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Hnida: It Only Hurts A Little …

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Dr. Dave Hnida (credit: CBS)

Dr. Dave Hnida (credit: CBS)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorI recently had a patient who had some chest pain … but it really wasn’t that bad so this patient blew it off for a few days.

Turns out the heart attack causing the chest pain was actually a pretty massive one that wound up destroying a lot of heart muscle.

On the other hand, I’ve seen patients who have had some pretty horrific chest pain, but the actual heart attack causing the agony was pretty mild.

So the point: the level of pain is not always a good indicator of how bad things are, at least when it comes to your heart.

This, in fact, was confirmed by a study of more than 3300 patients at the University of Pennsylvania. The severity of pain did not correlate with the level of heart attack.

It all means, chest pain, chest discomfort, jaw pain, shoulder pain, nausea, shortness of breath can all indicate a big time problem even if you don’t have big time pain.

Women especially need to keep in mind that the “classic” crushing chest pain of a heart attack doesn’t usually happen with a heart attack… but then again the same can be said for men.

Bottom line- never ignore symptoms- listen to your body. The heart you save may be your own.

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