Posted on : September 14, 2020 by Clinic One on Heart Problems
Sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache in one’s chest is commonly termed as chest pain. It is one of the common reasons for individuals to visit an emergency room.
To be specific, almost 13% of the emergency room visits are attributed to chest pain due to serious heart problems.
Nevertheless, it may be due to less life-threatening conditions that can vary amongst the individual in its intensity, duration, and location.
Causes of Chest Pain
Although chest pain is one of the most established causes of heart attack, it may be due to other conditions as well.
The causes are discussed below.
(A) Chest pain due to Heart Problems
- Heart Attack: Due to the blockage of blood flow to the heart muscles when the artery carrying the blood is blocked due to a clot so that the heart muscles are damaged.
- Angina: It is also the condition that results due to the loss of blood flow to the heart causing a pain that can be felt like pressure or squeezing in the chest.
- Pericarditis: It is due to the condition which is characterized by the inflammation of the fibrous sac that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium.
- Myocarditis: A condition that causes chest pain due to the inflammation of the heart muscle.
- Cardiomyopathy: A disease of heart muscle characterized by the inability of our heart to pump the blood to the rest of the body causing chest pain.
- Aortic dissection: A rare condition that is characterized by rupture of a large vessel that comes out of the heart causing significant chest pain.
(B) Chest Pain Due to Gastrointestinal causes
Chest pain is also sometimes caused due to gastrointestinal disorders such as
- Acid-Reflux/Heartburn: Condition where stomach acid gets back up into the esophagus irritating the tissue causing heartburn and thereby chest pain. This is because our heart lies just behind the esophagus causing the pain.
- Problems in Gall’s bladder due to gall-stones or the Problems in the pancreas: Problems in our gall bladder most frequently caused by the stone is often associated with the chest pain.
(C) Lungs problem that can cause chest pain
- Viral bronchitis
- Blood clot
See Top 8 Respiratory Diseases for more information.
(D) Muscles and bone-related problems of chest pain
- Bruised and broken ribs
- Compression fractures causing pressure on nerves
(E) Other causes
- Shingles: A disease caused by a virus Varicella Zoster that is characterized primarily with the appearances of painful rashes can also cause chest pain.
- Panic attacks: Panic attacks are also often associated with chest pain.
- Lung diseases: Conditions such as tuberculosis, and asthma
Symptoms of chest pain
As is the case with the chest problem that can arise from different sources the same is the case with the symptoms.
Thus symptoms of chest pain due to different reasons are listed below.
Symptoms of chest pain with Heart-related problem
Now that it has been universally accepted that chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart-related problem, nevertheless, it must be noted that heart problems may not always accompany chest pain.
It is especially true in the case of women where they can be diagnosed with the heart problem with varying degrees of other symptoms other than chest pain.
But some common symptoms of chest pain due to a problem in one’s heart are discussed below.
- Chest pressure or tightness medically termed as (Angina)
- Back, jaw, or arm pain
- Fatigue, lightheadedness, or dizziness
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms due to other conditions
- Sour taste in the mouth
- Pain that stems after or swallowing food
- Pain that fluctuates according to the body condition
- Pain that gets worse while breathing deeply or when you cough
Solutions and remedies for chest pain
Whatever is the cause of your chest pain, the first line of defense would be to seek medical attention.
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This is because chest pain can be the tale-tell sign of a heart attack which can get worse quickly and can even be fatal.
Since we are not able to distinguish between a cause of chest pain whether it be a gas problem, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems, or a heart problem hence you should let your doctor know and diagnose the exact condition.
Nevertheless, here are some homemade remedies that you can do to relieve your condition unless it is an emergency condition and your doctor has ruled out a serious complication.
Home Remedies of Chest Pain
- If you have a history of fluctuating blood pressure and cholesterol level, you can try to have some fenugreek seeds which helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- Drinking hot milk mixed with garlic or hot garlic soup of some sort aids in relieving chest pain problem.
- Turmeric with a hot glass of milk also can relieve chest pain as turmeric has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- If an abnormal heart rhythm is the cause of your chest pain, Aloe-Vera juice can help in stabilizing heart rhythm and hence reduce your chest pain.
