What is Chest Pain?
Chest pain is a reason many people urgently visit the clinic. The kind of chest pain that affects a person could differ depending on the quality, intensity, duration, and location.
Chest pain may feel like a stabbing, sharp pain or a dull ache. It may be a sign of a heart-related problem, which could be serious and lead to complications. Numerous causes that aren’t life-threatening may as well lead to chest pain.
When one has chest pain, one first thinks he or she may be having a heart attack. It is rather crucial to note that while chest pain is a well-established and known symptom of a heart attack, it can be caused by several other less serious conditions as well.
According to the research carried out by the National Center for Health Studies (NCHS), there is an estimate of about 13% visits for chest pain that resulted in a diagnosis of a severe heart-related problem.
Causes of Chest Pain
Heart-related Causes of Chest Pain
Heart-related causes of chest pain include:
- Heart attack: which could block the flow of blood to the heart.
- Angina: This is a type of chest pain caused by an obstruction in the blood vessels that leads to the heart.
- Pericarditis: Pericarditis is simply an inflammation of the sac located in the heart region.
- Myocarditis: this is an inflammation of the heart muscle.
- Cardiomyopathy: An heart muscle disease
- Aortic dissection: It is a rare condition that involves tearing of the aorta.
Gastrointestinal Causes of Chest Pain
Gastrointestinal causes of chest pain include:
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas
- Having problems swallowing due to disorders of the esophagus
Lung-related Causes of Chest Pain
Lung-related causes of chest pain include:
- Bronchospasm: mostly occur in people who have asthma and other related disorders such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- A blood clot
- Viral bronchitis
Muscle or bone-related Causes of Chest Pain
Muscle or bone-related causes of chest pain include:
v Broken ribs
v Bruised ribs
v Sore muscles
Other causes of Chest pain include:
- Shingles: One may experience pain at the back or chest region before the shingles rash becomes visible.
- Panic attacks: Chest pain can also be caused by panic attacks.
There might be numerous other symptoms that could occur with chest pain. Recognizing symptoms you constantly have, and notice can go a long way in helping your doctor conduct a diagnosis.
Pain is commonly known as a symptom of a heart problem; some people may develop other symptoms with or without chest pain. This is most common in women as there have been reported abnormal symptoms that were later confirmed as being the result of a heart condition.
Symptoms of a heart-related problem include:
- Abdominal pain
- Pain at the back, jaw, or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Pain during exertion
- The pressure at the chest or tightness
Other symptoms not related to the heart include:
· Runny nose
· Rash, followed by pain
· Having problems with swallowing
· An acidic or a sour taste at the mouth
· Back pain that affects the chest
· Having Panic attacks
· Pain when you deeply breathe or cough
Diagnosis of Chest Pain
Emergency treatment should be carried out as soon as possible if you suspect having a heart attack, and most especially if you recently developed chest pain, which is unexplainable or perhaps could last for a few moments or more.
Questions asked by your doctor and answers provided by you can assist them in the diagnosis of your chest pain as well as the causes.
Feel free to discuss and as well be prepared to discuss any related symptoms with your doctor. Also, one should share information about any medications, treatments, or other health conditions one may have.
Tests to help in the diagnosis or elimination of heart-related problems that could be a cause of your chest pain may be instructed by your doctor.
These tests may include:
- Blood tests: used to measure the levels of the enzyme.
- X-ray of the Chest: used to examine the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This records the electrical activities of the heart.
- Echocardiogram: records images moving in the heart using sound waves.
- MRI: used to search for damage(s) to the aorta or heart.
- Stress test: used to measure the function of the heart after exertion.
- Angiogram: used to search for obstruction or blockages of certain arteries.
Treatment of Chest Pain
Treatment options for chest pain may include medications, non-invasive procedures, surgery, or a combination of any of these methods.
Treatment solely depends on the causes and degree of your chest pain.
Treatments for heart-related causes of chest pain include:
· Medications: this includes usage of nitroglycerin and other heart-related medications that partially opens up closed arteries, blood thinners, or clot-busting drugs.
· Surgical repair of the arteries: Also known as coronary artery bypass grafting or bypass surgery.
· Cardiac catheterization: This involves the usage of stents or balloons to open arteries being blocked.
Other treatment options for non-related heart chest pain include:
· Anti-anxiety medications: these are used in the treatment of chest pain linked to panic attacks.
· Antacids: used in treating symptoms such as acid reflux or heartburn.
· Lung re-inflation for a collapsed lung: This is carried out by inserting a chest tube or a related device.
Finding solutions or treatment options to chest pain caused by many common conditions can be carried out by a doctor.
Noting that chest pain might be a result of an underlying medical condition can not be over-emphasized. One should seek emergency attention and care if he or she notices any of the symptoms or encounters more than normal symptoms of chest pain listed above.
In conclusion, after a diagnosis is being performed by your doctor, you can then be referred to or recommended additional treatments to help manage your condition.
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