Chest pain is not something to ignore as it is often the first sign of heart disease. In the United States, chest pain is the second biggest cause of emergency room visits leading to over 8 million visits yearly. If you have been experiencing chest pain or symptoms like shortness of breath, our leading cardiology team at Reading Cardiology Associates can help. Our state-of-the-art testing procedures and treatment plans for heart disease. We are committed to the health of our patients and help them make informed decisions regarding heart health and risk factors. Call us or schedule an appointment online today.

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Chest pain Q&A

What is chest pain?

Chest pain is discomfort or pain in any part of the chest raging from a sharp stab, a dull ache, or a burning sensation. Chest pain can spread to other areas of the body like the arms, neck, shoulder, or jaw. You may feel a crushing or squeezed feeling in your chest. The pain can come and go, lasting a few minutes, hours, months, or longer.
Different problems can lead to chest pain. The main causes of chest pain involve the heart, respiratory, gut, and muscular causes. Angina is an underlying cause of chest pain, usually coronary heart disease. Apart from heart-related problems, chest pain can be due to problems in the lungs, ribs, nerves, or muscles. Sometimes, chest pain can be difficult to distinguish if it is due to a heart problem or other health conditions, so it is essential to seek emergency medical assistance if you have chest pain lasting longer than a few minutes.

What are the symptoms of chest pain?

Chest pain depends on what triggers the symptoms. Chest pain that is less likely associated with heart problems includes: 

  • Pain that gets better or worse when you change your body position
  • Persisting pain lasting many hours
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tenderness when you push your chest
  • A sour taste or a sensation of food re-entering your mouth
  • Worsening pain when breathing deeply or coughing

Symptoms of heart-related chest pain include:

  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Cold sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pressure, tightness, fullness, burning or in your chest
  • Crushing or searing pain spreading to your shoulders, back, jaw, neck, and one or both arms
  • Pain lasting more than a few minutes worsens with activity, goes away and comes back, or varies in intensity

What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain?

It would be best if you never ignore any chest pain or delay getting treatment because chest pain is not normal. Call emergency care services immediately if your chest pain has lasted more than five minutes and you do not find relief from medication or resting.
If your pain comes and goes, seek medical attention as soon as possible to find out the cause of the pain.

What Causes Chest Pain?

Chest pain is commonly a symptom of a heart attack. Heart-related causes of chest pain include and are not limited to:

Heart attack or myocainfarction results from blocked blood flow to your coronary arteries, often from a blood clot in the heart’s muscles. A heart attack causes pain or discomfort in the neck and arm, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, or a fast heartbeat.
Angina: Is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD). The pain is caused by poor blood flow to the heart caused by the build-up of plaque in the arteries carrying blood to the heart. Angina causes acute chest pain, heartburn, and a fast heart rate.
Pericarditis: Is an inflammation of sacs around the heart causing sharp pain, which worsens when lying down or breathing.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Heart muscles grow abnormally thick and stiff due to genetic factors leading to blood flow problems. Shortness of breath, pain, dizziness, and other symptoms occur if the heart muscles become very thick, and heart failure can occur.
Coronary Artery Dissection: A rip or tear in the coronary artery wall create a bulge, blocking your artery and causing pressure or pain that may lead to a heart attack.
Aortic Dissection and aneurism occur when the inner walls of the aorta tear or separate, leading to the build-up of blood in the artery.
At Reading Cardiology Associates, we perform comprehensive testing and diagnosis to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and formulate a personalized treatment plan.

How Is Chest Pain Treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of the pain. If you are experiencing chest pain, seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. Treatments can include medication and or surgical procedures to restore blood flow more easily. If noncardiac conditions are causing your chest pain, your doctor will recommend treatment accordingly.

Medication may include blood thinners, and artery relaxers to prevent the formation of new clots and improve blood flow. Surgery helps remove clots. Your healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle changes to help improve and prevent heart disease.

Reading Cardiology Associates offer expert care for blood clots including a pulmonary embolism response team (PERT) and also provides preventative care. Our team of experts uses cutting-edge technology to remove blockages in the heart. We strive to deliver expert, exceptional care before, during, and after your surgical procedures and provide recovery and deliver follow-up care during your recovery.

How Can Chest Pain Be Prevented?

To reduce the risk of heart disease, follow a healthy lifestyle which includes:

  • Exercise several days of the week
  • Consume a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake
  • Manage existing conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension

At Reading Cardiology Associates, we can help you get to the root cause of your chest pain. We offer comprehensive evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and state-of-the-art surgical procedures. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online.