Common Causes of Chest Pain You Should Know

Chest Pain

Chest pain can be a symptom of numerous conditions, some of which are life-threatening. Here are some common causes of chest pain categorized by the system they affect:

Cardiovascular Causes

1. Acute Coronary Syndrome: This is a term used to describe conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart, such as a heart attack.

2. Aortic Dissection: This life-threatening condition involves the main artery leading from the heart (aorta). If the inner layers of this blood vessel separate, blood surges through the opening, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to dissect (tear apart).

3. Pericarditis and Cardiac Tamponade: Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, two thin layers of a sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart. Cardiac tamponade is a serious medical condition in which blood or fluids fill the space between the sac that encases the heart and the heart muscle.

4. Stable Angina Pectoris: This refers to chest pain or discomfort caused by coronary heart disease. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get as much blood as it needs.

Chest Wall Causes

1. Costochondritis or Tietze’s Syndrome: These are types of chest wall pain believed to be caused by inflammation of the costochondral, costosternal, or sternoclavicular joints or may involve the ribs themselves.

2. Fibromyalgia: This is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.

3. Radiculopathy: This is a condition due to a compressed nerve in the spine that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the course of the nerve.

4. Herpes Zoster: Also known as shingles, it’s an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

Psychological Causes

1. Somatisation Disorder: This is a mental disorder characterized by recurring, multiple, and current, clinically significant complaints about somatic symptoms.

2. Anxiety and Panic Disorders: These disorders can cause symptoms that mimic those of heart disease or other physical conditions.

3. Hypochondriasis: Now known as illness anxiety disorder, it’s a condition in which a person worries excessively that they are seriously ill.

Pulmonary Causes

1. Pulmonary Embolism: This is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs.

2. Pneumothorax: This is a collapsed lung.

3. Pneumonia Pleurisy: Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which are the two large, thin layers of tissue that separate your lungs from your chest wall.

Gastrointestinal Causes

1. Oesophageal Reflux Disease: Also known as GERD, it’s a chronic disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates the lining.

2. Hiatus Hernia Cholecystitis: A hiatus hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm. Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder.

3. Gastritis: This refers to inflammation, erosion, or irritation of the lining of the stomach.

4. Pancreatitis: This is inflammation in the pancreas.

Other Causes

1. Da Costa’s Syndrome: Also known as soldier’s heart, it’s a syndrome with symptoms of chest pain, palpitations, breathlessness, and fatigue.

2. Bornholm Disease: Also known as epidemic pleurodynia, it’s characterized by severe paroxysmal chest pain and fever.

It’s important to remember that chest pain should always be taken seriously. If you or someone else experiences new or unexplained chest pain, seek medical attention immediately.

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