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Is Chest Pain Always a Sign of a Heart Attack?

If you feel any chest pain or discomfort, visit a doctor immediately.

By Africa Studio at Shutterstock

One of the most common warning signs of an impending heart attack is discomfort or pain in the chest. However, such a feeling is not exclusive to a heart attack. You may feel tightness or sharp pain for a number of reasons.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, though. If you feel any sort of discomfort or pain in your chest, you should speak with a doctor immediately. You may even need to call 911. Some heart attacks are quite sudden, but most begin slowly with slight discomfort or pain. Pay attention to your body; it will often offer warning signs to indicate something isn’t right.

Signs of a Heart Attack

There are several signs of an impending heart attack, some of which you might recognize immediately. Take note so that you can immediately recognize the warning signs of heart trouble.

  • Chest Pain/Discomfort – Many heart attacks begin with slight discomfort or pain found in the chest. This pain will last for longer than a few minutes or it may disappear for a short while before returning. It often feels like an uncomfortable squeezing, tightness, or sharp jolt of paint right in the center of your chest.
  • Discomfort Elsewhere – Alongside chest pain, the earliest symptoms of a heart attack often include discomfort in other parts of the body. For instance, you may feel some pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath – You may experience shortness of breath with or without the telltale chest pain of a heart attack.
  • Symptoms of Illness – Alongside the above-mentioned symptoms, you may also experience a cold sweat, nausea, or a feeling of lightheadedness.

Symptoms Between Men and Women

Heart attack symptoms do vary between men and women. For instance, with men, the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, women often experience other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Men experience these symptoms very rarely, though it does happen.

Other Possible Causes of Chest Pain

Of course, chest pain may be associated with other conditions, too. For instance:

  • A fleeting chest discomfort, often one that feels like a quick shock, that lasts for a few.
  • Acute chest discomfort that worsens as you breath generally indicates an issue with the lungs, such as pleurisy, inflammation, or pneumonia.
  • Any chest pain that improves with exercise is a good sign. Heart-related pain sometimes worsens with exercise. In this case, acid reflux is more likely than a heart attack or heart disease

If you are worried about a heart attack, consider visiting Brookhaven Heart where we specifically focus on the heart-related disease and ailments affecting millions of people each year.

We’ll get you in shortly for an assessment to determine your heart attack risk.

Contact 631-654-3278 to schedule an appointment with our heart care doctors!