What Causes Concurrent Chest Pain and Dizziness?
Chest pain and dizziness are two common symptoms of heart attacks. They both come from the same cause: blockage or injury to the coronary arteries. Blockages occur when plaque builds up inside the blood vessels causing them to narrow or burst. These blocks may result from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or other conditions such as diabetes mellitus, smoking, high cholesterol levels, certain medications, obesity and others. When these blockages become too severe they can rupture and cause a heart attack.
Dizziness is another symptom of a heart attack. It results from the sudden loss of blood flow to parts of your brain due to damage caused by a clot. If left untreated, it will lead to confusion, disorientation, paralysis and eventually death if not treated immediately.
Symptoms of Heart Attacks and Strokes
Both chest pain and dizziness can be signs of a heart attack. However, the symptoms vary depending on which part of your body is affected. For example, if you have chest pains while sitting down, then it’s likely that you’ve suffered a stroke. But if you experience dizziness only after standing up from lying down, then it’s most likely that you’re suffering from a heart attack.
Other symptoms of heart attack and stroke are identical. They include:
Chest pain that feels like a heavy weight pressing down on your chest
Uneasy feeling in the pit of the stomach, or indigestion
Jaw pain and back pain
Difficulty speaking and swallowing
Dizziness and confusion
Drowsiness and loss of consciousness
Nausea and sudden fatigue.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. If a family member shows symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, do not hesitate to call 911.
If you’re experiencing chest pain and dizziness, you should see your doctor immediately. He or she will ask questions about your medical history and perform a physical examination to rule out serious conditions. Your doctor may also order tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG) and an ultrasound of the heart to determine whether your symptoms are being caused by a heart attack, coronary artery disease, mitral valve prolapse or other heart problems.
Can Chest Pain and Dizziness be Treated?
If you determine that you’re having a heart attack due to chest pain and dizziness, it’s important that you seek emergency medical care immediately. In such situations, the most important thing to do is to call 911 or your local emergency number and ask for an ambulance.
If you believe dizziness is caused by a heart attack, you should call 911 or your local emergency number immediately and request medical assistance. Due to the seriousness of the situation, it’s important that you do not wait to seek emergency care even if your symptoms subside. If possible, a family member or bystander should call 911 on your behalf.
In addition, you should remember these things:
Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
Do not let anyone else drive you to the hospital.
If possible, a family member or bystander should ride in the ambulance with you to the hospital.
When you arrive at the emergency room, medical personnel will check your heart rhythm and perform other standard tests to see if you’re having a heart attack. You may also receive medications to help prevent additional heart damage. You may also be admitted to the hospital and given medications to unclog your arteries.
In some cases, surgery may be required to repair or bypass damage to the heart arteries. The goal of this procedure is to reopen the blockage that’s causing the heart attack. If you’re having chest pain and dizziness caused by a heart attack, it’s important to remember that medical treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death or permanent disability.
Reviewed by Ed J. Goldberg, M.D.
Updated July 16, 2017
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