5 Common Causes of Chest Pain and What to do About It

5 Common Causes of Chest Pain and What to do About It

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. But it’s not the most common cause of chest pain. That title belongs to digestive disorders such as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

But heart-related chest pain is often mistaken for indigestion, and many people with GERD also have heart disease. So, when should you see a doctor for chest pain? Always. However, whether you call 911 or schedule an office visit may depend on what type of pain you’re having.  

Read what the board-certified cardiologists, electrophysiologists, and physician assistants at Premier Cardiology Consultants in New York say about chest pain and why it deserves attention.

Five causes of chest pain and what to do when it happens

1. Heart attack

We encourage everyone to take chest pain seriously because it’s a common heart attack symptom, and immediate care can save your life.

Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you experience:

Many people also report increasing restlessness and anxiety during a heart attack, which may indicate that your brain is signaling an alarm related to decreased blood flow and available oxygen.

2. Angina

Angina is a type of chest pain that signals decreased blood flow to your heart. It’s a common symptom of coronary artery disease, and a warning that your arteries are partially but not yet completely blocked.

The symptoms of angina are similar to those experienced during a heart attack but may worsen with activity and decrease when you rest. Because angina can come and go, many people mistake it for heartburn or another non-heart-related issue.  

Angina also requires immediate medical attention, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease or develop worsening symptoms of previously diagnosed angina.   

3. Digestive disorders

GERD and other digestive disorders often cause classic symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn that may develop after a heavy meal or when you lay down at night.

However, digestive issues can also cause intense pain in the center of your chest, sweating, nausea, upper abdominal discomfort, and squeezing chest discomfort.

Because many of these symptoms are also common to cardiac issues, including a heart attack, it’s best to schedule a visit or consider immediate care if your symptoms are worse than you’ve experienced in the past. When in doubt, however, call 911.

4. Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) is life-threatening and requires emergency medical care. It’s usually caused by a clot (deep venous thrombosis or DVT) in a leg vein breaking away and traveling to the lungs.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism (PE) include:

Call 911 if you develop symptoms of PE since immediate care can save your life.

5. Non-cardiac chest pain

Chest pain is a common symptom of many non-cardiac issues, including:

Schedule an evaluation at Premier Cardiology Consultants today for more information about chest pain, an assessment regarding your heart health, or other services we offer. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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