heart attack at the age of 22.

Infection with HIV, diabetes, and strong family histories of heart disease can increase the risk of heart attack.

A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have even the slightest worry that pain may be heart-related, seek medical help fast.

Heart attack symptoms can include:

* Chest pain or discomfort. This involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the centre or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

* Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.

* Shortness of breath, which may occur with or before chest discomfort.

* Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Symptoms also may include sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), and lack of energy.

If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, call emergency services right away. Quick treatment can save your life.

Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.

Every second counts with a heart attack.

If you witness someone collapse or lose consciousness, start CPR immediately.

If you are in a place that has a defibrillator, have someone bring the machine to the patient, apply the pads and follow the instructions. Most certified first aiders will know how to use these machines.

The bottom line is anyone who is suffering with chest pain may be having a heart attack. Seek medical help immediately, no matter how minor the symptoms.

INFO: Read more at www.thehealthybear.com

By DR GEORGE FORGAN-SMITH

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