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The chest pain, or chest pains, can have a long list of underlying causes. For example, the chest pain pIt can be caused by temporary poor blood flow to the heart (angina), or by a sudden blockage of the coronary arteries resulting in a heart attack.
Of course, the determinants are not always so serious but, in case of chest pain, it is always good to consult a doctor, who can possibly exclude the most serious hypotheses, and marry the most possible ones, such as indigestion and muscle fatigue. In addition to the heart, the many parts of the chest that can cause chest pain are also the lungs, esophagus, muscles, bones and skin.
Because of complex nervous system of our body, the cause of chest pain can also come from other parts, such as the abdomen.
Chest pain: symptoms of a heart attack
Many people experience the most severe repercussions of a heart attack because they are unable to recognize its signs right away or wait too long to act. On the other hand, prompt treatment for heart attacks can save lives and prevent serious heart damage.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- severe "squeezing" pain in the center of the chest or behind the breastbone;
- pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back;
- feeling anxious, dizzy or unwell;
- feeling sick in the stomach;
- being short of breath;
- symptoms that often last 10 to 15 minutes or longer.
However, be aware that the symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person, and some people have few or… none!
Chest pain: angina
L'angina it is a short-lasting chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle has a lack of blood - it often occurs when it has to work harder than usual. This can occur with physical exercise or with strong emotions, with the cold or after eating a large meal. The pain subsides with rest.
Angina usually does not cause damage to the heart. The cause of the pain is in fact, more simply, the reduction of blood flow to the heart due to fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) that accumulate on the inner walls of the coronary arteries.
The risk factors of cardiovascular diseases
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:
- unhealthy nutrition;
- being overweight or obese;
- being physically inactive;
- smoking - being smokers or inhaling other people's smoke (passive smoking)
- high cholesterol;
- high blood pressure;
- family history of heart disease;
- sex - males are more at risk than females;
- age - the risk increases with advancing age.
However, it is important to remember that even people without these risk factors can develop cardiovascular disease.
Other common causes of chest pain
THE symptoms of a heart attack are similar to other conditions, and therefore chest pain may have nothing to do with the heart.
Other common causes of chest pain include:
- indigestion or gastric acid approaching the esophagus (reflux). This common problem can be aggravated by smoking, the consumption of alcohol or coffee, the consumption of fatty foods and the use of drugs. You may feel this as a burning pain in your chest. It often goes away quickly after taking an antacid;
- strains of the thoracic muscle;
- inflammation of the rib joints near the breastbone (costochondritis);
- herpes zoster virus, which can cause chest pain before a rash forms.
Medical assistance in case of chest pain
In case of chest pain, it is always good to act promptly, considering that in the most severe cases, the faster you get to the hospital for treatment… the better.
In any case, if, for example, during the performance of an activity you feel chest pain, it is good to stop doing what you are doing. If chest pain persists, call an ambulance to report a possible heart attack. If you have any doubts about the nature of your pain, call an ambulance anyway.
While waiting for the ambulance:
- stop and rest quietly sitting or lying down,
- take 300 mg of aspirin straight away, unless your doctor tells you not to take it;
- do not try to drive to the hospital. Instead, wait for the ambulance, which has specialized personnel and equipment that can save lives.
Read also: Breathe with your belly, here's how
Chest Pain Diagnosis
Before medical treatment can begin, the cause of pain it will obviously have to be identified. For this reason you may be subjected to a number of tests, including:
- electrocardiogram (ECG) - electrical tracking of cardiac activity;
- blood test - to measure markers of the heart and other organs;
- chest x-ray - to look at the lungs, heart and major blood vessels in the chest.
If your doctor thinks you may have angina, he may order further tests to check the status of the blood vessels that feed your heart. He can also organize a stress test.
However, diagnosing the cause of chest pain is not always easy. Your doctor may need to see you more than once to be sure of the diagnosis, and further tests may be required, or you may be referred to a cardiologist (heart doctor).
If your doctor has ruled out serious causes of chest pain, chances are you will be able to fully recover from chest pain. In any case, do not underestimate any adverse signs, and speak promptly with a specialist.