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Does Chest Pain Means Heart Attack? Types and Causes of Chest Pain

Updated: Apr 4

Have you ever felt a sharp pang or burning sensation in your upper body? You may be suffering from chest pain without realizing its consequences. Don’t be alarmed! It is normal for you to ask questions like “does chest pain cause a heart attack”. However, there is a world of chest pain causes that you are probably unaware of.

Chest pain doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cardiological issues. If you treat the symptom without diagnosing the root chest pain cause, it can quickly become disastrous for your health.


Read along if you want to gain more knowledge about the types and causes of chest pain. Remember that learning to differentiate chest pain symptoms that are not related to heart attack can also save your loved ones in times of need.


3 Chest Pain Causes Apart from a Heart Attack

Apart from the heart, chest pain can originate from 3 different parts of your body.

  1. Lungs

You may experience chest pain on both sides due to inflammation in the lining of your lungs. Some people also complain of chest pain after smoking. The scientific term used to refer to such a phenomenon is called Pleuritis.

Reasons for such inflammation may be pneumonia, pneumothorax, asthma, lung abscess or pulmonary hypertension among others.


A major symptom that differentiates Pleuritis from cardiological abnormalities is experiencing a sharp pain during coughing, sneezing or wheezing.

Expectedly so, the treatment of chest pain originating from the lungs is different from that originating from the heart!

Consult a professional pulmonologist at the earliest if you are experiencing similar symptoms. This may help you prevent health complications in the long run!


2. Muscles and Nerves

Chest pain can also originate from a possible injury in the muscular structure of your upper body. For example, overtraining at the gym or pulling a muscle when lifting a heavy weight can also become one of the many chest pain causes that are difficult to recognize.


Apart from inflammation in the lining of the lungs as mentioned above, you may also rupture your muscles or tendons with heavy sneezing or coughing. This can eventually turn into chest pain giving you the illusion of a cardiological issue.


3. Gastric Issues

One of the most common mistakes that people make when identifying chest pain is mistaking gastric issues to be a sign of heart attack! Many studies have documented a similarity in the risk factors and symptoms associated with the two afflictions.


However, there are a few distinctive symptoms which may help you differentiate a gastrointestinal disorder from a heart attack.


If you experience excessive burping, bloating, signs of indigestion, a loss of appetite or a constant feeling of nausea along with chest pain, it may be chest gas pain.

Consult a professional gastroenterologist at the earliest to uncover the root cause of your chest pain.


Heart Attack Symptoms

It may be difficult to identify and reduce heart attack risks but being informed about the distinctive symptoms of a heart attack can help you get help in time. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the first and foremost cause of a heart attack.

However, infrequent health checkups and medical negligence can easily become disastrous for your heart health.

Watch out for these 5 major heart attack symptoms if you’re experiencing chest pain.

  • Chest pain on the left side or discomfort in the center of your chest

  • Odd pain in the neck, back or near the jaw

  • Breathlessness and discomfort in breathing

  • Ringing pain in one or both the arms

  • Feeling light-headed, as if you are about to faint

If you experience any or all of these heart attack symptoms, it is most advisable for you to consult a cardiologist and rule out the possibility of a heart attack.


Heart Attack Cases in India After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things in the Indian healthcare sector. With little to no information about the long-term impact of COVID-19, it is difficult to discern data about heart attack cases after the pandemic. However, 2020 and 2021 numbers show a visible spike in worsening heart health cases – particularly in the young population.


Featured Experts on John Hopkins Medicine say that COVID-19 has been linked with damaged heart muscles and depreciated heart function. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus damages the lining of blood vessels which can further compromise blood flow to and from the heart.


Can COVID-19 exacerbate an existing cardiological issue? Experts say that severe symptomatic COVID-19 can have a likely long-term impact on heart health but mild or asymptomatic cases generally do not indicate any worry.


How Can We Prevent a Heart Attack?

With chest pain and heart attack symptoms on the rise even in the younger generations, we have to protect our heart health with healthy lifestyle changes.

Stop smoking or restrict smoking to a bare minimum to avoid chest congestion. This can prevent chest pain originating from the lungs.


Nutritious food is a must to improve your heart health and prevent heart attack. Eat healthy greens and cut down processed food to reduce High blood cholesterol. Ensure that your blood pressure is in the normal range of 120/80 mmHg for optimum heart health.


Regulate your weight and maintain an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can prevent a lot of heart complications. Most importantly, ensure that you are not stressed out. Stress can negatively impact your cardiological wellbeing and cause chest pain in the long run.


Conclusion

Chest pain has become increasingly common among people of all age groups especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, minor lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

With the increasing incidence of heart attacks and other cases of chest pain, it is all the more important for us to be aware about chest pain causes. Knowing how to identify a heart attack when it occurs can possibly save your life or that of your loved ones.


Stay vigilant about your health and share this article with your loved ones suffering from cardiovascular abnormalities.

 

The Author :

Dr. Sunil Khattri

sunilkhattri@gmail.com

+91 9811618704


Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.


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