Chest pain: when the problem is in the heart
Chest pains can be caused by a variety of diseases and conditions. And they are not always the signal of malfunctions in the cardiovascular system. But any pain or acute chest pain requires a visit to the doctor. Let’s look at exactly those cases where chest pain (or behind the sternum) is a symptom of diseases of the cardiovascular system.
What is a sternum and can it hurt?
A sternum is a flat bone that has an oblong shape and is located in the center of a person’s chest. Behind this bone are important for the human body organs – the heart, lungs, stomach, etc.Speaking of pain in the sternum, mainly refer to the pain in the chest, and not in the bone itself. And these pain syndromes can cause organs and muscles located in the chest, as well as pain associated with other organs and systems in the chest area.
Pain in the chest can be pulling, aching, or vice versa – acute and burning. Localization of pain (in the center, on the left, on the right), irradiation (where the pain goes – to the arm, to the scapula, etc.), the time of day when pain is most often disturbing, physical actions that increase or decrease pain (cough, body position). It is important to pay attention to all these moments and tell about them when you go to a doctor.
When the problem is in the heart and medical assistance is urgently needed
It is important to pay attention to the nature of the pain behind the sternum caused by a number of cardiovascular diseases. Some types of pain are a signal of urgent hospitalization and emergency medical care. And with some you can sign up for a routine inspection by a cardiologist and calmly get tested. So, not always serious conditions requiring urgent hospitalization are accompanied by severe pain. And vice versa. Immediate medical attention is required:
Myocardial infarction (heart attack): the pain can be both pressing and acute, localized to the left of the sternum and extending to the left hand. In severe cases, the pain lasts for about a day (if the person does not apply for medical assistance), is not removed by medication and gives to all parts of the body of the upper half.
Aortic aneurysm: the pain is sudden, severe, gives back, is localized in the area of the shoulder blades.
Pulmonary embolism – the pain is very acute.
Chest pain requiring cardiologist consultation
A serious heart disease that can lead to a heart attack is angina (angina pectoris). With angina, oxygen supply to the heart is reduced, the person feels pain behind the sternum of a pressing nature. Sometimes the pain can be quite strong and accompanied by severe weakness, nausea, sweating. But, unlike a heart attack, with stenocardia, these manifestations disappear in 15-30 minutes.
Chest pains of a different nature, as well as dizziness and headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath and sleep disorders may be accompanied by:
Myocarditis, pericarditis and other inflammatory diseases of the heart tissue
Cardiomyopathy is a disease leading to heart failure due to impaired blood pumping
Prolapse of the mitral valve of the heart, in which the valve does not close completely
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol deposits form on the walls of blood vessels.
These diseases of the heart and blood vessels can be “earned” by bad habits (alcohol, cigarettes), unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and stress. Therefore, for any pain in the chest, it is important to find the true cause and adjust your lifestyle to avoid further health problems.