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Chest Pains: When to Go to the ER

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Posted at 7:13 AM, Jul 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-16 09:14:02-04

Chest pains can be caused by a variety of health problems, ranging from heartburn to heart attack. Although heart attack symptoms can present themselves in a variety of ways, there are several common signs to look out for, including chest pain.

Signs and symptoms of heart attack

  • Sudden pressure or tightening in the center of the chest
  • Pain or discomfort that can spread to the back, shoulder, neck, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating, lightheadedness, or dizziness

Signs and Symptoms in women

  • Upper back and shoulder pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Pressure or pain in the center of chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion

When to seek medical attention?
If you develop chest pain, especially if you experience heaviness or pressure, don’t wait to contact emergency services. Even if the ER team finds that the chest pain stems from a non-life threatening condition, it is not worth the risk to wait.