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What Does Your Chest Pain Mean?



What Does Your Chest Pain Mean?

Although people ignore mild chest pain, it may indicate a severe underlying condition that needs extensive treatment. Your Tomball, TX nurse practitioner at Northwest Houston Heart Center is dedicated to detecting the root cause of your pain and offering the treatment you need to restore the quality of your life.

Why do you have chest pain?

Chest pain may occur in various intensities ranging from a mild ache to a sharp stab that makes you clutch your chest. The pain may radiate up your neck and down your arm or back in some cases. Chest pain can be due to several causes, including strained chest muscles, stress, and lower respiratory tract infections. Extreme cold can also trigger dull or sharp chest pain, especially when sneezing or coughing.

In some cases, chest pain may signify underlying heart problems that may cause life-threatening complications if not caught early. Angina and heart-related chest pain may indicate a heart disorder and the damage caused is reversible if treated early. Angina rarely improves with nitroglycerin or rest.

How can you know if you have heart-related chest pain?

The severity of your chest relies on the root cause. Rarely does chest pain indicate a heart problem, but when it does, your symptoms may persist or worsen over time until you seek medical attention. Most people with heart disease claim that all they experience is vague discomfort that may not pass as pain; you may not know its existence until it is advanced.

Typically, chest pain due to heart disease may cause tightness or fullness in your chest, cold sweats, shortness of breath, searing or crushing pain that travels down your arms or back, and dizziness. The prevalent heart disease with a signature symptom of chest pain is coronary artery disease.

How does your doctor diagnose chest pain?

During your appointment at Northwest Houston Heart Center, your specialist conducts a physical exam to detect the cause of your discomfort. Your exam may include measuring your blood pressure, monitoring your heart and lungs, and calculating your cholesterol levels. The team may then conduct an electrocardiogram, a painless diagnostic procedure that records your heart’s vital signs. Your doctor may also recommend an echocardiogram to achieve an accurate diagnosis.

Suppose these tests don’t detect the underlying cause, your doctor may resort to other diagnostic procedures, including a nuclear stress test, cardiac PET scan, event monitoring, and Holter monitoring. Understanding the triggers of your chest pain or discomfort is the first step to recovery.

What treatments can alleviate your chest pain?

If you experience a sudden, unexplained chest that worsens with every second that passes or suspect that you have a heart attack, contact 911 immediately. Don’t ignore symptoms that may jeopardize your life or cause irreversible damage to your heart. Your care plan depends on the root cause of your pain. Some of the treatments you may benefit from include blood-thinning, artery relaxants, weight loss, and cholesterol-lowering medications.

If these conservative treatments don’t relieve your pain, your specialist may suggest stenting and balloon angioplasty. A coronary artery bypass may also alleviate your symptoms.

To detect the triggers of your chest pain, call the Northwest Houston Heart Center or book an appointment online.