There are many conditions resulting in chest pain. Before reading any further if you have chest pain and are feeling unwell or shortness of breath or if you have any underlying heart/chest condition, please call 999 immediately.
Chest pain is a very common symptom affecting all age groups but some people are more at risk of serious and potentially life threatening cause than others.
Please note that this article is a very basic rough guide only as it is beyond the scope of this document to fully cover this topic.
'Chest pain' could be very subjective ranging from ache, to cramps, to sharp pain or heaviness. Some people also report as burning or tingling sensation to describe the pain.
The chest pain may or may not be associated with other symptoms. If chest pain is associated with feeling unwell, tightness/heaviness across the chest and feeling sick and sweaty this is very suspicious of a heart attack and either the patient or their carer should call 999 immediately. There are other serious causes such as blood clot in the lungs which can also cause chest pain associated with deep breathing and/or shortness of breath. This is treated similarly in terms of urgency as a heart attack to please call an ambulance immediately.
There are many causes of chest pain. Ranging from serious and potentially life threatening heart and lung related conditions to other non sinister causes such as muscle and bone related conditions and even acid-reflux can sometimes cause heart burn. It is outside the scope of this article to describe each and every cause of chest pain and sometimes the causes are not obvious at presentation.
Please do not self diagnose the cause if you have chest pain and seek expert help promptly if in doubt.
The treatment depends on underlying cause. Your doctor can discuss the treatment in detail once the cause of symptoms have been established. You may need to be referred for further tests including blood tests and Electrocardiogram (ECG) for further assessment of symptoms.
You may be referred to a specialist by your GP if the diagnosis is not certain or if symptoms merit further investigations for example when conditions such as stable angina is suspected.