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Chest pain: Is it synonymous with a heart attack?

Pectoral pain is one of the most characteristic symptoms of heart attack, but not exclusive to it. There are other conditions that cause pain in the chest, and that can be confused with the heart attack. Approximately 7 million people with chest pain arrive in emergency rooms every year, but not all of them are suffering from a heart attack. Although it is common that this symptom is directly associated with heart attack, there are other possible causes:

Acidity – indigestion:

This type of digestive problems cause inflammation of the esophagus, and since it is located close to the heart; both can produce a lot of chest pain, which due to its intensity and persistence could be confused with a heart attack.

Angina of chest:

It is a symptom that manifests itself when the sanguineous irrigation to the cardiac muscle is insufficient, and it is characterized by pectoral pain that can extend towards the arms, shoulders, back, neck and even the jaw.

Panic Attacks:

Among the characteristic symptoms of these attacks are pain and tightness in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath and tingling, all of which are shared with the heart attack.


According to an investigation published in 2009 in the American Family Physician scientific journal, between 13 and 36% of adults who consult for chest pain would have this condition. It is an inflammation of the cartilage responsible for connecting a rib to the sternum and whose main symptom is chest pain so that it could be confused with a heart attack or other heart problem.

Muscle pain:

It can happen that a muscular pain or tear, the product of a bad effort or sudden movement, is the cause of the pain in the area of the chest and is confused with a heart attack.

Lung diseases:

There are several that could cause pain in the chest and confuse the sufferer, within them:

    Pleurisy is the inflammation of the pleura that produces pain in the chest when coughing or breathing

    Pneumonia, a lung infection that produces a sharp chest pain that is aggravated by coughing or deep breathing

    Pulmonary embolism, sudden blockage of an artery in the lungs

It is important to be clear about the main symptoms of heart attack to act immediately and prevent possible death. However, there are cases that occur with very mild symptoms, and even some are asymptomatic, that is, they do not show symptoms themselves.  Therefore, it is essential to know that there are other conditions that may have similar symptoms and be confused with the heart attack, and although some of these are not as serious, they should be treated and treated promptly.

But apart from all this, you must know the Alarm signs of a heart attack or stroke. There are cases of sudden and intense heart attacks, but most begin slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Some signs that may indicate that you are in the presence of a heart attack are:

    Discomfort in the chest.  Most heart attacks present with a discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts no more than a few minutes or disappears and reappears. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, tightness or pain.

    Discomfort in other areas of the upper part of the body. Symptoms may include pain or discomfort in one arm or both, in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

    Lack of air. It can occur with or without discomfort in the chest.

Other signs: You may start to feel cold sweats, nausea, or dizziness.

As in men, the most common symptom of heart attack in women is pain or discomfort in the chest. However, women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, especially shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting or pain in the back or jaw.


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