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Chest Pain: When To Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Some causes of chest pain are certainly more serious than others. However, if you suddenly experience discomfort in your chest, then it would be understandable for you to become extremely concerned that you are having a heart attack.

Time is certainly critical if this is actually the cause of pain in your chest, and it is important to take the symptoms of discomfort very seriously if you or those around you believe that a heart attack is occurring.

It is equally important to remember that there are a number of issues that can create chest pain, and some of the conditions are more serious than others on this list. But even though many people develop chest pain for reasons other than heart attack, this does not diminish the fact that they can all cause discomfort, and each item presents an indication of problems that should be addressed.

For this reason, a basic understanding of the various causes of chest pain can help you make effective decisions if an issue of discomfort suddenly develops. It is also beneficial to understand that the symptoms can vary, as some conditions can create pain that can be characterized as sharp, or even crushing, while others leave you with aches, squeezing, tightness or stabbing sensations.

Causes And Symptoms Of Chest Pain

Heart Attack – it is logical to begin with the most significant cause of chest pain, which also presents the most concerning type of symptoms in the form of the severe, crushing, feeling that can occur at the center or left side of your chest. Shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and extreme weakness may also occur if this is the source of your pain.

If blockage prohibits one or more of your arteries from delivering the oxygen and blood that is crucial for your heart muscle or function, then that scenario can cause a heart attack. If the heart muscle goes without oxygen for a short period of time, then permanent damage can ensue. This is why immediate medical attention is essential if you or someone that you know is experiencing these symptoms.

Angina – your pain could be the result of other heart problems such as angina, which is a blockage in the blood vessels that will create an obstacle for your heart to receive oxygen and blood flow that it needs. In addition to chest pain, the symptoms angina include pain in your arms neck jaw or shoulder, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

Myocarditis – this inflammation of the heart muscle is can make it difficult to breathe in addition to causing fatigue fever and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Asthma – in addition to chest pain, the symptoms of this chronic lung condition can also include coughing and shortness of breath.

Pneumonia – if an infection causes an inflammation of your lungs, the pain from pneumonia can be accompanied by cough, fever, nausea, and shortness of breath. While the symptoms can be mild, the complications from pneumonia can also be life-threatening.    

Pulmonary embolism – when a blood clot that has traveled to your lungs and remains embedded, then the pain will be felt as the blood flow to your lung is obstructed.   

Pleuritic chest pain – this intense, burning pain occurs when you attempt to breathe, as the result of inflammation that is often caused by pneumonia. Coughing and fever can also occur with this condition.

Pulmonary Hypertension – this is a form of high blood pressure in which it becomes more difficult for blood to progress through your lungs and the chest pain that results can be accompanied by dizziness, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Acid Reflux – acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when contents move from your stomach into your throat. Sometimes, acid from a hiatal hernia, can travel into the esophagus and create the symptoms of acid reflux.

Peptic ulcers – this can also create stomach pain while forcing you to experience burning pain, heartburn, and nausea.

Hiatal Hernia – when a portion of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, then pain in the chest and abdomen can be compounded by having difficulty with your breathing. You might experience heartburn and shortness of breath in addition to the pain.

Pancreatitis – this occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, and digestive enzymes are released into the small intestine. The symptoms for this condition can also include nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Shingles – this inflammation results from the same virus as the chickenpox, and can leave your feeling discomfort in your chest. You might also encounter fever and a headache with this viral infection.

Muscle Strain – Muscle strain can also create tightness and pain in your chest, as the result of activity, you may have been involved with while using the muscles of that area.

Anxiety – this is one of the more common causes of chest pain, and the symptoms surrounding it are extremely similar to what exists at the onset of a heart attack. Anxiety can make it difficult to breathe, or create rapid breathing, and can also result in extreme nervousness, dizziness, muscle pain, of the muscles. Your heart may also begin to pound, and if your symptoms create worry that you are experiencing a heart attack, then the anxiety can escalate into a full-fledged panic attack.

When To Call 911

This is a highly critical subject, but the instructions are simple. If you are experiencing the crushing, squeezing sensations that were described earlier, you should call 911 immediately. This is also true for shortness of breath, sweating, pain that progresses to your shoulders, arms, neck or jaw, or the feeling that something is begin tightened around your chest.

If you are hesitant about the possibility that your time and expense for receiving a diagnosis of your pain will result in an issue that is actually minor, then it is critical to remember that the risk of failing to take the symptoms of a problem seriously are far greater.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help 

Chest pain can clearly be an extremely critical issue, and if your symptoms are life-threatening, then you should seek immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing chest pain, or have pain or questions of any kind, do not hesitate to contact us at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. At Rapid Med, we offer immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening and can provide you with advice on what you should do if you are encountering pain in your chest.

In addition to visiting our offices at either location, you can receive the same great care and consideration by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems:

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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