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Chest Pain

  • Heart Attack

    Signs & Symptoms

    •  Chest pressure, squeezing, burning, tightness, or pain (may spread to the arm, neck, back, tooth, or jaw).

    •  Chest discomfort with: Shortness of breath; sweating; nausea; fast or uneven pulse; lightheadedness; fainting.

    •  Chest pain that does not respond to medicine for a person with angina or heart problems.

    What To Do

    Call 9-1-1!

  • Dissecting Aortic Aneurysm

    This is a tear in the main artery from the heart.

    Signs & Symptoms

    •  Severe chest pain with extreme pain felt across the upper back (not just on one side) that came on within 15 minutes without an injury, back strain, etc. The pain can spread to the abdomen.

    •  A knife-like sensation from front to back.

    •  Dizziness and fainting.

    What To Do

    Call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency department of a hospital! Do not take aspirin.

  • Blood clot(s) to the lungs.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Chest pain that gets worse when taking deep breaths and occurs with any of these conditions:

    •  Sudden shortness of breath and severe problems breathing.

    •  Rapid heartbeat.

    •  Cough with bloody sputum.

    •  Sudden onset of chest pain with calf pain.

    •  Long periods of being immobile from bed rest, recent surgery, or prolonged travel.

    What To Do

    Call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency department of a hospital!

  • Collapsed Lung

    Trauma to the chest is the main cause.

    Signs & Symptoms

    •  Sudden and sharp chest pain or tightness with breathing.

    •  Increasing shortness of breath.

    What To Do

    Call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency department of a hospital!

  • Angina

    Signs & Symptoms

    Squeezing, pressure, indigestion feeling, or pain (often dull) in the chest. The pain may spread to the arm, neck, jaw, or back. Symptoms come on or are made worse by stress or physical exertion. They ease with rest.

    What To Do

    See Angina.

  • Shingles

    Signs & Symptoms

    The pain is on only one side of the chest and is not affected by breathing. A burning feeling and a skin rash are at the site of the pain.

    What To Do

  • Tuberculosis (TB)

    Chronic lung infection with a certain bacteria.

    Signs & Symptoms

    What To Do

    Vague pain in the chest (if any). Shortness of breath; chronic fatigue; cough with phlegm or blood; night sweats; appetite and weight loss; and fever.

    See doctor.

  • Heartburn or Hiatal Hernia.

    {Note: This could also signal a heart attack.}

    Signs & Symptoms

    Burning feeling in the chest or just above the stomach that comes and goes before, during, or after eating. It gets worse when you bend over or lie down.

  • Pleurisy

    The membrane that surrounds the lungs is inflamed. Muscle strain or rib injury.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Chest pain that worsens with deep breaths, coughing, or touching the chest or ribs.

    What To Do

    See doctor for diagnosis.

  • Flu, Pneumonia, Bronchitis, or Other Upper Respiratory Infection

    Signs & Symptoms

    Chest pain with fever and coughing up green, yellow, or gray mucus.

    What To Do

    See doctor.

  • Precordial Catch Syndrome

    This harmless, recurrent problem usually occurs in young adults.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Sudden, sharp pain below the left nipple that lasts less than a minute or so.

    What To Do

    See doctor for diagnosis. Try daily stretching exercises to reduce getting these pains.

  • Costochondritis

    This is inflammation where the ribs attach to the breastbone.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Pain and tender feeling in the upper part of the chest. The pain gets worse when pressure is applied to the area. It can get worse with deep breaths, too.

    What To Do

    See doctor for diagnosis. Take an OTC medicine for pain and swelling. Apply a heating pad set on low or a hot water bottle to the area of pain.

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