Most people describe chest pain or angina as intense, oppressive, and overwhelming. Initially, it can start as less intense but may progress spontaneously, leading to discomfort and significant stress. Any chest pain that lasts for more than thirty minutes can be a symptom of a heart attack. If you experience chest pain in Upper East Side, the team at Upper East Side Cardiology, lead by Satjit Bhusri, MD, will evaluate the cause and recommend an ideal treatment plan.
Is angina a heart attack?
Angina is not a heart attack but a symptom of coronary artery disease. A heart attack occurs when a restricted flow of blood to the heart and chest pain is an immediate sign of an impending heart attack.
It is accompanied by a sharp and dull pain in the chest area which can cause discomfort, tightness, gasping, or a burning sensation. The pain can spread to your back, jaw, upper abdomen, neck, and arm. Other symptoms include nausea, sweating, coughing, and difficulty in breathing. Chest pain is a sign of a life-threatening condition and it is important to seek medical attention even when the symptoms are very mild.
Many factors may cause chest pain and discomfort, but not all involve the heart. Some underlying causes may be mild and a problem with the digestive system, bones, nerves, lungs, and muscles can also cause it.
When to see a doctor
Although not all causes are serious, some can be life-threatening and require an emergency medical response. If you experience new chest pain for several days, this is a warning sign. A brief chest pain lasting for a few seconds may not mean it is a heart problem. However, if it lasts for a day or more, it is a sign that the problem may worsen, and you need to check into a hospital.
What does the doctor check for?
Your doctor will first ask you about the symptoms and medical history before performing a physical examination. The test results will reveal the cause of the chest pain and further tests may be necessary.
Sometimes the symptoms may be harmless and could be because of other causes such as digestive issues. If the results show acute coronary diseases, Satjit Bhusri, MD, will recommend an ECG imaging or stress test. If the doctor suspects pulmonary embolism, a CT scan of your lungs is conducted.
How is chest pain treated?
With long-lasting chest pain, life can be in immediate danger. Satjit Bhusri, MD, conducts a chest X-ray and other tests based on your symptoms and examination results. Specific treatment is prescribed depending on the outcome of the tests. If the cause of the pain is not clear, the specialist will book in for admission at the hospital for cardiac monitoring and extensive tests. The doctor may treat the symptoms before the diagnosis is made.
Angina occurs when there is less blood flow to your heart and feels like pressure squeezing inside your rib cage. If you experience such symptoms, the emergency center has qualified personnel who will help you interpret the risk factors.