Chest Pain: Does It Mean a Trip to the Emergency Room?
Chest pain shouldn’t be ignored. If the pain is something you’ve never experienced before, there are things you should consider when deciding if a visit to the hospital emergency room is necessary. Not all chest pain is life-threatening. Your personal risk factors, such as age, whether or not you’re a smoker, family history of heart disease or heart attack are key in deciding if an ER visit is in order.
Fact: 30% of heart attack symptoms go unnoticed by the patient. That creates uncertainty in knowing what course of action to take.
Here are some chest pain symptoms that should not be ignored:
- You are 40+ years or older and have one or more risk factors for coronary artery disease including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, stress and poor diet
- Strong family history of early heart disease
- Tight, squeezing, heavy or crushing pain
- The pain is accompanied by weakness, nausea, sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting
- The pain radiates to your shoulders, arms or jaw
- The worst pain you’ve ever felt
Chest pain is not something doctors have a rulebook for.
If your symptoms are acute, don’t drive yourself to the ER; have a family member or friend take you. If you are alone or have young children in your care, dial 911 for an ambulance.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors. It may be suggested that you make an appointment with a heart specialist otherwise known as a cardiologist. The cardiologist can further assess you with tests which are normally done in-office. One test is an exercise stress test which is used to diagnose how well your heart responds during times when it is working hard. During the stress test, you’ll be asked to exercise — typically on a treadmill — while you’re hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. This allows your doctor to monitor your heart rate. Other tests may be ordered depending on the outcome of the stress test.
Know What Kind of Facility Treats Heart Attack Patients
Know your local hospital resources and which facilities can treat a person having chest pain. Typically, urgent care facilities are not equipped to handle heart attack patients. It is best to go right to a hospital ER when you feel chest pain. Seconds count when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of chest pain that can signal a heart attack. Kingwood Emergency Hospital Board Certified Emergency Physicians are trained to handle heart attack patients. We have a staff Cardiologist standing by to give patients experiencing chest pain, the best possible care.
About Kingwood Emergency Hospital
We go beyond expectation by building strong community relationships. We are here to serve active families and their athletes, dancers, cheerleaders, outdoor enthusiasts, thrill seekers, coaches, and educators. We serve families no matter what they look like. We love new moms, single dads, blended families, two dads, two moms, a dad with a grandmom…whatever the situation and whomever that involves. We don’t define you. You define us. Your family is our family. We’re not just about helping you feel better, we’re here to help you be better. Give us a chance to win you over. You’ll never go back to the way ER care was before Kingwood Emergency Hospital.