Heart attack: Pain in the jaw is a lesser-known indication you may be at risk

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Heart attacks happen when cell death results in damaged or destroyed heart tissue. According to Mayo Clinic, it is one of a number of conditions associated with acute coronary syndrome – a term used to describe a range of conditions that cause sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart. The symptoms associated with a heart attack can range from chest pain to nausea. A pain in the jaw is a lesser-known symptom of the dangerous condition.

The American Heart Association said: “Learning the signs for heart attack and remember that even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out.

“As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.

“But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and back or back or jaw pain.”

Dr Steven Bender, clinical assistant professor and director of the Center for facial pain and sleep medicine at Texas A&M college of dentistry said: “Sometimes the manifestations of a heart attack or some cardiac event can be felt in the jaws, the teeth and the neck.

“It’s not just the left side, it can happen on the right side too, especially for females.

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Although jaw pain may not appear to be linked to the heart, it could be a crucial indicator of a myocardial infarction.

It’s common for pain to develop in other parts of the body if you’re having a heart attack.

This pain may spread from the chest to the back, the arm, or even the shoulder.

But, some people have also reported an uncomfortable feeling in their jaw, with no obvious explanation.

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“If you have chest pain and you feel extremely unwell, you should dial 999 and get an ambulance as soon as possible,” urged the British Heart Foundation’s Professor David Newby.

“If it’s a heart attack, it’s usually described as a heaviness, tightness or pressure in the chest; people will often describe it as ‘an elephant sat on my chest’ or ‘it felt like a tight band around my chest,’ that sort of constricting feeling.

“With heart attacks, it can even happen that the pain is felt in the jaw, or the back. Again, if it doesn’t go away, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

“There is some evidence that women’s symptoms are more likely to vary from ‘classic’ chest pain, and we know that women are less likely to seek medical attention and treatment.”

Arguably the gravest risk factor for heart attacks is high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood that is produced naturally in the liver.

As the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains, everyone has cholesterol.

“We need it to stay healthy because every cell in our body uses it. Some of this cholesterol comes from the food we eat,” says the BHF.

Lower your risk

According to Harvard Health, in a relatively healthy individual, a coronary artery spasm doesn’t usually have long-term consequences.

In someone with clogged coronary arteries or a weakened heart, though, the effects can be potentially deadly.

It is therefore imperative to keep your heart healthy to reduce the risk of a spasm that triggers a full-blown heart attack.

A heart-healthy diet plays a pivotal role in keeping your heart healthy.

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