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A cardiologist holds a stethoscope to check her patient's heart rate and rhythm.

Chest pain

There are many types of chest pain, ranging from dull aches to sharp stabbing and burning. Chest pain can extend into other parts of the body, usually the neck, jaw, or arms. If you are experiencing chest pain, do not wait to seek help, as it is usually a sign of a more serious condition.

What are the symptoms of chest pain?

Chest pain stemming from heart problems is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Cold sweats
  • Crushing pain in areas of the upper body
  • Dizziness
  • Extended periods of pain made worse by activity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pressure, tightness, or burning sensations in the chest


Chest pain caused by non-heart related conditions is more likely to have symptoms such as:

  • A sour taste in the mouth
  • Longlasting, persistent pain
  • Pain caused by breathing and coughing
  • Pain that increases or decreases when you change positions
  • Tenderness in the chest
  • Trouble swallowing

What are the causes of chest pain?

Chest pain can be caused by a variety of conditions occurring in the heart, lungs, GI tract, muscles, and bones.

  • Inflammation of the sac around the heart
  • Heartburn
  • Injured ribs
  • High blood pressure in the lung arteries
  • Panic attack

What are the risk factors for chest pain?

  • Age
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

How do I prevent chest pain?

  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in sodium and high in Omega-3
  • Exercise for 30 minutes daily, as you’re able
  • Lower your blood pressure

How do you treat chest pain?

Treatment for chest pain varies depending on what is causing the pain, but it may include medication or surgical procedures.

Medication treatment for chest pain

  • Artery relaxers
  • Aspirin
  • Thrombolytic drugs
  • Blood thinners
  • Acid-suppressing medications
  • Antidepressants


Surgical treatment for chest pain

  • Angioplasty and stent placement
  • Coronary bypass surgery
  • Dissection repair
  • Lung reinflation

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