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Artemis

Understanding in Detail About Chest Pain

Artemis Hospital

March 21, 2024 |
9 Min Read | 43

Chest pain is defined as the pain or discomfort in any area of your chest. It occurs in many forms ranging from a stabbing or pricking pain to a dull ache. Some people may experience chest pain as a crushing, squeezing, or burning feel on their chest. In some cases, the chest pain may radiate into the neck, jaw, and then spreads down to one or both arms.

The duration of chest pain can last for a few minutes or hours. At the extreme cases it may last up to 6 months or longer period. The intensity of pain aggravates while doing exercises and it gets relieved while taking rest.

You may experience chest pain at your left side of the chest, middle of chest and at the right side of your chest. Chest pain may vary different from person to person in its quality, intensity, duration, and its location.

Many different conditions may cause chest pain, among which heart and lung related causes are severe and may cause life threatening complications. You may need immediate medical help for a chest pain if it is related with heart attack symptoms. It is essential to understand the exact cause under the chest pain for the proper management as there are many types of chest pain.

Causes of Chest Pain

Once a person experiences chest pain, the first thought that comes to your mind as the cause will be heart attack. Chest pain is the common symptom that arises once you are having heart attack. Even though, there are many other factors that causes chest pain.

a. Heart related causes of chest pain: The heart related causes of chest pain include

b. Gastrointestinal causes of chest pain: The GI causes related to chest pain are

  • Heart burn or acid reflux that arises after eating
  • Gastritis
  • Difficulty to swallow due to oesophagus disorders
  • Gall bladder stones
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Pancreatic inflammation or inflammation at the gall bladder

c. Lung related causes of chest pain: The lung related causes of chest pain include the following.

  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumothorax
  • Bronchospasm
  • Viral bronchitis
  • Lung cancer

d. Muscle or bone related causes of chest pain: The muscle or bone related causes of chest pain include

e. Other causes of chest pain: Other causes are

  • Panic attacks
  • Shingles rashes

Symptoms of Chest Pain

Depending upon the triggering conditions chest pain can feel different in different people.
a.      Symptoms of heart related chest pain may include

b.     Other types of chest pain: It is difficult to rule out weather chest pain is related to heart diseases or any other underlying conditions. Chest pain is less likely to be incorporated with heart problems if you experience the following symptoms.

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • A sour taste or a sensation of food re-entering into the mouth (regurgitation)
  • Pain that gets worsened or relieved while you change your body position
  • If you experience worser pain while you take a deep breath or cough out
  • Tenderness on chest while you push
  • Long lasting pain that continues for hours

Diagnosis of Chest Pain

It is advised to seek immediate medical support if you experience chest pain new, unexplained, or lasts more than a few moments. Your doctor will do a detailed examination and ask you some questions to rule out the exact causes of chest pain.

Diagnostic Tests

In order to find out heart related causes of chest pain, your doctor may ask you to do the following diagnostic tests.

  • ECG and EKG to record heart’s electrical activity
  • Blood tests to detect the enzyme levels
  • Chest x-ray to examine your heart, lungs, and blood vessels
  • Echocardiogram that uses sound waves to record moving images of the heart
  • MRI to detect damage of the heart or aorta
  • Stress tests to measure your heart function after exertion
  • Angiogram to detect specific artery blockages

Treatment of Chest Pain

The treatment for chest pain depends on the underlying causes that contribute it. In case of heart attack symptoms, you will get emergency treatment to save life once you reach the hospital. The treatment can involve medications, surgical procedures to remove blood clot and to restore the blood flow into the heart.

If a non-cardiac etiology leads to chest pain, a detailed discussion between you and the healthcare provider will help to rule out the exact causes. Depending on the severity and associated conditions your doctor will recommend the treatment options. Various treatment plans include the following.

  • Life style changes – This includes maintaining a healthy diet, involve in regular physical activities, and quitting smoking and drinking habits.
  • Medications-This includes beta blockers, NSAIDs, ACE inhibitor, Nitro-glycerine, Statins, Blood thinners, Antibiotics, Proton pump inhibitors, Antacids, etc
  • Surgical procedures and other procedures- This includes bypass surgeries, catheter assisted blood clot removal, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) etc.

Prevention of Chest Pain

Occurrence of chest pain due to cardiac conditions can be prevented by

  • Following a balanced diet
  • Involving in regular exercises
  • Regular monitoring of your BP, cholesterol, and diabetes
  • Cessation of tobacco products and smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

To prevent some other causes of chest pain,

  • Avoid factors that trigger asthma
  • Seek medical help to manage respiratory infections
  • Avoid foods that cause acidity and heart burn
  • Takes medicines to prevent blood clots if necessary

Conclusion

Chest pain is a common symptom encountered in the clinical practice by the healthcare professionals. There are cardiac and non-cardiac causes that leads to chest pain. It is essential to rule out the exact underlying condition that causes chest pain for the proper management.

Following a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups will help to keep your heart functioning healthy. Stay in touch with healthcare professionals to get the right advises to stay safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know that my chest pain is serious?

If you have a chest pain that lasts more than 5 minutes, which doesn’t reduce its intensity after taking rest or medicines, seek immediate help. Chest pain can be a sign of heart attack. In such cases you may also experience shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, irregular heartbeat or fainting.

2.What should I do if I have chest pain?

It is important to pay your attention while you experience chest pain. In case of a new chest pain that comes suddenly and lasts for a longer seek immediate medical attention. If you experience intermittent pain that comes and goes, consult your doctor for a medical opinion.

3. Does all chest pain leads to heart attack?

No. There are some other non-cardiac causes that leads to chest pain. This includes acidity, heart burn, GERD, certain lung diseases, bone and muscle related conditions etc.
 

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