- Hot drinks, in general, can eliminate the gas problems if that is the cause of your chest pain.
- If your chest pain stems from your gastro-intestinal disorders, almonds mixed hot milk can neutralize the acidity in the esophagus.
- Or if your chest pain is because of the acid reflux, “Apple cider vinegar” is recommended.
- If your chest pain fluctuates with your body posture, resting in your bed comfortably for some time is recommended.
- Last but not the least adopting healthy lifestyle choices such as reducing the consumption of alcohol, and quitting smoking and regular exercise can prevent the chest problem.
Similarly, here are some dietary and medical supplements that you can include which may prevent the problem in a long run.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These will in a long run will stabilize the rate of heartbeat, reduce your blood cholesterol levels, and reduce your blood pressure hence reducing the risk of chest pain due to heart problems. These are present in fish species such as salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel fish. Moreover, fish oil supplements are available in the market if you are unable to get this fish in your kitchen.
- Pomegranate juice
Since pomegranate is high in antioxidants, it helps a lot in reducing the bad cholesterol thus keeping your cholesterol levels in check. Moreover, it is also useful in preventing plaque formation in the arteries that can keep your arteries healthy thereby reducing the chances of the heart attack in the long run.
- Garlic and gingers
These are simple food supplements that are very handy in a long run to have a healthy heart and avoid any kind of heart complications. These are for years known to keep cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood clotting in check along with preventing many gastro-intestinal problems as it contains anti-microbial properties as well.
Treatment for Chest Pain
Since chest pain can arise from different problems so does the treatment varies for chest pain. Here are some treatment procedures listed below.
Here are the different types of medications that can be recommended as per the problem related to your chest pain.
- Artery relaxers: Some artery relaxers such as Nitroglycerine can be very helpful in relaxing the arteries in the heart so that the blood can flow smoothly.
This is when your chest pain is due to lowered blood pressure due to narrowed arteries.
Moreover, other blood pressure medications can also be helpful.
- Aspirin: These are recommended if your doctor suspects that your chest pain is due to heart problems.
Aspirin helps in inhibiting the platelets that clump up to form the clots at the site of ruptured plaques.
- Thrombolytic drugs: These are given as a clot-busters when clots are the reason for your chest pain, blocking the supply of blood to your heart, which can result in a heart attack.
- Blood thinners: These are also a type of medications used to remove the blood clots.
- Acid-suppressing medications: If your chest pain is due to gastrointestinal complications such as acid backing up to your esophagus, thereby causing chest pain, your doctor might recommend these medications to suppress the level of acid in your stomach.
- Anti-depressants: If panic attacks are the source of your chest pain, doctors might suggest anti-depressants.
Some psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can also be helpful in some cases.
(B) Surgical and other procedures
Some imminent and dangerous cases of chest pain may require surgical procedures such as listed below.
- Angioplasty and stent placement: If your chest pain is due to the blocked artery that supplies blood to your heart, doctors might use a catheter with a balloon in the end in a procedure medically termed as angioplasty.
It is then inserted on the large blood vessel of your groin and pushed up to the site of the blocked artery and balloon inflated to widen up the artery.
In most instances, a wire mesh tube is generally placed outside the balloon to lock the artery and keep it open while inflated.
- Bypass-surgery: This is a procedure where a blood vessel from another part of the body is excised and then inserted to the site where there is the blockage to re-route the blood to go around the blocked artery.
- Dissection repair: This is a procedure that is employed when the artery that carries the blood from your heart to the other part of the body is ruptured which is known as aortic dissection.
This is a serious life-threatening condition that may need emergency surgery.
- Lung re-inflation: This is done when your chest pain stems from the condition of your collapsed lung.
Here in this procedure doctors insert a tube to your chest to re-inflate your lungs.
References: Aaquil Jameel (2019) Timesnownews.com, Do you have chest pain? Here are 10 effective home remedies that can help tackle this problem, Alana Biggers (M.D) (2019) Health line, why am I having chest pain Debra Rose Wilson (Ph.D.) (2019) Health line, Home remedies for heart pain: what works? Mayo Clinic, Chest Pain, Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment John P. Cunha et al, Heartburn Vs Acid Reflux, how to tell a difference, Medicine Net
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