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If you thought that chest pain occurred only due to a heart-related issue like a heart attack, you are wrong. Chest pain is one of the most common reasons that people visit the emergency services and it can be caused due to problems with your heart, lungs and digestive system.
Chest pain can be due to either of these two main reasons:
Heart- related Issues
1. Heart attacks called myocardial infarctions are very common reasons for chest pains. During a heart attack, the blood supply that serves the heart with oxygen is cut off due to plaque build-up in heart arteries causing the death of heart muscles.
- Other reasons for heart attacks are blood clots or torn blood vessels.
- Not all people having a heart attack have symptoms. Usually, people report symptoms like chest pain, upper body pain, nausea, sweating, fatigue, and trouble breathing.
- A heart attack is a serious medical emergency for which immediate care is needed.
2. Angina pectoris is a type of chest pain that results from reduced blood flow to the heart. Low blood flow means your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen. The angina pain is often triggered by physical activity or emotional stress and feels like a vice squeezing your chest or a heavy weight on your chest. It can also spread from your chest to your neck, arms, and shoulders. Other symptoms are fatigue, dizziness and nausea and these normally last up to 15 minutes only.
3. Unstable angina which causes crushing chest pains suddenly and even when you are not doing anything strenuous is a medical emergency as it can lead to a heart attack. This usually shows that your heart, arteries are narrowing alarmingly.
4. Other heat-related reasons for chest pains are-
- Mitral valve narrowing or stenosis
- Heart arrhythmias
- Coronary Artery disease
- Inflammation of heart muscles or pericardium and weakening of the heart muscles.
All of these are emergencies and need immediate medical attention to prevent a fatality.
Not Heart- related:
- Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. It causes inflammation in your lung’s air sacs and makes them full of pus which makes it difficult to breathe and causes chest pains, amongst other debilitating symptoms.
- Bronchitis is an inflammation of your bronchial tubes. It can be chronic or acute and it can cause a cough with mucus and chest pains.
- Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that occurs in the lungs. It can go on to damage parts of your lung due to limited blood flow. Apart from this, it can also decrease oxygen levels in the blood and affect other organs.
It can be life-threatening due to permanent lung damage. The most common symptom of a pulmonary embolism is gradual or sudden shortness of breath.
There is also-
- bluish skin tone
- hest pain that extends into your arm, jaw, neck, and shoulder
2. Rib cage inflammation or Costochondritis is also known as Tietze’s syndrome. It is an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. Patients experience chest pain in the upper and middle rib area on either side of the body due to this. The pain can also radiate to the back or the abdomen, getting worse if you move, stretch, or breathe deeply.
3. Food pipe disease or Esophagitis is any inflammation or irritation of the oesophagus, a tube that sends food from your throat down to your stomach.
GERD- This condition occurs when the stomach contents and acids back up into the oesophagus. This causes chest pain that can mimic a heart disease. There may also be oesophagal spasms due to GERD.
After eating a meal to your heart’s content, it is very normal to burp or belch. However, it is normal only when it happens occasionally, or after a meal, for someone used to a contented meal every single time. On the other hand, excessive burping or belching can happen due to two reasons.
- Excessive air intake: There are multiple ways that excessive air can reach the food pipe. Sucking on straws, chewing gum constantly and ill-fitting dentures are some common reasons for burping.
- Digestive problems: Ulcers in the stomach, prolonged gastric, gallstones and rarely, esophageal or stomach cancers can also cause burping.
When to see a doctor
Check with a doctor if you have persistent burping, followed by a meal or otherwise, and accompanied by the following symptoms.
- Go slow when eating and/or drinking: Most of us are pressed for time and eating and/or drinking has now become a task that needs to be finished quickly. Eating fast causes air to be swallowed, and therefore one of the best ways to stop burping is to eat slowly. Sitting in a calm, relaxing environment when eating also allows one to enjoy the food and avoid or stop burping.
- Avoid taliking while eating: There is always so much to catch up, whether at home or outside. So, talking while eating is a common practice. This is not just bad manners, but there is also a lot of air that is swallowed, which leads to burping. A solution is to chew the food properly, which not just helps stop burping, but also aids in better food digestion by mixing it adequately with saliva.
