What is chest pain?
The reasons behind chest pain can simply categorize into two groups; cardiac origin (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, aortic dissection) and noncardiac causes (pulmonary disease, esophageal disorder e.g. GERD, neuromuscular diseases, panic disorder). The most life-threatening scenario would be cardiac origin pain caused by the coronary artery stenosis or occlusion, result in chest pain or discomfort by ischemia of the heart muscle.
Symptom of chest pain:
Even though most cases of chest pain were caused by minor illness, the severity of chest pain varies since the cause is different; therefore, it is essential to learn to identify the type of chest pain that is life-threatening, general chest pain caused by heart can be a heavy feeling in the chest. Sometimes the pain can radiate left shoulder, left arm, neck, jaw, upper abdomen, gum. Other concomitant symptoms will occasionally appear at shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, cold sweating, dizziness, paleness, and weakness in limbs. Although these symptoms are not necessarily indications of heart disease, the patient is recommended to seek medical care as early as possible.
Treatment for chest pain:
The physician will arrange exams e.g. ECG,CXR, upper GI endoscopy gastroscopy, blood test according to the patient’s symptom, medical history and physical examination to make a comprehensive diagnosis. And to provide an appropriate diagnosis with following treatments, cardiac catheterization will be arranged when necessary. Mentally, suitably stress relief or seek a psychiatrist for medical prescription can be a better support.
You need tell medical doctor to assess your chest pain:
- Your age, medical history, family history of heart disease
- Site-where is the pain?
- Onset-when did the pain start?
- Characteristics - what is the pain like (aching, tight, stabbing)?
- Radiation - does the pain spread anywhere else?
- Associated symptoms - are there any other signs or symptoms associated with pain?
- Timing - how long does it last? How often does it occur?
- Exacerbating or relieving factors - does anything make it worse or better?
- Severity-how bad is the pain?
Notes on daily life:
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Control blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
- Reduce saturated fats, hydrogenated fats and cholesterol in your diet, but increase carbohydrates, fibers, fruits, and vegetables instead.
- Limit alcohol consumption < 30ml per day, menopause females and elderly should halve their consumption.
- Reduce sodium in your diet, e.g. canned foods. Also avoid caffeine products, e.g. coffee, tea, coke no more than 300~400cc
- Maintain regular bowel habits; don’t strain to get the stool out.
- Avoid food consumption 2hrs prior bedtime or elevate you head while asleep, which can prevent gastro esophageal reflux during the night
- Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes to release pressure
- Avoid using extremely cold or hot water for taking a bath, shower is also recommended
- Keep yourself warm. Hypothermia can cause vasoconstriction, elevated blood pressure, which is not good for your heart. Especially when going outdoor during winter, make sure to warm up your body before going out for exercise.
- American Heart Association. (2017). Angina (Chest Pain). Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/heartorg/conditions/heart attack/ diagnosing heartattack/angina-chest-pain_UCM_450308_article.jsp#wus9q4vojzu
- Marko, B., & Babar, H. (2018). Evaluation of chest pain. Atlas of Handheld Ultrasound. (pp179-182). Switzerland.
- Yamasaki, T., & Fass, R., (2017). Noncardiac chest pain: diagnosis and management. current opinion in gastroenterology, 33(4). 293-300. doi.org/10.1097/MOG.0000000000000374