Other causes of chest pain
When you think of a heart attack, the first thing that comes to mind is chest pain. Although chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack, there are other causes of chest pain, which means you may be having a fake heart attack. Just remember it’s better to be safe than sorry: any time you think you might be having a heart attack, call 000 right away.
If you want to know the difference between a real and a fake heart attack, you should pay attention to any other symptoms that accompany your chest pain. You should also be familiar with your medical history to see if there are any underlying conditions that can also trigger chest pain besides heart trouble. We spoke with an internist and cardiologist who offer their tips for identifying the other causes of chest pain to help you determine whether you’re having a real or fake heart attack.
You have heartburn
Severe heartburn symptoms have been behind many a fake heart attack. They can definitely cause you to panic – again, if you have any doubt, call 000. If, however, you aren’t at risk for a heart attack, and you have reason to believe the pain you’re experiencing is from acid in your oesophagus, try taking an antacid. This should soothe the burning pain of indigestion. Monitor your diet and limit or stop eating these foods and drinks that can trigger heartburn or make it worse.
You have a case of shingles
Another possible cause of chest pain that may mimic a heart attack is shingles, says internist, Dr Kristine Arthur. Shingles, which are a resurgence of the chickenpox virus in the body, can cause severe pain that radiates around one side of the rib cage. Usually, there is a significant rash too. However, in some cases, it’s so small you may not see it. “You should suspect shingles if the pain follows the line of a rib and if there are any type of skin changes along the area that hurt,” says Dr Arthur. “It is almost always only on one side.”