Tightness in the chest that radiates out toward your left shoulder and into your neck. Stabbing chest pain. Difficulty breathing. Coughing and a general feeling of malaise. Weakness, shortness of breath – many of these symptoms point to a heart attack, and while it certainly makes sense that a person experiencing these thinks they’re having a heart attack, what this individual really could be experiencing is pericarditis. Pericarditis is good at mimicking heart attack symptoms.
Your heart is meant to beat consistently at a rate compatible with the activity you’re doing at the time. Heart arrhythmias indicate that your heart is not beating the way it should. The electrical impulses that should coordinate your heartbeats are malfunctioning, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly, such as in the case of fluttering or a missed beat.
If you’ve ever known someone with a serious heart condition, there’s a good chance you’ve heard talk about pacemakers. The idea of pacemakers has been around since the late 1800s, but the first implanted pacemaker, implanted in 1958, failed after three hours. They’ve come quite a long way since then, saving and extending countless lives all over the world.
Have you ever seen an actor in an old movie dramatically clutch his chest and pop a pill when he gets shocking news?
Chances are the culprit is angina, sometimes called angina pectoris, which is chest pain brought on by decreased blood flow to the heart.
And while it may be humorous to watch an actor ham it up, angina is no laughing matter. It’s a warning sign that something, usually a fatty build-up called plaque or a blood clot, is causing your arteries to be too narrow. Knowing the triggers for and treating angina may help you avoid a heart attack.