Angina Alert

When chest pain is serious

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(HealthDayNews) -- Almost everyone experiences chest pain at one time or another. Sometimes, it's no cause for alarm, but often chest pain can be a warning sign of a serious problem. How can you tell the difference?

Cardiologists at the Columbia University Department of Surgery offer these guidelines in assessing chest pain:

  • If chest pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and/or dizziness, it may be a sign of angina or a heart attack.
  • If it occurs with a twisting movement of the torso or with a deep breath, it is most likely not coming from the heart.
  • Classic angina starts following some kind of physical exertion, for example, after walking uphill -- particularly if the activity comes after a meal or in cold weather. Rest may relieve it.

If you experience chest pain, call a doctor for guidance. If you can't reach one, or if your pain is severe, call 911 immediately.

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