The very first thing that could come to your mind when you have a chest pain is a Heart attack! The position & the location of the heart also adds to the fear of a heart attack. Apparently, that may not be the only reason. Often there are many factors associated with chest pain. Certainly, chain pain is not something that could be ignored. Chest pain may be due to many reasons like problems in the rib cage, lungs, or even nerves. Whatever be the reason it requires immediate attention.
The chest pain develops anywhere from your neck to the upper abdomen. Chest pain may be sharp, dull, tight squeezing, burning or aching depending upon its cause.
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Causes of Chest Pain:
- Anxiety: Anxiety & stress can often cause chest pain. Chest pain on the left side or in the middle of the chest is mainly due to anxiety. It may cause heaviness, discomfort & even increase the heartbeat rate most of the times. These disorders are usually dealt with medications & therapy. Once anxiety is dealt with then the chest pain will be resolved.
- Costochondritis: This is the condition when there is an inflammation around the cartileges surrounding the ribs and this might eventually cause pain on the left side of the chest. This condition may arise due to various reasons such as an excessive cough, vomiting, hitting the chest in a car accident, muscle pulling, or even vigorous exercises. The person is advised to take proper rest and give it some time so that heals on its own.
- Intercostal neuralgia: This is referred to as the nerve damage near the chest area. It may be caused due to damage to the rib cage or surgery to the rib cage.
- Bronchitis: Any viruses, bacteria or even harmful pollutants such as smoke, fumes, harmful toxins from chimneys or industrial cleaning may cause bronchitis. It is accompanied by a dry cough, tiredness, and vomiting that may contain blood. It also results in shortness of breath or fever. The pain is worsened by coughing. Treatment varies depending on the underlying cause.
- Pleuritis: it is an irritation of the lining of the chest or lungs. When the irritation is mostly in the left lung the pain is felt more on the left side.
- Pulmonary embolism: it is more likely to occur in persons who have been immobile for days after surgery or may occur even as a complication of cancer. It is a serious condition wherein the blood clot in any part of the body travels through the bloodstream and gets stuck in the lungs. It causes difficulty in breathing and also increases the heart rate. It requires immediate medical attention. Failure to do so can be life-threatening.
- Rib fracture: It may be due to the accident and can cause discomfort in breathing, pain while bending or twisting or a pressure in the chest or rib area. This may be often mistaken for a heart attack.
- Angina pectoris: it is a condition where there is a block in the arteries that supply the heart muscles. The chest pain is due to inadequate flow f blood to the heart and is often accompanied by nausea, sweating, tiredness and a feeling of heaviness in the chest. The discomfort arises in the left shoulder or arm and runs downward.
- Aortic dissection: when there is a tear in the large blood vessel coming from the heart it results in a condition known as aortic dissection. Blood rush through the tear and layers of the heart begin to separate. The pain, in this case, is very severe and feels like a tearing. It is often associated with fainting and is a very rare case that presents in the form of chest pain.
Coronary Artery Disease(CAD):
When there is any block in the blood vessels, the supply of blood & oxygen to the heart is highly reduced results in a condition known as coronary artery disease. This can cause pain in the heart muscle but does not cause any permanent damage to the heart. The chest pain, in this case, is referred to as angina and spreads to the left shoulder, arm, back & jaw.
- Myocardial infarction: Even in this case the blood flow to the heart is reduced due to blockages in the blood vessels. The pain, in this case, is even more severe & can cause severe damage to the heart.2.
- Myocarditis: it does not cause any blockage but the symptoms are similar to those of heart attack. The chest pain is often associated with fever, heart muscle inflammation, increased heart rate & difficulty in breathing.
- Pericarditis: this is the inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart. The pain experienced is sharp & steady and is along the upper neck & shoulder. The pain also causes difficulty in breathing & consuming food.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: it is a genetic disease that causes the heart muscles to grow abnormally thick. It might turn life-threatening when the heart muscles turn unusually thick as it makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. The chest pain is often accompanied by shortness of breath.
- Mitral valve prolapse: when one of the heart valves fail to close properly it results in a medical condition called as mitral valve prolapse. Chest pain, palpitation, & tiredness are often associated with this condition.
Other problems that might cause chest pain:
- A hiatal hernia: this happens when the upper abdomen pushes into the lower chest after consumption. This causes heartburn or chest pain. You may experience severe pain when you lie down.
- Pancreatitis: you will have redness if you have got pain in the lower chest. You may experience severe pain when you lie down.
- Gallbladder: if at all you develop a chest pain after a fatty meal in the right lower chest area or right upper side of the abdomen then the chest pain is probably due to the problem in the abdomen.
When should I seek a medical help at the hospital?
