Chest pain is one of the most frightening symptoms, which brings thousands of people to emergency rooms.
It may vary from dull and mild aching to sharp unbearable pain.
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We commonly associate any uncomfortable sensations in the chest with heart attack. However in many cases pain has nothing to do with the heart.
At the same time it's completely possible that chest pain is a sign of life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism or aortic dissection.
Sometimes pain may travel to the upper back, jaw, neck or arm, becoming worse when moving or breathing.
Even mild pain in the chest shouldn't be shrugged off until “better times”. You're not too young or too fit to have heart attack. This trouble may occur in everyone, including sportsmen in their 30s.
So what are the most common reasons for chest discomfort?
#1. Angina – chest pain may happen, if blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced. It is usually a result of atherosclerosis – condition, in which thick plaques accumulate inside the coronary arteries, which nourish heart muscle. Poor blood circulation may result in pain and tightness in the chest, especially during physical exertion. Be aware that angina is a predictor of heart attack, especially if it occurs often.
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#2. Acid reflux – you may feel burning and pain in the chest area, if stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, irritating its lining. Symptoms may be worse, when you lie down after having a meal.
#3. Pulmonary embolism – it’s a dangerous condition, when blood clot plugs one of the arteries, which carry blood to the lungs. In pulmonary embolism, chest pain is usually accompanied by breathlessness and bloody cough.
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#4. Aortic dissection – this is another life-threatening disorder, in which inner layers of the main artery that travels from the heart, separate, allowing blood to leak between the layers of the wall. As a result, aorta can burst, causing serious consequences.
#5. Pancreatitis - pancreas is a large organ, located in the upper part of your abdomen. If it becomes inflamed, you may suffer from pain and heaviness in the upper abdomen, chest and back. Acute pancreatitis may also come together with vomiting and high fever.
#6. Panic attack – each of us feels anxious from time to time. But those who have panic attacks, experience periods of fear, chest pain, lightheadedness and breathlessness, which go away after several minutes. Sometimes panic attacks may look similar to heart attack. So if you have these symptoms first time, it’s worth seeking for medical help.
#7. Pleurisy – your lungs are surrounded by protective membrane, called pleura. If inflammation develops in this tissue, sharp pain in the chest may appear and become worse when you breathe.
#8. Pericarditis – like pleura protects your lungs, pericardium defends your heart from damage. And it’s also completely possible that inflammatory process starts in this sac, causing dull or sharp pain in the chest, fever and difficulty breathing.
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#9. Costochondritis – your ribs are connected to the breastbone with cartilages. Sometimes they may become infected, injured or inflamed that causes stabbing pain, squeezing and discomfort in the chest.
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The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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