When to Worry about Chest Pain

Do you know when chest pains are cause for alarm or an antacid?

Chest pain can occur for a variety of reasons. While some causes are dangerous, not all pains you feel are cause for concern. Trying to determine the cause of your chest pain can be confusing, especially if you feeling a great deal of discomfort. Don't ignore your symptoms or explain them away, rather err on the side of caution and seek medical care. Here are some common causes of chest pain:

Possible Causes of Chest Pain

  • Angina or heart attack
  • Pulmonary embolism: blood clot in the lung.
  • Pneumothorax: lung collapse.
  • Pleurisy: inflammation of the lung lining.
  • Pneumonia: illness characterized by pain that worsens with coughing or deep breathing.
  • Panic attack: rapid breathing and chest pain.
  • Costochondritis: inflammation of the ribs.
  • Shingles:  sharp or tingling pain from chest to back accompanied by a rash.
  • Inflamed muscles or tendons: can cause chest pain.
  • Gallstones: pain will be worse after meals.
  • Heartburn: known as gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Stomach ulcer: pain is reduced after eating
  • Minor causes: over exercising, weight gain, stress, and other minor injuries or illnesses may cause mild chest pain.

Dangerous Symptoms

Certain symptoms may indicate a heart attack which requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you experience any of the following chest pain symptoms:

  • Sudden crushing, squeezing, tightening, or pressure in chest
  • Pain spreads to jaw, left arm, or between shoulder blades
  • Nausea, dizziness, exhaustion
  • Sweating, racing heart, difficulty breathing
  • Pain is intensified by light activity or lasts longer than normal (especially if you have angina)
  • Angina symptoms while at rest
  • Sudden and sharp pain accompanied by difficulty breathing or swelling in the leg after you have been on bed rest or after a long stretch of non-movement

If you experience chest pain, the Emergency Care Center at Medical Center Arlington is here for you. As a Cycle III Chest Pain Center, our fully-accredited Heart and Vascular Center can diagnose and treat your chest pain with the highest level of care. Visit us online at our Health Information Library to learn more about possible causes of chest pain. If you need a physician referral, please call 1-855-868-6262.


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