If you are having severe pain, crushing, squeezing, or pressure in your chest
that lasts more than a few minutes, or if the pain moves into your neck, left
shoulder, arm, or jaw, go immediately to a hospital emergency department. Do
not drive yourself.
It may be best to call emergency transport to the nearest hospital emergency
Because so many causes of chest pain often mimic a
or other life-threatening illnesses, it is best to seek medical attention as
quickly as possible.
If you are having a
, time is muscle. The longer you wait to receive evaluation and treatment, the
more heart muscle is damaged.
If there is something serious going on that is causing your chest pain,
doctors can choose from many effective early interventions to reduce your
chances of death or severe illness. These treatments can have a positive effect
on the long-term quality of your life.
What if it turns out not
to be a heart attack or other life-threatening event?
You won't know until the medical professionals at the hospital check out the
cause of your chest pain. Give yourself that peace of mind.
If your chest pain is not life-threatening, you should not feel embarrassed
or that you "wasted everyone's time." Whatever the outcome, you always make the
correct choice by going to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Chest pain, regardless of whether it is caused by a life-threatening
condition, needs to be evaluated by a medical professional. Be reassured that
you are making the right decision and feel comfortable seeking emergency care
whenever you experience chest pain.
While waiting for the ambulance, have the patient chew two baby aspirin or at
least half of a regular aspirin - at least 160 mg. There is no evidence that
taking more than this helps more, and the patient could have unwanted side
effects if they take too much.
It is important to chew the aspirin before swallowing it because chewing
decreases the time the medicine takes to have an effect.
aspirin in the
early stages of a
may reduce the risk of death and it may also reduce the severity of the attack.
If the patient has had
angina and has
nitroglycerin tablets available, have the patient place one under the tongue.
This may aid in increasing blood flow to blocked or narrowed arteries.
If the chest pain continues in the next five minutes, take another tablet
under the tongue.
If, after three nitroglycerin tablets, the patient does not have relief
of the chest pain, immediately call the nearest emergency department.
If the pain is from acid reflux (GERD), it may be relieved with antacids. Even if
the patient's pain goes away after taking an antacid, do not assume they are not
. The patient should still be evaluated in a hospital emergency department.
involves living what the American Heart Association calls a "heart healthy"
lifestyle. Reducing your risk factors has a significant effect on reducing your
* Maintain a healthy
* Eat nutritious, low-fat foods in moderate quantities.
* If you drink alcohol, use alcohol moderately.
* Engage in physical activity or exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
* Control high
and high cholesterol.
* If you have
control your blood sugar every day.
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