Chest pain can be attributed by a number of different causes. Do you get it with emphysema? Although it sounds worrying, many times it is not a sign of a life-threatening. However it should be checked intensively, particularly true if it gets worse or difficult to relieve.
What actually is chest pain?
As the name suggests, chest pain usually occurs in the chest. But you may also feel it in other areas of the body such as upper abdomen or neck. Depending on the underlying cause of the symptom – the pain may be dull, sharp, burning, tight (squeezing), aching, or stabbing.
It doesn’t always signal a serious condition. But you should seek help promptly if you have severe chest pain, especially true if:
- It feels pressing, tight, or heavy – and doesn’t relieve more than 15 minutes.
- You feel the pain in other areas of the body such as jaw, arms, or back.
- It comes with other unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing up, nausea, or sweating.
- You’re an individual who are at risk of health conditions associated with chest pain such as coronary heart disease – for instances if you’re a smoker, a diabetic, obese, or if you have hypertension.
Could it be a sign of heart problem?
When talking about chest pain, the first thing you may think of is a problem affecting the heart such as heart attack. But again it has many possible causes. It is not always associated with a problem with your heart.
However it is the main symptom of heart problem. It can be a symptom of:
- Heart attack, a condition in which the flow of blood to part of the heart is blocked and this occurs suddenly.
- Angina, a condition that occurs when the blood flow to the heart’s muscles is restricted.
Both these heart problems can lead to heavy, dull or tight chest pain. The pain may also spread to the back, arms, neck, or jaw. Additional symptoms include nausea and shortness of breath.
The pain of heart attack is usually acute and often strikes suddenly. It doesn’t improve with rest and often followed with sweating or sometimes vomiting. If it lasts more than 15 minutes, seek help immediately because it can be life-threatening. And in angina, the pain tends to flare up on exertion or during emotional stress – but it usually improves with rest.
In addition, other heart problems to blame are pericarditis (a condition in which the sac surrounding the heart get inflamed) and pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs).
Other possible causes of chest pain
There are a number of conditions linked to chest pain. So again heart problem is not the only one – even in most cases it isn’t heart-related! It is not always a sign of life-threatening.
Strained chest’s muscles
In a few cases, chest pain occurs due to strained muscles in the chest wall. It may become surprisingly painful. For such case, the chest is usually tender to touch. The good news, the problem should relieve with rest and typically will heal in time.
Sometimes tenderness and swelling around the ribs are to blame. For example, costochondritis is bone problem in the chest that can also cause pain around the chest. It is a condition in which there’s inflammation in the joints that connect the ribs and the sternum (breastbone). Fortunately, the symptoms usually relieve after a few weeks.
Other possible causes are as follows:
- Digestive causes such as swallowing disorders, inflammation of gallbladder, and heartburn (burning, painful sensation behind the breastbone).
- Stomach ulcer (painful sores in the stomach lining) may also sometimes cause burning pain in the upper tummy that spreads to the chest.
- Shingles, an infection caused by a virus that can affect your chest wall.
- Panic attack (anxiety), a condition in which you have periods of intense fear that can cause physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, dizziness, sweating, and sometimes tightness in the chest.
Do you get chest pain with emphysema?
There are a number of different lung problems that contribute to cause chest pain. The main ones include:
- Pleurisy, swelling (inflammation) of the membrane that covers the lungs. It is usually triggered by an infection.
- Pneumonia, swelling caused by bacterial infection in the lung’s tissue. It can affect one or two lungs.
- Pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which high blood pressure occurs in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs.
- Collapsed lung, when the air leaks into the space between the ribs and the lung. It can be a consequence of some advanced lung diseases. Pain associated with collapsed lung can strike suddenly.
How about emphysema, a main type of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)? Can you get chest pain with this incurable lung disease?