What is Chest Pain?
Chest pain is a pinch of ache in your chest, it is usually dull but that does not mean you can ignore it. This pain even goes up to your neck and back at times and makes you feel uncomfortable. It is not normal to have chest pain so do not avoid it as it may be due to some underlying reason and may give a heart attack.
What Causes Chest Pain?
Maximum times chest pain is related to the heart but at times it can be a sign of abnormality when you have a problem in your esophagus, lungs, ribs, muscles, and nerves. At times chest pain is life-threatening but if you do not know the cause of your chest pain then look after your doctor and let him examine you. The pain can be felt anywhere, starting from your neck to your upper abdomen. Pain may arise in different frequencies like dull, sharp, aching, burning, stabbing, tight, crushing sensation, and squeezing vibe.
Here are some of the more common causes of chest pain:
These heart problems are common causes
- Coronary artery disease or CAD: CAD is a type of blockage in the heart’s blood vessels and reduces blood flow. It also reduces the flow of oxygen to the heart muscle. It causes pain known as angina. It does not cause heart damage but it is a symptom of heart disease and a risk factor for the future. The pain reaches your arm, jaw, shoulder, and back. It gives a feeling of pressure and squeezing. It can be avoided by taking lots of rest and avoiding workouts.
- Myocarditis: Apart from chest pain, this type of inflammation, causes fatigue, fever, trouble in breathing, and a fast heartbeat. There is no blockage in myocarditis but the symptoms are Like that of a heart attack.
- Pericarditis: This type of infection can also cause similar pain to that of angina. It is a type of inflammation of the sac around the heart. It causes pain throughout the upper neck and shoulder muscle. The pain caused is sharp and steady and turns worse with time when you eat, breathe, and lie on your back.
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack): It is a decrease in the flow of blood through blood vessels that damages your heart muscle cells. It is severe than angina and causes pain on the left and centre of the chest followed by severe weakness, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, and pain.
- Mitral valve prolapses: In this condition, the valve of your heart is not able to close itself properly. Symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, chest pain, and palpitations can help you in figuring out the disease but in rare conditions, it comes in with no symptoms as the prolapse is mild.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: A genetic disease in which your heart muscles grow thick in a very abnormal manner which affects the flow of blood outside the heart. You will feel shortness of breath and chest pain during this condition and over time your heart may fail due to thickness. It prevents your heart from pumping blood. Other symptoms that might occur are dizziness, fainting, and light-headedness.
- Coronary artery dissection: It can occur due to many reasons but the main deadly reason behind it is when a tear starts developing in the coronary artery which causes sudden and severe pain with the tearing sensation that follows up to the neck, back, and abdomen.it is rare but a deadly condition.
- GERD– GERD is gastro-oesophageal reflux disease which is also known as acid reflux. It happens when your food is not digested in your stomach and travels back to your throat which gives a bitter taste in your mouth and throat leading to a burning sensation in the chest which is known as heartburn. Your lifestyle and eating habits can affect the symptoms of acid reflux or GERD. Obesity, smoking habits, pregnancy, and consuming spicy as well as fatty food can trigger your symptoms of acid reflux. Usually, heartburn caused due to acid reflux and heart pain seems similar because your esophagus and heart are located next to each other and share a network through nerves.
- Oesophageal hypersensitivity– This type of disease is takes place when the esophagus turns extremely painful even at the minimal change in pressure and exposure to acid.
- Oesophageal rupture– In this scenario, you feel sudden pain and vomit which is the sign of oesophageal rupture.
- Oesophageal contraction disorders– Spasms and nutcracker esophagus are the conditions that take place inside the esophagus which causes chest pain. Spasms are uncoordinated muscle contractions and the nutcracker esophagus is high-pressure contractions.
- Peptic ulcers– These are small sores that occur in the stomach or the initial part of the small intestine that causes pain. People who diagnose it commonly are the ones who consume a lot of alcohol, consume painkillers, and smoke.
- Hiatal hernia– During a hiatalhernia, your pain turns worse and it is a common problem that takes place when the top of your stomach pushes into the lower chest after eating which causes acid reflux and chest pain.
- Gallbladder disorders- When you feel full and pain in your lower chest and abdomen after eating an oily and fatty meal it is due to a gallbladder problem.
- Pancreatitis-When your pain gets worse after lying flat and becomes better once you lean forward, there are chances you have pancreatitis.
- Bone, Muscle, or Nerve Problems– Due to an accident or fall, your chest pain may increase. Some viruses are also responsible for pain in chest pain.
- Rib problems-When your rib is broken the pain caused is very severe which creates difficulty in breathing and coughing. You can feel the soreness and inflammation by touching the area.
- Shingles– Varicella-zoster virus causes shingles which triggers sharp pain.
- Muscle strain-At times when we cough, we feel pain due to inflammation that is caused in muscles because of pressure. The pains caused get worse when it continues.
- Pleuritis– Pleuritis is also known as pleurisy. It is a type of inflammation and irritation caused in the lining of your chest and lungs. You feel excessive pain while breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Infections like bacterial or viral infection, pneumothorax, and pulmonary embolism cause pleuritis. Other factors that might cause pleuritis are cancer, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Pulmonary embolism– Acute pleuritis, difficulty in breathing, and rapid heartbeat are the main causes of pulmonary embolism. It happens when a blood clot passes through your bloodstream and gets stuck in your lungs. It can cause a sudden shock as well as fever. It is more of deep vein thrombosis which means a period after getting done with a surgery or like a complication of cancer.
- Asthma– When asthma triggers you, it causes severe shortness of breath, coughing, sometimes pain, and wheezing. It is inflammatory airways disorder.
- Pneumothorax– It is usually caused when you go through an injury on the chest. When an injury is caused, it collapses your air inside the chest cavity. Thus, leading to pneumothorax. It triggers low blood pressure and even causes breathing difficulty. Other symptoms include severe pain in the chest.
- Pneumonia or lung abscess– In this type of lung infection, pleuritic and other types of chest pain occur. You go through a deep chest ache. Pneumonia is common as it comes suddenly which causes fever, cough, chills, and pus coughed up in the respiratory tract.
- Pulmonary hypertension– in this situation, the right side of your heart works too hard as it is caused due to chest pain which is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lung.
- COPD- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is a type of chronic inflammatory lung disease. It occupies more than three diseases: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive asthma. All these diseases are responsible for blocking airflow by damaging and shrinking both the airways that help gases and air to form inside your lungs and alveoli (tiny air sacs) which further transfers oxygen inside your bloodstream. Furthermore, it removes carbon dioxide present in the sacs. The most common reason behind COPD is smoking.
Sometimes anxiety gives you panic attacks that lead to chest pain and diseases. Symptoms of the same can be shortness of breath, dizziness, and trembling.
When to See Your Doctor
Chest pain is something that cannot be treated without the help of a doctor, especially when it arrives all of sudden and does not go away for days. When medications do not help you, it is bell time. Visit your doctor if you have other symptoms as well like-
- Pressure full sensations with a squeezing and crushing feeling.
- Pain going up to arm, back, and chest.
- Pain after being inactive for a long time.
- Dizziness, rapid heart rate, nausea, excessive sweating, and confusion with rapid breathing.
- Excessively low blood pressure
- Excessively low heart rate
- Problem in swallowing
- Fever with chills
- Coughing a lot with green and yellow mucus
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