Details for Dr. Turner - HeartCare Specialists

Nagging chest pain is commonly ignored
Is it a heart
attack?

by Gail B. Turner, M.D.
A simple understanding
of the warning signals of a
heart attack can help you
distinguish symptoms...
and act quickly when it is
necessary.
Any or all of the following may be experienced
while having a heart attack:
• A squeezing, pressure,
tight aching or heavy, dull
sensation in the chest or
arms.
• A feeling of indigestion or
fullness.
• An ache, weakness or
numbness that can spread
from the neck, jaw and
throat to the shoulder, back
arms, mid-chest, upper
abdomen and under the
breastbone.
A heart attack may also
include symptoms such as
difficulty breathing, nausea,
vomiting, cold sweats,
paleness, generalized
weakness, fatigue, dizziness and anxiety.
A short period of discomfort called “angina” can
produce symptoms similar
to a heart attack. Angina
lasts a shorter time than a
heart attack and is caused
by a temporary limitation
of blood and oxygen to the
heart muscle. A heart attack
results from a permanent
blockage of the blood flow.
With angina, the blood flow
is not cut off long enough
to cause damage to the
heart, while a heart attack
leads to the damage and
death of some heart muscle
cells.

If you’re experiencing crushing chest pain and/or numbness
in your arm, if you’re having difficulty breathing, call 911 right
away. You may be having a heart attack, and you should seek
immediate care.
But chest pain isn’t always that severe. Maybe the pain is persistent for a day or two but then goes away, or is more of a dull
ache. You feel it for two days, four days, even a week. If you’re
wondering if it’s worth a trip to the doctor — the answer is YES.
If you’ve had persistent pain in your chest, you should definitely be examined by a physician. But no matter how mild or acute,
and regardless of your age and past medical history, chest pain
should be diagnosed and treated.
Unfortunately, one of the more common responses to chest pain
is denial. This is because to many, chest pain is automatically
linked to heart attack. Paradoxically, instead of being a catalyst
for action, the fear of something as serious as a heart attack
often leads sufferers to negate or discount the pain (frequently
the symptoms are described as “discomfort” or “pressure” rather
than pain) and provide a justification to do nothing. It is this early
stage, however, that should the cause be cardiovascular, the most
effective and preventive treatment can occur.
Early treatment is most effective
Before an actual heart attack and its accompanying irreversible heart-muscle damage, cardioprotective drugs; beta blockers, pro-cardia XL or nitrate treatment can change and unstable
situation to a stable one in an identified high-risk patient. The
catheter procedures that determine where a heart blockage may
be occurring can be done more safely, the blockage removed
through a balloon angioplasty procedure, and the risk of heart
attack considerably diminished.
What you can do
Unstable angina is a condition of a change in your usual
pattern; this may be a change from no chest pains to chest pains
with exertion such as walking or climbing stairs; increase in frequency of chest pains from 0-2/day to 3-4/day; a change to new
chest pains at rest (when none prior at rest); chest pains causing
awakening from sleep; with intercourse or after a large meal
(none prior).
If you are experiencing chest pain, recognize that denial and
procrastination are natural defense mechanisms of this pain and
overcome them by seeking prompt medical evaluation of your
situation. If you have a regular physician, make an appointment
to see her/him.
If you’re sure it’s nothing
Even if it’s not heart-related, remember that pain is our body’s
way of telling us that something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. It is
your responsibility to yourself and the people you love to actively
participate in your health care. Don’t sit passively by when you
could take action that might save your life.

Dr. Gail Turner, MD, FACC

Accept Medicare & Most Insurance

HeartCare
Specialists &
Healing Center

Dr. Gail Turner

♥ Board Certified Cardiologist
♥ Full Time in Payson
♥ Heart Failure Specialist
♥ Coronary Disease
♥ Atrial Fibrillation
♥ Heart Murmurs
♥ Diabetes Management

404 W. Main St. • 472-2888 • Open 2-3 days per week

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