Tightness in the chest can occur for a variety of different reasons. However, when most people begin to feel chest pain, they think of the worst and expect the onset of a heart attack. While chest pain is a severe condition, it’s not always the start of cardiac myopathy. Patients describe the feeling as a stabbing or sharp pain that emanates from the chest into the shoulders or upper back.
Chest pain may come from problems with your nervous system, indigestion, lung issues, or other diseases affecting other parts of the body. Some of these reasons may be life-threatening, while others are harmless. In either case, if you experience chest pain, you should visit your local emergency room immediately for a diagnosis of your condition.
Over one-quarter of Americans experience some form of chest pain during their adult years. Here are eight reasons why you have chest pain. If you experience any of them, have a friend or family member drive you to the casualty ward for assessment.
1. Heart Attack
Each year, more than 1.5-million Americans suffer from heart attacks, with the condition taking the lives of over 800,000-people, that’s one-third of all annual deaths attributed to this condition. A decrease in blood flow to the heart causes cell death leading to sharp shooting pains from the chest to the shoulder and extending down the right or left arm.
Heart attacks typically take hours to manifest, so affected individuals have time to get to the emergency room to seek treatment if they recognize the symptoms early and take action to seek medical help. Upon visiting the emergency room, your doctor will ask you a series of questions to describe what you’re feeling and how the symptoms arrived.
A heart attack usually occurs with a plethora of other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, and nausea. Your survival depends on how quickly you receive treatment, so if you notice any signs of chest pain, its best to take a trip to the emergency room as soon as possible.