Chest pain may be caused due to a variety of reasons starting from heart attacks, to angina, and even gastrointestinal reasons like excess acid reflux or GERD, as well as lung related conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. Also, muscle and bone ailments like broken ribs and fractures can cause chest pain.
HOW IS CHEST PAIN DIAGNOSED?
The General Physician may order tests for identifying the cause of chest pain. Common diagnostic tests are:
• Electrocardiogram for checking heart’s electrical activity
• Blood tests for measuring enzyme levels
• Chest X-ray
• Echocardiogram for recording images of the heart
• Angiogram for locating heart blocks
• Stress tests to measure heart function
HOW IS CHEST PAIN TREATED?
Treatments for heart-related causes of chest pain include:
• Medications including nitroglycerin, clot-busting drugs, blood thinners, antacids and anti anxiety medicines.
• cardiac catheterization, which involves using balloons or stents to open blocked arteries
• surgical repair of the arteries, which is also known as coronary artery bypass grafting or bypass surgery
Treatments for other causes of chest pain include:
• lung re-inflation for a collapsed lung, which your doctor will perform by inserting a chest tube or related device
DID YOU KNOW?
Chest pain is a very serious symptom of any cause and hence, needs emergency medical intervention.
Any ache that affects the part of the body between the shoulders and the bottom ribs, is considered as chest pain. Chest pain is a very common symptom of cardiovascular disease, which should not be taken lightly. Various cardiovascular disease that lead to pain in the chest are-
1. Angina- When the coronary arteries get blocked because they become narrow, it can affect the blood supply to the heart. This results in various symptoms like a dull pain in the chest and discomfort. The condition is commonly known as angina. The coronary arteries tend to become narrow due to fat deposits and plaque. The symptoms of angina generally recede when one lies down and gets some rest.
2. Heart attack- A heart attack is also called myocardial infraction. You may be susceptible to a heart attack if you are highly obese. A heart attack is the result of heart muscle dysfunction because of low supply of blood. The blood vessels fail to supply blood to the heart due to a blockage. Various heart attack symptoms include- severe pain in the chest, which can spread to the arms and the jaw.
3. Ischemic heart disease- This disease obstructs the flow of blood from the heart to the brain. The obstruction is generally as a result of a blood clot in the blood vessels. Low blood supply to the brain can lead to damage of brain cells, resulting in an ischemic stroke. Ischemic heart disease can lead to complications and restrict regular body function.
4. Heart failure- Heart failure, which is also known as congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively to all the parts and organs of the body.
Some other reasons for chest pain also include Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an extreme case of anxiety, peptic ulcer, shingles, pulmonary embolism, strain in the muscles of the chest wall and costochondritis.
When you suffer from chest pain along with lower abdominal pain, it is very likely that you may have GERD. Other symptoms of GERD include, a sense of bloating and belching, accompanied with an extremely foul taste in the mouth. You may also feel heartburn.
Chest pain should not be ignored because while some cases of chest pain may not be very serious, other cases can lead to severe complications. Especially if you suffer from a cardiovascular disease and are susceptible to a heart attack or a heart failure, make sure to contact the doctor if you feel any symptoms. The doctor will recommend certain tests to determine the condition and offer related treatment options.
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