Dr. Jalil Khan Speaks Out on Heart Attacks
In Hollywood, the stereotypical heart attack victim suffers sudden and intense chest pain which radiates down the left arm; there’s no question of what’s wrong. But according to Dr. Jalil Khan, MD, an internist with a preventative cardiology fellowship, a heart attack, in real life, doesn’t always look the same as on TV. Many people who are experiencing chest pain may wonder, “Am I having a heart attack, or is it something else?” What should you do if you are experiencing chest pain and are unsure of the cause? According to Dr. Khan, always seek professional help!
There are many different medical conditions that can cause chest pain. Some are serious, while others are more of an annoyance. The most serious, of course, is a heart attack. Not all heart attacks involve sudden, intense pain, reports Dr. Khan. Most heart attacks start more slowly, with a feeling of pressure or squeezing in the chest, shortness of breath, and possibly pain in one or both arms, neck, or back. Nausea, lightheadedness, and a cold sweat are other symptoms that can accompany a heart attack. Angina, a heart condition caused by a lack of blood to the heart, is another condition that can cause chest pain. As uncontrolled angina can lead to a heart attack, medical attention for angina related chest pain is necessary.
Medical conditions that affect the lungs can also present chest pain as a symptom, says Dr. Jalil Khan, MD. An asthma attack or pneumonia, both of which will usually also cause shortness of breath, can have chest pain as a symptom. Other lung conditions that can cause chest pain can include pleurisy or a pulmonary embolism. Each of these conditions, says Dr. Khan, requires medical attention.
Chest pain can also be a symptom of digestive issues, according to Dr. Jalil Khan, MD. Ulcers, gallstones, indigestion, and acid reflux have all been known to cause chest pain. While not as serious as a heart attack, these are medical conditions that require a doctor’s care, advises Dr. Khan.
Another common condition that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack is an anxiety attack. Anxiety attack sufferers can experience not only chest pain, but also heart palpitations, hyperventilation, nausea, and a feeling of overwhelming panic. While not life threatening, says Dr. Khan, anxiety attacks can be treated with medication.
When it comes to chest pain, Dr. Jalil Khan, MD recommends that one should always error on the side of caution. Not all chest pain is caused by a heart attack, relates Dr. Khan, but all cases of chest pain can, and should, be treated by a doctor.
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