How To Know if Chest Pain Require Medical Attention?

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: December 4, 2019

tampa cardio heart pain chest pain heart attack

Experiencing chest pain can be terrifying.

It is only natural to assume the worse. While chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, it can also signal many other conditions – some serious, and some not so serious. How do you know if your chest pain requires a trip to the emergency room, or simply some heartburn relief medicine?

Heart attacks kill more people every year than any other medical condition. People tend to immediately associate chest pain with a heart attack, they often times rush to the hospital only to discover that they had indigestion. Opposing that, sometimes a heart attack isn’t experienced truly as chest pain and can be ignored thinking it will go away.

How do you tell the difference?

Most heart attack survivors describe the feeling like less of actual pain, so to speak, and more of tightness or heaviness around their upper body, usually focused on the left side, though the exact location can be difficult for many to identify. The chest sensations associated with heart attacks are referred to in the medical world by their Latin name, angina pectoris.

And while chest pains are certainly the most well-known symptom of a heart attack, it’s extremely important to take note of other symptoms experienced. Those experiencing a heart attack may also experience shortness of breath, anxiety, excessive sweating, and nausea. Some may even experience no pain in their chest at all but instead feel tenderness or discomfort in their arms, shoulders, neck, upper back, or jaws. This is because, as your heart muscles run out of oxygen during a heart attack, they begin to send out signals of pain through the nervous system, in turn causing confusion in the brain as to where exactly the pain is coming from.

Some patients may experience more atypical symptoms, such as pain on the right side of the body, pain that is sharp or burning, or even just a feeling of coldness in their chest, but what is particularly scary, is that around 1/3 of heart attack patients report having experienced no pain at all. For this reason, it’s wise to be aware of any current risk factors in your life, such as your age, genetics, and whether or not you smoke cigarettes, and check-in with your doctor regularly if you feel that you are at risk but are concerned about not experiencing any warning symptoms.

While no chest pain should be ignored, you can usually tell if your chest pain is not heart-related if:

  • The pain’s location is easily pinpointed.
  • The pain is sharp and only lasts for a few seconds and worsens with deep breathing.
  • The pain gets worse when you move or when you touch the area that is hurting.

Prevention is always the best plan of action against the threat of a heart attack. If you or someone you love is concerned about the potential risks, please contact the Tampa Cardiovascular Associates at (813) 975-2800 to ask questions or set up an appointment. If it is an emergency please dial 911! 

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 04/12/2019

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