Chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack or other serious problem. In medical language, chest pain caused by coronary heart disease or lack of proper blood flow to the heart muscle is called angina pectoris.
Common symptoms of angina pectoris include:
- Uncomfortable pressure in the chest
- Fullness or squeezing sensation around the heart area
- Pain in the center of the chest
- Jaw pain
- Back pain
- Shoulder or neck pain
Not all chest pain is heart-related. Common conditions such as inflammation, indigestion, heartburn and lung infection can all cause angina pectoris-like discomfort. If you have chest pain or other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately to find out whether you are having a heart attack or have a serious heart problem. The sooner you go to a doctor, the sooner you can receive proper – even life-saving – treatment.
What Causes Angina Pectoris?
Angina pectoris occurs when a decrease in blood flow limits the oxygen and vital nutrients reaching the cells inside the heart muscle. The lack of blood flow often results when the arteries that supply the heart with blood are blocked with fatty deposits and other cellular waste, called plaque. In response to the lower flow, your heart will start using less efficient blood-pumping methods to take in oxygen and nutrients.
There are different types of angina pectoris, including:
- Stable angina: Predictable pain linked directly to a trigger, such as physical exertion or high stress.
- Unstable angina: Random pain that is often more frequent, severe or long-lasting than stable angina and could indicate an impending heart attack.
- Prinzmetal’s angina: Pain that occurs when your blood flow slows while you are sleeping or exposed to colder temperatures.
If you have experienced chest pain, visit a doctor as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms and determine whether you need treatment. Early detection is critical for proper medical therapy, whether you need medication, surgery, lifestyle changes or any other interventions. Contact Brookhaven Heart today at 631-65-HEART (631-654-3278) to find out more.