Generally, as we have already mentioned, chest pain could be a symptom that an individual must not ever ignore. The explanation is that although most times it’s from a benign cause, you cannot tell whether or not it’s being caused by a critical downside on your own. This is why you ought to get it consult with a Doctor. Generally aches that you simply suppose might not mean something serious can be early warning signs of one thing terribly dangerous.
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QUICK GUIDE TO BRONCHITIS
- What is Bronchitis?
When we breathe the air travels to the lungs, but from where? The bronchi are the main passageway for the air to the lungs when we breathe. The windpipe, trachea has bronchi branch on either of its side. And bronchitis is a medical condition which is followed by the inflammation of bronchi. Bronchi swell up due to irritation or infection resulting in difficulty in breathing. Bronchi produce mucus to trap dust particles but in bronchitis, they produce more mucus than usual which is tried to maintain by coughing. It is commonly associated with a lot of coughing, difficulty in breathing, followed by wheezing, and chest pain.
There are 2 types of bronchitis:
- Acute bronchitis: It is the more temporary kind and the usual bronchitis. It is the temporary swelling of the tubes which usually last for a few weeks accompanied by coughing and is more common, especially in winters. It is often followed by a viral infection or the same virus that causes influenza.
- Chronic bronchitis: The more serious one, and is characterized by a cough that continues for more than two months and sometimes for years. It is also known as a form of COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
With the basics about bronchitis clear it takes us to the most common and important question:
Is bronchitis contagious?
Mostly bronchitis is caused by a virus and is therefore, contagious. So, basically the answer to this question depends on the kind of virus you have. Bronchitis may be difficult to identify from the common cold, but, a prolonged coughing sans the cold symptoms may be bronchitis. Acute bronchitis many a times starts as the flu, and the one caused by bacterial infections too may be easily transmitted to people. And the acute bronchitis is also called the infectious bronchitis caused by bacteria or viral infections. And therefore, is contagious.
However, chronic bronchitis is very different and it is non-contagious. But, acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis caused by superimposed infection in people with chronic bronchitis might be contagious. This leads to the other question i.e., how long is it contagious for? This also depends on the virus that caused it. More often than not it is contagious for at least three days, or as long as a week and it is best advised to stay indoors to prevent the transmission. It is the most contagious in the first few days after the symptoms appear. The bacterial bronchitis remains contagious, and can spread pathogenic microbes to others as long as the symptoms are manifested.
Even most of the medically acquainted people today often get confused between heart attack and heart failure, what to talk of the less literate ones ! To understand this difference, one has to first get to know about the mechanism of functioning of heart.
The Function of the Heart
The main function of the heart is to ensure blood supply to different organs. This is done by regular beating of the heart. This beating is ensured by an electrical impulse produced by the heart muscle on its own. As every other organ, heart muscle too, requires regular blood supply to meet its daily expenses. The particular artery which supplies the blood to the heart muscles is known as the coronary artery.
What is Heart Attack?
Now, there are several factors like excessive intake of fat, smoking, lack of exercise etc. which may cause blockage in the coronary artery. The result will be lesser blood supply to the heart muscles eventually causing the deadening of heart muscle which is technically known as myocardial infarction, or in more common terms, heart attack. The severity of the heart attack will depend upon the extent of the blockage. This blockage is checked by a diagnostic process called coronary angiography. If found, the cardiac surgeon tries to clear the process through another intervention called angioplasty. If there is a chance of relapse of the blockage, or constriction of the artery, an implant known as stent is placed inside. However, if the cardiologist finds it difficult to clear the blockage, that portion of blocked artery is bypassed and blood supply is restored from some other part. This is known as the bypass surgery.
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What is Heart Failure ?
Heart failure or cardiac arrest is an electrical failure of the heart muscle. As discussed earlier, for proper and regular beating of the heart, electrical impulses are generated in the heart muscle. Due to several reasons like ageing, or blockage of impulse routes in heart, it may go slow, irregular or stop at all. Such event may cause irregularity in the rhythm of the heart. A faster hear rate called tachycardia, while the slower heart rate is called bradycardia. There is another case where the heart beat goes irregular, the case known as arrhythmia. A special case where the heart goes slower sometimes and faster at some other occasions, is known as the sick sinus syndrome. In case of complete failure of this electrical impulse, the heart stops immediately, the condition known as the cardiac arrest or heart failure. Any such electrical irregularity could be easily detected by a simple ECG.
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To regulate this electrical activity, an artificial device called pacemaker is implanted. This is an instrument which acts as a silent spectator till the heart is functioning on its own. As soon as the impulse rate falls below 60 beats per minute, the device starts generating impulse so as to maintain the beating in the desired rhythm. Artificial pacemakers are single chambered and dual chambered, The latter one ensures the better coordinated heart rhythm as it supplies the impulse to both, atrium and ventricles of the heart via separate electrodes.
Be informed and take the right decision !!
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