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Heart Attack (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Chest pain is almost always considered an emergency. Aside from heart attacks, pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lung) and aortic dissection or tear can be fatal causes of chest pain.

Classic pain from a heart attack is described as chest pressure or tightness with radiation of the pain to the jaw and down the arm, accompanied by shortness of breath or sweating. But it is important to remember that heart problems may not always present as pain or with the classic symptoms. Indigestion, nausea, profound weakness, profuse sweating, or shortness of breath may be the main symptom of a heart attack.

Should any symptoms occur that you believe are related to your heart, activate the emergency medical system by calling 911. First responders, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics can begin testing and treatment even before you arrive at the hospital.

Remember to take an aspirin immediately if you are concerned that you are having a heart attack.

Doctors and nurses in Emergency Departments take an individual experiencing chest pain very seriously. You are not wasting anybody's time, and you are not bothering anybody when you seek care for chest pain.

Many people die before they seek medical care because they ignore their symptoms out of fear that something bad is happening, or by diagnosing themselves in error with indigestion, fatigue, or other illnesses. It is much better to seek medical care if you are unsure whether your symptoms are related to heart disease and find that all is well, than to die at home.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2013

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