Not necessarily. Chest pain can have different causes, including infections, indigestion, and even muscle strain. Heart attacks usually are accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, profuse sweating, a pressure in the chest, and pain in the arm, back, or neck. However, these symptoms can vary from one person to another. Because chest pain can be a sign of a severe and even life-threatening problem, you should always call the office to schedule an evaluation of your symptoms so you can receive appropriate care. If you have sudden, severe chest pain or pain accompanied by any of the symptoms listed above, call 9-1-1.
Chest pain diagnosis begins with a review of your symptoms and a physical exam. Dr. McKenzie will listen to your heart and lungs and probably order an EKG to evaluate your heart’s electrical activity and a chest X-ray or other imaging test, depending on your symptoms. You might have blood tests as well. In other cases, Dr. McKenzie may refer you to a cardiologist for other tests.
Angina is recurrent chest pain that occurs when the normal blood flow to the heart is interrupted. Most cases of angina are caused by narrowing of the arteries that develops when sticky plaques build up along the artery walls, making it more difficult for blood to pass through. Rarely, angina can be caused by abnormal spasms of the blood vessels. This type of angina is sometimes referred to as vasospasm or Prinzmetal angina.
If you have chest pain, your treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms. Chest pain related to arterial blockage may be treated with blood thinners or other medication, or with a minimally-invasive procedure to remove or compress plaques. Severe blockages may require bypass surgery to correct. Angina may be treated with medicines to dilate the blood vessels or prevent spasms. Infections can be treated with antibiotics or other medicines. Pain caused by chronic indigestion usually can be treated with medication. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and losing excess weight can also help. Dr. McKenzie will work closely with you, providing you with referrals as necessary to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment based on your needs.
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