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Why Chest Pain Should not be Taken Lightly

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Why Chest Pain Should not be Taken Lightly

Cardiology | by Dr. Dhiman Kahali | Published on 11/04/2022


Introduction

Chest pain isn't a sign that you should be ignoring or taking for granted. There can be a plethora of reasons behind it and some of these can be quite serious. People usually tend to believe that their chest pain is due to acidity or something that they ate, but this is not always the case. It is pertinent to note that our body has its ways of telling us that something is wrong and it is solely up to us to get ourselves evaluated and find the underlying cause. Experts specializing in coronary angiography in Kolkata suggest that having chest pain does not necessarily mean that you have some serious health condition, however pinpointing the underlying cause can help in the effective treatment of the management of the problem and the sooner it is detected, the better.

Your chest pain could be because of a cardiovascular problem, a pulmonary condition, gastrointestinal disease, or even stress. In this blog, we are going to talk about everything that might be causing you chest pain with the help of the leading heart specialist in Kolkata, BM Birla Heart Research Centre. Please note that the information given in this blog is completely research-based and we do not in any way promote the idea of ignoring the signs of chest pain.

What is chest pain?

Chest pain is a pain or uneasiness that can occur in any part of your chest. It might circulate to other areas of your upper body including your jaw, neck, or arms. You might experience sharp or dull pain in your chest followed by achiness and tightness. Usually, if you experience chest pain often, you will notice that it lasts for a few minutes or hours. However, in certain cases, chest pain might last for more than six months as well. And, with time it might deteriorate while exerting and only improve when the person is at rest. However, for some people, it might occur even when they are at rest. Chest pain can be felt on any side like the middle of the chest, right-side chest pain, and left-side chest pain. Hence, it is important to seek prompt clinical attention for chest pain mainly when it indicates a heart attack or any other serious problem.

What are chest pain symptoms?

Chest pain might vary from person to person depending on what is causing the symptom. However, there cannot be an easy way to apprise without consulting a healthcare expert. Here are some chest pain symptoms related to the heart:

  • Chest tightness, burning sensation, feeling of pressure and fullness
  • Feels like crushing or needling pain spreading to the jaw, shoulders, back, neck, and one or both arms
  • Breath shortness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Weakness 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Cold sweats 

Symptoms of other chest pain types

Without consulting a doctor, it is difficult to figure out if the chest pain is related to the heart or is due to something else. Chest pain usually is because of heart issues, however, other reasons might be causing the symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Pain continues for hours 
  • Pain gets worse or better while changing the body position 
  • A sour taste or food sensation re-entering the mouth 
  • Chest tenderness

What are chest pain causes?

Chest pain can be linked to heart, lungs, digestion, and other problems. It can get complex to diagnose as they have several causes. Healthcare experts consider identifying serious causes first. Here are some of the chest pain causes:

  • Cardiac causes- Chest pain can occur due to underlying heart conditions such as angina, heart attack, and pericarditis 
  • Respiratory causes- These are also one of the common causes of chest pain and might occur due to conditions like pneumonia and pulmonary embolism
  • Musculoskeletal causes- Chest pain can be a result of musculoskeletal conditions such as muscle strain, and costochondritis
  • Gastrointestinal causes- One of the most common causes of chest pain. Some of the conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer can lead to chest pain.
  • Anxiety and stress causes: Panic attacks and anxiety attacks can trigger the symptoms of a heart attack leading to chest pain, breath shortness, and fast heartbeat. 

How is chest pain diagnosed?

Chest pain diagnoses are initiated depending on the symptoms of a patient and involve several steps such as:

  • The doctor will first assess the condition by identifying the medical and family history of a patient.
  • Physical assessment is performed to evaluate the distress signs and identify the chest pain cause. 
  • Electrocardiogram: This test helps in assessing the heart’s electrical activity, and diagnosing heart-related problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmias, and other cardiac conditions. 
  • Blood tests- These are ordered to look for particular markers like cardiac enzymes and to identify heart muscle damage.
  • Chest X-ray- It is ordered to determine problems in the lungs, chest wall, and bones. 
  • Imaging tests- Imaging tests like heart ultrasound, stress tests, or coronary angiography are ordered if required. 

What are the options available for chest pain treatment?

Chest pain treatment completely depends on its causes and if it is due to a heart attack, treatment is given immediately as soon as the patient seeks assistance. Here are some of the options available for chest pain treatment:

  • Medications- These are recommended so that they can relieve the chest pain of a patient. Usually, medications like aspirin, artery relaxers, clot-busting drugs, blood thinners, acid-reducing medicines, and antidepressants are prescribed. 
  • Surgical procedures- In severe cases, certain surgical procedures are recommended depending on the condition of a patient. It might include angioplasty, stent placement, coronary artery bypass surgery, emergency repair surgery, and lung re-inflation. 
  • Lifestyle changes- It is recommended to make lifestyle changes as it can help to reduce chest pain symptoms. One must ensure quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, eating healthy, green vegetables, and fruits, and exercising daily.

Conclusion

Chest pain can occur due to reasons, some of them can be harmless, while others can be hazardous. It is important to comprehend your chest pain nature, symptoms, and when you should seek clinical assistance for your health. If you notice signs of chest pain, mainly if they are severe or followed by serious symptoms, make sure to consult your doctor immediately. Don’t take chest pain lightly and always prioritize your health first. 

FAQs

 

Can chest pain be caused by stress?

Yes, anxiety and stress are the contributing factors to chest pain. 

Can chest pain be caused by gas?

Chest pain is among other causes of chest pain, however, it is not very common. 

Is chest pain normal during pregnancy?

Yes, chest pain is normal during pregnancy. It can occur due to heartburn, pressure, or a growing uterus pushing against the organs.