Understanding Chest Pain With Our Tri-City Cardiology Staff
Have you ever had chest pain and tightness before? This can be a distressing experience and one that should always be taken seriously. At Tri-City Cardiology, serving Mesa, Gilbert, San Tan Valley, and Scottsdale, our cardiology team are proud to be leaders in cardiovascular care and are committed to educating our community about heart disease and related topics.
To this end, knowing how to recognize different kinds of chest pain and knowing when to seek immediate medical attention is imperative.
5 Common Reasons for Chest Pain and Tightness
A person experiencing chest pain may notice a number of signs and symptoms. They may have sharp, dull, crushing, burning, or achy pain. There may also be a pain traveling up the neck, jaw, arm, and back. They may have difficulty breathing, fast or irregular pulse, feelings of anxiety or "impending doom," or even nausea and vomiting.
Most cases of chest pain are not life-threatening. However, consulting with a medical professional is the only way to know for sure what’s going and so you can learn how to differentiate between an emergency and something else.
1. Cardiac Problems
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Cardiac problems, including angina, heart attack, myocarditis, aneurysm, and dysrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) often present with chest pain.
If your chest pain severe and/or is associated with nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, a cold sweat, or other sudden symptoms, call 911 right away.
A stroke (aka "brain attack") can also present with chest pain and is caused by bleeding or blockage of blood flow in the brain. Other stroke symptoms include sudden facial drooping, word slurring, and weakness on one side of the body.
2. Musculoskeletal Problems
If a muscle, joint, or rib in your chest becomes injured or inflamed (often due to acute accidents or sport injuries) then chest pain can develop. Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition hallmarked by widespread pain and fatigue, can also lead to pain and stiffness.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), aka heartburn, often results in burning chest pain. It may worsen when you lie down or after you eat at a meal. Other potential chest pain causes related to digestion include gallstones, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and inflammation of the esophagus.
4. Respiration Problems
Conditions affecting your lungs and lung function can lead to difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, and chest pain. Common respiratory-related causes of chest pain include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary embolisms, lung cancer, and pneumonia.
5. Psychological Factors
Anxiety and panic attacks are often associated with chest pain. Dizziness and the feeling of a racing heart may occur as well.
For more information about chest pain and heart health, contact Tri-City Cardiology today.