Chest pain is a widespread complaint that often results from a severe condition. However, chest pain can also be far more benign and may merely result from overexertion or poor posture. Chest pain usually presents as a dull ache in the center of the chest beneath the breastbone and around to either side, along with difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Most often, chest pain is not associated with any cardiac issues or other severe conditions. Still, it is always essential to consult a physician should you experience these symptoms as they may indicate a more dangerous condition such as a heart attack. If you experience chest pain more often than usual, you need to see a Bakersfield chest pain specialist. Here are some of the potential causes.
Angina is a condition that is caused by poor blood flow to the heart, usually due to coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. As the arteries become narrower, they cannot transport enough oxygenated blood for normal muscle function. The pain of angina can usually be relieved with rest, medication, and in some cases, procedures done by a chest pain specialist.
- Myocardial Infarction
Also known as a heart attack, myocardial infarction is caused by an obstruction that interrupts blood flow to the heart muscle. This can occur when atherosclerosis causes plaque deposits in coronary arteries, eventually forming a clot and blocking the artery. Symptoms include sudden onset of chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, and collapse. A person who experiences these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.
The pericardium is the lining around the heart that can become inflamed due to infection, autoimmune disease, or less often with viral infections. The most common symptom of pericarditis is chest pain that worsens when taking a deep breath and may be worse at night. This condition usually requires hospitalization to receive treatment.
- Aortic Dissection
An aortic dissection occurs when the inner lining of the large blood vessel called the aorta tears. This tear may occur at any point along the body of the aorta, but it is more common in the chest, where it can compress and obstruct blood flow. Symptoms of aortic dissection are usually abrupt, severe chest pain, arm or back pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea. This condition is extremely dangerous because it can result in shock quickly. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then seek medical attention immediately.
- Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot forms in the legs or pelvis and breaks off to travel through circulation until it becomes lodged in the lungs. The most common symptom of a pulmonary embolism is chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, cough, hiccups, or swallowing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, and a feeling of anxiety or impending doom. This is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention as it can lead to respiratory failure and death if left untreated.
In summary, chest pain is not always a sign of something serious. However, it should usually indicate to consult with your primary care physician, who will recommend further testing if necessary. You must be aware of the symptoms of these conditions so that you may seek appropriate medical attention immediately if they occur.