ua en ru

Key signs to distinguish heart pain from discomfort in other organs

Key signs to distinguish heart pain from discomfort in other organs Illustartive photo (Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

Often, heart pain can be confused with pain in other organs. Depending on where you feel the pain, it determines which doctor you should consult. However, sometimes even qualified specialists may not immediately identify the source of the problem.

To understand whether it is indeed your heart that is hurting, cardiologist Anna Soloshchenko provided comments to RBC-Ukraine.

Signs of heart pain

The doctor explains that the heart typically starts to hurt during physical exertion. When you are ascending or walking quickly, you may feel a sensation of tightness, pressure, or burning in the chest or in the heart area. These are typical symptoms of classic angina.

However, typical heart pain is only encountered in no more than 75% of cases. The remaining 25% present with atypical symptoms.

"I had a patient who visited the dentist and had all the cavities in his lower jaw treated because it was hurting, but it turned out he was having a heart attack," the specialist shared.

It's crucial to understand both the location of the pain - whether it's in the heart area or the chest - and where the pain radiates. This could include the left or right arm, lower jaw, the area between the shoulder blades and the neck, or the left shoulder.

It can also happen that there's no pain at the actual site but the person only feels the pain spreading to other areas.

If you feel pain while at rest or when changing your body's position, it could be neuralgia. However, without additional examinations, you cannot be completely certain, the doctor emphasizes.

"In reality, the area around the heart can be painful due to gastrointestinal issues such as gastritis, ulcers, or reflux, or it could be pain in the back, muscles, nerves, or something related to the respiratory system. Sometimes, a heart attack can also present in a gastrointestinal form, with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and epigastric pain - and that's a heart attack. So, always consult a doctor," Soloshchenko concludes.

Note that back problems can only mimic heart pain, but they do not directly affect the heart and its health.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.