After getting out of the hospital every little ache and pain makes you think “Is my heart giving me problems?” It is really difficult not to panic. Here are some tips that should be of help you to know when to seek emergency care .
- Is the discomfort you are feeling the same as the discomfort that brought you to the hospital? If so this could be a problem. It is more likely to be a problem if it is similar…don’t wait until it is bad to seek treatment. Time is muscle and we don’t want you to lose any muscle.
- Does the discomfort also have other symptoms that pair up with it? These symptoms might include shortness of breath, profuse sweating, nausea, radiating discomfort into neck, jaw, arms or back. If there are multiple symptoms you should call 911.
- Can you reproduce the pain or discomfort with touch or movement of body. It is less likely to be a heart symptom if you can make it hurt through touch. This is usually muscle or skeletal origin.
- The 4 E test…does the discomfort come on with Emotional stress, Exercise, after Eating, or with a cold Environment? If so these are common triggers of heart symptoms. If you rest and they go away it probably isn’t emergent but you should notify your doctor as soon as possible. Keep a log of the frequency of these symptoms..when they come on, how frequently, what were you doing when they occurred, how intense was it, and what made them go away.
- Unstable Angina….this is angina or heart pains that are coming on more frequent, occur at rest or waking you from sleep, or are taking more nitro to relieve. If your symptoms are that of unstable angina you should contact your doctor or call 911.
What emergency action is best?
If you suspect you are having a heart attack chew up an adult strength aspirin and call 911. Do not drive yourself to the emergency room. The ambulance crew is your first line of medical treatment, they will provide you with emergency medications, alert the hospital to your condition so they can manage your care quickly and efficiently. Time is muscle don’t waste any time.
Chew the aspirin even if you take an aspirin a day as regular medicine. The extra one helps more than it hurts. Only chew one not a handful that causes more problems.
It is best not to lie down. Try to stay calm, do some deep breathing – think belly breathes – make belly go out when you breath in. Avoid short shallow chest breathing. Focus on staying calm. If you think you are going to pass out try coughing or bearing down like you are having a bowel movement.
If you have Nitroglycerin tablets or spray that were prescribed by your doctor use them. It is frequent found people forget about their nitro when they need it the most. To take nitro properly one is placed under your tongue, and not chewed. It frequently give the side effect of headache, flushing feeling, or tingling beneath the tongue. These are indications that your nitro is fresh. If you suspect your nitro is old (over one year if bottle unopened, or greater than 6 months since bottle was opened) find a fresh bottle. Nitro is a very volatile compound and breaks down rapidly if in contact with air, heat, light, or plastic.