When the Cause of Chest Pain Is Not a Heart Attack

September 15, 2022 9:44 am Published by

chest pain

When you or a loved one experiences chest pain, it’s natural to think a heart attack is to blame. Heart attacks can be deadly, so seeking immediate attention could save lives. But heart attack isn’t the only cause of chest pain. Pressure, discomfort and pain can be triggered by conditions completely unrelated to the heart. Because chest pain can be the result of a heart attack, seeking prompt attention from a healthcare provider is critical. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. However, not all chest discomfort is caused by a heart attack—or even related to the heart.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

When you experience a heart attack, minutes matter. Prompt treatment is needed to limit the damage done to the heart muscle. Discomfort—squeezing, pressure or pain—in the center of the chest is one of the hallmark signs of a heart attack, but heart attacks can cause other symptoms, including:

  • Arm, back, jaw, neck, shoulder or stomach pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

In addition, women may experience different symptoms than men, including excessive fatigue or a general sense of malaise.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

When It’s Not a Heart Attack

Chest discomfort sends around 6.5 million patients to emergency rooms each year. However, many of those patients aren’t having a heart attack. Heart and vascular conditions, such as high blood pressure, valve disorders and arrhythmias, can sometimes cause momentary or fleeting chest discomfort. Other conditions unrelated to heart disease can also cause chest pain.

For example, fibromyalgia and shingles can cause whole-body pain that may show up in the chest. Chest discomfort that lingers or is worse when you breathe or cough may be associated with a lung condition, such as pneumonia, a blood clot or an asthma attack. Something as simple as heartburn can cause chest pain, too. Additionally, chest pain is a common symptom of a panic attack, which causes a burst of anxiety that can leave you with symptoms that feel like a heart attack.

Although chest pain isn’t always associated with a heart attack, it always deserves immediate attention. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

When your heart is at stake, you need a team of experts close to home. Magnolia Heart & Vascular Center offers state-of-the-art heart care right here in the heart of Alcorn County.

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center