By Dr. Masood Adnan, General Physician
A sensation of pain in the chest is almost automatically associated with having a heart attack. While it is true that it is one of the best indicators of a heart attack, there are quite a few other things which can cause one’s chest to pain and not all need to necessarily be as time critical as a heart attack. So, what are the various things one should be aware of when it comes to pain in the chest? In order to understand chest pain better, it is first very important to understand the various types of chest pain better! So, there is a sharp pain, it’s opposite which happens to be a dull pain, burning, aching, stabbing pain, as well as a crushing sensation.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, which is medically known as myocardial infarction or referred to as the infamous heart attack. This occurs when the muscle cells, which are located in the heart die on account of not enough blood flowing through the heart. In simple terms, the best way to get to know that one is having a heart attack is when the person feels a seriously crushing pain in the center or the left side of the chest. What could be said to be unique about this type of pain is that resting does not make it better?
- Another condition of the heart which is often mistaken by the layman for a heart attack happens to be myocarditis. Inflammation of the heart muscle leads to fatigue and a fast beating of the heart. The person would also experience some difficulty breathing.
- Heart disease can come in multiple forms and one of those is known as CAD or Coronary Artery Disease. When there is a blockage in the blood vessels of the heart, the pain [which is known as angina] is caused by this blockage. The probably solitary source of good news is that permanent damage to the heart is not caused by CAD!
- That being said, a heart attack is a greater possibility. The pain in the chest could spread to the jaw or the back, or even the arm. The sensation is that of the body part being squeezed. The first thing to be done when angina occurs is to rest in order to lower the pain.
- While these conditions have focused on the heart, pneumonia affecting the lungs can cause deep chest ache. It causes a cough and chills. There is also likely to be pus from the respiratory tract which is coughed up!
- Asthma is yet another respiratory issue which could cause chest pain!