Chest pain is a feeling of discomfort or pressure anywhere from your neck to upper abdomen. It may be caused due to heart problems, lung problems, gastrointestinal problems and muscle and nerve problems. Symptoms of chest pain are sharp, stabbing or dull pain anywhere in the neck t o upper abdomen region. Apart from these common symptoms, you may have other symptoms like dizziness, pressure, squeezing sensation etc. based on the cause of chest pain
HOW IS CHEST PAIN DIAGNOSED?
The cardiologist will examine the patient by a thorough physical examination and ask details of medical history. A few tests may be suggested by the doctor that are:
• an electrocardiogram, which records your heart’s electrical activity
• blood tests to measure enzyme levels
• a chest X-ray to examine your heart, lungs, and blood vessels
• an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to record moving images of the heart
• an MRI to look for damage to the heart or aorta
• stress tests to measure your heart function after exertion
• an angiogram to look for blockages in specific arteries
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?
Other common causes of chest pain are asthma, anxiety attacks and acid reflux
When suffering from chest pain, the first things that comes to your mind is a possible heart attack or heart failure. But, the above reasons are not the only causes of chest pain. You may suffer from chest pain because of various other cardiovascular disease or certain problems in the ribs, oesophagus and even nerves. Some conditions that result in chest pain are likely to be extremely serious and should be treated immediately, while others are less severe and get easily cured with over-the-counter medicines.
Here are few examples of certain cardiovascular diseases that lead to chest pain-
1. Angina- A very dull chest pain occurs when the coronary arteries (which supply blood to the heart) become narrow. This condition is called Angina. When the arteries become narrow they obstruct the blood flow, as a result the heart tends to dysfunction. Narrowing of the arteries generally occurs because of accumulation of fat or plaque. One tends to face some relief from angina pain when they get some rest.
2. Heart attack- Heart attack or myocardial infraction, is a condition in which a blood clot (in the coronary artery) stops the supply of blood to the heart. Some common heart attack symptoms are an intense pain in the chest region, which slowly spreads across the left and right arms and even the jaw.
3. Ischemic heart disease- This condition occurs because of a blood clot that restricts the flow of blood, from the heart to the brain. As a result it can lead to an ischemic stroke. Ischemic heart disease can result in very severe complications and restrict certain regular body activities too. Chest pain is one of the symptoms of this condition.
4. Heart failure- Heart failure or congestive heart failure is known to be a cardiovascular disease, which occurs because the heart cannot pump blood efficiently to all the body parts and organs.
Other common causes of chest pain are-
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - This condition can result in either acid reflux and oesophagitis or both. One of the most common symptoms of GERD is heartburn. You may also feel stomach pain or lower abdominal pain due to GERD. This condition can also cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in the stomach. One may even feel bloated and experience a foul taste in the mouth.
Anxiety- Surprisingly, research conducted has revealed that sever anxiety can also lead to the onset of heart conditions, resulting in chest pain. This is known as Da Costa’s syndrome.
In case of chest pain you should consult a doctor as soon as possible, to avoid any further complications.
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