Chest Pains: When Should You Make A Trip To The ER?

chest pains when to go to er heart attack signs emergency room

You are feeling pain in your heart and your chest feels tight; you can bet that you are experiencing a heart attack and need to rush to the ER. You’re not alone. Close to seven million Americans visit the emergency room every year due to chest pain for fear that this is a precursor to a heart attack or they are already having one. Bhupinder Singh MD opines that chest pain is a significant sign of a heart attack, though it may not mean that you are indeed having one. 

But how serious should the pain be to necessitate a trip to the ER? 

The Link Between Chest Pain And Heart Attack 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, each year, close to 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack with close to half of all the cardiac deaths happening away from a hospital setting. When your heart is not getting enough oxygenated blood, you will experience chest pains, a precursor to a heart attack. The damage to your heart extends with the amount of time taken before medical help is sought. Essentially, your chances of surviving a heart attack increase subject to how soon you seek emergency care. 

If you experience pain in the upper part of your body including numbness, discomfort and pinching in the neck, jaw, upper stomach and back, you should visit your doctor at Heart and Vascular Care. If you are experiencing chest pains accompanied by the following signs of heart attack, this is a medical emergency: 

· Nausea or vomiting 
· Shortness of breath 
· Cold sweats 
· Lightheadedness or dizziness 
· Unusual fatigue 

Remember that not everyone will experience chest pains before having a heart attack. Seek emergency care whenever more than one of the above symptoms present. Your chances of suffering a heart attack increase exponentially due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, if you’ve previously had a heart attack, or you are a smoker. 

Other Causes Of Chest Pain 

You can also suffer from chest pains due to the following conditions which may not be linked to a heart attack: 

· Gallstones 
· Heartburn 
· Anxiety or panic attack 
· Asthma 
· Bronchitis 
· Injured ribs 
· Pancreatitis 
· Shingles 

When Should I Go To The ER? 

Whenever you feel pain in the chest, this should be probed further by a medical professional. It is a question of when and not if you should head to the emergency room. If you have a family history of heart attack, are experiencing signs of a heart attack, or have other medical conditions, making an emergency visit to the ER should be a priority. 

But how do you establish if your chest pain is an emergency? If the pain is temporary, has been experienced before or reduces when you change positions, there is no cause of alarm for heart problems. Your doctor at Heart and Vascular Care recommends calling an ambulance if you suspect that your problem is severe. Heart attacks present in various forms among patients, and you should not take chances. 

The chest cavity encloses a variety of vital organs and any pain in this area should not be taken lightly. Consult your cardiologist for evaluation whenever you experience chest pains that could mean a heart attack or stroke requiring an emergency room visit.