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Chest Pains Could Be a Warning An Emergency Visit Is Necessary - Legacy ER

  • Category: Symptoms
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Alex Murray
Chest Pains Could Be a Warning An Emergency Visit Is Necessary - Legacy ER

It can be a crushing or burning feeling, or present as a sharp pain or dull ache. Whatever the symptoms, chest pains shouldn’t be ignored. The pains could warn of a multitude of ailments, ranging from heartburn to a heart attack.

Chest pains often send patients to emergency departments. In fact, one National Center for Health Statistics study found chest pains and related causes accounted for 6.5 million annual visits between late December 2016 and late December 2017 – second only to stomach and abdominal pain issues. The statistic is likely much higher since the government’s research didn’t include information from urgent care centers and freestanding emergency departments. NCHS is part of the famous Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Always contact a physician about any kind of chest discomfort. Seek emergency help right away for new and unexplained chest pains, especially if you suspect it could be a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle. The CDC reports every year about 805,000 Americans have heart attacks, including about 605,000 for the first time.

Other heart-related causes of chest pains include:

  • Angina – It’s chest pain or discomfort caused by a lack of oxygen-rich blood, according to the American Heart Association. The squeezing or pressure happens in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulders arms or back. The pain often comes when a patient is doing something strenuous. A feeling of indigestion could a sign of coronary heart disease.
  • Pericarditis – This is inflammation of the two layers of sac-like tissue around the heart. It usually presents as sharp pain that worsens when a patient breathes in or lies down. Severe cases can lead to swelling in the stomach and legs and cause low blood pressure.
  • Aortic dissection – The life-threatening condition happens when the inner layers of the aorta – the main artery leading from the heart – separate and blood is forced between the layers. It can cause the aorta to rupture.

There also are lung- and breathing-related causes to consider, including:

  • Pulmonary embolism – It’s a blood clot in one of the lungs, the chest pains come on suddenly and make it difficult to breath. Those who recently underwent surgery, a blood-clotting disorder, cancer or who take oral contraceptives at highest risk, according to, the informational website hosted by the nonprofit Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.
  • Pleurisy, aka pleuritis – This is inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest. Patients feel sharp pains when they breath, cough or sneeze. It’s caused by bacterial or viral infections or a pulmonary embolism. Other less common causes are cancer, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Pneumonia – A common infection, pneumonia can cause chest pains. Symptoms also include cough with phlegm and difficulty breathing.
  • Pancreas and gallbladder problems – Inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas or gallstones cause abdominal pain that moves to the chest. Don’t delay seeking emergency care.

This is not a comprehensive list, and decisions need be made quickly. With someone in America experiencing a heart attack every 40 seconds, according to the CDC, it’s best to err on the side of caution. You may not get a second opportunity.

For more about heart attacks and other causes of chest pains, please visit the CDC’s website.

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a heart condition it is important to seek medical advice immediately. If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911. For all others, Legacy ER & Urgent Care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No appointment is necessary however, pre-registration is available.

Legacy ER & Urgent Care is a part of Initiative Health’s innovative medical system that combines ER and Urgent Care to provide quality medical services at affordable prices. Located across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Legacy ER & Urgent Care is focused on absolute transparency, excellent customer service and providing patients with treatment options from ER-trained physicians so they can get the diagnosis they need and the medical care they deserve. With the help of our incredible staff and six total locations, emergency and non-emergent treatment is more accessible than ever before.

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