Chest pain is a common symptom which may be caused due to many different medical conditions. Some conditions are mildly inconvenient, while others are serious and even life threatening. Generally chest pain caused due to cardiac reasons is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Some of the common causes of chest pain are as follows:
Angina: This is the most common cause of chest pain and requires immediate medical attention. Angina is caused due to insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to heart muscle. Angina can be quite variable, but classically it is described as a pressure like, squeezing, crushing or tight pain.
Heart attack: Heart attack also known as myocardial infraction (MI) is caused due to formation of clot in the artery that supplies blood to the heart. In such condition the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen rich blood, causing chest pain.
Heartburn: Heartburn as the name suggests is caused due to the acidic reflux from the stomach to the esophagus. The pain of heart burn is often a burning and painful sensation directly below the sternum.
Anxiety or panic disorder: Anxiety attack or panic disorder which affects approximately 5 percent of the US population is an important cause of chest pain. Anxiety or panic attacks are characterized by repeated episodes of intense fear or anxiety that occur spontaneously and without any reason. Panic attacks are accompanied by chest pain, most likely due to contraction of muscles in the chest wall.
Chest pain due to lung diseases: Varieties of lung diseases including disorder or airways such as asthma or bronchitis, infection of lungs (pneumonia) and inflammation of lining of lungs can cause chest pain. Pulmonary chest pain may be present in 5 percent to 12 percent of all cases of chest pain in the primary care sitting or the emergency department.
Chest pain due to gastro-intestinal disorder: Gastro-intestinal problems such as gall bladder -gall stones, Oesophageal-rupture and peptic ulcer disorder usually causes pain in abdomen but it may radiate to upper chest during its chronic stage.
Whatever may be the cause of chest pain proper diagnose is always required as the underlying medical condition may be life threatening. Diagnosis of chest pain is usually done by taking medical history of patients, physical examination and analyzing patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG).
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