When your heart cries out, don't overlook the pain!

  • By Team TDO

Chest pain is the pain anywhere on the upper part of the body from the shoulders to the upper abdomen. The pain may be of various types-dull, piercing, squeezing, radiating or crushing. The causes for the pain may be many, some not so serious and some life-threatening.

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Chest Pain’ is a heart attack. This is the cause in many cases, but this is also not the only cause. Whatever be the cause, chest pain is your heart’s way of crying out for attention and is definitely not something that you should ignore!

Given below are some of the causes of chest pain:

  1. Angina: You may experience a squeezing sensation in the left side of the chest with the pain radiating to your left shoulder all the way down your left hand. This type of pain is called as an angina and it happens due to the constriction of an artery in the heart. Angina can be called a milder form of heart attack. It is brought on by sudden unexpected news, heavy weight lifting, exercising. The pain usually subsides after resting.
  2. Myocardial Infarction: Commonly known as heart attack, the pain is very severe. It is felt as a crushing pain that radiates to the left shoulder and left hand, at times even to the left jaw. Difficulty in breathing and fatigue are seen along with the pain. This pain is not relieved by rest. The damage caused to the heart muscle is severe and irreparable.
  3. Myocarditis: When the heart tissues get infected and inflamed, it is manifested outwardly as a crushing pain that is as severe in intensity as a heart attack. Myocarditis pain too is accompanied by fever, difficulty in breathing and fatigue.
  4. Pericarditis: This pain is a sharp shooting pain that is felt along the neck and shoulder muscle. It worsens when you breathe or lie down.
  5. Mitral Valve Prolapse: This condition is symptomless most of the time. In some cases it shows up with chest pain, palpitations and difficult breathing.

Chest pain can also arise from places other than the heart, the most common location being the lungs. Lung problems that cause chest pain include:

  1. Pleurisy: Inflammation of the pleura, the protective covering of the lung.
  2. Pneumonia: A common lung infection that causes the characteristic pain while breathing.
  3. Pulmonary Embolism: Presence of a clot in the lung.

Digestive system problems like stomach ulcers, reflux disorders, gall stones, oesophageal narrowing can lead to chest pain too.

Chest pain outwardly doesn’t reveal the cause. It may or may not arise from the heart. Nevertheless, it is not something that should be overlooked. A thorough investigation followed up by proper treatment must be ensured.

Cardiovascular diseases have now become the leading cause of disease worldwide. Acute chest pain is the first signal that the heart gives out. Do not ignore it!