What Causes Chest Pain?
Chest pain is not something you should leave unattended. It has many possible causes, but in most cases of Plano chest pain is related to the heart. However, chest pain may also result from problems in your esophagus, lungs, muscles, ribs, or nerves. Some of these issues are serious and life-threatening, while others are not; the most severe cases involve the lungs or heart.
Chest pain can take different forms, from a sharp stab to a dull ache. The pain varies depending on what is triggering the symptom. Sometimes chest pain feels burning or crushing; in other cases, the pain travels up the neck, into the jaw, back, or down one or both arms. The only way to confirm the cause of unexplained chest pain is by getting a medical evaluation. Below are heart-related causes of chest pain.
Heart-related causes of chest pain
Although most cases of chest pain are associated with heart disease, many people with heart disease say they have a vague discomfort and not necessarily pain. Generally, chest discomfort related to a heart attack or any other heart problem may be described as or associated with the following.
- Searing or crushing pain that spreads to your neck, jaw, back, shoulders, and arms.
- Fullness, pressure, tightness, or burning in the chest
- Pain that lasts a few minutes and worsens with activity.
- Cold sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
The following heart problems are common causes of chest pain.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is the blockage in the heart’s arteries, causing a reduction of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. This may result in pain called angina, a symptom of heart disease that typically doesn’t cause permanent heart damage. However, it is a sign that you are at risk of a heart attack in the future. The pain may spread to your jaw, shoulder, arm, or back. Angina may feel like a pressure or squeezing sensation triggered by excitement, exercise, or emotional distress. Rest usually relieves the pain.
A heart attack or myocardial infarction is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle, often from a blood clot. The reduction in blood flow causes the death of heart muscle cells. While the pain is similar to angina, a heart attack is a more severe, crushing pain, usually on the left side or center of the chest. Rest does not relieve this kind of pain. Besides pain, one may experience nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, or severe weakness.
This genetic disease causes the heart muscle to grow abnormally thick and may sometimes lead to problems with blood flow out of the heart. With this disease, you may experience chest pain and shortness of breath with exercise. Over time as the heart muscles continue to thicken, heart failure may occur. When artery walls become thick, this makes the heart work harder when pumping blood. Besides chest pain, this type of cardiomyopathy may cause lightheadedness, fainting, and other symptoms.
If you experience chest pain, visit your Heart and Vascular Care doctor for diagnosis and treatment.