Nagging chest pain is commonly ignored
Is it a heart
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.
by Gail B. Turner, M.D.
But chest pain isn’t always that severe. Maybe the pain
A simple understanding is persistent for a day or two but then goes away, or is
of the warning signals of a more of a dull ache. You feel it for two days, four days,
heart attack can help you
even a week. If you’re wondering if it’s worth a trip to
the doctor — the answer is YES.
and act quickly when it is
If you’ve had persistent pain in your chest, you should
deﬁnitely be examined by a physician. But no matter
Any or all of the follow- how mild or acute, and regardless of your age and past
ing may be experienced
medical history, chest pain should be diagnosed and
while having a heart
Unfortunately, one of the more common responses to
• A squeezing, pressure,
chest pain is denial. This is because to many, chest pain
tight aching or heavy, dull is automatically linked to heart attack. Paradoxically,
sensation in the chest or
instead of being a catalyst for action, the fear of somearms.
thing as serious as a heart attack often leads sufferers to
• A feeling of indigestion
negate or discount the pain (frequently the symptoms are
described as “discomfort” or “pressure” rather than pain)
• An ache, weakness or
and provide a justiﬁcation to do nothing. It is this early
numbness that can spread stage, however, that should the cause be cardiovascular,
from the neck, jaw and
the most effective and preventive treatment can occur.
throat to the shoulder,
Early treatment is most effective
back arms, mid-chest,
Before an actual heart attack and its accompanying
upper abdomen and under irreversible heart-muscle damage, cardioprotective
drugs; beta blockers, pro-cardia XL or nitrate treatment
A heart attack may also
can change and unstable situation to a stable one in an
include symptoms such
identiﬁed high-risk patient. The catheter procedures that
as difﬁculty breathing,
determine where a heart blockage may be occurring
nausea, vomiting, cold
can be done more safely, the blockage removed through
sweats, paleness, genera balloon angioplasty procedure, and the risk of heart
alized weakness, fatigue,
attack considerably diminished.
dizziness and anxiety.
What you can do
A short period of disUnstable angina is a condition of a change in your
comfort called “angina”
usual pattern; this may be a change from no chest pains
can produce symptoms
to chest pains with exertion such as walking or climbing
similar to a heart attack.
stairs; increase in frequency of chest pains from 0-2/day
Angina lasts a shorter
to 3-4/day; a change to new chest pains at rest (when
time than a heart attack
none prior at rest); chest pains causing awakening from
and is caused by a tempo- sleep; with intercourse or after a large meal (none prior).
rary limitation of blood
If you are experiencing chest pain, recognize that deniand oxygen to the heart
al and procrastination are natural defense mechanisms of
muscle. A heart attack
this pain and overcome them by seeking prompt medical
results from a permanent
evaluation of your situation. If you have a regular physiblockage of the blood
cian, make an appointment to see her/him.
ﬂow. With angina, the
If you’re sure it’s nothing
blood ﬂow is not cut off
Even if it’s not heart-related, remember that pain is
long enough to cause
our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong.
damage to the heart, while Don’t ignore it. It is your responsibility to yourself and
a heart attack leads to the
the people you love to actively participate in your health
damage and death of some care. Don’t sit passively by when you could take action
heart muscle cells.
that might save your life.
Dr. Gail Turner, MD, FACC
Accept Medicare & Most Insurance
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