Chest Pain does not only originate in the heart; risk factors such as hypertension and smoking, and diseases like pneumonia, bronchial asthma and tuberculosis can lead to ot too.
Chest pain is one of the most alarming symptoms that bring people to a hospital. When someone suffers from chest pain, the first thing that comes to the mind is the possibility of a “heart attack”. It is dreadful and can kill within minutes to hours. But not all chest pains lead to heart attacks. Their causes and consequences vary, and ought to be considered one by one.
When blood circulation in the heart slows or completely stops the patient experiences chest pain. This pan occurs in the centre of the chest and is severe, crushing and suffocating. It radiates from the centre to the left arm, to the jaw and anywhere else above the umbilicus. It is usually associated with severe sweating, palpitation and even vomiting. The presence of risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and a family history of heart attack should be considered as reasons for chest pain too. Men above 65 years and postmenopausal women are found to be prone to heart attack, but nowadays it is found to be prone to heart attack, but nowadays it is found to be occurring in a younger age group too. This may because of b ad eating habits, stress and a sedentary life style.
Another important cause is disease in the lungs. Pneumonia or infection in the lungs is a major cause of chest pain and presents with fever and cough along with the pain which typically aggravates with long breaths. But what people should be aware of is that chest pain can be a manifestation of a serious condition called Pulmonary Embolism. This condition can be called “Lung attack”, which occurs due to acute compromise in blood circulation to the lungs. If not taken care of immediately, it can kill.
This fatal disease develops due to blood vessel in the lung s getting g blocked by clots dislodged from veins in the legs. Blood can clot in these veins due to many reasons---to innumerate a few; prolonged immobility, prolonged travel in airplanes and the road, dehydration, conditions that thicken the blood like the intake of oral contraceptive pills, pregnancy, infections and even some cancers. This can occur in any age group, but if diagnosed in time, it can be cured by taking medications to thin the blood. Prevention requires avoiding dehydration and immobility, especially while traveling.
Bronchial asthma, popularly known as the “Dam Ko rog”, too can be a very important cause of chest pain. Pain with this disease can be tightening or trapping, but can be easily diagnosed with cough and musical sounds during breathing.
The abdomen is also another source of chest pain. Pain can move from one par of the body to another. Hence, disease in the stomach like ulcers, pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) or gall bladder disease can lead to chest pain. Often, severe central chest pain that may feel like a heart attack can occur due to simple conditions like acidity. At times, chronic constipation and gas in the stomach can cause so much discomfort that the patient may land up in the emergency room suspecting cardiac pain.
The upper back bone (thorax) is another known source of chest pain. Diseases of the thoracic vertebrae like tuberculosis or tumors can give chest pain, and at times, viral infections like herpes zoster, known in Nepal as “Janai Khatira”, presents with severe chest pain if the clinician does not identify the rashes and nip the problem at its bud.
Finally, chest pain can occur due to bad sitting or standing posture. Thin –built young males and females usually come with this type of pain, and will usually have gone thorough cardiac check-ups for fear of heart disease. The simple process of making the posture correct can take care of this condition. To conclude, it is clear that all chest pain do not originate in the heart. It is good to take precaution and consult a cardiologist, but other things should also be considered to understand the pain better.
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