Chest pain is normally thought of as a problem associated with heart disease or congestive heart failure. Since it can be caused by a heart attack, anyone who experiences chest pain should always get medical care immediately. Only a trained medical practitioner can tell if the chest pain is due to a heart attack or another medical condition.
What is Chest Pain?
Individuals who experience chest pain may experience a dull ache or stabbing pain right under the rib cage. Although chest pain is normally linked to the heart, it can be due to problems with a different organ. The lungs, nerves, muscles and esophagus are all located beneath the rib cage. Any of these organs could be causing the pain or it could be from another source. In some instances, chest pain can be a sign of a serious and life threatening condition. Some of the common causes of chest pain include angina, chronic heart failure, pulmonary embolisms or a peptic ulcer. All of the different possibilities have to be ruled out before a patient can be treated.
What Are The Causes Of Chest Pain?
When chest pain is caused by a heart problem, the condition may be a heart attack or angina. A heart attack causes sweating and nausea in addition to pain. With angina, the blood flow is blocked and the pain may spread to the arm. The heart may have suffered from inflammation. Known as myocarditis or pericarditis, this inflammation can cause a fever, drowsiness or problems breathing. Heart failure occurs once the muscle becomes stiffened and thick. Since it is more difficult for the heart to pump blood, the individual may feel short of breath or dizzy. In rare cases, chest pain can be due to a mitral valve prolapse or coronary artery dissection.
The lungs can be a source of chest pain in some individuals. Pleuritis is a common long condition that causes the lining of the lungs to become inflamed. This inflammation may make it difficult to breath or cough. Pleuritis can be caused by cancer, arthritis or an infection. Some chest pain cases may be caused by the development of pneumonia or a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot becomes stuck within the lungs. This can make it difficult to breath and can cause a fever. The lungs can also be the source of chest pain if they have developed pneumothorax, asthma or pulmonary hypertension.
Chest pain can also be due to gastrointestinal problems like gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). With GERD, some of the contents of the stomach move back up from the stomach and into the throat. This can cause a burning feeling in the chest and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. If the esophagus ruptures, it can cause severe chest pain and vomiting. Another gastrointestinal problem is esophageal hypersensitivity. In patients with this condition, the esophagus is extremely sensitive to any pressure and the individual feels a great deal of pain in the affected area.
Other common causes of chest pain include a hiatal hernia, peptic ulcers or pancreatitis. It can be due to shingles, gallbladder problems and rib fractures. Panic attacks and muscle strain can also lead to symptoms of chest pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chest Pain?
Individuals who experience chest pain may feel a dull or aching pain in the chest. Some people describe the pain as stabbing, burning or sharp. In some cases, the pain can feel like something is overly tight or the chest is being squeezed. Chest pain can occur in many parts of the chest. Typically, it happens in any location from the top of the abdomen to the neck. Depending on the medical condition, other symptoms may occur at the same time. These symptoms would indicate which medical condition is causing the chest pain.
How Is Chest Pain Linked To Water Retention Problems?
When chest pain is due to a heart problem, a concurrent symptom could be water retention. If the body cannot transport blood, toxins and fluid cannot be taken away from the body’s tissue. This allows the fluid to build up. Patients may experience water retention in their feet, legs or lungs. On occasion, it may also occur in other parts of the body.
How Can Chest Pain Be Prevented?
Individuals can prevent a variety of medical conditions by eating a healthy diet. They should make sure to exercise and drink plenty of water. Harmful habits like drinking or smoking should be eliminated.
What Are The Treatment Options For Chest Pain?
The treatment really depends on what the cause of chest pain is. A doctor may recommend a change in lifestyle habits or provide a prescription. They may also perform surgery if the condition is serious.
Since chest pain can be caused by multiple conditions, individuals should consult with their doctor if they have any issues. Only a trained medical doctor can figure out which medical condition is causing the pain.