When to go to ER for Chest Pain or Shortness of Breath

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stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 1/15/2009 7:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning Family  :)
 
When to go to the ER for Chest Pain

Pain in your chest can be severe. It can be difficult to interpret. The cause of the pain could be something as simple as heartburn or as serious as a heart attack.

If you experience unexplained and persistent chest pain or a feeling of pressure or tightness in your chest — particularly if it's accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness or pain that radiates beyond your chest to one or both of your arms or your neck — seek emergency medical care immediately. If you are having a heart attack, rapid treatment can dramatically reduce the amount of damage to your heart muscle and prevent long-term complications.

Every minute is crucial if you are in the midst of a heart attack. A trip to the emergency room could save your life — or bring you peace of mind if nothing is seriously wrong with your health.

When to go to the ER for Breathing difficulties?

Shortness of breath has many different causes. Obstruction of the air passages of the nose, mouth, or throat may lead to difficulty breathing. Heart disease can cause breathlessness if the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply oxygen to the body. If the brain, muscles, or other body organs do not receive enough oxygen, a sense of breathlessness may occur. Sometimes emotional distress, such as anxiety, can lead to difficulty breathing.

Breathing difficulty, whether sudden or long term, should always be taken seriously. Though many causes are harmless and are easily corrected, any difficulty breathing requires a thorough medical evaluation.

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if difficulty breathing comes on suddenly or seriously interferes with breathing, or if someone completely stops breathing.

This is just a good guideline but not set in stone.  If you have panic attacks regularly and experience some chest pain you may want to call the nurse triage at your clinic and ask for advice.  Always error on the side of safety.

Use your good common sense and please remember I am not a profesional.

Any questions or comments, please post away...............that is what we are all here for.

Gentle Hugs

Kitt

 


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

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Hibee
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6488
   Posted 1/15/2009 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Kitt

Thanks for posting this very informative

Ben

paniccu
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1009
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I always wonder about that. The symptoms they describe for chest pain are pretty typical for me when I'm having a panic attack. Once it's over I am fine. I haven't had to go to the ER yet, but I'm sure I'll end up there one of these days. I'd like to think the symptoms of a heart attack would be a little different for me than the panic attack. Hope so, otherwise I'm doomed! I know that symptoms can be different for everyone. My MIL had one when she was 49 and she said she felt a crushing pain in her chest that wouldn't go away and she had trouble breathing.

grimmly
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:21 AM (GMT -7)   
This really is a sticky topic. The first time I experienced a panic attack I was driving, and pulled over and called an ambulence. Now I'm very gun shy about it. I suffer from "think it, feel it" - that is, I may not have a particular pain or symptom until I hear about it. It's happened a dozen times at least, and it tends to keep me from reading too much about different medical conditions.
Good info to have!

Post Edited (grimmly) : 1/15/2009 11:09:53 AM (GMT-7)


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   

Crushing pain is often used by patient in describing the pain of a heart attack as well as "it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest".

I am glad this helps is some small way.

Kitt


grimmly
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/15/2009 11:10 AM (GMT -7)   
My understanding of heart attacks is that they come on suddenly and there are almost no warning signs. Is that true, to the best of anyone's knowledge? Strenuous activity, by my understanding, would also make such an attack considerably worse? Like, if you are having a mild attack and do something that would raise your heart rate or exert yourself, it would probably make the attack worse?

I realize this isn't sanctioned medical advice of course, just seeking information.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 1/15/2009 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes a Heart attack can come on suddenly but it can also take some time that is why many survive them

I would think extreme exertion would make it worse IMHO

GREAT input lil sis


Love
Big sis
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
              CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            Keep The Fight Going..Or YOu Will Lose
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         
   
                                     LYN


grimmly
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/15/2009 11:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hm. I may just head to the ER for this. I hate going when it's not necessary, but I think that's all that is going to set my mind at ease. I'm having some chest discomfort but it's infrequent - more like it happens, then stops. I've been doing physical activity today without much of a problem, my breathing is okay, and my heart rate is actually pretty low, until I feel the pain and get jittery. My left arm has been aching for a few days; shoulder as well. It all seems a bit too protracted to be cardio-related (plus i can pinpoint the exact moment it all started and it was over anxiety) but again, better to be safe. I have high BP so I'm always walking that line of "is this / isn't this" with my panic attacks. I've got an appt with my doc on Monday about the high bp.

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 1/15/2009 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Excellent post, Kitt - thanks!

I was running to the ER several times a week with shortness of breath about this time last year. I did get all the proper tests run (over the course of many visits to my regular doctor) and was able to trust them, that I wasn't having a heart attack. That helped me cut back on the trips that had always turned into "You've still got anxiety. Follow up with your PCP."

percycat
 
PS to grimmly - If you're concerned, be safe.  I'm glad I now have those test results to rely on, and don't have to wonder.


Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

Post Edited (percycat) : 1/15/2009 12:01:21 PM (GMT-7)


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 1/15/2009 11:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Great advice and I do hope you let us know what happens at the docs

LYN
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
              CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            Keep The Fight Going..Or YOu Will Lose
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         
   
                                     LYN


Green Grove
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2424
   Posted 1/15/2009 2:42 PM (GMT -7)   
So much great advice :) This is a wonderful thread Kitt! Thank you :)
Much Love, Hugs, Peace & Comfort . . . Your Bro . . . Sam :)
 ~Co-Moderator Anxiety & Panic Forum~
"Fall Seven Times. . . . . . . . . .  Stand Up Eight."
~Japanese Proverb~
Not a professional.  Seek your physician's advice before making changes to your meds or lifestyle.
 


grimmly
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/15/2009 5:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I went, spent a few hours at the ER. They did an EKG, took chest X-rays (in case it was my lungs), and did some bloodwork to search for a particular enzyme that the heart releases when it's been damaged. Everything came back great. I'm surprised they were that thorough, generally this hospital isn't. He believes it's a muscle pull in my chest, which I have had before. I'm not sure how it happened this time, as I didn't feel a pull or anything. But I do have five kids, so who knows. My wife speculated that I could have that much tension in my body due to the anxiety that it made such a pull easier.

So yeah, my mind is at ease once again.
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