PASS­ING CHEST PAIN

Men's Fitness - - Beat Disease -

THE SYMPTOMS

From time to time you feel pain in your chest – ei­ther dis­com­fort or se­ri­ous pain, spread­ing to your arms and neck.

THE CUL­PRITS

Chest pain is usu­ally caused by in­no­cent con­di­tions such as a stitch, pulled mus­cle or heart­burn. More con­cern­ing are gas­trooe­sophageal re­flux, cos­to­chon­dri­tis, or stress. The most se­ri­ous, how­ever, are angina or heart attack – where you could end up crawl­ing for the tele­phone to call an am­bu­lance. You’re likely to know if you’re hav­ing a heart attack: that means heavy squeez­ing on the chest, with pain ra­di­at­ing to your neck, jaw, arms and back, plus short­ness of breath, light­head­ed­ness and a feel­ing of weak­ness.

WHAT TO DO

Heart­burn is a burning pain or dis­com­fort that you get af­ter eat­ing, and can be treated by tak­ing an antacid. To avoid gas­trooe­sophageal re­flux, cut back on booze, spicy food, cof­fee and choco­late, and try sleep­ing with your head raised. For any other re­cur­ring chest pain you should visit your GP, who may sug­gest that you have an elec­tro­car­dio­gram. If you sus­pect you’re hav­ing a heart attack, ‘by­pass your GP and call 999 im­me­di­ately,’ says Julie Ward, se­nior car­diac nurse at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion (bhf.org.uk).

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