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Skaggfacemutt's avatar

What are the symptoms of heart problems?

Asked by Skaggfacemutt (9735 points ) June 25th, 2014

Lately I have had a weird feeling in the right side of my chest – like a tightness. It scares me so bad to think that I might have something wrong with my heart, that I then go into something like panic and actually feel some chest pains. Should I be concerned? When I forget about it, no more symptoms. Heart problems don’t run in my family and I have no reason to be concerned except for this occasional tight feeling.

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13 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

“Tightness in the chest” is a classic symptom of pending or active heart attack. Of course, it’s not the only symptom – not always – and it doesn’t always mean “you’re having a heart attack”, but it should not be dismissed if you can’t attribute it to a reasonable cause, such as exercise or current hard work, for example.

In addition, since heart attack has been proven to be under-diagnosed in women, I would strongly recommend that you consult an actual physician.

Here are some links that you may find relevant (from WebMD.com).

marinelife's avatar

When in doubt, check it out. Just being scared won’t relieve your symptoms, whereas a doctor or emergency room could actually do something.

JLeslie's avatar

Check with a doctor, be on the safe side.

For myself, and this is not advice, if I don’t feel unusually tired or short of breath I tend to brush chest pains off. In women heart attacks, or leading up to a heart attack, women often get nausea, lethargy, and lower jaw pain.

Men tend to get pressure or tightness in their chest, pain down their left arm, difficulty breathing. My dad only had shortness of breath as a symptom before he ever had a heart attack. He had trouble walking the two blocks from his car to the office building, when it had never been a problem before. His tests showed over 75% blockage in the left main artery called the widow maker. If he had waited longer he would have been dead. They did bypass. That was 25 years ago.

There is new research being done regarding heart disease on women. They are finding the tend to block up in the smaller arteries around the heart and that is why they believe the symptoms are so different. Men can get that sort of blockage too, it isn’t restricted by gender, but they just are finding some patterns of differences between the sexes.

On the right side it can be gall bladder (fairly common) or just a muscle tightening (have you been lifting things lately?) or some random twinge like anything.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

For women, the pain and pressure can be just as subtle as indigestion. Another place to check is the ankles, to see if you have any swelling. That could be some fluid buildup, if the heart isn’t working well.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

A few years ago I awoke at 2:30 in the morning with incredible chest pains. I thought an elephant was sitting on my chest.
I went over to the ambulance apartment in my condoland and they hooked me up to a lot of wires and transported me to the hospital.

I had extensive tests given me including one where I was wired up and had to walk a treadmill tilted at a steep angle.

When it was all said and done there was nothing wrong with my heart at all. I never did find out what caused it.

Some people told me I had had an anxiey attack, but really, what do some people know anyway?

filmfann's avatar

I get a line of pain across my chest when I am over-stressed.

GloPro's avatar

Here is a page comparing a MI (heart attack) to something called angina.

I highly recommend a visit to the doctor to allay your fears, but to give you some positive news, angina is pain in the heart that is felt during stress or exercise that subsides when you stop stressing or exercising. Angina does not usually cause damage to the heart muscle. It is described as a ‘tightness in the chest.’

So hopefully, if anything has to be an issue with your heart, it’s angina vs. blockage leading to heart attacks.

Go to the doctor and stop stressing yourself out wondering.

jca's avatar

I don’t get panic attacks and I don’t get chest pains, but I have heard that sometimes the symptoms can be similar. Still and all, you should check it out with the doctor. Folks on a website give great advice, but nothing takes the place of a physical examination by a MD.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Have you been checked out for allergies? I had a couple of allergic reactions, that were almost identical to an anxiety attack, except they develop much slower. I felt the elephant on my chest and they gave me the stress test on the treadmill. We eliminated causes until it looked like it was an allergic reaction. My doc put me on a corticosteroid nasal spray and not even a hint of the same problem in years. We don’t appreciate respiration until we have to sit there and tell ourselves okay inhale, now exhale, now inhale, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

It doesn’t sound like a panic attack to me. Panic attacks usually are accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, racing heart, weakness, a feeling of doom. It doesn’t have to be all of those, but I would say chest pain alone is not panic in my nonmedical opinion.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I am not having any other symptoms, like swollen ankles, pain in my jaw or arm. I do have allergies and they have been acting up. I am sure I should go have my heart checked out, but I am thinking that it is anxiety due to thinking that I might have a heart problem. So having it checked out would be good for that, too. I can actually feel the panic welling up in me, just thinking about it.

JLeslie's avatar

If you are worried definitely go get checked. Your doctor might be able to rule out heart problems and actually diagnose the problem.

Have you been coughing from your allergies?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

No, just congested. I have been taking allergy medicine.

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