Chest pain

There are many causes but heart conditions most serious

Chest pain can be caused by many conditions as it can arise from muscles in the chest wall, ribs, nerves in between the ribs, the lungs, the heart, the gullet, the stomach, or even arthritis of the spine.

But the most serious form of chest pain is that which arises from the heart. If there is a shortage of blood supply to the heart, a pain develops which feels like a heavy weight or a tight band around the chest. This pain may radiate into the neck or down the left arm.

If the pain starts after exertion and is relieved by rest, its probably angina, and is usually caused by hardening and narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

If the chest pain is severe and not relieved by rest, it may be due to an artery being
completely blocked by a blood clot and you are at high risk of a heart attack.

Admission to hospital is required instantly. It is interesting to note that if the patient is given a simple aspirin at the onset of these symptoms he faces a better chance of recovery!

Chest pain associated with heart disease should not be confused with chest pain caused by indigestion.

This is usually to be found centrally at the bottom of the breastbone, often around mealtimes, and is accompanied by acid in the oesophagus (heartburn), and 'burping'. This pain is often relieved by antacid medications.

Sumathi Srini

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