You’re experiencing chest pain and you’re, understandably, concerned given that it’s one of the primary signs of a problem with your heart. Unfortunately, this symptom can also be caused by a wide range of other medical issues, from indigestion to anxiety.
To help you better identify whether chest pain is cause for concern and needs medical attention, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team here at Upper East Cardiology have pulled together the following information.
The many causes of chest pain
Your chest is a large area that houses several different systems and organs, including your heart, lungs, and part of your digestive tract. As a result, pain that develops in your chest could stem from any one of these areas.
To give you an idea of the wide range of issues that can cause chest pain, we present a list that clearly illustrates the breadth and scope of the potential culprits:
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Aortic aneurysm
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Stomach ulcer
- Pulmonary embolism
- Broken ribs
- Panic attacks or stress
As you can see, chest pain is a common symptom, which makes identifying its origin important.
Symptoms of a heart attack
One of the most serious medical issues that’s tied to chest pain is a heart attack, and we want to make sure you’re familiar with the signs of this urgent medical condition.
The primary symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest discomfort — pain, squeezing, and pressure are words to describe this discomfort
- Pain in your neck, jaw, back, shoulders, arms, and/or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and/or vomiting
These symptoms tend to come on rapidly and may present themselves differently in women. Women may experience chest pain like men, but they’re more apt to develop other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to get medical attention immediately.
Other heart issues related to chest pain
Outside of heart attack, there are other heart-related issues that can lead to chest pain, such as:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart valve disease
- Inflamed heart muscles (myocarditis)
- Inflamed pericardium (pericarditis)
These issues are very serious, but the symptoms tend to come on gradually, unlike a heart attack.
When to seek help for chest pain
We prefer that you err on the side of caution and come see us if you’re experiencing ongoing problems with chest discomfort. If your discomfort is cardiovascular-related, we can take the steps necessary to remedy your discomfort and the underlying problem to prevent serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.
If we find that your heart is in great health, the good news is that we’ve eliminated one possible cause of your chest pain, which narrows your possibilities moving forward.
The bottom line is that you have very little to lose and much to gain by seeking medical attention for your chest pain. To get started, contact our Upper East Side office in New York City by clicking here.