Aortic Dissection Or Rupture
Chest pain associated with aortic dissection or rupture: sudden sharp pain in chest and upper back
An aortic aneurysm can lead to an aortic dissection, which is a tear within the layers of the aortic wall that allows blood to leak out. An aortic aneurysm can also rupture, which means it bursts, causing blood to gush from the aorta.
Symptoms of a dissection or a rupture include:
- a sudden, sharp, and constant pain in your chest and upper back
- pain in your arms, neck, or jaw
- trouble breathing
These symptoms should be treated as an emergency, and you should seek immediate emergency medical care. An aortic dissection or rupture can be fatal if not treated promptly.
What To Do When You’re Uncertain
Any time you’re uncertain about the source of chest pain that is recurrent or lasts for several days, you should talk to your clinician. However, if you have chest pain that is building in intensity, has lasted for several minutes, and isn’t relieved by resting, you should get immediate medical attention.
Chest Pain It Might Be One Of These 7 Things
Chest pain isn’t necessarily from a heart attack, but it can still be serious
Doctors urge: If you’re having chest pain and don’t know why, get medical attention
All too often, the mention of chest pain conjures up images of a heart attack, but there are plenty of other diseases and conditions that can trigger this symptom.
Some of them like that chest muscle you pulled raking leaves last fall are more annoying than serious. But others can be far more serious.
Health.com spoke to three leading cardiologists across the country, and all of them reiterated one thing: If youre having chest pain, and youre not 100% sure whats causing it, either call your doctor or call 911.
I know of one person who died and the last thing in their search bar was heart attack symptoms, says Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Christine Jellis, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, seconds that. As a physician, I would much rather let someone know that its nothing to worry about than have someone too late and has permanent damage, Dr. Jellis says.
Here are seven conditions that can cause chest pain and what everyone should know about to treat them.
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Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease
Chest pain associated with COPD: tightness in the chest, often worse with exertion
COPD refers to a few different conditions in which your airways become inflamed, restricting the flow of air in and out of your lungs. The two main examples are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD include:
- chest tightness
Physical activity makes most COPD symptoms worse.
Seek immediate medical help if you have chest tightness and difficulty breathing.
Possible Causes Of Chest Pain
Your chest includes the area on the front of your body, from your stomach to your shoulders. It contains lots of bones and muscles, and the two main organs in your chest are your heart and lungs.
A few common vascular conditions that may cause chest pain include:
Different conditions cause different types of pain, but you shouldnt try to self-diagnose your condition.
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How Is Chest Pain Treated
Treatment for chest pain depends on the cause of the pain. If a heart attack is causing your chest pain, youll get emergency treatment as soon as you seek help. This can include medication and a procedure or surgery to restore blood flow to your heart.
If a noncardiac condition is causing your chest pain, your healthcare provider will talk to you about treatment options. Depending on your illness and how bad it is, they may recommend:
- Lifestyle changes.
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.
- Feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest.
- Cause discomfort in your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck and back.
- Feel similar to indigestion.
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Some Heart Attack Sufferers Don’t Experience Chest Pain At All
While chest pain is far and away the symptom most commonly associated with a heart attack, not everyone who has a heart attack feels that crushing chest pain. While some may double over due to a vice-like grip around their hearts, others may feel as though a bear is standing on their chest. Or, they may experience nothing at all.
- Women, for instance, tend to have different heart attack symptoms than men. “Often, women don’t have the classic symptoms, such as pressure-like chest pain,” says Schaer. “They more frequently experience dizziness, nausea or fatigue, and they may have chest pain that radiates to both arms instead of just the left arm, as is common in men.”
- Diabetics also may not experience crushing chest pain because they don’t have the same nerve responses as nondiabetics. When having a heart attack, a diabetic may instead feel weak or dizzy, be short of breath or just not feel well.
- Elderly patients, too, are likely to not experience chest pain.
- Individuals with a high pain tolerance, some researchers believe, may be less likely to recognize the signs of a heart attack.
“They may pass out, or feel weak or confused,” Schaer says. “If youre a diabetic or older adult or are a caregiver for a diabetic or older adult it’s important to know that these populations often experience out-of-the-ordinary heart attack symptoms so you don’t write them off.”
Seek Urgent Medical Help For Chest Pain
With chest pain, every minute counts. The faster you get to hospital for treatment, the better.
If any activity brings on chest pain, follow these steps:
1.Stop what you are doing and rest immediately.
2.Talk tell someone how you feel.
If you take angina medication:
- Wait 5 minutes. If you still have symptoms take another dose of your medicine.
- Wait 5 minutes. If your symptoms dont go away
3.Call 000 and chew on 300mg aspirin .
- Ask for an ambulance.
- Wait for the operators instructions.