- Substitute coke with water: Carbonated drinks are another reason for belching. Replacing them with water, tea, or anything noncarbonated is advisable, not just from burping perspective, but also from the excessive sugar consumption. Carbonated drinks are just sugar solutions, and are absolutely of no nutritive value.
- Avoid straw: When possible, drink from a glass and avoid straws. This reduces the amount of gas taken in and helps stop burping
- Quit smoking: Quitting it has multiple health benefits, and getting rid of smoking is just one of them.
- Dentures: Ill-fitting dentures can be a reason for belching, and so they should be checked and corrected, if required, in a person who has persistent burping.
- Chewing gum: Constantly chewing gum contributes to burping, and so avoiding chewing gum or sucking on hard candy is another way to control burping.
- Avoid certain foods: Foodstuffs like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, sprouts, and lentils can produce excessive gas and should be avoided in people who have persistent burping.
Follow the above steps in your daily routine; still if your burping problem persists, it is time to consult your physician.
You must not let the cold and dry air worsen your asthma symptoms. The air that blows during winter time greatly affects people with sinus and respiratory troubles, and all these factors contribute towards worsening asthma attacks. But thankfully, there are a few tips that can be followed to curb down asthma and enjoy a lovely winter.
- Washing your hands: Doing this frequently with soap and water is one of the easiest and most effective ways of avoiding the spread of cold and other diseases. You must also inculcate this habit among your children, and when you are outside, you should practice using a hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes.
- Getting a flu shot: The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that all people over the age of 6 months should get their dose of the annual flu shot for protecting themselves against the flu virus. This will help keep your asthma in check.
- Avoid sitting by the fireplace: Though it sounds cozy, you should refrain from sitting by the fireside if you have asthma. Burning wood is quite similar to burning tobacco and it can irritate your lungs to a great extent.
- Keeping your mouth closed: Though most people are taught this since they were children, they tend to forget it or ignore it. Keeping the mouth opened is more than a social disgrace, and it even affects your lungs adversely. You can wear a scarf for covering up the nose and mouth as it would help in making the air you breathe warm.
- Replacing filters: The heating system of your home may be blowing out dust and debris throughout the house, particularly when you operate it after a long time in winter. Therefore, it is imperative to clean and check the condition of the filters and replace it if necessary.
- Exercising indoors: The days when it is bitterly cold outside, it is recommended to exercise indoors in a fitness club or a gym instead of a doing it in the open air.
- Warming up before exercising: People who are affected with asthma are able to recover faster and have a greater lung function after working out when they are warmed up. Therefore, you should try to warm up for at least 15 minutes before exercising.
- Preventing asthma flares: Before you head outside, take a dose of your asthma medication and your inhaler as these will help in opening the airways and give you the necessary protection.
- Having an asthma action plan: Regardless of whether it is summer or winter, you should be aware of what you should be doing in times when the symptoms flare-up.
- Taking your medications: Finally, you should work with your doctor towards understanding the cause and symptoms of your asthma conditions and follow his recommendations closely to avoid recurrence of such problems.
With all these tips, you can expect to spend a happy winter. But if anything goes wrong, seek medical assistance immediately. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Feeling acidic after eating a heavy meal can often make you regret those last few morsels. This acidic sensation is known as acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD. GERD occurs when the functioning of the lower oesophagus muscles is restricted. This makes the undigested food in the stomach and stomach acids leak back into the oesophagus.
Thankfully, this is not something you have to live with and a few simple lifestyle changes can help resolve the situation.
- Do not lie down after eating: When your body is in a horizontal position, there are higher chances of food being regurgitated into the oesophagus. To avoid this, finish your meals at least 3 hours before going to bed. Sit upright while eating and do not lie down or slouch immediately after eating. This gives the food time to be digested and move out of the stomach.
- Limit your food intake: Overeating is one of the most common triggers of GERD. Cutting down your portion sizes can instantly reduce the number of GERD occurrences. Instead of eating large, heavy meals, shorten the duration between meals and have more frequent small meals.
- Avoid foods that trigger acidity: With time, you will soon realise which types of foods trigger an acidic reaction. Some common triggers are onions, peppermint, caffeine, citrus fruits etc. Keeping a diary can help identify such foods and ease your problem.
