Attacks Of Pain
( Originally Published 1921 )
Pain is an extremely depressing symptom in connection with all kinds of disease of the heart. Ordinarily, however, people are so much afraid of heart trouble that they make excuses alleging other pains than the real one. They call it rheumatism, neuralgia, stomach trouble, etc. But any pain that is felt in the region of the heart that radiates upward to the shoulder and down the left arm is quite certainly from the heart. If people realized that pain in the heart occurs from slight causes as well as from dangerous ones, they would not be so loath to acknowledge that they had pains having their origin in the heart. The trouble is that the only pain in the heart that has been recognized as such has been the pain caused by severe types of angina pectoris.
Pain in the heart usually passes away if the person stops the exertion that has brought it on. If the pain persists after the person has stopt the exertion, then the next remedy to be used is a small dose of nitroglycerin. I usually give one two hundred and twenty-fifth of a grain in small granules, and have found that these doses are useful and have never known them to do any harm. The worst thing that happens after a person takes nitroglycerin when it is not needed is that it causes a headache for a time, but this is soon relieved. Every household in which there is a person with heart trouble should have nitroglycerin at hand to use. It relieves most heart pains promptly and is safe in every one's hands.
If nitroglycerin is not available, the next best thing is some form of diffusive stimulant whisky or wine or aromatic spirits of ammonia. Sometimes a full dose of bicarbonate of soda, acting through the stomach, will relieve pain. When pain is severe morphine must be used. Pain in the heart is always attended by a certain amount of danger, so that a physician should be promptly summoned.