Chest pain is any sort of pain felt in your upper body, from your jaw down to the bottom of your ribs. With Cardiovascular diseases being one of the biggest killers in Australia, chest pain has quickly become one of the most common problems presented to a doctor. Understanding chest pain and knowing the facts could create the awareness needed to change the high mortality rate of cardiovascular disease, below we’ve compiled 5 facts about chest pain that you should know.
Chest pain has long been associated with a heart attack. While this is not incorrect, it is important to know that it can also be associated with a range of other conditions. These conditions include: Pericarditis, Myocarditis, Mitral valve prolapse, Aortic dissection and Coronary microvascular disease (MVD).
While chest pain is one of the major signs of heart problems, it’s important to note that any organ or tissue in your chest can be a source of chest pain. These areas include: the lungs, oesophagus, muscles, tendons, ribs and nerves. Pain within the body can radiate throughout the body which creates the illusion that the pain is coming from the heart. In some situations, chest pain can be linked to areas such as: Gastrointestinal diseases, Conditions of the lungs, Panic attacks, Inflammation of the areas where the ribs connect to the breastbone, Muscle or tendon strains in the chest area or ribcage, Asthma and Shingles.
Chest pain is the most commonly associated symptom with heart attacks, not every heart attack sufferer feels chest pain. This can be seen in women, diabetics and elderly patients who experience different symptoms as opposed to chest pain. Women are more likely to experience dizziness, nausea, fatigue and radiating pain in both arms as opposed to men. Diabetics tend to feel weak, dizzy and short of breath because they do not have the same nerve responses as non-diabetics. While elderly patients are more likely to experience sweating, nausea and discomfort.
Matters of the heart are delicate situations because they can quickly take a turn for the worst. Not immediately seeing a health professional allows what is causing your chest pains to continue damaging your heart. The longer an artery is blocked, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage to your heart muscles. Being in the presence of a medical professional is important because they can correctly diagnose your problem and potentially prevent more serious health problems down the road.
As has been mentioned above, chest pain can be a symptom of many different conditions and the longer these conditions are left without treatment, the more likely they are to cause permanent problems. This means that chest pains and any other symptoms should always be taken seriously. If you feel pain in your chest or think you are having a heart attack, you should immediately call 000. Even if this is not the case, diagnosis and treatment is important for you health and safety.