Are you ignoring massive chest pains? If you are, it is important to note that sudden and unexplained chest pains usually indicate underlying heart problems. You should therefore not ignore chest pain that hits you suddenly, whilst working out, walking or resting. The sensation of pressure, crushing or squeezing in your chest could indicate several things. It could indicate something harmless, such as indigestion and stress or something serious such as angina or an impending heart attack. If you experience chest pain that lasts more than fifteen to twenty minutes at rest or if the pain is accompanied by sweating, nausea, loss of consciousness or shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention. The following are the different kinds of chest pain and how to identify them.
- Angina pain
Angina is chest pain that occurs repeatedly. This pain is caused by diminished blood flow to the heart as a result of blockages in the main coronary arteries. It arises from beneath the sternum. You may feel crushing pressure or tightness beneath the sternum. Angina pain signals coronary artery disease. It can be triggered by heavy lifting, strenuous exercise or emotional stress. The most common type of angina pain is stable angina, which lasts a few minutes and occurs during physical exertion. The other type of angina pain is unstable angina. This pain can occur even when you are resting and can last as long as thirty minutes. The other type of angina pain in variant angina. It occurs when sudden spasms take place in the coronary arteries, restricting blood flow to the heart.
- Heart attack pain
Chest pain that is associated with an impending heart attack is more intense than angina pain and it lasts more than fifteen minutes. This pain cannot be relieved by rest. The other signs and symptoms of a heart attack include breathlessness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, irregular or fast heartbeat, dizziness and radiating chest pain to the shoulders, neck and arms.
- Pulmonary embolism
A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of a blood vessel in the lungs. This condition usually occurs when a blood clot blocks the coronary artery. If this happens, you can feel sharp and sudden chest pains. You can suffer a pulmonary embolism if you do not move your legs for a long time such as when travelling for long distances in a plane. The chest pains associated with a pulmonary embolism are often accompanied by a fast heartbeat and breathlessness. The pain can worsen if you cough or take deep breaths.
- Aortic dissection
This is a serious condition that occurs when the inner layer of the aorta tears. After blood surges through the tear, the middle and inner layers of the aorta separate or dissect. An aortic dissection can be fatal if the blood filled channel raptures through the exterior aortic wall. This condition is uncommon and it occurs in men who have attained the age of 60 and above. The symptoms of aortic dissection include sudden severe upper back or chest pain that radiates to the back or to the neck, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness and sudden loss of vision or paralysis of one side of the body.
- Chest wall pain
This pain is generally harmless and can be caused by prolonged coughing, injury, strained chest muscles or tenderness in the bones.
Chest pains have numerous underlying causes. It is essential to seek emergency medical assistance if you experience any severe, sudden or recurring chest pain that is not relieved by rest. Early diagnosis and treatment of conditions that cause chest pain can save your life. In order to ensure effective treatment, you should make sure that your medical records are accurate and readily available to physicians. Anyone who resides and works in the UK is required to have a national insurance number. If you do not have this number, you should apply for one as soon as you start working.