How to diagnose heart attack?
Many people may have chest pain or breathing difficulties, so they could wonder; is it heart attack? Just fatigue? Or other health problem?
Chest pain alone isn't reliable sign for diagnosis of heart attack; it may develop in acute cholecystitis, pancreatitis, narrowing of the airways, fatigue, emotional stress… etc.
The most difficult part in heart attack diagnosis is the variation of its symptoms from case to another; it could be presented with chest pain in some cases, while other cases could develop another symptoms rather than chest pain (such as; jaw pain, shoulder pain, nausea, dyspnea, or even fatigue and discomfort).
Generally, if you have one (or more) of the following signs, you should seek urgent medical help, as these signs indicate impending heart attack:
- Chest pain accompanied with breathing difficulties, cold sweat and sudden nausea.
- Compressive chest pain develops in physical or emotional overload.
- Left arm pain extends to the left shoulder, neck, mandible and upper back.
- Heart burn and gastritis.
On the other hand, certain types of chest pain could be misdiagnosed as heart attack, they include:
- Stab chest pain which is felt with breathing or cough. It's usually due to influenza or upper respiratory tract infection.
- Stab chest pain which develops suddenly and lasts for few seconds then relapses spontaneously. It's usually due to fatigue or feeling cold.
- Compression chest pain in resting state. It could be a sign for unstable angina.