Is my chest pain serious?

Is my chest pain serious?

Sudden chest pain can be very worrying. Usually linked to major, sometimes fatal complications like a heart attack or stroke, most people are careful to get chest pain examined immediately by a doctor.
But not all chest pain is necessarily an emergency.

Whether you experience a sudden, sharp pain, or a dull ache that persists for an extended period of time, there are tell-tale signs that can determine whether to wait it out or get to your nearest emergency unit.

As a precaution, it is advised that you always seek medical advice when possible.


If your chest pain comes with numbness in your face or arms (or any body part for that matter) it is a sure-fire indicator that you need medical assistance. There may be a blockage preventing blood flow from your heart to your extremities, and this can have devastating, long lasting effects – even permanent paralysis – if it isn’t remedied timeously.


Pain that lasts more than a few minutes, gets worse with activity, goes away and comes back, or varies in intensity is a pain that needs medical intervention, says Mayo Clinic.

If the pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness and excessive sweating, you could be having a heart attack – a blockage or blood clot in the arteries to the heart.

Your age

Unfortunately, the older we get, the more our bodies deteriorate. Older people are more prone to diseases of the heart and if you are over 40, any type of chronic pain accompanied by other symptoms should be checked by a physician.

Also, consider your family history, smoking, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes says Very Well Health. Be wary if the pain radiates to the shoulders, arms, or jaw.

In the event of an emergency, remember that iER is South Africa’s only dedicated emergency response and disaster management network backed by its own emergency-trained call centre! IER teams are ready to respond to any emergency situation 24 hours a day, every day!


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