Chest Pain: When It Might Not Be a Heart Attack

Heart DiseaseMost people more often than not think of heart attack when they hear chest pain, but there are many other conditions and diseases that could actually trigger this common warning sign. Some, such as the chest muscle you inadvertently strained lifting weights last week, are more bothersome than serious. But, others could be potentially fatal.

Below are five conditions that could result in chest pain: 

  1. The Common Muscle Strain – You could easily mistake a pulled chest muscle for something that’s more serious, such as a heart attack. Basically, if you’re able to press your chest wall and feel it becoming more painful, chances are that it’s probably a strained muscle than a heart-related condition.
  2. Heartburn – Also called gastroesophageal reflux happens when the contents of your stomach, which include gastric acids for breaking down food, come right back up into your esophagus. Take note that stomach acids are extremely acidic, thus that intense, burning feeling in your chest.
  3. Acute Pancreatitis – Just because that pain in your chest you are feeling is not related to a heart attack does not mean that it’s not life threatening. For one, acute pancreatitis. This occurs when your pancreas, located behind your stomach, suddenly becomes inflamed and causes intense stomach pain that could extend up to your chest. An urgent care professional warns that if you believe you have pancreatitis, you must seek emergency care immediately.
  4. Pericarditis – If you have been fighting a viral infection for the past several days, have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and then wake up one morning feeling a stabbing, sharp pain in your chest, it might be pericarditis. This occurs when tissue layers surrounding your heart becomes inflamed. While this condition is typically benign, it could significantly affect the quality of life.
  5. CAD or Coronary Artery DiseaseThis heart disease is a result of plaque buildup in your arteries, which in turn cuts off proper blood flow to your heart, causing chest pain. Although CAD’s main complication is a heart attack, it could likewise contribute to arrhythmias and heart failure.
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Take immediate action when you feel significant chest pain. Many people have passed away at home because they thought that their symptoms didn’t warrant emergency care, but turned out to be a heart attack. If you haven’t felt it before, or if chest pain comes and goes, or gets worse whether you’re at rest or moving about, you must have it checked out as soon as possible. If you feel like passing out, call for emergency help immediately.