Understanding the Possible Causes for Your Chest Pain

Chest pain

Chest pain is characterized by pain, discomfort, or pressure that can occur in the area between the neck and upper abdomen. Chest pain is a common medical concern with a wide range of possible causes. Although some of the causes of chest pain are not medical emergencies, it is critical to seek emergency care at your local hospital if you do experience chest pain. This is because it’s difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to discern the difference between chest pain caused by an anxiety attack, for instance, and a heart attack.

Digestive Issues

Chest pain is often caused by digestive health issues, such as stomach ulcers or gastritis. In this situation, the pain is typically relieved after eating. Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and spasms of the esophagus are other possible causes. When chest pain is caused by gallstones, the pain typically worsens after eating.

Heart Problems

When chest pain is caused by heart or blood vessel problems, emergency care is required. Some of the possible cardiac causes of chest pain include heart attacks, swelling of the sac around the heart, and aortic dissection, or a tear in the aorta.

Lung Conditions

Some of the medical conditions that affect the lungs and cause chest pain also require emergency care. For example, pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition that requires prompt medical attention. It occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs and blocks a blood vessel there. Other lung-related causes of chest pain may include a collapsed lung or pleurisy, which refers to swelling of the lung’s lining. If pneumonia is the culprit of chest pain, it typically causes a sharp pain that worsens upon coughing or breathing deeply.

Psychological Factors

If you suffer from panic attacks or severe anxiety, you may develop chest pain. Panic attacks are typically accompanied by other symptoms that may mimic a heart attack, such as nausea, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.

West Hills Hospital has earned accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers for providing exceptional emergency care to patients who suffer cardiac events. Our community hospital urges you to seek emergency care promptly if chest pain arises. For general healthcare information, you can reach the Consult-A-Nurse referral line for our hospital at (818) 676-4000.

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