Harvard Heart Letter

Understanding cardiovascular pain

The chest pain that can result from heart disease (angina or a heart attack) can mimic the pain caused by heartburn or pericarditis, or inflammation of the tissues around the heart. Likewise, peripheral artery disease may be mistaken for arthritis of the knees, hip, or back. Understanding the underlying causes, symptoms, and duration of each of these conditions makes it easier to distinguish between them—and deal with the pain calmly and safely.
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