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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Pain Pain Arrow to Chest Pain Chest Pain

Possible warning signs
of a heart attack:

• uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, pain, or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than two minutes.

• pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms

• pain, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.
any chest discomfort that causes anxiety or concern

• any chest discomfort that is accompanied by light-headedness, fainting, or dizziness

• any of the above symptoms that disappear with rest, then return with exertion

• unexplained weakness or fatigue, palpitations, cold sweat, or paleness

It may be simply heartburn or indigestion, caused by that jalapeño cheeseburger with bacon - or could it be something more serious ... like the beginning of a heart attack?

Although it is a major key warning sign of heart disease, chest pain can often be confused with indigestion, pleurisy, pneumonia or other conditions.

Congestion caused by the common cold or flu, bronchitis or asthma may also cause mild-to-severe discomfort in the chest, depending on symptoms.

Sometimes, physical injury may be the main culprit, as evidenced by the sharp pain associated with a broken rib, pinched nerve or simple muscle overexertion.

At other times, associated pain caused by another condition, such as gall bladder disease, can result in pain radiating to the chest.

Perhaps the most alarming non-cardiac chest pain is psychological, or that caused by stress or a panic attack leading to heightened anxiety - as the victim confuses the classic symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath with a heart attack.

Of course, if you or your family have a history of heart disease you should know the classic symptoms of a life-threatening heart attack (see above).

If in doubt, err on the side of caution, say doctors, and call 911 immediately. The operator may suggest that you take an adult-strength aspirin for its blood thinning properties and to lessen pain symptoms.

Rather than have someone drive you to the hospital, it's always a good idea to wait for the ambulance, say medical experts, since emergency service workers can save precious time by treating or stabilizing symptoms on the way to the emergency room. If at all possible, you should never try to drive yourself to the hospital if you suspect that you're having a heart attack!

Elsewhere on the Web, find out how to tell specific origins of chest pain with expert advice on symptoms, related treatments, plus ways to prevent chest pain in any form with tips on prevention ....

More about chest pain around the Web:

Chest Pain
- Bookmark this page for causes, explanations & treatment options on dozens of causes including angina & heart attack, gas and heartburn, lung infection and other pulmonary conditions.

Chest Pain - Check Your Symptoms - Check out this WebMd guide with a self-diagnosis tool to check for heart attack, plus links to information on more chest pain symptoms caused by heartburn, neck and back injuries, and hyperventilation..

What is Angina? - Comprehensive guide to the topic including causes, symptoms & risk factors, how to's on prevention, and an extensive link list to additional information.

Chest Pain in Infants & Children - Parents can get help diagnosing a variety of related conditions with information on the common symptoms of pneumonia, bronchitis, pleurisy, asthma and when to consult a doctor.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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