Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - Community Healthcare - 17

Cardiac Problems

1. Myocarditis. This condition is often
mistaken for a heart attack because it
shares multiple symptoms, including
fatigue and shortness of breath, and it's
also serious. Myocarditis and an associated condition called idiopathic dilated
cardiomyopathy are the reasons behind
45 percent of heart transplants. But
myocarditis does not signal a blockage. Instead, the cause is inflammation
of the heart muscle caused by a virus.
Additional symptoms include fever and
a fast heartbeat. Myocarditis is treated
with medication and rest.
2. Pericarditis. Another condition
marked by inflammation, pericarditis
affects the sac that surrounds the heart.
Certain viruses can cause the sac to
become inflamed. Other symptoms of
pericarditis include sharp pain along
the neck or shoulder that worsens when
swallowing food or lying down. Most
cases of pericarditis are mild and resolve
on their own with rest and anti-inflammatory pain medication.

Digestive Problems

3. Heartburn. Acid reflux occurs when
digestive acids from the stomach back
up into the esophagus, and the hallmark symptom is a burning sensation in
the lower chest/upper abdomen known
as heartburn. Antacids should provide relief. If not, and you're not sure
whether it's just heartburn, call 911.
4. Peptic ulcers. These painful sores
in the lining of the stomach are more
common in people who smoke, drink
heavily, or frequently use aspirin or
NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drug) pain relievers. Treatment may
include medications and surgery; not
smoking and avoiding alcohol can help.

Respiratory Problems

5. Pneumonia. This infection of the
lungs causes chest tightness but will
also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills and a cough
that may or may not produce phlegm.

Treatment may include antibiotics
and cough medicine.
6. Pulmonary embolism. When
a blood clot gets lodged in an artery
in the lungs, it's called a pulmonary
embolism and, like a heart attack,
it is life-threatening. In addition to
chest pain, symptoms include shortness of breath, cough and arrhythmia
(irregular heartbeat). Medications are
usually the first line of treatment.
7. Pneumothorax. Also known
as a collapsed lung, pneumothorax
is when air leaks from the lung into
the space surrounding it, and it's
often the result of an injury to the
chest. Pain is typically described as
sharp and is accompanied by shortness of breath. Doctors relieve
pressure on the lung by inserting a
needle or chest tube; surgery is sometimes required.

Musculoskeletal
Problems

8. Rib fracture. Broken ribs cause pain
in the chest that is worse with deep
breathing, coughing and sneezing. Pain
is usually localized, and the injury is
sore to the touch. Most people recover
with rest, ice and over-the-counter
pain medication.
9. Muscle strain. Weightlifting,
intense physical labor and even forceful
coughing can strain the chest muscles,
causing pain that worsens with activity
and is relieved with rest, ice and overthe-counter pain medication. ■

WHEN
CHEST PAIN
IS A HEART
ATTACK
Chest pain is not always something to
fear, but it should never be ignored.
If you are not sure if your chest pain
is a heart attack, it is best to get to
the hospital.
Community Healthcare System's
hospitals work seamlessly with area
emergency medical services and internal hospital departments to ensure
that patients complaining of chest pain
or discomfort are provided with immediate treatment that can help to limit
potential heart damage.
For this effort, Community Hospital
in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East
Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center
in Hobart, have become recognized as
Accredited Chest Pain Centers. This
distinction was earned through rigorous
evaluation of the hospitals' cardiac care
services, practices, guidelines and treatment protocols during the first critical
stages of a heart attack.
Accredited Chest Pain Centers stabilize and treat heart attack patients
immediately, when the chances of
recovery are greatest.
"Our hospitals follow evidence-based
guidelines and national established
standards of practice that have proven
to provide the best outcomes for our
patients," says Alan Kumar, MD, chief
medical officer, Community Healthcare
System. "Becoming accredited demonstrates strength as a healthcare system
in the field of cardiology."

WEBSITE

Here for Your Heart
For more information about the accredited Chest Pain Centers at
Community Hospital, Munster, St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago and
St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, visit comhs.org/heart.

FALL 2018

17


http://www.comhs.org/heart

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