The Truth About Chest Pains Revealed

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What does a heart attack feel like? What should you do if you or someone you know is having one? It’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack before you get into that situation. You will want to act fast and get help as soon as possible if it is one.

Heart Attack Symptoms 1

Heart attacks can be sharp and intense while others start off slower with mild pain and discomfort. The American Heart Association lists warning signs to keep watch for if a heart attack.

  • Chest Discomfort: This discomfort can last for more than a few minutes or may go away and return.
  • Discomfort in the Upper Body: You may experience discomfort in your neck, back, jaw, both arms, and/or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs: These could include cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Men and women have a few differences in their symptoms. Women are more likely to experience not only the chest pain, but also nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, and back or jaw pain.

How to Respond to a Heart Attack

If you or someone you know starts to experience any of the above symptoms, call 911 or go to an emergency room. You should take any type of chest pains serious and seek medical attention as soon as you can.

What If It Is Not a Heart Attack? 2

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, then it is unlikely you are experiencing a heart attack but should still seek medical attention.

  • Pain that gets worse with movement
  • Chest pain that is aching, sharp, or stabbing
  • Fever and chills
  • Coughing

It is possible that these symptoms are related to acid reflux, heartburn, pleurisy, or joint and muscle pain.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the different types of chest pains and their causes.

Momentary Sudden Shock

The momentary sudden shock chest pain can feel like a lightning bolt which is sudden, swift, and stabbing. This brief pain is unlikely a heart attack but would more likely result from:

  • An injury such as broken or bruised ribs
  • A pulled muscle in your chest wall
  • Inflammation in your rib cartilage
  • Fibromyalgia: causes muscle and joint pain all over and fatigue
  • Shingles: a viral infection that causes an outbreak of painful rashes and blisters all over the body.

Pinpoint Chest Pains

Pinpoint chest pains occur when you take deep breaths or cough. They can also become worse with movement. This type of chest pain could be a result of a lung related issue. Some causes of this type of pain are:

  • Pneumonia or another infection
  • Inflammation in the lining of your lungs
  • A blood clot in your lungs
  • An asthma attack

Lung issues can be just as concerning as a heart attack, so you should still seek immediate medical attention.

Discomfort that Lessens with Exercise

When you have a sharp pain in your chest and then it starts to go away when you move, that is most likely caused by heart burn (acid reflux) or some other gastrointestinal issue.

Other Causes of Chest Pain

You could also be experiencing chest pain because of an anxiety or panic attack. These symptoms mimic a heart attack. However, there are some key differences to look for:

Panic/Anxiety AttackHeart Attack
Stabbing painElephant-on-your-chest squeezing pain
Pain stays in chest areaPain radiates to other parts of body
 Follows physical strain or exertion

Find out more about the differences between a panic attack and heart attack here.

Take control of your health and prevent yourself from being at high risk for a heart attack. Check out our blog here on 5 ways to lower your risk of heart disease.

How Tria Can Help

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease is one of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Health’s Pharmacists can make recommendations that will lead to happier and healthier members!

Resources

  1. Warning Signs of a Heart Attack | American Heart Association
  2. Chest pain: Is It A Heart Attack Or Something Else? | Allina Health
  3. Chest Pain: Signs It’s Not a Heart Attack – Cleveland Clinic

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Photo by Canva

February is American Heart Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness on the importance of having a healthy heart and encouraging healthy habits that will create lasting, lifelong effects. In today’s blog, you will learn about 5 steps you can do to take control of your health and lower your chance of heart disease.

  1. Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the leading cause for heart disease. It is important to manage your blood pressure and go in for yearly check ups with your prescriber. Learn more about how to reduce high blood pressure here.

2. Stay at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese can increase risk for heart disease. Consider managing what you eat and exercising on a frequent basis. If you need help knowing how to get started with weight loss and what that may look like, click here.

For select groups, Tria Health offers a weight management service called Choose to Lose. If this structured weight loss program is included through your benefits plan, you can receive help from a combination of registered dietitians, health coaches and pharmacists, along with the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Unhealthy eating such as too much saturated fats and added sugars, etc. increases your risk for heart disease. Eating healthy will not just happen overnight. However, if you make a few small changes every day, you can change the rest of your life.

Click here for more information on how to implement a healthy diet into your lifestyle. Eating healthy does not have to be boring and you might be surprised by how much you enjoy the substitutions!

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking increases your blood pressure which results in an increased risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can seem impossible. However, with the right plan, mindset and support team – you can quit smoking! Click here to start making your plan to quit smoking.

5. Manage Stress

Stress is a silent killer. It can raise your blood pressure and be a huge trigger for heart attacks. Instead of coping with stress by overeating and drinking excessively, go to the gym or focus on something calm. Don’t let stress overcome you, take control of it today with this guide.

Tria Health Can Help

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Resources

https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html

National Wear Red Day

February 4th is National Wear Red Day. This day focuses on increasing awareness for women’s heart health. While most heart disease and stroke deaths are preventable, cardiovascular diseases continue to be the greatest health risk for women.

