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

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

World Heart Day

World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29th, with the goal of informing people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.5 million lives each year.1 World Heart Day also helps highlights the actions individuals can take to prevent and control CVD.

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) can refer to a number of conditions including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia or heart valve problems.2 According to the Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and stroke, over 17.5 million deaths each year are caused by CVD. Ischemic heart disease (eg heart attacks) is responsible for 7.3 million of the total CVD deaths and cerebrovascular disease (eg stroke) is responsible for 6.2 million of the total CVD deaths. This makes it the number one cause of death in the world today.1

Are you at Risk?

It’s important to visit your physician and receive regular checkups. At your next appointment, ask for a few simple checks:

  • Blood Glucose Levels
  • Blood Pressure Levels
  • Check your Numbers (Cholesterol, weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Understand the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

How Can You Participate in World Heart Day?

Make a promise! “You could promise to cook and eat more healthily, to do more exercise and encourage your children to be more active, to say no to smoking and help your loved ones to stop.

A simple promise… for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.”3

Source:

  1. https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease
  3. https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/about/

World Heart Day

Color-Horizontal
© World Heart

World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29th, with the goal of informing people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.5 million lives each year.1 World Heart Day also helps highlights the actions individuals can take to prevent and control CVD.

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) can refer to a number of conditions including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia or heart valve problems.2 According to the Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and stroke, over 17.5 million deaths each year are caused by CVD. Ischemic heart disease (eg heart attacks) is responsible for 7.3 million of the total CVD deaths and cerebrovascular disease (eg stroke) is responsible for 6.2 million of the total CVD deaths. This makes it the number one cause of death in the world today.1

Are you at Risk?

It’s important to visit your physician and receive regular checkups. At your next appointment, ask for a few simple checks:

  • Blood Glucose Levels
  • Blood Pressure Levels
  • Check your Numbers (Cholesterol, weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Understand the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

How Can You Participate in World Heart Day?

Make a promise! “You could promise to cook and eat more healthily, to do more exercise and encourage your children to be more active, to say no to smoking and help your loved ones to stop.

A simple promise… for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.”3

 

Source:

  1. https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease
  3. https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/about/