Things to Watch for With Chest Pain

Source: Mayo Clinic

What are the types of Chest Pain?

In the event that you experience chest pain, do not ignore it. There are many causes for chest pain, some more severe than others. The pain can be described as crushing, burning, sharp, stabbing, dull, achy, or a radiating pain that travels to other areas of the body.  

What Causes Chest Pain?

The dangerous conditions that contribute to chest pain involve your heart or lungs.

Chest pain due to heart problems include heart attack occurring due to obstruction of blood flow in the heart as a result of a blood clot, angina occurring due to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that reduce the heart’s blood supply, aortic dissection involving the separation of the inner layers of aorta ruptures due to blood rush, and pericarditis caused by the inflammation of the sac around the heart.

Chest pain can be due to lung conditions such as pulmonary embolism (when blood flow is obstructed to the lungs due to a lodged blood clot in the pulmonary artery), pleurisy (when the membrane covering your lungs are inflamed), collapsed lung (produces air in between the lungs and ribs), and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs).

The chest pain caused by disorders of digestive system include: Heartburn, gallbladder issues, swallowing concerns, or issues relating to the pancreas.

Chest pain can be caused by the muscles and bones of the chest wall which include: Costochondritis, sore muscles, or injured ribs.

Panic attacks and shingles can also be the cause of chest pain. 

What are The Symptoms for Chest Pain?

Chest pain can occur with a wide range of symptoms from a sharp stabbing pain to a dull achy feeling. Heart-related chest pain may be fatal which requires immediate medical attention. A common cause of chest pain is due to heart disease. The discomfort from a heart attack or other health issues occur with one or more symptoms such as pressure, fullness, or tightness in your chest. You may also experience shortness of breath, cold sweats, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, pain lasting more than few minutes, pain increasing with activity, pain that goes away and returns with various levels of pain. Crushing or shooting pain down your back, neck, jaw and especially in your left shoulders and arms.

Chest pain that is not associated with heart problems are marked by different symptoms, including sour taste, difficulty swallowing, pain intensifies upon position change, tender upon pushing your chest, and increase in pain during deep braining or coughing.

Heartburn can cause issues in your heart or stomach causing a painful, burning feeling behind your breastbone. 

How to Diagnose Chest Pain?

Doctors will rule out life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, collapsed lung, or a clot in your lungs. The initial tests performed are electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, chest x-rays, and computerized tomography (CT). If needed, additional follow-up testing includes an echocardiogram, CT scan, stress tests, and angiogram. 

How to Treat Chest Pain?

Depending on your diagnosis, the doctor will recommend medications such as artery relaxers, aspirin, blood thinners, clot-busting, acid-suppressing, and anti-depressants. If the conditions causing chest pain are severe and dangerous, you might require bypass surgery, dissection repair, lung reinflation or balloons stent placement.