Causes of Chest Pain

If you get chest pain, never ignore it. Although chest pain has many different causes, it may be due to life threatening conditions such as heart attack, angina, aortic dissection, pericarditis etc. (hence, never ignore chest pain). If you get chest pain, seek immediate medical attention.

Various causes of chest pain may be grouped under various heading, such as heart related causes of chest pain, muscles and bone related causes of chest pain, digestive system related chest pain, lung related causes of chest pain and other causes of chest pain. Among these various causes of chest pain, heart related and lung related causes of chest pain are very serious and need immediate medical intervention.

Heart related causes of chest pain:

  • Heart attack: this is the most serious cause of chest pain. Unless promptly treated, it may lead to permanent damage to heart and even death.
  • Angina: a common cause of chest pain is angina. Chest pain due to angina is easy to diagnose, because there is chest pain on exertion or anxiety and relief from chest pain on rest and when anxiety is removed.
  • Pericarditis: this is due to inflammation of the sac that covers the heart. This type of chest pain aggravates when you breathe or lay down due to friction of the inflamed sac.
  • Aortic dissection: this is another serious cause of chest pain and occurs when the aorta ruptures. Need immediate surgical intervention to save the patient.

Muscles and bone related causes of chest pain:

  • Injury to ribs: fracture or any injury to rib(s) can cause chest pain.
  • Soreness in muscles: muscles of chest wall may become sore due to some reason.
  • Costochondritis: cartilage of ribcage, when inflamed cause chest pain.

Digestive system related chest pain:

  • Heart burn: a common cause of non-serious chest pain. There is burning sensation in adjoining areas of the stomach, including chest wall.
  • Problem in gall bladder or pancreas: gallstone, inflammation of gall bladder or pancreas may lead to chest pain.
  • Deglutition problems: when swallowing becomes difficult, it may manifest as discomfort in chest or as vague chest pain.

Lung related causes of chest pain:

  • Pulmonary embolism: when an artery is blocked by emboli, it may block blood flow in that region of lung and lead to chest pain.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: this is increase in blood pressure of pulmonary arteries and may manifest as chest pain.
  • Collapsed lung: this occurs when air is leaked into space between lungs and ribcage and may manifest as chest pain.
  • Pleurisy: this is inflammation of coverings of lungs and may manifest as chest pain. This type of chest pain worsens when you cough or breathe in.

Other causes of chest pain:

  • Shingles: this is reactivation of chickenpox virus in later years after initial chickenpox. Chest pain may occur is this involve chest wall or adjoining areas.
  • Panic: many people experience sharp pain in chest when there is panic or intense fear.

Be aware of the causes of chest pain, and its different types of symptoms. When you get chest pain, never delay in seeking medical attention, as it may be a medical/surgical emergency.

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