Chest Pain Centers
Lutheran Health Network has five acute care hospitals accredited as chest pain centers by the American College of Cardiology Accreditation Services. Chest pain center accreditation confirms that a hospital provides the crucial cardiac care needed when seconds count, including specific diagnosis and treatment processes, ERs with specialized rooms and staff specifically trained in cardiac care.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Most heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack. Know the subtle signs and act - before heart damage occurs.
Early Warning Signs
Heart attack signs may be mild or come and go at first. Over time, symptoms and pain intensify.
- Chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of fullness
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Jaw pain
- Excessive fatigue or weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Back pain
Instead of chest pain or pressure, some people have:
- A sharp or "knife-like" pain that occurs with coughing or breathing
- Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body
- Difficult or labored breathing
Men: Normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of the chest.
Women: Symptoms may appear on the right side.
Women may also:
- Feel exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous
- Feel upper back pain that travels into the jaw
- Think stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer
- Be less likely to seek immediate medical care, causing more heart damage
Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Using tobacco products
- Diabetes, metabolic disease or other illnesses
- Additional risks for women include birth control pills; history of pre-eclampsia; gestational diabetes or having a low birth weight baby
Know Your Scores
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess weight all contribute to heart disease. Maintaining healthy numbers can help reduce the risk. Here are some general guidelines:
- Check: every 2 years
- Goal: consistently lower than 130/80
- Check: every 5 years
- Goal: less than 200 mg/dl; HDL 60 mg/dl
- Check: regularly
- Goal: body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9
Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors, scores and personal goals for healthy living.
Sources: American College of Cardiology Accreditation Services; heart.org.