Chest pain causes and symptoms | Chest pain can appear in different forms, ranging from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain. Sometimes it feels like crushing or burning. It may travel up the neck and into the jaw, spreading to the back or down one or both arms. Several issues can cause chest pain, and the most life-threatening ones involve the heart or lungs. Chest pain can be an indication of a severe problem, and it’s crucial to seek immediate medical help.
Heart-Related Chest Pain
Heart disease is often associated with chest pain, but many people with heart disease may feel mild discomfort that they would not label as pain. Chest discomfort caused by heart problems may feel like,
- fullness or tightness in the chest
along with crushing or searing pain that spreads to the neck, back, jaw, shoulders, and one or both arms. Pain that lasts more than a few minutes, gets worse with activity, goes away and comes back, or varies in intensity, along with shortness of breath, cold sweats, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, racing heartbeats, nausea, or vomiting, can be indicative of heart-related chest pain.
Other Types of Chest Pain
It can be challenging to determine if chest pain is related to the heart or caused by something else. Usually, chest pain is less likely due to a heart problem if it happens with a sour taste or a sensation of food re-entering the mouth, trouble swallowing, pain that gets better or worse when you change body position, pain that worsens when you breathe deeply or cough, tenderness when you push on your chest, or pain that continues for many hours. The heart or the stomach can cause heartburn, which is a painful, burning sensation behind the breastbone.
When to Seek Medical Help
If you have new or unexplained chest pain or think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 or emergency medical help immediately.(This number varies by country ) It is essential not to ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. If you can’t get an ambulance or emergency vehicle to come to you, have a neighbor or a friend drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only if you have no other option.
Causes of Chest Pain
Chest pain has many possible causes, all of which require medical care. Examples of heart-related causes of chest pain include angina, which is chest pain caused by poor blood flow to the heart due to the buildup of thick plaques on the inner walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart. Other heart-related causes of chest pain include a heart attack, aortic dissection, and inflammation of the sac around the heart called pericarditis.
Disorders of the digestive system, including heartburn, swallowing disorders, and gallbladder or pancreas problems, can cause chest pain. Some types of chest pain are associated with injuries and other problems affecting the structures that make up the chest wall, such as costochondritis, sore muscles, and injured ribs. Many lung problems can also cause chest pain, such as a blood clot in the lung, inflammation of the membrane covering the lungs, and a collapsed lung.
Chest pain can have many causes, and some of them can be life-threatening. Therefore, if you experience chest pain, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical help. Knowing the symptoms of heart-related chest pain and when to seek medical help can be critical to avoid severe complications.