Do not take aspirin if you have an allergy to aspirin, or your doctor has told you not to take it.
Remember, if you have any doubt about your pain, call an ambulance anyway.
Do not drive yourself to hospital. Wait for the ambulance. It has specialised staff and equipment that may save your life.
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How Is The Cause Diagnosed
Because there are many possible causes for chest and shoulder pain, diagnosis can be challenging.
Your doctor will take a full medical history to find out about any other health conditions you may have. Theyll also ask if your family members have heart disease or other types of conditions.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, when they started, how long they lasted, and if they changed.
Once your doctor knows more about your symptoms and any other health conditions, theyll do a physical exam and listen to your heart and lungs.
There are many diagnostic tests your doctor may use to determine whats causing your shoulder and chest pain. Common diagnostic tests include:
Heart Disease Not The Only Reason For That Feeling Of Angina
Although chest pain is oftenand rightfully associated with heart disease, other medical problems can be causes of chest pain. Anginafeelings of pressure, heaviness, tightness. or pain in the chestoccurs when plaque in the coronary arteries partially blocks blood flow and the heart muscle isn’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients. Yet the heart isn’t the only organ in the upper abdomen, and chest pain may be due to conditions affecting the esophagus, lungs, gall bladder, or stomach.
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Time = Heart Muscle So Don’t Wait To Get Help
If you think you’re having a heart attack, Time is of the essence: The longer a coronary artery is 100 percent blocked, the more heart damage will occur.
“Never drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital,” says Schaer. “The emergency medical technicians who respond to the 911 call are best equipped to care for heart attack patients, monitor them for any abnormal heart rhythms that can develop and rapidly transport them to the nearest hospital capable of opening the artery with angioplasty.”
If you’re concerned about chest pain, or if persistent chest pain is interfering with your quality of life, talk to your doctor. He or she can run tests to pinpoint the source of your pain, help you get relief and potentially prevent more serious health problems down the road.
Signs Of A Medical Emergency
A heart attack doesnt always include chest pain. You may be having a heart attack if you have sudden chest pain along with any of the following symptoms:
Angina is sometimes confused with a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, angina doesnt cause permanent damage to heart tissue.
There are two main types of angina: stable and unstable. Stable angina is predictable. It comes on when youre physically active and the heart is pumping harder than usual. It tends to disappear when you rest.
Unstable angina can appear at any time, even when youre sitting down and relaxed. Unstable angina is a more serious concern because it strongly indicates youre at a greater risk of a heart attack.
If you arent sure whether youre experiencing angina or a heart attack, err on the side of caution and call your local emergency services. If you experience either type of angina, you should make an appointment to see your doctor soon.
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Cardiovascular Or Heart Related Causes For Pain In Center Of Chest
Heart related conditions can be serious and need immediate medical care.
- Heart Attack / Angina A blood clot or blocked arteries can obstruct the blood flow to the heart. This can cause severe tightness and crushing pain in chest or center of chest area, which may radiate to arms, jaw, neck or back. This may be associated with sweating and breathlessness.
- Pericarditis The sac surrounding the heart may get inflamed causing chest pain in the center. The pain may be sharp and can worsen on breathing or lying down.
- Blood Vessel Disorder Conditions affecting the blood vessels of the heart, causing damage or rupture, e.g. aortic dissection, can cause severe chest pain.
Bone Muscle Or Nerve Problems
Sometimes chest pain may result from overuse or an injury to the chest area from a fall or accident. Viruses can also cause pain in the chest area. Other causes of chest pain include:
Rib problems. Pain from a broken rib may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. It is often confined to one area and may feel sore when you press on it. The area where the ribs join the breastbone may also become inflamed.
Muscle strain. Even really hard coughing can injure or inflame the muscles and tendons between the ribs and cause chest pain. The pain tends to persist and it worsens with activity.
Shingles. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, shingles may prompt a sharp, band-like pain before a telltale rash appears several days later.
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Pulmonary Or Lung Related Causes For Pain In Center Of Chest
Pain in the center of chest while breathing is usually linked to problems related to lungs as listed below:
- Pulmonary Disorders Lung disorders that involve inflammation of tissues or an infection can cause chest pain in varying degrees. For e.g. pleurisy , chronic obstructive lung disease , pneumonia etc. Most of these conditions have long lasting respiratory symptoms, cough and breathing difficulty or sometimes fever.
- Lung Collapse When air escapes into the space between the ribs and lung , the lung collapses and may have sharp chest pain.
- Pulmonary Embolism A blood clot may block the artery to the lungs and restricted blood flow can lead to chest pain.
- Pulmonary Hypertension Increased blood pressure in the lungs arteries can cause pain in chest.
