If you do feel chest pain, it’s important to seek immediate medical assistance, visit our NYC doctors because it could indicate a serious problem.
Although the problem may have nothing to do with your heart, there is no easy way to diagnose the issue without seeing a doctor.
When Chest Pain Is Heart-Related?
Chest pain is often linked to heart disease, and frequently, people with heart disease will feel a vague discomfort that they don’t identify as being painful. Usually, if chest discomfort is linked to a heart problem, it can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- A sensation of tightness, fullness, pressure or burning in your chest
- A searing or crushing pain that can spread to your neck, jaw, shoulders, and back, and to one or both arms
- The pain will last more than a few minutes or will feel worse with activity, and it can disappear and reappear or will vary in intensity
- Feeling short of breath
- Feeling dizzy or weak or having cold sweats
What Can Cause Heart Related Chest Pain?
There are several possible causes of heart-related chest pain. These include:
- Angina, where the blood flow to your heart is reduced due to plaque buildup inside your arteries. Plaque buildup restricts the heart’s blood supply and especially if you are active or exercising.
- Heart attacks can occur when the blood flow to your heart muscle is blocked, most often because of a blood clot.
- Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition where the aorta can rupture. The aorta is the main artery leading from the heart.
- Pericarditis is inflammation of the sac around your heart and can cause sharp pain when you lie down or breathe in.
What Are the Other Types of Chest Pain?
There are other types of chest pain, and if you experience some of the following symptoms, it’s less likely due to a heart problem.
- Difficulty swallowing or experiencing food re-entering your mouth
- Pain that may change when you shift position
- Pain if you cough or breathe in deeply
- A sensation of tenderness if you push on your chest
- Persistent pain that is present for hours
These symptoms can indicate problems with your digestive system, and which include heartburn, where you experience a burning, painful sensation just behind your breastbone. Swallowing disorders can make swallowing painful or difficult. Pancreas or gallbladder problems such as gallstones or inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas can cause stomach pain that radiates out to your chest.
Chest pain may also be caused by lung-related problems, for example, pleurisy where the membrane covering your lungs becomes inflamed. This can cause pain when you cough or breathe in. A collapsed lung can cause chest pain that begins suddenly, and which may last for hours. It’s frequently associated with shortness of breath and occurs when air leaks into the space between the ribs and the lungs.
Pulmonary hypertension can occur if you have high blood pressure, and it can cause chest pain. A pulmonary embolism occurs if you develop a blood clot in your lung.
Other possible causes of chest pain are shingles, where the chickenpox virus is reactivated. Panic attacks can frequently cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, including chest pain.
Diagnosis and Chest Pain Treatment in NYC
If your chest pain is serious enough to go to the emergency room, your local or NYC best doctors or general practitioners of Manhattan Primary Care Center will first test for a heart attack because this will present the most threat to your life. They will also check you for other life-threatening conditions such as a blood clot in your lung or a collapsed lung.
Some of the tests ordered by your internist doctor or general practitioner may include blood tests to check for increased levels of specific enzymes or proteins and which could indicate damage to the heart muscle.
An electrocardiogram can quickly identify if you have had or are having a heart attack as it records the electrical activity of your heart.
A chest x-ray will allow your doctor to check the condition of your heart, major blood vessels, and your lungs, and may reveal problems such as a collapsed lung or pneumonia.
CT scans can identify blood clots and are used to check you do not have an aortic dissection.
Based on the results of these initial tests, your internal medicine doctor may order further tests to identify and view potential problems in greater detail. For example, an angiogram will identify specific arteries that may be narrowed or blocked. Stress tests can measure your heart’s response to exertion.
If we suspect your chest pain is due to gall bladder problems, we might recommend an ultrasound to identify gallstones. Sometimes gallbladder pain can be managed by diet, but if the pain is severe, you may need surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Medication and Psychotherapy
Your chest pain treatment is tailored according to the problem causing the discomfort. Frequently medication is used to widen blood vessels or to dissolve clots that are preventing blood from reaching the heart muscle.
If your chest pain is due to heartburn, you may be given acid-suppressing medication that reduces the amount of acid in your stomach. People who experience panic attacks may benefit from antidepressants or psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Surgery is used to treat the most serious causes of chest pain. One of the most common surgical procedures is an angioplasty and stent placement that can help to relieve a blockage in an artery.
With bypass surgery, surgeons will remove a blood vessel from another part of the body, using it to reroute the blood around a blocked artery. A collapsed lung can be re-inflated by internal medicine doctors who will insert a tube into the chest. An aortic dissection needs emergency surgery to repair the artery.