Chest pain is a common symptom for most medical conditions that may necessitate a visit to the emergency department. It appears in different forms, from a dull ache to a constant stabbing or sharp sensation. The most common cause for chest pain in Port Saint Lucie is spasms of the lungs’ small airways, often during or immediately after physical exercise. Establishing the cause of chest pain is challenging and often requires different tests such as x-rays, blood tests, CT scans, and electrocardiograms. Chest pain can be caused by problems with your muscles, bones, lungs, digestive system, and sometimes the heart. Below are heart-related causes of chest pain and their symptoms.
An aortic dissection is a tear in the body’s main artery – the aorta, a vessel that transports oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to your heart and other body parts. When a tear occurs, blood rushes through the opening, causing a split between the inner and middle layers of the aorta. A tear in the artery can result from a weakened aorta wall, a condition more common among older adults between ages 60 and 70. Patients with aortic dissection are not limited to but may have symptoms such as sudden severe chest pain, loss of consciousness, and shortness of breath. Although this condition is fatal if blood goes through the outside aortic wall, early detection and treatment improve one’s chances of survival.
Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease, and the pain results from limited blood flow to the heart. Patients with angina or angina pectoris often describe the effects as a form of pressure, heaviness, tightness, and pain on their chest – a feeling of a heavyweight or someone squeezing their chest. The discomfort explained above is common and does not necessarily mean you have angina, thus making it hard to distinguish between angina and other types of chest pain. If you have angina, you may experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, and sweating. Treatment for this condition often involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medications such as calcium channel blockers.
A heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when a blockage in the vessels transporting blood to the heart. In most cases, blockage forms due to fat, bad cholesterol, and other substances. It is a fatal condition that requires immediate medical attention and is characterized by symptoms such as sudden tightness, pressure, squeezing, and an aching sensation in the chest, dizziness, cold sweat, nausea, and shortness of breath. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your chances of a heart attack by exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy diet.
The heart has an outer membrane – the pericardium, which offers mechanical protection for the heart and lubrication to reduce friction. Sometimes the membrane can swell and get irritated, causing pressure-like chest pain. The pain primarily occurs when the inflamed layers of the pericardium touch. Pericarditis can develop due to an infection, systemic inflammatory disorders, trauma, and other medical conditions like cancer and tuberculosis.
If you have more questions on chest pain, book a session with your physician at TLC Medical Group Inc.