Even though a chest pain that last for a few seconds in a young healthy individual is usually nothing to worry about, it is always recommended to visit your doctor as soon as you have a chest pain because it can be caused by very serious conditions.
Patients presenting with chest pain may described many different presentations, severities, locations and patterns. Recognition of the pain pattern considered the first and the most important step in diagnosing the condition responsible for the pain.
There are many clues cardiologists use to recognize serious conditions that require emergent attention and treatment. Also there are other clues that point to less serious conditions and more benign course of disease.
Chest pain that requires urgent treatment:
1. Pressure like chest pain in the middle of the chest that may or may not radiate to the jaw and left arm. This is one of the pain patterns for heart attack.
2. Chest pain that increases with exercise and physical activity, also most likely caused by heart attack, if the pain lasts more than 30 minutes the condition will most likely require and emergent catheterization of the heart blood vessels.
3. Although those are the most common presentations of heart attack, it is important to understand that heart attack can present with atypical symptoms, especial in patients who have diabetes. That's why doctors always keep a high suspicion level when it comes to chest pain.
4. Tearing chest pain that starts suddenly and radiates to the back may be caused by aortic dissection, a very is a serious condition in which there is a separation of the aorta walls. A small tear can become larger and can lead to bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta.
When heart attack is expected the first thing your doctor will do is ECG, this is non-invasive non-painful recording of the heart electrical activity.
Chest pain that require less urgent treatment:
1. Sharp and steady chest pain, also can be located along the upper neck or shoulder muscle. It often gets worse when you breathe, lie on your back, or swallow food. This type of pain is usually caused by Pericarditis which is an inflammation or infection (usually viral) of the layers around the heart.
2. Sharp chest pain while breathing, coughing , or sneezing. Pleuritis which is an inflammation of the layers lining the lungs and chest. This pain is similar to that of pericarditis except its association with cough. The most common causes of pleuritis are infections (bacterial or viral), pulmonary embolism, and pneumothorax.
3. Sharp chest pain that increases with breathing and coughing in addition to deep chest ache. Associated with fever, chills, and coughing up foul smell pus. This symptoms are caused by Pneumonia or lung abscess.
4. Sharp chest pain also can be cause by mitral valve prolapsed which is a common condition that often goes on asymptomatic. Mitral valve prolapsed can be associated with mitral valve regurgitation which means some of the blood is going backwards instead of going forwards.
5. Anxiety rarely may cause a mild chest pain and arrhythmias.
6. Pain from a rib trauma or fracture may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. It is often localized to one area and usually feel tender when you press on that area.
7. Stomach acid reflux can cause chest pain.
8. Muscle strain. Can be caused by hard coughing and may result in injury or inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the chest. This leads to chest pain.
9. Shingles. Causes a sharp, band-like pain then a rash appears about several days later. This condition is caused by varicella zoster virus.
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