What should you do if you have chest pain?

Call 911 or have someone take you to the closest emergency room right away if you have chest pain that lasts longer than five minutes and does not go away when you rest or take medication. Cardiac chest pain can be life-threatening.

Chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. Other signs of a heart attack include:

  • Sweating.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Light-headedness or fainting.
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Pain in your back, jaw, neck, upper abdomen, arm or shoulder.

What is chest pain?

Chest pain is pain in any area of your chest. You may feel the pain in your back, lungs, ribs, muscles or center of your chest. Chest pain can be sharp or dull. You may feel tightness, achiness, or you may feel like your chest is being crushed or squeezed. Chest pain is often intermittent (lasting for seconds, minutes to hours), but it can also be chronic, which means it lasts six months or longer.

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain that happens when your heart is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina is a symptom of a heart problem.

Angina can feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. It can also cause discomfort in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw and back. Angina sometimes feels like indigestion.

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