If you ever experience chest pain your mind will likely race through all of the worst possibilities given how serious the consequences can be. At least 20 to 40 percent of people will experience it at some point in their lives and it is heartening to know that not all symptoms are serious.
For this reason, it would be good for all of us to know beforehand what symptoms we can just keep an eye on and which should result in us taking decisive action.
We will now consider five real-life reasons for chest pains that are worth keeping in mind.
1. Muscle Strain
One reason you may experience chest pain could be down to a muscle strain.
Muscle pain can manifest itself as a sharp or dull pain but one defining factor is experiencing trouble when you move. Other symptoms could include bruising and swelling among other things.
The cause is generally down to overuse, either from vigorous exercise, the lifting of a heavy object, or repetitive movements when putting the arms over the head.
Treatment would include primarily rest, but could also include the application of ice, compression, and keeping your chest elevated when sleeping.
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the most common cause of non-cardiac chest pain.
This happens when the acid in the stomach leaks up into the esophagus leading to uncomfortable symptoms, including chest pain. One of the primary symptoms is heartburn however not everyone with GERD gets heartburn.
One of the ways to discount a more serious reason for chest pains would be to see if you notice any improvement when you move. Often patients notice pain to be worse when either bending over or lying down, therefore it is advised to sit straight or stand to elevate discomfort.
3. Pulmonary Embolism
Moving into the more serious causes for chest pain, a pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the pulmonary arteries in your veins. Often this is connected to deep vein thrombosis as blood clots can travel from these deep veins in different parts of the body and find their way to the lungs.
Symptoms can include shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing deeply, dizziness, fever, and blood coming out when one coughs.
A pulmonary embolism is a serious condition and immediate action should be taken if you experience any of these symptoms.
Angina is when blood flow is reduced to the heart. Suffers often cite the experience as feeling as if they have a heavyweight on their chest or the sensation of a vice-like grip in their chest.
If the sensation spreads across the jaw, neck back, and shoulders this is another sign that is a more serious condition such as angina.
One interesting thing to note is that symptoms can vary from men to women. Women often do not feel pressure in chest but note stabbing pains instead.
5. Heart Attack
The most serious cause of chest pain is a heart attack when blood flow to the heart is blocked.
Symptoms vary but can include pressure, squeezing, and tightness in the chest area that can spread across the upper body. Dizziness, shortness of breath, and cold sweats are also common.
Recovery from a heart attack can vary greatly from anything from two weeks to several months.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing a heart attack, do not hesitate to contact emergency services.
Healthy Living and Chest Pains
Prevention is always better than cure and there are some lifestyle choices that can greatly reduce your likelihood of suffering chest pains. These include quitting smoking, having a regular exercise schedule, paying attention to your diet, and reducing alcohol intake.
It is important to always stay up to date with the latest in healthcare and lifestyle information. Be sure to do that here by checking out the other great advice and info found on our blog!