It is very important to determine the cause of any chest pain. During a heart attack, men and women can show very different symptoms. Sometimes, pain is directly in the chest like a crushing feeling. Other times, it can radiate up the neck and into the jaw, or down an arm. It can feel fleeting and can cause numbness, confusion, and profuse sweating causing weakness. Sometimes the pain is more in the back than the front; sometimes there is a shortness of breath and weakness; there can be a sudden loss of consciousness, elevated heart rate, or a very slow heart rate.
Chest pain, also referred to as angina, appears in many forms, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. Many different problems can cause chest pain, the most life-threatening causes involve the heart or lungs. Furthermore, chest pain can cause many different sensations, depending on what’s triggering the symptom. There truly is no easy way to tell without a doctor, which is why it is imperative to seek medical help if you are experiencing chest pain.
Heart-Related Chest Pain
Chest pain is often associated with heart disease, but many people with heart disease say they experience a vague discomfort that isn’t necessarily identified as pain. Chest discomfort related to a heart attack or another heart problem may be described by or associated with one or more of the following:
- Pressure, fullness, burning, or tightness in the chest
- Crushing or searing pain that radiates to your back, neck, jaw, shoulders, and one or both arms
- Pain that lasts more than a few minutes, gets worse with activity, goes away and comes back, or varies in intensity
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Dizziness of weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
Other Types of Chest Pain
It can be difficult to distinguish heart-related chest pain from other types of chest pain. Chest pain that is less likely due to a heart problem, however, is often more associated with:
Sour taste or a sensation of food re-entering your mouth
Pain that gets better or worse when you change your body position
Pain that intensifies when you breathe deeply or cough
Tenderness when you push on your chest
Pain that is persistently present for many hours
Symptoms That Suggest There is Another Problem
When paired with your chest pain, select symptoms could signal a heart attack. If you experience momentary chest discomfort, often characterized as a lightning bolt or electrical shock, it may result from musculoskeletal injury, inflammation, or nerve pain. If you experience pinpoint chest discomfort that worsens with positional changes in breathing, it is more likely to involve the lungs. Lastly, if you experience chest discomfort that gets better with exercise, then sharp chest pain may have other causes, as heart-related pain usually worsens with exercise.
If you do think you are experiencing angina, or about to experience a heart attack, it is important to note that these symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and some people experience no symptoms at all! This is why it is imperative that you get a chest pain evaluation done by the cardiologists at Stockton Cardiology.
Treatment of Angina
All chest pain should be checked by a doctor. If your doctor thinks that you have unstable angina or that your angina is related to a serious heart condition, they may recommend the following tests and procedures:
- Stress Testing
- Blood Tests
- Chest X-Rays
- Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization
- Computed Tomography Angiography
- Lifestyle changes
- Cardiac procedures
- Cardiac rehabilitation
Only a medical professional can properly determine and treat the cause of your chest pain. Again, if you are suffering from chest pain, act immediately by calling 911or visiting the emergency room. Here at Stockton Cardiology, we may be able to provide further insight to the source of your chest pain, and we may be able to provide treatment options. Get in touch with our cardiologist team today to learn about your options. You can also view all of our cardiology services and our service locations.