When you feel a tightness in your chest or a shortness of breath, it can terrify you. However, if you are someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis, it can be equally concerning. While you might be susceptible to a heart condition, you also may be affected by another symptom of your disease that behaves just like it but is far less deadly. Here are the differences between a heart attack and a MS hug.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that largely affects the spine and nervous system. When someone has it, their immune system continuously attacks the cells in these body parts and destroys the necessary things within them. It can cause side effects to happen, such as the hug. While it can feel like a heart attack, it is actually muscles around the rib cage that are tightening and spasming. The brain sends corrupted messages to this area and they contract violently. The situation can be terrifying when it happens. However, with medication and rest it will pass. Possibly the most dangerous outcome is that it mimics many other deadly disorders. A person who has it might ignore them thinking they are having another episode.
Your heart is the organ that regulates the blood flow through the body. To work properly, it needs oxygen brought to it through the bloodstream. When this flow slows or stops, usually by something blocking it within the vein or artery, it causes this muscle to stop working. This results in an immediate medical emergency and potential surgery to repair the damage that has occurred. It also will lead to significant changes in your life, such as more exercise and a better diet. It usually happens when you least expect it and is briefly indicated by pressure or pain in the chest and a shortness of breath.
These two conditions are similar enough when it comes to symptoms that one can easily be mistaken for the other. This can cause an issue for someone with MS since they might ignore the cardiac arrest thinking it is the other and seriously hurt themselves. Both medical problems come with an uncomfortable pressure in the chest. They can struggle to take a breath and become fatigued quickly. However, that is nearly all there is when it comes to the hug and it will go away after medication or rest. However, with a heart attack, you might feel tingling and numbness in your arm as well. You may start sweating or feel sick to your stomach. You must receive medical attention as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you could die as a result of it. Surgery will most likely occur to remove what is blocking the blood from flowing and stents will be installed to strengthen the walls of your arteries.
While both are serious situations, you need to seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering from a heart attack. Call the doctor when your symptoms start and see them immediately. This rules out that you are having a cardiac issue or other emergent problem. If it is an MS hug, you will be sent home to rest until it all subsides. You may be given medication that will encourage the muscles around your ribs to relax. They will also minimize the spasms that make breathing difficult and hopefully you will be feeling better quickly. However, if there is something happening to your heart, further tests will be done to evaluate the damage. You will probably have an operation to stop and possibly repair what has happened. You will need significant rehabilitation to get back to your normal life as well as a change in your diet. You will also be required to exercise more with a focus on getting healthier. Feeling tightness in your chest can be a scary experience. However, if you have MS, it can be a commonplace one. Knowing the differences between the hug caused by the disease and a heart attack will greatly extend your life and keep you safe to be with your loved ones.