Many people with chest pain are afraid they are having a heart attack. However, there are many possible causes of chest pain, some mildly inconvenient, some serious, even life-threatening. Any organ or tissue in your chest can be the source of pain, including your heart, lungs, oesophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, or nerves.
When a heart condition is diagnosed your normal existence is shattered. Suddenly there are lots of questions to be answered:
- What happens now,
Can it be treated,
Does it require an operation,
Will I be able to continue working – or am I on my way to becoming a permanent invalid?
There are also new emotions to be faced; the panic-type fear every time pain strikes and brings you to a panting halt; the anxiety of suddenly not being in full control of your life and your future; and the anger that all this is actually happening to you!
Your family will have their questions and anxieties too. Like you, they want to understand what is happening to you and to be reassured everything will be all right. Joining the local hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation programm can help. You will meet other people experiencing the same anxieties and worries. There may also be a local cardiac support group you can join.
If you suffer a heart attack or an angina, you will be admitted to a hospital to improve your recovery chances and avoid complications by intervention in an environment of intensive monitoring and care. The ultimate goal is to restore you, regardless of your age, to as near normal a life-style as possible, but accepting however, some adjustments may be necessary with regard to both your physical and psychological aspects.
Coronary heart disease, or CHD, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. CHD is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, and often results in a heart attack.
Each year, about 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack. About 460,000 of those heart attacks are fatal. About half of those deaths occur within 1 hour of the start of symptoms and before the person reaches the hospital.
Fortunately, everyone can take steps to protect their heartand their life or that of someone else. The key is seeking medical care as soon as possible.