When To Call Your Doctor

We asked Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of New York University's Women's Heart Program, to clear up the confusion.


Wait it out if...the pain dissipates after a few seconds or if your chest is sore to the touch-you may have pulled a muscle. A painful burning sensation in the chest and stomach within a few hours of eating a large meal is usually due to heartburn.

Pick up the phone if...the pain lasts for more than a few minutes or radiates down one arm. "Chest pain that's accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath, or nausea may indicate a heart attack or blood clot," says Goldberg.


Wait it out if...you haven't had anything to eat or drink for several hours.

Pick up the phone if...you faint or if the light-headedness recurs persistently. "These could both be symptoms of anemia, a viral infection like meningitis, or even a heart problem," says Goldberg. "A change in your vision may signal a stroke, so go to the emergency room."


Wait it out if...your temperature is 102°F or lower and goes away in two days.

Pick up the phone if...you also have a severe headache, fuzzy thinking, or an unusual rash. You may have a dangerous infection, such as meningitis.

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