The chest pain may be caused by the heart and it can be stable or instable. The stable angina pectoris is caused by stress or any other effort that makes the person in his daily activities. It takes about 10 minutes to pass and it disturbs the patient. It is a retrosternal pain like compression and it takes the breath. This pain pass if the person takes a rest or have sublingual nitroglycerin. This pain is related with atherosclerosis on the coronary arteries that give blood to the heart. The instable angina pectoris is caused by less stress or effort and it last more than 10 minutes, but it ends until 30 minutes, so this pain has no response to nitroglycerin or it does not pass with rest. This pain is more serious and the person mast ask for help by doctors.
People who have angina are more likely to have a heart attack. This can happen when someone’s doing a physical activity but is even more of a concern if it happens at rest. The pain caused by infarct of the heart is strong, stabbing pain that last more than 30 minutes and it does not pass with resto or sublingual nitroglycerin, the person is scared, has cold sweat and he is upset. A heart attack happens when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
What to look for – Heart attack
If you think someone is having a heart attack, look for the four Ps:
- Pain – a continuous pain in the chest, which could spread to the jaw, neck or arms
- Pale skin
- Rapid and weak pulse
- What you need to do – Heart attack
- Call 999 or 112 for medical help and say you think someone is having a heart attack.
- Then, help move them into the most comfortable position. The best position is on the floor leaning against a wall with knees bent and head and shoulders supported. This should ease the pressure on their heart and stop them hurting themselves if they collapse.
- Give them a 300mg aspirin, if available and they’re not allergic, and tell them to chew it slowly.
- Be aware that they may develop shock. Shock does not mean emotional shock, but is a life-threatening condition, which can be brought on by a heart attack.
- Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.
- If they lose responsiveness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing, and prepare to treat someone who has become unresponsive. You may need to do CPR.