- Quit Smoking: Nicotine not only harms your lungs, but can affect your digestive system as well. It is responsible for weakening the muscles that control the opening between the stomach and oesophagus. This allows stomach acids and food from the stomach to re-enter the oesophagus. Alcohol can also worsen GERD symptoms and hence it is better to avoid alcohol is you suffer from frequent bouts of acid reflux.
- Lose weight: Overeating, obesity and acid reflux go hand in hand. Being overweight can put extra pressure on your stomach and abdomen, thus pushing food and gastric juices into the oesophagus. Losing this extra weight should effectively resolve your acid reflux problem if you are overweight.
- Look at your medications: Some types of medication too can cause acid reflux by interfering with the digestive system and irritating the oesophagus. These types of medication include blood pressure medication, asthma medication, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, bisphosphonates, sedatives and painkillers. Do not simply stop taking these medications, but talk to your doctor about replacing them with something else.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Asthmatic patients often find that the frequency and intensity of asthma attacks increase with a change in weather, as the challenges two-fold for asthmatic patients. If they are indoors, they inhale triggers such as dust mites, mould etc. and if they step outdoors, the outside air acts as a trigger for an asthmatic attack. However, there are ways to make your life easier.
- Curb allergy triggers inside your house: While you can’t do much about the weather, you can control the environment inside your house. Limit your time around pets that could trigger an attack and try keeping them outside the bedroom. Use dust proof covers on mattresses and pillows and changes your bedding regularly. Though it may look cosier, avoid using a lot of pillows and throw cushions on your bed. Clean and replace the filters of your home’s heating or cooling system before you start it up for the first time. The filters should also be regularly checked and cleaned throughout the winter.
- Ventilate the house: Keep your house dry and cool at all times to prevent the growth of mould and dust mites. To do this, run an exhaust fan in the bathroom while having a shower and in the kitchen while cooking. As far as possible, do not dry clothes indoors.
- Avoid too cold or too hot air: As far as possible avoid going outdoors especially on windy days. Instead of going for a walk outdoors, exercise at home or in a gym. When you go outdoors, drape a scarf over the lower half of your face to cover your nose and mouth. This will ensure that you do not breathe in too cold air or too hot air.
- Breathe correctly: As children, we’re told to keep our mouths closed. Not only is this good social etiquette, but it also prevents you from breathing through your mouth. The nostrils have tiny hair inside them that act as filters and keep dust particles and pollen from being inhaled. This also warms up the air while being inhaled. Thus avoid breathing through your mouth and instead only breathe through your nose.
- Take your medications: Create an effective plan of action to be followed in case of an asthmatic attack and get regular check-ups throughout the season. If you notice your symptoms worsening as the weather gets colder, talk to your doctor about changing your medication and its dosage. Do not skip your medication or stop it unless your doctor tells you to.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” however, while one may commend you on an excellent diet schedule, keeping the doctor away might not always seem to be too favourable an option, especially in recent times when unforeseen circumstances and complications pertaining to lifestyle irregularities always keep creeping up.
While proper diet and regular workouts may keep you remarkably fit, genetic constraints might easily overrule such efforts to maintaining good health. Frequent checkups are especially recommended for those who share a family history of a number of diseases, infections, any type of cancer, hypertension, or sleep disorders, since problems might grow quietly and steadily when left unchecked for a longer span of time.
Most people usually visit their doctor or physician when they face an emergency. This should not be the scenario, as is advised by most health experts. It has been widely accepted that the average visit to the clinic must be at the least, four times a year. However, uniformity isn’t to be maintained by everyone in this regard. Infants see a doctor for at least eight times a year while six to eight year olds visit their physician twice a year.
It is important to have a number of crucial matters looked into and tested periodically in order to keep track of any unfavourable developments:
- Dental check-up every six months
- Annual pap smears
- Semi-annual HIV tests
- Eye examinations once every two years, once a year for those patients with current vision problems
- Biennial skin cancer screening
- Full physical examination once a year
- Breast examination once a month
- Pelvic examination every few months
- Thyroid tests every five years
- Check blood pressure level every month
It is imperative to understand that not one particular check-up schedule is capable of fitting in the necessities of all individuals. This makes it all the more clear that, while the requirement of physical attention isn’t the same for everyone, once a year physical check-up is a must for any individual. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!