Chest Pain Health (cont.)

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Chest Pain Symptoms

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Heart Attack Symptoms

Typical heart attack pain occurs in the mid to left side of the chest and may also extend to the left shoulder, the left arm, the jaw, the stomach, or the back.

  • Other associated symptoms are shortness of breath, increased sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Symptoms vary considerably from person to person.
  • Women may experience symptoms of heart attack similar to men (chest pain), but they also may be more atypical. Atypical symptoms include:
  • neck,
  • jaw,
  • shoulder,
  • upper back
  • abdominal discomfort,
  • shortness of breath,
  • nausea or vomiting,
  • abdominal pain,
  • heartburn,
  • sweatiness,
  • lightheadedness,
  • dizziness, or
  • unexplained fatigue.

Angina Symptoms

Angina is similar to heart attack pain but occurs with physical exertion or exercise and is relieved by rest or nitroglycerin.

  • Angina becomes life threatening when pain occurs at rest, has increased in frequency or intensity, or is not relieved with at least three nitroglycerin tablets taken five minutes apart.
  • This is considered to be unstable angina, which may be a warning sign of an impending heart attack.

Aortic Dissection Symptoms

The chest pain associated with aortic dissection occurs suddenly and is described as "ripping" or "tearing."

  • The pain may radiate to the back or between the shoulder blades.
  • Because the aorta supplies blood to the entire body, symptoms may also include:
    • angina-type pain,
    • shortness of breath,
    • fainting,
    • abdominal pain, or
    • symptoms of stroke.

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolus include:

  • the sudden onset of shortness of breath,
  • rapid breathing, and
  • sharp pain in the mid chest, which increases with deep breaths.

Pneumothorax Symptoms

Symptoms of pneumothorax include:

  • the sudden onset of shortness of breath,
  • sharp chest pain,
  • rapid heart rate,
  • dizziness,
  • lightheadedness, or
  • faintness.

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