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How To Help With Chest Pain

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What Is Chest Tightness

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Chest tightness, also called chest pressure or chest pain, can be defined as any discomfort between your lower neck and upper abdomen.

How chest tightness feels and how often you feel it can vary. You might feel it all through your chest, in one spot, or in several spots around the chest.

Some people describe it as a feeling of fullness or like there’s weight on their chest. Some may experience it only once while people with certain conditions, like asthma, may have it often.

Muscle And Bone Causes

Some types of chest pain are associated with injuries and other problems affecting the structures that make up the chest wall, including:

  • Costochondritis. In this condition, the cartilage of the rib cage, particularly the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone, becomes inflamed and painful.
  • Sore muscles. Chronic pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, can cause persistent muscle-related chest pain.
  • Injured ribs. A bruised or broken rib can cause chest pain.

Natural Treatments And Prevention

1. Quit smoking, especially when your chest pains are related to heart disease or lung disease. Smoking is the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks. But, when you quit smoking, within 24 hours your risk for a cardiac event starts to decline. And, it just takes nine months for your lungs to heal significantly.

The healing continues and at five years smoke-free, your arteries and blood vessels start to widen again, lowering your risk for clots and a stroke. After 10 years of being smoke-free, your chance of lung cancer is half. And finally, 20 years after your last cigarette, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker.

2. Eat for your health. When your chest pains are caused by heart conditions, it is vital that you start following a diet that focuses on heart-healthy foods that help to reduce cholesterol levels and lower your blood pressure. Following a high-blood pressure diet may help to relieve your symptoms and start the healing process.

Central to your diet should be lean proteins like wild-caught salmon and free-range poultry and plenty of fiber-rich foods like oats, leafy green vegetables like kale, sprouted whole grains, artichokes, raspberries, split peas and apples and pears with their skins.

3. Exercise daily: With your physicians approval, exercise daily to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and to lose excess weight.

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Common Causes Of Chest Pain

Most chest pain is not heart-related and isn’t a sign of a life-threatening problem. Some common causes of chest pain are outlined below.

This information should give you an idea of whether these conditions may be causing your chest pain. However, see your GP for a proper diagnosis and for advice about how to relieve the pain and tackle any underlying cause.

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Many things can cause chest pain or discomfort. Some arenât life-threatening, including:

But chest pain can also be a sign of a heart attack or another heart problem. Angina is chest pain, usually short-lived and often relieved by rest, that happens because the heart isnât getting enough oxygen. The pain is usually in the chest and may also be felt in the shoulder, arm, or jaw.

The treatment for angina depends on the severity of the symptoms and the results of tests that are done to find the cause. If your doctor has diagnosed you with angina, follow their recommendations. This may mean rest and medication. It may include a visit to the hospital emergency room.

If youâre unsure of the cause of the chest pain or if you have any other symptoms of a heart attack, donât wait! Immediate help is your best chance for survival if you are having a heart attack or other serious problem.

  • Chest pain from an unknown cause. It might feel like tightness, pressure, fullness, or squeezing. It may last more than a few minutes, or go away and come back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upper back pressure
  • Extreme tiredness that may last for days. Simple tasks, like making the bed or walking to the bathroom, might wear you out.
  • Fast or irregular heart beats
  • A feeling of fullness, indigestion, or choking that feels like heartburn

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When Should Someone See A Doctor For Chest Pain

See a doctor anytime you are worried by your chest pain. We are very aware of the “Hollywood heart attack” where patients have light or heavy chest pain located in the center of their chest and can go down their left arm, signifying a heart attack. But patients can present with a number of symptoms that they may not normally associate with heart disease such as:

  • Shortness of breath

Chest pain can be due to a number of causes, but if a patient has developed chest pain, especially while exercising, they should definitely see a doctor.In general, all chest pains should be evaluated by a physician unless there was a clear and reversible cause for it . It should be noted that early stages of a heart attack are often misinterpreted as gas, indigestion or heartburn and pulmonary embolism are often misinterpreted as a variety of lung conditions such as asthma, pneumonia, pleurisy or emphysema.Chest pain that is persistent or worsening, increasing in intensity or frequency or associated with any of the above symptoms should be urgently evaluated. Chest pain that is unremitting should prompt a call to 9-1-1.

What Are The Most Common Asthma Symptoms

The most common symptoms of asthma are:

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms could mean you have asthma. Its more likely to be asthma if your symptoms keep coming back, are worse at night, or happen when you react to a trigger such as exercise, weather or an allergy.

Could it be asthma?

