Emergency Care for Urgent Situations: Chest Pain
Chest pain is one of those symptoms that can be quite scary to experience and that is probably why it is one of the most common symptoms that bring people to the emergency room. Chest pain may be due to varying causes, some of them very serious and potentially life-threatening while others being minor and being nothing to be worried about. Some of the causes of chest pain that may not be serious or what you would term as medical emergencies include heartburn or when you feel chest pain after physical exertion like say after finishing a sprint on the track. However, chest pain may also be a sign of some very sinister medical conditions such as heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms and an aortic dissection. These are medical emergencies and life-threatening conditions and require one to seek emergency care as soon as possible. When one is having chest pain that is urgent and is a sign of these life-threatening medical conditions, it is a very stressful situation and one may not know how to react in such a situation. To help with that, this article will look to highlight how you should go about things if one is experiencing urgent, emergency chest pain.
Let us first start with chest pain that is a sign of a heart attack. We know that chest pain is one of the signs of a heart attack and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a feeling of pressure or fullness in the center of the chest which may last for a number of minutes, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea or vomiting, a feeling of lightheadedness as well as pain that may radiate to the shoulders, neck, back, arms or jaw. If someone is having chest pain as well as any of the above symptoms indicating a heart attack, the very first thing you should do is call 911 as soon as possible. Someone having a heart attack should never drive themselves to an emergency room as not only is this dangerous for them, but it is dangerous for other people on the road if their situation becomes serious while behind the wheel. If there is no access to emergency services, then the person having a heart attack should be driven to an emergency room as soon as possible. If they have been prescribed nitroglycerin by the doctor, they should take it as prescribed. Since aspirin reduces blood clotting, one should chew on a regular-strength aspirin but only if you don’t have an aspirin allergy, bleeding problems or are taking any other blood-thinning medications. If the person having the heart attack is unconscious, you can begin CPR as you wait for emergency services to arrive. When you call 911 and tell them that someone is unconscious, they will give you instructions on how to perform CPR. Make sure you follow these instructions until they arrive.
The chest pain may also be due to angina, which is the chest pain that ensues when there is reduced blood flow to your heart muscles. Angina can either be stable, which can be predictable and usually occurs after physical exertion, or it can be unstable which occurs suddenly and it is usually either new chest pain or chest pain that is different from what you normally experience and could be a sign of a heart attack. Angina that is accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, sweating, dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness, fatigue, shortness of breath or pain in the arms, jaw, neck, shoulders or back and chest pain should always be taken seriously as they may be a sign of something more serious. If you are experiencing angina, you should take nitroglycerin if you have a prescription of the same. If the situation doesn’t improve or changes for the worst, you should call 911 as soon as possible.
Your chest pain could also be a sign of pulmonary embolism which is where a blood clot gets lodged in your lungs, usually after having travelled from the veins in the legs or pelvis. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include severe anxiety, swelling in one leg due to the blood clot, loss of consciousness and fainting, a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain that is sudden, cough that may come with blood in the sputum as well as sweating that is unexplained. If you are showing symptoms of pulmonary embolism, then you should call 911 as soon as possible for emergency care services. Your chest pain may also be due to an aortic dissection and as such you may have symptoms such chest pain that is severe and sudden or upper back pain that usually radiates towards the neck or lower back and which usually feels like a ripping, tearing sensation, sweating, weak pulse in one arm when compared to the other, sudden speech difficulties, issues with vision, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body, shortness of breath as well as loss of consciousness. If one is experiencing signs of a pulmonary embolism, they should call 911 as soon as possible.
The above are some of the urgent situations as far as chest pain is concerned, as well as how to proceed in each situation and it is our hope you will be able to get the help you require so that you can sidestep any unwanted consequences.