Chest pain is a symptom which may occur in many medical conditions of both, the organs in the chest cavity and those located in the abdominal cavity. Once it occurs the person instantly thinks he/ she is having a heart attack. Luckily, not all the chest pain is connected with this medical condition. However, it is essential not to neglect the symptom since its presence definitely points there is something wrong in the body.
Chest pain is typically described as pressure and tightness in the chest area, discomfort or actually severe and excruciating pain which cannot be tolerated. It may be located onto the chest area or radiate towards nearby organs and body parts. And finally, it may be intermittent or permanent.
Common Causes of Chest Pain
Chest pain can be simply associated with cardiac or non-cardiac diseases. Cardiac chest pain usually requires prompt medical help while chest pain due to other illnesses basically does not have to represent an urgent state.
- Cardiovascular Diseases and Chest Pain
Hearts conditions which are typically accompanied by chest pain are heart attack and angina. In a heart attack the pain in the chest originates from blockage of the coronary artery and insufficient supply of the heart muscle with oxygen. In angina the pain is connected to transitory obstruction of flow through cardiac arteries and transitory lack of oxygen. Chest pain in both of these conditions is usually induced by extreme and strenuous physical activity or stress. Apart from the previously mentioned chest pain is also a characteristic for aortic dissection. In aortic dissection the inner layers of the aorta separate. This affects the blood flow and leads to internal bleeding. The pain in aortic dissection is sudden and sharp.
- Gastrointestinal Diseases and Chest Pain
In heartburn irritation of the esophagus by the stomach acid is commonly interpreted as chest pain. It is in a form of burning and painful sensation behind the sternum. Furthermore, esophageal spasm is one more cause of chest pain. There are many more gastrointestinal diseases which may induce chest pain and some of them are indigestion, gallbladder disease, gallstones, and stomach or duodenal ulcers.
- Respiratory Diseases and Chest Pain
Chest pain is a symptom of many respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, pneumotorax, hemothorax, pleuritis, asthma and it may also occur in advanced stage of lung cancer. Even prolonged cough may eventually lead to chest pain.
And finally, chest pain is also a characteristic of shingles (in case chest area is affected), panic attack and lead poisoning.