Heaviness and pressure in the chest could mean many things, depending on the severity and intensity of the pain. According to research published in the BMC Emergency Medicine Journal, chest pain is a "frequently occurring symptom affecting 20-40% of the general population worldwide”. Let's discuss the possible causes of chest pain.
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Possible Causes Of Chest Pain
Heart problems are one of the primary causes of chest pain. Some of the common heart-related issues that trigger chest pain are as follows:
Heart attack: Also called myocardial infarction, a heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked or reduced.
Angina: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is one of the most common heart problems. It causes several symptoms, including angina, a type of chest pain. It usually takes place when the blood vessels leading to your heart are blocked.
Myocarditis: Myocarditis refers to the inflammation of the heart muscles, also known as myocardium.
Pericarditis: It is the swelling of the pericardium, the tissue that surrounds the heart.
Cardiomyopathy: When your heart muscles find it difficult to pump the blood for your heart, you may be experiencing this.
Respiratory or lung problems can also cause chest pain. Some of the common lung issues include:
Pulmonary embolism: This refers to the sudden blockage of the lung arteries due to a blood clot.
Pleurisy: It is the inflammation of the pleura, the layers that cover the lungs.
Asthma: This is a chronic condition wherein the airways narrow down and become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is a group of respiratory diseases that lead to the blockage of the airway and trigger breathing issues along with other symptoms.
Anxiety or panic attack
Chest pain is a common sign of anxiety and can also show up in people who suffer from panic attacks. While anxiety often occurs due to the fear of a perceived threat, panic attacks can be more intense and can occur due to no reason, explains Mayo Clinic. Along with chest pain, it can cause other symptoms, including rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness and distressed breathing.
Digestive problems can often be a cause of chest pain. Even though it might be difficult to see a connection, here are some stomach issues that can cause chest pain.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD or acid reflux is a gastrointestinal problem that takes place when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the oesophagus, the tube that links the mouth to the stomach. This can often lead to a burning, painful sensation in the chest.
Gallstones: These are hard deposits in the gallbladder. These are usually hardened digestive fluids, also known as bile.
Pancreatic inflammation: Also known as pancreatitis, the condition refers to the inflammation in the pancreas that causes pain that radiates to the chest.
Muscle problems or injuries
Chest pain can also be an outcome of bone problems and muscle issues. Some of the conditions to watch out for are:
Costochondritis: It occurs when the rib cage cartilage suffers from inflammation.
Rib injury: Any breakage or bruising of the ribs can also cause chest pain.
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When should you seek medical attention?
If the chest pain persists for a long time or if you suspect something dangerous, call your nearest hospital and seek medical help. Beware of the symptoms listed below:
- Chest tightness, pressure, and a crushing feeling under the breastbone
- Pain that radiates to the arm, back, and jaw
- Nausea, headache, dizziness
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
If you develop chest pain, do not panic. Call your doctor and consult immediately. In case of severe pain and discomfort, visit the nearest hospital and get yourself medically examined. Remember! It is better to take all precautions than wait for a cure.