Feeling chest pain during exercise is relatively common. But cardiologist Emílio Siqueira explains that often the pain is just a sign of accumulated gas due to the wrong execution of physical activity, such as running and talking at the same time, for example. As the symptoms in this case appear in the abdominal region, as well as some infarction situations, they can cause confusion. Despite this, the doctor stresses that pain in the chest area should never be neglected, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, as we will explain below, and that a medical evaluation is always necessary in these cases.
The infarction pain makes it impossible to continue any physical activity – Photo: Istock Getty Images
– Because of the wrong practice of physical exercise, it is common for a person to have a gas distension in the stomach and intestine, generating this famous pain in the upper abdominal region, which can be confused with infarction. It is important to remember that usually the pain of a heart attack is much stronger than that caused by the accumulation of gases. In addition, it makes any effort, physical activity impossible – guides the doctor.
But when the pain persists and is accompanied by one or more symptoms that will be dissected below, a red light should be lit for a heart attack and seek immediate medical assistance. a electrocardiogram, blood test to measure cardiac enzymes and chest tomography must be done urgently to have an accurate diagnosis.
Infarction is the obstruction of some of the arteries that vascularize the heart, called coronary arteries. This obstruction can generate ischemia, which is the lack of blood in the heart, leading to an acute myocardial infarction. From there, the professional explains how pain can arise in regions that are not necessarily in the chest area.
– What few patients know is that, depending on the affected artery, this infarction pain will be felt in a different region of the body. The pain, in addition to the best known, depending on the situation may be in the area called the ‘mouth of the stomach’, which in medicine we call the epigastric region. The person may also experience pain in the jaw, which leads some patients to confuse it with toothache. It can also be a pain in the back, that is, in the back. And there are those who do not even have pain, in which case, for example, one may suspect a condition of dyspnea, the famous shortness of breath. Remembering that the pain will always be related to some type of physical effort and the patient may have a feeling of imminence of death – explains the doctor, who lists the signs below:
- Acute pain or tightness in the chest, usually persistent, which may radiate to the neck, jaw, back, shoulder and arm or left;
- Burning sensation or pressure in the chest;
- Pains in the mouth of the stomach and head;
- Lack of air;
- Tingling in the left arm;
- Vomiting or nausea;
- Dizziness and fainting;
- Abdominal discomfort.
Care that someone must take to keep the heart in good condition
- Keep the pressure at 12×8;
- Drink at least two liters of water a day, as this stimulates the bladder to urinate frequently and eliminates salt from the body, preventing blood pressure from increasing;
- Avoid salt as much as possible. It is also recommended to avoid the consumption of margarine or butter with salt, and plenty of oil when making some fries. In addition, instead of frying them, prefer to consume potatoes, pastries or other foods that are made in the oven;
- Practice aerobic physical activities;
- Maintain good levels of cholesterol and triglycerides;
- Try to avoid stress;
- Maintain medical monitoring;
- Take exams annually.
Anxiety and infarction: how to differentiate?
It is also common among those who suffer clinically from anxiety to have sensations that look a lot like a heart attack, such as tachycardia and even tingling of the arm. Emílio Siqueira admits that the symptoms in both cases are very similar. To remove this doubt, the cardiologist advises the anxious person to do an electrocardiogram as a “kick start” to really know what he has. After all, people who suffer from anxiety can also suffer heart attacks.
Myths, explanations and what to do
In times of social networks, many share information about what should be done if someone is suffering a heart attack. One of the “tips” is to cough on purpose to avoid aggravating the problem. The cardiologist is emphatic in saying that such a statement is a lie.
– That’s a myth. And I say more, coughing on purpose can lead to serious and very serious complications. All a patient cannot do is try hard, and if he tries hard to cough, he can be harmed. In addition, you should never force the patient to sneeze or vomit – warns the doctor, who also explains: – Infarction is the death of the heart muscle due to the blood that did not get there, generating necrosis. It is this death of cardiac tissue that must be treated. Obviously, the heart attack has to be treated before the heart muscle dies. We doctors have time to unblock the patient’s arteries and prevent this heart muscle from dying. And then we can, with proper treatment, prevent the death of the heart muscle.
- Infarction principle – Myth
Another point addressed by Siqueira is about the expression “infarction principle”. According to the cardiologist, this term does not exist, because either the patient infarcts, or not. Likewise, he explains that there are no different types of heart attacks, but different treatments. The confusion occurs because there are several ways to take care of this disease, all of them at the hospital level, such as injectable drugs or surgical procedures, such as angioplasty.
- The faster the service, the greater the chances of survival – Truth
Finally, Emílio Siqueira advises that it is always good for people to be with them if they have any discomfort. In case someone lives alone, he recommends one or more trusted contacts from the building, neighborhood and surroundings. In this specific situation, the cardiologist advises that anyone who is feeling ill should rest as much as possible while waiting for medical assistance or the arrival of an ambulance.
– When the person is having a heart attack, what should be done immediately is to take him to the hospital. Any delay can delay treatment and lead the patient to more serious complications or even death. There is no problem taking an AAS, Acetylsalicylic Acid, that cheap medicine that almost everyone has at home. You just can’t waste time looking for the medicine at home, in often hidden boxes, spending precious time to help you. Another important point is that the body must be kept at rest. There are people who want to go to the hospital walking (or driving), which is absurd. When you get there, the ideal thing is to get around in a wheelchair, avoid as much as possible to walk and go straight to the specialized service to make the diagnosis and, if necessary, the treatment – says Siqueira.