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When Should I See a Doctor if I Have Chest Pain

October 6, 2022



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When should I see a doctor if I have chest pain

The lifetime prevalence of chest pain in the United States is 20% to 40%, and women experience this symptom more often than men. Of all ED patients with chest pain, only 5.1% will have an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and more than half will ultimately be found to have a noncardiac cause.

How do I know if my chest pain is serious?

Chest pain appears in many forms or you can say there are many chest pain reasons, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. Sometimes chest pain feels crushing or burning. In certain cases, the pain travels up the neck, into the jaw, and then spreads to the back or down one or both arms.

Chest pain is a common complaint and encompasses a broad differential diagnosis that includes several life-threatening causes. A workup must focus on ruling out serious pathology before a clinician considers more benign causes. Common descriptors of visceral pain are dull, deep, pressure and squeezing. Visceral pain also refers to other locations as a result of the nerves coursing through somatic nerve fibers as they reach the spinal cord. Ischemic heart pain, for example, may refer to the left or right shoulder, jaw or left arm. This activity highlights the role of the interprofessional team in caring for patients with chest pain.

Chest pain can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples include heavy lifting, weight lifting, trauma to the chest, or swallowing a large piece of food.

In the emergency department chest pain is the second most common complaint comprising approximately 5% of all emergency department visits. In evaluating for chest pain, the provider should always consider life-threatening causes of chest pain. These are listed below with approximate percent occurrence in patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain based on a study by Fruerfaard et al.

  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS), 31%
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE), 2%
  • Pneumothorax (PTX), unreported
  • Pericardial tamponade, unreported (pericarditis 4%)
  • Aortic dissection, 1%
  • Esophageal perforation, unreported

Other common causes of chest pain with approximate percent occurrence in patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain include:

  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease, 30%
  • Musculoskeletal causes, 28%
  • Pneumonia/pleuritis, 2%
  • Herpes zoster 0.5%
  • Pericarditis, unreported

Symptoms of chest pain

Although chest pain is often associated with heart disease, many people with heart disease say they have a vague discomfort that isn’t necessarily identified as pain. In general, chest discomfort related to a heart attack or another heart problem may be described by or associated with one or more of the following:

  • Pressure, fullness, burning or tightness in your chest
  • Crushing or searing pain that spreads to your back, neck, jaw, shoulders, and one or both arms
  • Pain that lasts more than a few minutes, gets worse with activity, goes away and comes back, or varies in intensity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting

There are other types of chest pain and many other scenarios involved.

Heart attack Statistics

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.
  • Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.  Of these, 605,000 are a first heart attack, 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack
  • About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

Key Facts on Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs):

  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally.
  • An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.
  • Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Out of the 17 million premature deaths (under the age of 70) due to noncommunicable diseases in 2019, 38% were caused by CVDs.
  • Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
  • It is important to detect cardiovascular disease as early as possible so that management with counselling and medicines can begin.

Male vs female heart attack statistics

  • Researchers found women face a 20% increased risk of developing heart failure or dying within five years after their first severe heart attack compared with men.
  • In addition, women were more likely than men to be older and have a more complicated medical history at the time of their heart attacks.
  • On average, a first heart attack — the most common manifestation of this prevalent disease — strikes men at age 65. For women, the average age of a first heart attack is 72.
  • Within five years, 47% of women who’ve experienced a first heart attack will die, develop heart failure, or suffer from a stroke, compared with 36% of the men.
  • A recent study of nearly 50,000 people ages 65 and older who were hospitalized for heart disease (often a heart attack) sheds light on a possible cause for these disparities.

When should I see a doctor if I have chest pain?

If you have new or unexplained chest pain or think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 or emergency medical assistance immediately. Don’t ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. If you can’t get an ambulance or emergency vehicle to come to you, have a neighbor or a friend drive you to the nearest hospital.

It is always best to contact a doctor if chest pain comes on suddenly, especially if taking anti-inflammatory medications does not ease symptoms. A person should seek emergency medical help if they have: pain that spreads to the arms, back, neck, or jaw. tightness or heaviness in the chest.

Which doctor to consult for left-side chest pain

A cardiologist can help determine the cause and the appropriate treatment plan. Chest pain can also be a sign of a heart attack, which is a life-threatening emergency.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source, the typical symptoms of heart attacks in women include:

  • chest pain or discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • cold sweat, lightheadedness, or nausea
  • discomfort, numbness, or pain in one or both arms, the neck, stomach, jaw, or back
  • a squeezing sensation, pain, uncomfortable pressure, or fullness in the center of the chest

The sensations affecting the chest tend to last for more than a few minutes or stop before starting again.

You can search Best doctor for Chest Pain near you if you feel any chest pain-related issues.






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Published October 6, 2022

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