Many of my patients are surprised that cardiac chest pain is not a sharp stabbing pain. It is more often described as a pressure, ache, or squeezing discomfort. Patients commonly label it as a pressure like someone or something, i.e. an elephant, is sitting on their chest. The take home message is that if your chest hurts in any way, no matter how seemingly insignificant, you should go and have it evaluated because it could be your heart.
Especially in February, for American Heart Month with events like Go Red for Women, we address heart disease in women. The need for this month of awareness is because females often have atypical symptoms that may not include chest discomfort. They can often present with indications like shortness of breath during exertion, or easy fatigability. Also, women may have discomfort in their back or in their abdomen. The bottom line is, if you feel some or any of these symptoms, I would rather you seek attention repeatedly for a false alarm than have you ignore the symptoms and wind up regretting it.
Written by David Blemker, MD, FACC, Cardiologist at Premier Healthcare, LLC