If youre experiencing symptoms of asthma, book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Theyll be able to work out whether its asthma or something else, such as a chest infection, gastric reflux, or a bad cold.

If you think your child might have asthma, we have more information on spotting the symptoms in children.

Coughing

A cough that keeps coming back is a symptom of asthma. Its more likely to be asthma if your cough is accompanied by other asthma symptoms, like wheezing, breathlessness or chest tightness.

Not everyone with asthma coughs. If you do cough its usually dry, or someone with uncontrolled asthma might have thick clear mucus when they cough. The right treatment can mean youre cough-free most of the time.

Wheezing

Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling noise coming from your airways, mostly when you breathe out.

Some people feel their asthma isnt taken seriously because they dont wheeze. You may still have asthma even if you havenât noticed a whistling sound â so dont put off seeing your GP.

Breathlessness

Chest tightness

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What Technologies Are Available To Patients At Uchicago Medicine

UChicago Medicine specialists offer some of the broadest array of advanced cardiovascular diagnostic tests and treatments available anywhere in the region, ranging from simple medical therapies to the most advanced multi-disciplinary treatments delivered by groups of cardiovascular specialists and surgeons who work using an integrated heart team approach.We are fully equipped to handle even the most complex cases. This includes opening completely obstructed blood vessels , using tools to remove calcium and plaque from severely diseased vessels , and advanced intracoronary imaging techniques to achieve optimal results for stenting procedures. Our program also uses robotic-assisted surgery to help treat patients in a minimally invasive way.

It Might Be Angina Not A Heart Attack

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Your doctor may use the word “angina” or “angina pectoris,” when discussing your chest pain. Actually, angina is the medical term for chest pain, pressure or tightness but it’s not the same as a heart attack.

  • A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is suddenly and completely cut off, usually by a blood clot.
  • Angina occurs when the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscle can’t meet the heart’s demand for blood.

Blood supply to the heart muscle is typically reduced by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries that supply the heart. When the heart’s demand for blood flow increases in someone with restricted blood supply to the heart, that person may experience angina symptoms, including squeezing, burning, tightness or a sensation of pressure in the chest.

Health experts classify angina in two categories: stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina occurs during activity or emotional stress, whereas unstable angina typically happens while at rest.

If you have angina, it means you have underlying coronary artery disease, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having or are at increased risk of having a heart attack.

So how can you tell whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack? Here are some important differences:

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Does Changing Positions Help

Does the pain go away or lessen when you change positions? For example, do you feel better if you bend over or sit up in bed? If so, your chest pain likely comes from a lung problem such as pneumonia or asthma.

If you are having a heart attack, you will not be able to find a position that makes the pain go away, says Dr. Laffin. Heart attack victims describe the discomfort as relentless.

How Is Asthmatic Bronchitis Treated

Treatment for asthmatic bronchitis begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. The goal of treatment for asthmatic bronchitis is to reduce asthma-related bronchospasm and reduce congestion caused by the acute bronchitis. Asthma medications include long-term asthma control medications to prevent asthma attacks, which is especially important in the case of acute bronchitis. Short-term asthma medications are given in the event of an asthma attack. Acute bronchitis is not normally treated with antibiotics, since the most common cause is a viral infection. Expectorants can help thin mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up mucus.

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What Causes Chest Pain

Chest pain differs from person to person and varies in its intensity, location, and duration.And though it is one of the major symptoms of a heart condition, it could also occur due to less serious issues. Let us look at the causes of chest pain.

Heart-related Causes

  • Angina due to blocked blood vessels of your heart
  • Pericarditis, which is caused by inflammation of a sac around your heart
  • Myocarditis, which is caused by inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle
  • Aortic dissection, which is caused by a tear in the aorta

Lung-related Causes

After An Asthma Attack

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You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.

About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so itâs important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.

Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.

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What Are Other Causes Of Chest Pain And What Can Relieve Them

Lets start with what chest pain thats not related to the heart usually looks like. Jean said its typically described as a sharp pain that is worse with deep breathing or coughing, pain localized with one finger, pain worse with movement or palpation, and fleeting pains lasting a few seconds or less.

Many things can cause chest pain, but here are some of the common ones experts see:

Acid reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease , or acid reflux, is when stomach acid comes back up your esophagus. You may notice heartburn after eating, difficulty swallowing and coughing. Jean suggested treating GERD with antacids, such as Tums or Rolaids.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition where your airways narrow and produce extra mucus. Signs include wheezing while exhaling, shortness of breath and coughing. If you have asthma, talk to your doctor about getting an inhaler if you dont already have one .

