What is Chest Pain?
Chest pain can be a symptom of heart disease, but that's not always the case. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, your West Monroe, LA cardiologists at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, discuss common causes of chest pain.
People who have had heart attacks often describe the pain as crushing or squeezing. The pain can travel to your jaw, arm, shoulder and back, and you may also experience lightheadedness, vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, stomach pain, and anxiety. If you have any of these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
Angina causes many of the same symptoms of a heart attack, including squeezing chest pain and pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders, arm and back. Angina is actually a symptom of a heart problem, such as coronary heart disease or coronary microvascular disease.
Chest pain can occur if you have:
- A collapsed lung
- A blood clot in your lung
- Pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest wall
You probably associate shingles with a painful rash, but in many cases, a deep pain precedes the development of the rash. If shingles form on your chest, you may experience chest pain a few days before the rash appears and may continue to experience the pain until your symptoms resolve.
The symptoms of a panic attack are very similar to a heart attack. In addition to radiating pain, you may also experience palpitations, indigestion, numbness, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
Costochondritis occurs the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum becomes inflamed. Although it usually goes away on its own, it can be very painful.
If you have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD), stomach contents, including acids, back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
When should I see a doctor about chest pain?
Since it's often impossible to tell if your pain is caused by a heart or lung issue or a minor problem, it's a good idea to seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you experience chest pain. If you are diagnosed with heart disease after an episode of pain, a cardiologist can help you manage your condition.