When You See Your Doctor:
- Bring a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
- Let them know about any related family history.
- Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.
Your doctor likely willlisten to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may orderblood work, which will show whether your heart is damaged.
They also may use an electrocardiogram to tell whether the electrical activity of your heart is normal, or an echocardiogram to view images of the heart to see if damage has occurred.
All this is important inidentifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heartattack.
Pain You Cant Put A Finger On
Aches and pains that wonât go away could be a symptom of depression or anxiety.
It may be hard to pin down exactly what hurts, but the pain is real. Mood disorders can cause pain in your:
Kelly Gregory, Hendersonville, TN.
Pam R. Taub, MD, associate professor of medicine, University of California San Diego.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: âWhat Are the Signs and Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?â
Gretchen E. Tietjen, MD, chairwoman of neurology and director, Headache Treatment and Research Program, University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, OH.
New York State Department of Health: âTypes of Strokes.â
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: âLow Back Pain Fact Sheet.â
American Family Physician: âAcute Appendicitis: Review and Update.â
American Academy of Family Physicians: âAbdominal Pain, Short Term,â âDeep Vein Thrombosis.â
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: âDiabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes.â
Deborah Wexler, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School co-clinical director, Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center associate program director for clinical research, internal medicine residency program, Mass General, Boston.
Mental Health America: âDepression.â
Trivedi, M. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, published online 2004.
Christine Penguino, Atlanta.
Catch The Signs Early
Dont wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Download the common heart attack warning signs infographic |
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How Can You Have Jaw Pain During A Heart Attack Without Chest Pain
A that obstructs blood flow in your heart muscle is the most common cause of a heart attack . When a heart attack strikes, it often feels like a pressure, cramping or squeezing pain in your chest. You may also feel the pain spread through your neck to your jaw, as well as your shoulder, back or arm. You may also feel jaw pain, or an aching or discomfort in your jaw or upper body without any chest pain because other parts of your body are more sensitive to pain than your chest organs. During a heart attack, your diaphragm and nearby accessory nerve can become irritated causing pain to refer elsewhere including your neck and shoulders. This happens more commonly in women than in men.
What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2
Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.
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Signs Of A Heart Attack Chest Pain That May Radiate
Chest pain is the most common and classic sign of a heart attack. It is often poorly localized, but is classically in the area behind the breastbone and associated with a pressure like sensation. The pain may radiate to the neck and jaw and the arms, the left arm most classically with a squeezing like sensation. These symptoms are known as angina. In stable angina these symptoms will often occur with exertion or emotional distress and go away with rest. If the symptoms last more than a few minutes then the diagnosis is certainly not considered stable angina and help should be sought.
Sweating And/or Shortness Of Breath
As women age, a lack of exercise and gradual weight gain cause issues like shortness of breath. Hot flashes are a common complaint for many women during menopause.
But these symptoms can signala heart problem when they happen in certain situations:
- Sudden sweating or shortness of breath without exertion.
- Breathlessness that continues to worsen over time after exertion.
- Shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and improves when propping up.
- Stress sweat when there is no real cause for stress.
- Sweating or shortness of breath accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain or fatigue.
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Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health
Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse.
We are hearing that fewer people are being seen in hospital with heart attacks in recent weeks, which suggests that people are not seeking help when they should do. If you have any of the symptoms described above, you should call 999.
Don’t delay because you think hospitals are too busy – the NHS still has systems in place to treat people for heart attacks. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
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Heart Health : What Men And Women Should Know
Heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women worldwide, edging out cancer for the past few years.
Heres the good news: there are some things we can do to help prevent heart disease and, if heart disease or attack is recognized and treated early, there are some great outcomes for patients.
I spoke with Dr. Mina Madan, cardiologist at Sunnybrook, to answer some FAQs about the heart and how we can keep ours healthy.
Q. A real easy one, to get us started: What is the heart?
The heart is a muscle pump in the left part of the chest that pumps blood carrying oxygen to the rest of the body. It has its own blood supply that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
Q. What is coronary artery disease?
The hearts blood supply is kind of like a plumbing system. Coronary artery disease is build up in those pipes. When theres a blockage made up of cholesterol plaque oxygen and nutrients cant get to the heart, and so it starts starving. The build-up can happen over time or abruptly.
After about 30-40 minutes of a complete blockage, you may start to feel some or all of the classic symptoms of a heart attack.
Q. What are the symptoms of a heart attack or what doctors would call a myocardial infarction?
Q. What are some of the not-so-typical symptoms?
Q. Ive heard women experience heart attack differently than men and many dont realize they are having a heart attack at all?
Q. What are heart disease risk factors?
What Is A Heart Attack
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.
The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.
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Arm Pain In Heart Attack
Arm pain, specifically left arm pain, is a common symptom of a heart attack. It usually accompanies the crushing central chest pain, shortness of breath and excessive sweating that are considered characteristic symptoms of a heart attack. The may also be other symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, anxiety and even loss of consciousness. Pain is not always limited to the chest and arm. Sometimes neck, jaw and even epigastric pain may occur.
However, left arm pain is usually the most common accompanying pain in a heart attack. There are instances where left arm pain may be one of the only pain symptoms in a heart attack even in the absence of the typical chest pain. This presentation is considered to be a atypical for a heart attack. Accompanying symptoms like fatigue are non-specific and there may be no other conclusive indication of a cardiac event.
This atypical presentation where there is little to no symptoms is also referred to as a silent heart attack. These types of heart attacks are more common than is often thought. It is estimated that as many as 25% of heart attacks are not typical in presentation and is therefore not accurately identified as a heart attack. Silent heart attacks tend to be more common in the elderly and particularly in diabetic patients.
