Chest pain can be one of the more worrying pains to experience. It’s always good to be aware of the potential worst-case scenario – a heart attack – but it’s better for you to know the ins and outs of various kinds of chest pain, so you know how to treat your pain and when is best to get to a doctor. Here are five facts about chest pain.
Not All Chest Pains Mean a Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when your heard is deprived of blood suddenly, which is usually caused by a blood clot. Severe chest pain can be related, and seem like a heart attack, but in some cases that chest pain may be angina, which happens when the amount of blood that is flowing to the heart isn’t enough. This can happen as plaque builds up in arteries.
There are Several Other Common Causes of Chest Pain
One of the leading causes of chest pain is coronary artery disease, but chest pain can occur from a variety of other conditions, including:
- Pericarditis: Infection or inflammation of the sac around the heart
- Mitral valve prolapse: The heart’s mitral valve doesn’t properly close
- Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscle, often accompanied by fatigue, fever, and difficulty breathing
- Aortic Dissection: When the aorta tears (a life-threatening condition)
- Coronary microvascular disease, or MVD: A disease which affect the walls of the smallest arties of the heart
Not All Heart Attacks are Accompanied by Chest Pain
Since women tend to experience different heart attack symptoms than men do, it is important to understand that this can also extend to chest pain. Women do often not feel the pressure-like chest pain that men do, and are more likely to experience fatigue, dizziness or nausea.
Diabetes may also make it harder to notice or feel chest pain, and those who are elderly or with a high pain tolerance may also not experience it.
Chest Pain Might Not Even Be In Your Chest
There are types of pain that radiate from other areas of the body which may feel like the pain is coming from your heart. Some cause of such types of pain include gastrointestinal diseases, panic attacks, lung conditions, and tendon or muscle strains in the chest area.
If it Could Be An Emergency, Treat it Like One
You should call 911 immediately if you believe you’re having a heart attack. The quicker the medical response, the less risk of damage to your heart. It is best to have emergency services come to you, as time in traffic, etc, could reduce treatment time. You should not drive yourself, either, as that can only exacerbate the problem.
If you’re experiencing chest pain regularly, it is in your best interest to consult a doctor. They can run all of the necessary tests to let you know what the possible causes for your chest pain might be and give you the best options for treating your chest pain, which, depending on the cause, can be anything from rest, to medication, or even surgery.