When is chest pain dangerous?
Most times, chest pain is a cause for further medical investigation. The best thing to do about persistent chest pain is to see your doctor. Emergency rooms are open 24/7 for urgent care.
The main concern around chest pain is the chance of it being a heart attack. There are other causes too, of course. Chest pain is a result of various conditions, from pancreatitis to pneumonia or even a panic attack.
One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t shrug off chest pain, and the cause of the pain can not be diagnosed at home!
Call your local emergency number if your chest pain is paired with cold sweats, nausea or vomiting.
A preventive cardiologist from Cleveland Clinic says if your chest pain lasts for three minutes or more you are either having a heart attack or about to have one.
Doctors use several methods and questions to determine whether or not a patient is experiencing a heart attack. Patients who are awake and lucid are asked to describe their symptoms in order to create their heart risk profile. An electrocardiogram (ECG) and a cardiac troponin blood test can help determine the risk of a heart attack. Your medical history is the most important during diagnosis.
Here are some things your doctors will ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing:
- What are you feeling; pain, pressure, or tightness?
- Where in your body is the discomfort?
- When did the feeling start?
- Has it worsened or stayed the same?
- Is the feeling constant?
- Have you felt it before?
- What were you doing before the pain started?
It is very important to give clear, honest answers.
A few seconds of recurrent stabbing pain is less likely to be a heart attack, while pain centred in the chest that spreads out to the left arm or jaw is more likely to be one.
How intense is the pain?
The feeling is generally described as an unrelenting sensation that isn’t painful, but uncomfortable. A heart attack can last for 30 minutes or longer.
A sharp or stabbing type of pain is likely a bone or nerve problem over a short period of time. It may feel like an electric shock, but it is possible a cracked rib or pulled muscle. Specialists describe this type of pain as more excruciating than a heart attack, and it disappears quickly.
Have you tried to change your position?
When chest pain occurs, analyse the pain duration as you change positions. For example, if you are lying down, perhaps sitting up eases the pain. If so, this type of chest may be lung related – such as pneumonia or asthma.
Heart attack victims have described their discomfort as relentless. If you have a heart attack, changing your position will not make the pain go away.
Is self-medicating helpful?
Your chest pain is not heart-related if the pain eases after taking a drink, popping antacids or taking deep breaths.
Chest pain evaluations with a doctor
If you need immediate attention for your chest pain, call an ambulance. They can take you to the nearest emergency room.
The responding EMTs or paramedics can do a rapid baseline evaluation to stabilise your condition before arriving at the hospital.
At the doctor, your first evaluation will determine if you have acute chest pain, which arises suddenly and rapidly or chronic chest pain – a long term occurrence.
Acute chest pain assessment
To get to the root of your chest pain, the doctor will examine you for acute onset chest by finding out your brief medical history, performing a physical examination and an electrocardiogram (ECG), as well as order a blood test to measure your cardiac enzymes.
The assessment determines if you are experiencing a cardiac emergency. If your evaluation presents a tentative diagnosis, further testing is done.
If your diagnosis rules out any life-threatening causes, the emergency room doctors will refer you to see your GP for a follow-up evaluation and treatment.
Chronic chest pain assessment
As above, when you reach the emergency room, your doctor will evaluate your medical history. If chest pain is joint for you, the doctor’s concern may be that you have angina caused by a typical CAD and possibly produced by less common cardiac conditions – for example, coronary artery spasm or cardiac syndrome x.
Depending on your overall diagnosis, a cardiologist may be called in or refer you to your doctor for a fuller assessment.
If something besides angina is causing your chest pain, doctors will conduct a firm diagnosis and appropriate therapy will take place. The cause of your chest pains may also require getting X-rays, GI endoscopy, pulmonary function tests and more, depending on your doctor’s evaluation.
In an emergency like a heart attack or stroke, iER will notify your family and emergency contacts.
iER offers members three different plan options.
It is Standard that everyone gets full and free access to the service providers on the network, as the iER App is free on all devices and on all networks. If you want to upgrade to a package that allows you access to utilise iER’s full cover, There is a Premium Plan and a Premium Plan Plus that offer loads of extras for post-emergency protocol for a nominal fee.