Skip to main content

When Your Chest Pain Needs Medical Attention

When Your Chest Pain Needs Medical Attention

As a general principle, you should always have chest pain evaluated by our cardiac and vascular specialists at Memphis Vein Center. Cardiologist Kishore Arcot, MD, quickly runs diagnostic tests, identifies the source of your pain, and initiates the treatment you need.

But chest pain isn’t always associated with a heart problem. Many conditions, from pulled muscles and damaged nerves to gallstones and a lung condition can result in chest pain. That’s why it’s so important to know what sets heart-related chest pain apart.

Never hesitate to call us if you have any questions or need help with chest pain. In the meantime, this blog gives you the rundown on how to recognize when chest pain is a red flag alerting you to a heart problem.

Get help if you have a heart condition

If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart valve disease, congestive heart failure, or a heart arrhythmia, you should always contact us when chest pain develops. 

The only exception to calling us for an evaluation would be dialing 911 if you have signs of a heart attack.

Seek medical attention for these symptoms

Your chest pain signals a heart problem when the pain:

Appears slowly and lasts for minutes

Chest pain that develops gradually and lasts for at least several minutes has a high chance of being associated with a heart problem. Any time your chest pain sticks around, you need prompt medical attention.

Chest pain that’s fleeting should be evaluated in our office, but it’s less likely to signal a serious problem that needs emergency care. A sharp, stabbing pain that quickly disappears can be quite painful but typically comes from a problem other than your heart.

Is severe, getting worse, or feels crushing

Chest pain that’s severe or quickly gets worse indicates a serious heart problem and often is a sign you’re having a heart attack.

But a heart attack doesn’t always cause severe pain. In many cases, people experience a crushing sensation or a feeling of tightness or heavy pressure in their chest. These symptoms need immediate emergency care because chest pressure is often a heart attack symptom.

Doesn’t improve when you change position

During a heart attack, you won’t be able to find any position that relieves your chest pain. By comparison, some types of chest pain feel better when you change position. If sitting up, lying down, or bending over ease the pain, chances are the pain is related to a lung problem.

Occurs or gets worse when active

Pain that’s triggered by activity or gets worse with exercise is a sign your heart isn’t getting enough blood, usually due to a blocked artery. Have this type of chest pain evaluated at the Memphis Pain Center.

If the pain improves with rest, you can schedule an office appointment so we can determine the cause of your pain. But if the pain remains when you rest, you need immediate attention.

Persists despite self-medicating

If taking an antacid, deep breathing, or a sip of water makes the pain feel better, it’s probably not a heart problem.

Is accompanied by other symptoms

Chest pain that signals a heart attack is often accompanied by other symptoms. You may experience:

As the pain of a heart attack continues for several minutes, pain in the center of your chest builds slowly and may radiate to your neck, jaw, or left arm. The pain could also radiate to your shoulders, upper back, or upper abdomen.

Never hesitate to talk with us about chest pain. Call us at our Memphis, Tennessee, office or request an appointment right away using our online tool.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Could My Chest Pain Be Related to Acid Reflux?

Chest pain is frightening because it’s a major sign of a heart attack or cardiovascular condition. Yet many health problems cause chest pain that can mimic a heart attack, including acid reflux. Here’s how to tell them apart.
Consider These Treatment Options for PAD

Consider These Treatment Options for PAD

Why should you seek early treatment for peripheral artery disease? Because without treatment, PAD progresses, causing gangrene and resulting in more than half of all lower leg amputations. The good news is you have a range of treatment options.
Why You Should Never Neglect a Leg Ulcer

Why You Should Never Neglect a Leg Ulcer

You should never ignore leg ulcers, because they won’t heal without treatment. They put you at risk of developing serious infections and even amputation. Keep reading to learn the signs that you should seek treatment.
 5 Signs You May Have Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

5 Signs You May Have Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Women who suffer from chronic pelvic pain seldom consider going to a vascular specialist. But you need a blood vessel expert when pelvic congestion syndrome is the cause of your pain. Seek help if you have signs of this painful condition.
How Do I Know If My Chest Pain Is Serious?

How Do I Know If My Chest Pain Is Serious?

You can’t always tell if your chest pain is serious. The challenge is deciding when you need immediate emergency care or it’s safe to schedule an office evaluation. Here you’ll learn telltale signs to help guide your decision.

The Dangers of DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) develops in your legs, and from there, the blood clot can travel to your lungs and turn into a life-threatening condition. Here’s everything you need to know about DVT and the potential dangers it poses to your health.