We want to educate women so that they can lower their chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Making a commitment to improving your health does not have to be a solo journey— Tria Health is here to guide the way!

What Does a Stroke Look Like in Women?

Stroke Symptoms in Women1:

  • Numbness or weakness in face, arm, or leg
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble walking or a lack of coordination
  • Severe headache without a known cause

Remember “F.A.S.T.” to know when to call for help:

  1. F = Face drooping
  2. A = Arm weakness
  3. S = Speech difficulty
  4. T = Time to call 911

It can be easy to miss the symptoms of a stroke due to their subtle symptoms. However, delaying proper treatment can lead to delays in time-sensitive, lifesaving treatments.

What Does a Heart Attack Look Like in Women?

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women2:

  • Chest pain, but not always
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Jaw, neck, or upper back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Indigestion
  • Extreme fatigue

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms:

  1. Dial 911 immediately, follow the operator’s instructions, and get to a hospital right away.
  2. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital.
  3. Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.

Women who think they’re healthy often misread the symptoms of a heart attack because they don’t think it could happen to them.

Educate yourself on these conditions so that you can more clearly identify them if they were to arise in you or someone you know. Women, take control of your heart health this year. 

Tria Health Helps Control Heart Disease

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health supports. Clinical pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Health’s Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call 1.888.799.8742 or visit www.triahealth.com.

Wear Red and Support Heart Health!

Resources

  1. Symptoms of a Stroke in Women and Men | Go Red for Women
  2. Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women and Men | Go Red for Women
  3. Go Red for Women | The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative

American Heart Month

Image Source: Canva

Each February, the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease.1 The purpose of this month is to raise awareness on the importance of heart health and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourself and your loved ones.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused when plaque develops in the arteries that lead to the heart. Plaque accumulates overtime when the lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol.3 When plaque clogs your arteries, oxygen and nutrients are unable to reach your heart.

Risk Factors3

Common risk factors are:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Having a high-sodium and high-carbohydrate diet
  • Obesity

Facts About Heart Health

  1. One in five heart attacks happen without the person even knowing that they had one.1
  2. Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack than men under 50.1
  3. Heart attacks are more likely to occur on Monday mornings than other days of the week. 1
  4. Diet soda raises heart attack risks. Drinking one or more diet sodas a day makes your chances of having a heart attack 43% higher than those that drink regular soda or none.1
  5. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 2 U.S. adults has hypertension, but only 1 in 4 have it under control. 2

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:4

  • Eat Smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat.
  • Add Color: Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables.
  • Move More: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health.
  • Be Well: Create balance, vitality and wellbeing through self-care.

Heart disease can be prevented in a lot of cases. If you live a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can decrease your risk for heart disease.

Tria Health Can Help

This month and always, Tria Health can help you understand your risks of heart disease and what you can do to take better care of your heart. Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease is one of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. AMERICAN HEART MONTH – February 2021 | National Today
  2. American Heart Month Toolkits 2021 | cdc.gov
  3. Heart Disease Causes and Risk Factors (healthline.com)
  4. Healthy for Good | American Heart Association

National Wear Red Day

Did you know that 87% of all heart issues are believed to be preventable?2 Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement that advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. This day is crucial as it raises awareness, educates and brings about resources on women’s heart disease and stroke risks.

Women & Heart Disease Facts7

  1. 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke.
  2. 80% of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by education and lifestyle change.
  3. Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  4. Only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is the number one health related killer in women as it causes 1 in 3 deaths in women every year.2 Cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

  1. Diet and exercise: A healthy diet and physical activity can reduce your chances of heart disease by as much as 80 percent.2
  2. Know your risk: Factors like smoking, kidney disease and family history can increase your risk. If you are 40-75 years old, use Check. Change. Control. Calculator. (ccctracker.com) to evaluate your risk. It only takes five minutes.3
  3. Stop smoking: It puts you at a higher risk. For help on quitting visit: 5 Steps to Quit Smoking and Vaping | American Heart Association
  4. Control alcohol use
  5. Know your cholesterol levels6
  6. Reduce your blood sugar6
  7. Manage blood pressure: If it is higher that 140 over 90, seek treatment.

Recognize Stoke Symptoms

The American Stoke Association has developed an acronym called F.A.S.T. to help patients recognize symptoms:4

F = Face drooping, is it drooping or numb?

A = Arm weakness, when lifting your arms does one drape down?

S = Speech, is it slurred?

T = Time to call 9-1-1, if any of these symptoms occur.

Knowing this acronym just might help you save a life. Additionally, there are stroke symptoms that are specific to women. These symptoms include:5

  1. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  2. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  3. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  4. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Recognize Heart Attack Symptoms

These heart attack symptoms are also specific to women:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Tria Health Helps Control Heart Disease

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. National Wear Red Day® | NHLBI, NIH
  2. NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY – February 5, 2021 | National Today
  3. 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke Infographic | American Heart Association
  4. American Stroke Association | To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
  5. Warning Signs and Symptoms | Go Red for Women
  6. Risk Factors in Women | Go Red for Women
  7. Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov