It’s 2 AM and you wake up with chest pain. What should you do? Maybe it’s just indigestion, but maybe it’s a heart attack. How do you know what to do?
When is Chest Pain Serious?
Heart attacks kill more people in the US than any other single disease, and the main symptom that people have from a heart attack is chest pain. But the term chest pain is actually misleading. Heart pain is not always described as being painful, and it’s not always in the chest. For that reason, I like the Latin term angina pectoris, which means “sensation in the chest.” This is not just a vocabulary lesson; people die because what they are feeling isn’t actually chest pain and so they stay at home and have a heart attack.
Today I’ll focus on the symptom that brings people into my office, and then over the next few weeks I’ll cover the cause and the treatment of heart disease.