What If I'm Having Chest Pain?

Chest pain can come on suddenly. Is it a heart attack? Not always. Chest pain can be due to angina or can be heartburn or muscular pain unrelated to heart problems.

But if you are having symptoms of a heart attack—pain in your chest, pain radiating down your left arm, or indigestion and a funny feeling that something is wrong—act immediately.

Don’t wait an hour or two to see if you feel better. Call 911 for an ambulance.

The paramedics can help diagnose and stabilize you in the ambulance. If you reach the door of the hospital by ambulance, the death rate for heart attacks drops way down, to under 5 percent.

Could what I’m feeling be angina?

Symptoms of angina are similar to a heart attack—pain, discomfort or squeezing in your chest. This discomfort usually goes away in 15 minutes with medication and rest.

While angina isn’t a disease, it is a symptom of an underlying heart problem and you should talk to your doctor about it.

See Heart Attack for more information.