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CHEST UNREST

Monday, March 20, 2017

It may seem like a heart issue is the only explanation for a pain in your chest, but you’ll be surprised to find that there are other alarming reasons that could be causing it too. Khevna Pandit finds more

The most alarming sign for a probable heart attack is a sharp, piercing chest pain. And, since that isn’t something we can ignore, we’re often left worrying about the reasons for its occurrence. If you experience unexplained and sharp shooting pain out of the blue (even after you’ve closely examined your routine) is this cause for worry? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even though chest pain is not always related to a heart attack or a heart issue, it may be linked to a few other diseases. Read on to see what we found.

The causes of chest pain

Heart problems

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD): A blockage in your arteries and the blood vessels of your heart can reduce blood flow to the muscle itself. This pain is also known as angina. While it doesn’t cause permanent heart damage, angina is still a crucial symptom of CAD. If ignored, it may lead to a heart attack in the future. Angina can be classified as a shooting pain in your arm, jaw, shoulder or back.
  • Myocarditis: This type of chest pain is caused by the swelling of the heart (myocarditis) or its outer covering (pericarditis). This inflammation is often observed after heart attack or heart surgery. It originates from the centre of your chest and gets worse when you perform daily functions such as breathing, lying down, coughing or swallowing. In some cases, sitting or leaning back can reduce the pain temporarily.

Lung problems

  • Pulmonary embolism: If you’re experiencing a funny, piercing pain while breathing, it could signal the onset of pulmonary embolism. This type of chest pain occurs when a blood clot travels through your blood stream and lodges itself in your lungs, causing acute discomfort, breathing trouble and a rapid heartbeat. Sometimes, the condition can also lead to fever and medical shock.
  • Asthma: While this may seem surprising, don’t rule it out! A condition that causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, asthma is a disorder of the airways. It is common to experience chest pain if you’re suffering from asthma, but make sure you visit a doctor who can check the symptoms — don’t attempt to diagnose it yourself.

Gastrointestinal problems

  • Gastroesophageal: reflux disease (GERD) This painful condition (also known as acid reflux) occurs when the contents of the stomach are brought back to the throat. This leaves a bitter taste in your throat and a burning sensation in your chest. Also known as heart burn, a few factors such as obesity, pregnancy or consuming spicy food may also be responsible for acid reflux.
  • Peptic ulcers: If you’re constantly subjected to uncomfortable, recurring pain, it could be caused by small sores in the lining of your stomach or intestines. These painful ulcers are caused due to alcohol consumption, the use of tobacco products or an increased pain-killer dose.

Alarming signs of chest pains
While some of these signs may subside almost immediately, make sure you visit your doctor to get an insight into the issue. However, here are a few alarming signs that you should immediately pay attention to:

  • A feeling of pressure, squeezing or tightness.
     
  • Low blood pressure along with your chest pain.
     
  • A sudden shortness of breath.
     
  • If chest pain is accompanied by nausea and dizziness.
     
  • If you feel as though your chest pain is spreading to the upper extremity of your left arm or jaw.
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