Read more on silent heart attack.
Less Common Cause Types
Causes of jaw pain that are less common include the following.
- Anxiety: This leads to tension, which can lead to tooth grinding and jaw clenching. The actions can cause damage and uneven wear to the surface of the teeth, which then causes uneven pressure on the joints of the jawbones.
- Overusing the jaw muscles for chewing or even talking: This can leave these muscles sore and inflamed.
- Abnormalities of the jaw: These can be treated by dentists and other specialists.
- Myofascial pain syndrome: This is where “trigger points” small areas of very tight, contracted muscle tissue cause pain when touched or pressed.
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What Are Other Causes Of Jaw Pain
Most causes of jaw pain are not as serious as a heart attack. Some of the following causes are due to problems with the jaw joint itself:
of the jaw, including and
Dental problems, such as a tooth cavity, infected tooth , gum disease , or tooth grinding
, a long-lasting pain disorder that causes widespread and tender spots in the jaw and other body areas
Temporomandibular disorders , which cause jaw and limit jaw movement
Jaw muscle stress or strain, which can be caused by overextending your jaw during a dental procedure or while yawning
- Myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic form of muscle pain in the jaw and other areas of the body centered on sensitive points in your muscles
- Giant cell arteritis , a serious autoimmune inflammatory condition that, if untreated, can lead to blindness and other serious complications.
What’s The Difference Between A Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack
The phrases cardiac arrest and heart attack are often confused, however are different.If youre having a cardiac arrest you will be unconscious, not breathing or not breathing normally. Your heart has stopped pumping blood around your body and youll need CPR and medical attention immediately. During a heart attack you’ll be conscious and breathing, but experiencing chest pain or discomfort.A heart attack is a medical emergency and can lead to cardiac arrest so its important to seek medical attention straight away.
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Detecting A Different Kind Of Jaw Pain
Many of the common signs of heart attack are well known: tightness or pressure in the chest, discomfort in the arms and shoulders, shortness of breath. Theres another to add to the mix, one that may not prompt an immediate 911 call or trip to the ER: jaw pain.
Sometimes the manifestation of a heart attack or some cardiac event can be felt in the jaws, the teeth and the neck. Its not just the left side it can happen on the right side, too, especially for females, says Dr. Steven Bender, clinical assistant professor and director of the Center for Facial Pain and Sleep Medicine at Texas A& M College of Dentistry. The pain is a sign. Its an indicator that something is happening right then, right in that moment. It may come and go depending on the severity, just like people who say I thought it was heartburn, and it comes and goes. Its the same thing with the jaw pain. It may come and go, and people may not attribute it to a cardiac event.
The head, neck and jaw pain experienced during a cardiac event is different than the chronic pain experienced by many of Benders patients, who often suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders. Patients with TMD typically can put their finger on the exact area that hurts, whether its the jaw, the jaw joint or the side of the head, and the pain often flares up when yawning or chewing.
You always have to put it into context with risk factors, Feghali adds.
Its a two-way collaboration, he explains.
Rare And Unusual Cause Types
The least common causes of jaw pain include:
- Injury that may not be obvious right away: Such as a fracture. This can occur to either an upper or lower jawbone.
- A tumor forming in or somewhere near the jawbones
- Heart attack
This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.
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Signs Of A Heart Attack May Differ In Women
Its critical to recognize that signs of a heart attack may differ in women. In addition to the typical symptom of chest pain a heart attack women experience other atypical symptoms more frequently than men. This has led to many disparities in care over the years and there is now a strong movement to educate both healthcare providers and patients to be vigilant to this. Whereas men may more frequently experience chest pain as a sign of a heart attack, women may experience back pain, jaw pain, neck pain, nausea, shortness of breath, palpitations, indigestion, dizziness, and passing out.
When Should I Call My Doctor Or 911
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have had ongoing mild to moderate jaw pain or stiffness.
It is common for people having a heart attack to report feelings of or panic, an unclear sense of uneasiness, or deep sense of dread or doom. If you have these feelings with , or if your jaw pain starts suddenly, is severe, or happens with any of the following symptoms, :
Discomfort in your chest, such as pain, squeezing, or a feeling of something heavy on your chest
Abdominal or stomach pain, which may include feeling queasy or sick to your stomach or throwing up
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What Are The Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms For Men And Women
Its a common misconception that men and women experience different symptoms when having a heart attack. While symptoms vary from person to person, there are no symptoms that women experience more or less often than men. Women are more likely to dismiss the idea that they may be having a heart attack and delay seeking medical attention. Its important to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack, take them seriously and act quickly to prevent damaging the heart muscle.
- Learn more on our women and heart attacks page.
Acute Salivary Duct Stone
A salivary duct stone is the most common disorder of the salivary glands . They can range in size from tiny particles to stones that are several centimeters in length.
Top Symptoms: swelling on one side of the face, swollen jaw, painful face swelling, spontaneous jaw pain, painful jaw swelling
Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit
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Cardiac Pain That Isnt A Heart Attack
Cardiac pain, or angina, refers to discomfort in the chest because of something going on with the heart. The first thing a cardiologist will try to determine in a patient with cardiac pain is whether the pain is caused by clogged arteries.
Several conditions of the heart can cause cardiac pain but arent related to clogged arteries, including:
- Pericarditis: inflammation of the two thin layers of tissue that surround the heart
- Dissection: when the aorta splits and causes severe chest and back pain
- Myocarditis: inflammation of the heart muscle
- Cardiomyopathy: diseases of the heart muscle