How Do I Stop Esophageal Spasms
The best way to stop an esophageal spasm is to prevent it from starting. Identifying the foods and drinks that trigger muscle spasms in the esophagus and then avoiding them can be a good starting point.
Medication may help control the symptoms of esophageal spasms. The options include sublingual nitroglycerine, calcium channel blockers, and natural remedies, such as peppermint oil, which may help stop sudden throat spasms.
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When To See The Doctor
You should seek medical attention if you suspect a heart attack or any cardiac problems. Although heart attacks are rare, you should go the emergency room for assessment regardless, as this is a very serious condition.
If you dont think your pain is related to a heart attack, but you experience it for over 2 days, you should see your doctor. A consult with your doctor is also advised if your pain is accompanied by:
- Vomiting with blood
- Yellow eyes and skin
- Difficulty breathing
In addition, if you have risk factors like excess weight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and frequently experience middle chest pain, you should see your doctor for a follow-up.
Why Does It Hurt When I Breathe
Often, conditions affecting the area around the heart and lungs may cause pain when you breathe in, particularly if youre taking deep breaths. Some examples include:
What type of treatment youll receive for your chest and back pain will depend on whats causing the pain. Below, well explore some of the treatments that you may receive.
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Other Causes Of Chest Pain Between The Breasts In Women
When a woman experiences chest pain centered between the breasts, it is important to immediately go and consult a doctor. This will allow you to receive an accurate diagnosis serious conditions can be ruled in or out, and treatment provided where necessary.
One of the conditions a doctor must check for is coronary heart disease. For diagnosing coronary heart disease the doctors use a stress test. If the main cause of the chest pain between the breasts is coronary heart disease, the test proves positive.
Another cause of such chest pain pain is a condition called microvascular dysfunction. This disorder is marked by abnormal constriction of the blood vessels or with the small blood vessels that do not widen as they should to provide the normal blood flow.
Furthermore, plaque accumulation may also occur in the arteries, which makes the blood flow difficult, thus causing chest pain.
Endothelial dysfunction is also responsible for the occurring of the uncomfortable pain in the chest. This condition is characterized by the improper function of the cells that line the inner surface of the blood vessels.
Chest pain between the breasts can also, however, be caused by something less threatening, such as acid reflux. Never ignore worrying symptoms, and always seek out proper diagnosis, but also remember that panic is not helpful
When To Worry When To Relax
Cardiologists are generally most worried when someone complains of chest pain during exertion, as well as feeling lightheaded. Assuming that someone is not profoundly anemic, there could be concern that a significant portion of the heart was not getting enough blood flow. Another thing that would be worrying is if the chest pain is coming on with less and less activity, or at rest which could signal a coronary artery blockage that’s progressing.
As for when you might not need to be concerned, chest pain can be caused by a muscle strain, costochondritis , esophageal spasms, acid reflux, or bronchitis. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried about your chest pain, see a healthcare provider or call 9-1-1.
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What Is Central Chest Pain
Pain in the middle of the chest is usually a cause for concern as it is often thought to be cardiac chest pain which may have serious implications. However, there are a number of causes of central chest pain that are unrelated to the heart or great blood vessels, but may be equally as serious or even benign in nature.
As a general rule of thumb, chest pain associated with difficulty breathing, dizziness and fainting should be treated as a medical emergency and immediate medical attention is needed. Other symptoms like pain radiating down the arm, especially the left arm and excessive sweating for no known cause should also warrant a medical assessment.
Should I Go To The Er For Right
If you are at risk for a heart attack , you should go to the ER. You should also go to the ER if you have additional symptoms along with your chest pain, like pain radiating down your arm, nausea, and sweating.
Other cases of chest pain may not need an ER visit. When in doubt, its always best to seek medical attention.
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Pain In Center Of Chest Caused Due To Digestive System Disorder
Gastrointestinal disorders are usually the most common cause of chest pain, especially in the center, under the breast bone. These are mostly related to intake of particular food, appetite changes and other gastric symptoms. Pain in center of chest after eating is commonly caused due to digestive system disorders listed below:
- Indigestion/Bloated Abdomen Abdominal bloating or gas can cause severe pain under the center of the chest, with excessive burping or flatulence.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease /Heartburn Regurgitation of stomach contents and acid into the esophagus can cause irritation and burning pain in middle of the chest.
- Gastritis/Gastric/Peptic Ulcers An inflammation or ulceration in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, can cause burning sensation and chest pain in the center or middle of the chest pain.
- Esophageal Disorders Disorders that cause difficulty and pain during swallowing, e.g. esophageal varices, hiatus hernia, etc. can cause middle chest pain.
- Gallbladder/Liver Disorders Inflammation of liver, pancreas or gallbladder and gallstones can cause abdominal pain extending to the chest at times.