Introduction to Chest Pain
Chest pain may not necessarily be caused by a serious health condition it is a symptom of a number of life-threatening diseases and is thus considered an emergency.
What is Chest Pain?
Chest pain is experienced by many people at some point in their lives, and while it may not necessarily be caused by a serious health condition it is a symptom of a number of life-threatening diseases and is thus considered an emergency.
What causes Chest Pain?
Chest pain is usually heavily influenced by someone’s lifestyle and a history of smoking, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and drinking can all increase someone’s likelihood of suffering from it.
It may also be a symptom of atherosclerosis or fatty plaques blocking your arteries, angina and even a heart attack where the heart’s blood supply is completely obstructed.
Alternatively the chest pain may not have a vascular cause: It can also be caused by muscular or skeletal problems, acid reflux and lung conditions. It may also have psychological causes such as depression or anxiety. The reasons such attention is given to the cardiac aspect of chest pain is because the overwhelming majority of cases are related to atherosclerosis.
What are the symptoms of Chest Pain?
You may feel a crushing, constricting, tight sensation with a variably intense or dull pain. When people attempt to describe the pain a common metaphor is “being sat on”. It is important to note that this pain may not be restricted to the chest alone and may also feature in the arm, jaw, back and abdomen. Many people confuse chest pain for heartburn because of this and it is important to consider where the pain may originate from. Additionally if this chest pain lasts for a long time (more than a few minutes) and presents alongside other symptoms such as nausea or dizziness you should seek immediate medical attention.
The one condition where you may not need to seek immediate medical attention is if you have been diagnosed with angina and have been given appropriate medication (glyceryl trinitrate). In such situations you should take your medication as instructed, but if symptoms persist you should seek medical attention regardless.
How is Chest Pain treated?
Chest pain caused by angina will be treated with glyceryl trinitrate, which you should administer upon experiencing pain. Alternatively if a more serious issue such as heart disease or a completely unrelated cause is determined, you will be treated with regards to that condition in particular. For example if it is caused by gastroesophageal reflux you will be given a number of oral medications to prevent damage caused by stomach acid.