Is my chest pain serious

While it can have many causes, chest pain should not be ignored. Often, it is heart related but in other cases, chest pain can be due to problems with the esophagus, lungs, ribs, nerves, or muscles. In some cases, these conditions are potentially life threatening while others are benign. The only way to confirm the cause of otherwise unexplained chest pain is to get evaluated by a doctor as promptly as possible.
Chest pain can be felt anywhere from the upper abdomen to the neck. Depending on the underlying cause, the pain may be:

* Dull
* Sharp
* Burning
* Stabbing
* Aching
* Tightness
* Crushing or squeezing sensation

Causes of Chest Pain

Heart Problems

* Heart attack (myocardial infarction): Caused by a blood flow blockage, often a clot, to the heart muscles. Causes severe, crushing pain typically in the left side or center of the chest.

* Angina: The term for chest pain due to insufficient blood flow to the heart. Often, this is caused by a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

* Pericarditis: Inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart. Typically causes sharp pain that worsens when breathing in or lying down.

* Aortic dissection: A life-threatening condition where the inner layers of the aorta separate, forcing blood between the layers and causing a rupture.

Lung Problems

* Pleurisy: Pain stemming from inflammation of the membrane covering the lungs. Leads to chest pain that gets worse when coughing or inhaling.

* Pulmonary embolism: Happens when a blood clot gets lodged in the pulmonary artery and blood is blocked from the lung tissue.

* Collapsed lung: The onset of pain from a collapsed lung often begins suddenly, lasts for hours, and is often accompanied by shortness of breath. When a collapsed lung occurs, air leaks into the void between the ribs and lung.

* Pulmonary hypertension: Occurs when a patient has high blood pressure in the arteries transporting blood to the lungs, leading to chest pain.

Gastrointestinal Problems
* Heartburn: An uncomfortable, burning sensation in the chest that occurs when gastrointestinal acid washes up into the esophagus.

* Swallowing disorder: Certain esophageal disorders can make it hard or painful to swallow.

* Pancreas or gallbladder issues: Gallstones or inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder can lead to stomach pain which radiates to the chest.

Muscle, Nerve, or Bone Problems

* Costochondritis: With this condition, the rib cage cartilage, especially that which joins the breastbone to the ribs, becomes painful and inflamed.

* Sore muscles: Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes, can lead to ongoing chest pain that is muscle-related.

* Rib injury: Bruised or broken ribs can lead to chest pain.

Other Causes

* Panic attack: Characterized by periods of intense fear couples with chest pain, elevated heartrate, sweating, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, dizziness, nausea, and a fear of dying.

* Shingles: Develops when the chickenpox virus is reactivated. Can lead to pain and blisters can develop around the back and chest wall.

Regardless of the underlying cause, it is always advisable to seek prompt medical attention for any unexplained or new chest pain. And if a heart attack is suspected, seek emergency medical assistance immediately.

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