Sign In

Knowing When Chest Pain Is a Sign of a Heart Attack

Last updated 4 years ago

If there is one symptom that most people associate with a heart attack, it is chest pain. However, not all heart attacks start with chest pain—and not all chest pain means that you’re having a heart attack. That is why it is so important to head to the hospital for emergency care when you experience chest pain, so that a physician can rule in or out a heart attack. Early treatment means more heart tissue can be saved, which translates into better patient outcomes. Although you should always let a physician diagnose the cause of your chest pain, this information may help you decide the true source.

Heart Attack-Related Chest Pain

In some cases, chest pain associated with heart attack is crushing and debilitating, but most heart attacks don’t look like the movies. In fact, most heart attacks start with discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild to severe. Instead of being constantly painful, it tends to flare-up, go away, and then flare-up again. The pain may feel like pressure, fullness, or squeezing. Some people who are having a heart attack also experience a burning sensation typical of heartburn and indigestion. In fact, sometimes patients with chest pain are actually having those digestive problems, but it’s important to let a doctor evaluate you to make a diagnosis.

Associated Symptoms

One of the most helpful ways to determine if your chest pain is being caused by a heart attack or something else is whether you experience any other symptoms alongside it. Other heart attack symptoms include upper body pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, and fatigue. If those symptoms accompany your chest pain, your heart may be to blame.

If you’re having chest pain, head immediately to the emergency services department at Northside Hospital. Our Tampa Bay Heart Institute can react quickly if you are experiencing a heart attack to preserve precious heart tissue. We also offer treatment for a range of medical conditions, including stroke care and orthopedic surgery. For more information, call (888) 598-9586.


  • Loading comments... Spinner


Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
  • Recent Posts
    • Loading posts... Spinner
  • View All
  • Recent Comments
    • Loading comments... Spinner
  • Related Links
  • Popular Tags
    • Loading tags... Spinner