Acute chest pain

What is acute chest pain?

chest pain

Acute chest pain is when you feel a sudden and very strong pain in your chest. It can happen really quickly, and it’s important to get help right away. Sometimes, when someone has sudden chest pain, the pain can move to other parts of the body, like the neck, jaw, back, or arms. This can differ for each person and depends on what’s causing the pain. This kind of pain could mean there is a serious problem like a heart attack.

Should I visit Doctor?

It is important to see a doctor right away when you have chest pain. Chest pain can be a sign of something serious, like a heart attack. A doctor can figure out what’s causing the pain and give you the right treatment. Sometimes, chest pain can be really dangerous and needs immediate help. The doctor will ask you questions, examine you, and maybe do some tests to find out what’s going on. They can also help ease your worries and give you the right care.

What is the severity of my pain?

You can calculate the severity of your pain using the scale given below. It can help you explain your symptoms to your Doctor. The scale rates acute chest pain from 1 to 7.

The TIMI scale is a tool doctors use to assess the risk of a person having a heart attack or other heart-related problems. TIMI stands for Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction, which basically means treating a blood clot in the heart. Your Doctor may use it when you experience chest pain or other symptoms that could be related to your heart. thus, it helps doctors determine how likely a heart attack can occur or if you need urgent medical treatment.

Based on the TIMI score, the doctor can decide what treatment is needed. For example, if the score is high, the doctor may recommend immediate medical intervention or medications to prevent a heart attack. If the score is low, the doctor may suggest lifestyle changes or further tests to monitor the person’s heart health. It will help your Doctor assess the risk of heart problems so that appropriate actions can be taken to make you live a healthy life.

  • 0-1 point: This means you are at low risk. The chest pain may not be related to a serious heart problem.
  • 2-3 points: This means you are at intermediate risk. The chest pain could be more concerning, and further tests might be needed.
  • 4-7 points: This means you are at a high risk. The chest pain could be a sign of a significant heart problem, and immediate medical attention is necessary.

How can I use the scale?

You can check the points you gained by considering the seven criteria listed below (one point each). Please note, more is the score, the higher the severity of your pain, and worsened the situation. So, a score of 7 points is the most dangerous condition, and a score of 0 is very less pain, which does not need emergency treatments.

  1. Age more than or equal to 65 years
  2. Presence of at least three associated abnormalities, such as, but not limited to, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking history.
  3. Positive medical history
  4. No aspirin use in the past seven days
  5. At least two angina episodes in the past 24 hours
  6. ECG changes
  7. Elevated cardiac troponin levels or other biomarkers

Keep track of your pain levels using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the pain to your doctor or nurse.

Is there any action I can take before access to medical services?

  • Lie down in a comfortable position with your head up.
  • Loosen your clothing and take slow and deep breaths.
  • Stop doing activities that cause pain. Remain calm.
  • If you have regular adult aspirin, chew one (as long as you are not allergic to aspirin). Chewing more than one will not do any good and may cause unwanted side effects.
  • Antacids or certain procedures for acid reflux and heartburn, which may treat the symptoms
  • Anti-anxiety medications, which may treat chest pain related to panic attacks
  • Stay hydrated and call your Doctor right away

What are the associated signs and symptoms?

Seek emergency treatment immediately if you think you may be having a heart attack and especially if your pain is new, unexplained, or lasts more than a few moments. Ankr advise you to call your Doctor if you have any of these symptoms along with the pain:

  • A sudden feeling of pressure, squeezing, tightness, or crushing under your breastbone that spreads to your jaw, left arm, or back.
  • Sudden, sharp pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long period of inactivity.
  • Nausea, dizziness, rapid heart rate or rapid breathing, confusion, ashen color, or excessive sweating.
  • Very low blood pressure or heart rate.
  • Fever, chills, or coughing up yellow-green mucus.
  • Dysphagia (Painful swallowing).
  • You can also experience severe pain that does not go away.

What causes acute chest pain?

While it is a well-established sign of a heart attack, it can also be caused by many other less serious conditions.

Heart-related causes

  • Heart attack
  • Certain chemotherapy medications like 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).
  • Angina, which is pain caused by blockages in the blood vessels leading to your heart.
  • Pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the sac around the heart.
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
  • Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.
  • Aortic dissection

Lung related causes

  • pneumonia
  • viral bronchitis
  • pneumothorax
  • a blood clot, or pulmonary embolus
  • bronchospasm

Gastrointestinal causes

  • Heartburn (GERD/Acid Reflux
  • Swallowing problems related to disorders of the esophagus
  • gallstones
  • inflammation of gallbladder or pancreas

Muscle or bone-related causes

  • Bruised or broken ribs
  • Sore muscles from exertion or chronic pain syndromes
  • Compression fractures causing pressure on a nerve

Other causes

  • Shingles
  • Panic

How can I prevent acute chest pain?

  • Remove underlying causes, such as stress and medical conditions.
  • Manage cholesterol levels and diabetes
  • Take regular doses along with timely follow-ups
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle
  • Remain educated about signs and symptoms by following Ankr platform

How can Ankr help with your acute chest pain?

Don’t try to treat acute chest pain by yourself. Use Ankr to:
(1) learn about the associated symptoms of acute chest pain
(2) send a message to your Doctor if they use Ankr platform*
(3) be better informed about how to prevent another chronic chest pain

Sign up for a free 30-day trial now

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