Anxiety

Like many mental illnesses, anxiety can cause physical issues, such as chest pain. Besides worrying, people with generalized anxiety disorder may also overthink, struggle with uncertainty and be unable to relax or concentrate. Both psychotherapy and anti-anxiety medication can help, Jean said.

Strategies to reduce stress can include meditation, yoga, sleeping at least 7 to 8 hours at night, eating a heart-healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise, she added. Heart-healthy foods that cardiologists eat include fruit, vegetables, lean meat and whole grains.

Muscle strain

Ginger For Gastric Pain

If youre experiencing chest pain from gastrointestinal issues, ginger may help thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger is frequently used as a home remedy for gastric issues such as gas, bloating, gastritis, ulcers, and indigestion.

Ginger contains compounds that are said to relieve irritation in the gastrointestinal tract and reduce gastric contractions. Research suggests the antioxidant properties in ginger may contribute to the gastroprotective effects of ginger. Ginger is also known to soothe an upset stomach and prevent nausea and vomiting.

Again, if your symptoms of stomach pain have lasted more than two weeks, you should see your healthcare provider to be evaluated for an ulcer or other concerning secondary causes for the symptom.

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Are Chest Pains Normal

If you experience chest pain, you should immediately call 911 and get a medical evaluation. If the pain is sudden and isnt associated with any other symptoms, it may be a muscle strain or a heart attack. If it is prolonged, you should also go to a hospital. The sooner you get to the hospital, the faster you can receive treatment.

Chest pains are common and should be treated by a physician if the symptoms last more than a few minutes. Some self-care measures that you can take include applying an ice pack or ice wrapped in a wet cloth to the painful area. Another good method is applying heat to the affected area for ten minutes. This will help to increase blood flow and speed up healing. In addition, gentle stretching can help reduce chest pain. Ideally, you should stretch your muscles at least twice a day. Be careful not to overstretch them this can make the pain worse.

Chest pains can also be symptoms of heart muscle or valve problems. Some conditions can cause chest pains, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, and aortic stenosis. These symptoms are typically accompanied by other symptoms, including shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

How Long Can Chest Pain Last

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Chest pain is a common symptom that can last for hours or days. It can be sharp or dull and can radiate to the shoulder, arm, or neck. It may worsen with movement and may be relieved by rest or nitroglycerin medicine. It is important to consult with a doctor if chest pain is affecting your daily life.

If chest pain persists, you should visit the emergency room. It may be an indication of a heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction. While it can be dangerous, chest pain doesnt always indicate a heart attack. In fact, fewer than 6% of people who experienced chest pain were actually suffering from a life-threatening heart problem.

Usually, chest pain in women is accompanied by shortness of breath and discomfort in the center of the chest. Some women also experience jaw pain, lightheadedness, and nausea. Chest discomfort may also radiate to the jaw, neck, and back. If left untreated, a heart attack can progress to a more serious condition.

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What Is Chest Pain

Chest pain is a pain in any area of your chest. It may spread to other areas, including down your arms, into your neck or jaw. Chest pain can be sharp or dull. You may feel tightness, achiness, or you may feel like your chest is being crushed or squeezed. Chest pain can last for a few minutes or hours. In some cases, it can last six months or longer.

What does chest pain feel like?

Angina, one type of chest pain, happens when your heart isnt getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina is a symptom of a heart issue. It often worsens during exertion and improves when youre at rest.

Angina can:

  • Feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest.
  • Cause discomfort in your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck and back.
  • Feel similar to indigestion.

Where Is Heart Pain Located

Heart pain is usually felt in the chest. This pain is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, difficulty breathing, or cold sweat. You should see a doctor right away if you have these symptoms. To get medical help, dial 911 or your local emergency number. Once youre there, your doctor will evaluate you and look for the cause of your heart problem.

Chest pain can be caused by physical exertion, excitement, or emotional stress. It may last for several days, weeks, or even months. Often, it can be relieved with rest, but its vital to seek medical attention right away. It usually comes on suddenly and is often accompanied by other symptoms. Chest pain can be an indicator of an underlying heart problem, such as a coronary artery spasm or heart failure.

Chest pain is typically associated with coronary artery disease, but the pain may occur without blocked arteries. Other causes of chest pain may include inflammation of the heart muscles, which is referred to as pericarditis. This inflammation can cause chest pain similar to angina. It may also radiate down an arm or shoulder. It can also be accompanied by a fatigued feeling and difficulty breathing.

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