One of the most common reasons why people rush to the ER is chest pain. Whether it is mild, moderate, or severe, chest pain of any kind can understandably be a cause of concern. Some cases of chest pain may be harmless, but most often, it is an alarming sign of a serious underlying illness. Read ahead to understand the causes of chest pain and when it is appropriate to seek emergency medical care for this condition.
Common Causes Of Chest Pain
Chest pain is a manifestation of many medical conditions, and it can vary in duration and severity. Some well-known heart conditions that can cause chest pain include:
- Heart Attack: Typically presents as intense, “crushing” pain, often on the left side or center of the chest. Other symptoms may include sweating, nausea, breathlessness, or weakness.
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Characterized by angina, pain from CAD is indicative of potential blockages in the coronary vessels, causing reduced blood flow. It increases the risk of a health attack.
- Pericarditis: Involves inflammation of the protective layer that surrounds the heart, leading to sharp, consistent pain.
- Myocarditis: Refers to inflammation of the heart muscles, potentially causing breathing difficulties, fatigue, fever, and rapid heartbeat.
- Coronary Artery Dissection: A rare yet fatal condition stemming from a tear in the coronary artery. It manifests as intense pain in the neck, chest, and abdomen.
Are All Forms Of Chest Pain Dangerous?
Not all forms of chest pain warrant a trip to the ER, but it can be difficult to understand the seriousness of your condition. This is because it often varies in severity, and even harmless chest pain, such as one associated with heartburn, can be severe enough to cause distress and anxiety.
If you are a known patient of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or another similar condition that is not directly linked to the heart, you may not require emergency medical attention. However, it is better to visit a doctor and confirm the underlying cause to ensure that it does not threaten your health.
When To Seek Emergency Medical Care For Chest Pain?
If you experience sharp, crushing, or persistent chest pain that presents with one or more of the following symptoms, visit the ER as early as possible:
- Pain radiating to the jaw, back, or arms
- Pressure or tightness in your chest
- Abnormal or rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Profuse sweating
- Dizziness or confusion
- Pale skin color
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms may point toward a serious underlying condition that requires urgent care. Leaving them unattended may lead to life-threatening complications.
If you or a loved one experience severe or persistent chest pain, visit your nearest ER as soon as possible. At Emergency Hospital Systems, we are fully equipped with the latest technology to manage all types of medical emergencies. Call us at (281) 592-5410 if you require urgent medical care.