Heart pain is a condition that is often associated with infarction. This pain is felt as a grip, pressure or weight under the chest and it may last more than 10 minutes. It can also radiate to other regions of the body such as the back and it is usually associated with tingling of the arms.
However, heart pain is not always a sign of heart attack. There are other conditions whose main symptom is heart pain, such as costocondritis, cardiac arrhythmia ass well as psychological disorders like anxiety and panic syndrome.
When the heart pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, cold sweat, difficulty breathing, a feeling of tightening or a burning sensation in the chest and severe headache, is is advisable to seek medical attention so that diagnosis and treatment can be done as soon as possible.
1. Excess gases
This is a common cause of chest pain and it is not related in any way to a heart condition. The accumulation of gases is common is people who suffer from constipation where excess gases push some abdominal organs thereby causing a sensation of pain in the chest.
2. Heart attack
Heart attack is the first thought that comes to mind when one experiences heart pain, although it is a rare condition. It is more common in people who have high blood pressure, are over 45 years of age, smokers as well as those with high levels of cholesterol.
This infarction is usually felt as a grip but it can also be felt as a punctured, tipped or a burning sensation that can radiate to the back, jaw and arms, hence causing a tingling sensation.
Infarction normally happens when a part of the tissue lining the heart dies, mainly due to a decrease in the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart because the arteries may be clogged by fat plaques or clot.
Costocondritis usually affects women who are over the age of 35 and it is characterized by inflammation of the cartilages that bind the ribs of the sternum, the bone that is at the middle of the breast. It happens mainly due to poor posture, arthritis, excessive physical activity or deep breathing. Depending on the intensity of the pain, it can often be confused with felt as a result of infarction.
Pericarditis is inflammation in the pericardium, which is the membrane that lines the heart. This inflammation causes very strong pain that can be easily confused with pains of infarction. Pericarditis is caused by infections or it may arise due to rheumatologic diseases such as lupus.
5. Cardiac ischemia
Cardiac ischemia is the decrease in the passage of blood through the arteries due to the presence of plaques eventually obstruct the blood vessel. This condition causes severe pain or a burning sensation in the chest, which can radiate to the chin, shoulders or arms and it can also cause palpitation.
The main cause of cardiac ischemia is atherosclerosis. The best way to avoid getting this condition is to have an active life, eat healthily and control the consumption of food, avoiding intake of foods that contain a lot of sugar. In addition, the doctor may prescribe medication that will facilitate the passage of blood by acting on the fat plates that obstruct the vessel.
6. Cardiac arrhythmia
Cardiac arrhythmia is inadequate heart rate, which may either be slow or fat. It causes symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, malaise, cold sweat and heart pain.
Arrhythmia can affect both healthy people as well as those who have heart disease. It is caused by high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, thyroid problems, intense physical activity, heart failure, anaemia or ageing.
7. Panic syndrome
This is a psychological disorder that causes sudden bouts of fear which cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, cold sweat, tingling, loss of control over yourself, a ringing sound in the ear, palpitations and chest pain. This condition affects mainly women in their late adolescents and early adulthood.
The pain felt as a result of panic syndrome may be confused with that of infarction, but there are some symptoms that differentiate them. Pain from panic syndrome is usually acute and concentrated in the chest and neck while pain from infarction is stronger and can be radiated to other regions of the body, lasting more that 10 minutes.
Anxiety is a condition that leaves a person unproductive, meaning they will be unable to perform simple day-to-day tasks. It causes an increase in tension of the rib muscle and an increased heartbeat, which will cause a feeling of tightening and pain in the heart.
Apart from chest pain, other symptoms of anxiety are rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, nausea, cha the in the bowel function and excessive sweating.
What to do when you feel pain in your heart
When the heart pain lasts more than 10 minutes or it is accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisabke to immediately seek medical attention from the cardiologist, so that proper treatment can be started. Other symptoms that may accompany the pain include:
- Cold sweat
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe headache
- Feeling of tightening or burning
- Difficulty swallowing.
If there are pre-existing heart conditions such as high blood pressure, medical instructions should be followed so that the symptoms do not reappear and the condition does not worsen. If the pain is also persistent and is not relived after 10 to 20 minutes, it is recommended to visit the hospital with immediate effect.
If there is already pre-existing heart disease, such as high blood pressure, medical guidelines should be followed so that these symptoms do not appear again and the condition does not worsen. Also, if the pain is persistent and does not relieve after 10 to 20 minutes, it is very recommended to go to the hospital or call the family doctor.