Chest tightness can be caused by many things and it may be
difficult to pinpoint the reason for your discomfort on your own.
Because it could be a symptom of a serious medical condition, it should
not be ignored. It is described as a tight feeling or pressure in your
chest that occurs anywhere from your neck to your upper abdomen.
Tightness in the chest can occur with or without pain. When
you experience it, you may feel like you have difficulty
breathing and other symptoms. You could be short of breath, have
wheezing, coughing, and
pain when you take a deep breath. The symptoms you experience along
with your chest discomfort will depend upon the cause and can also
include nausea, indigestion, a fluttery feeling in your heart,
dizziness, and gray skin color.
Chest tightness can arise from
any organ in your chest, your heart, lungs, esophagus, or even your
ribs, tendons, and muscles. Many people associate it with a heart
attack but there are other medical conditions that can cause it. Heart
problems that cause pericarditis
inflammation of the heart tissue and angina. Angina
feel like tightness, heavy pressure, squeezing, or even crushing pain.
Heart attack pain is usually more severe in men, but women tend to have
less pain and feel tightness and discomfort instead when having an
and infection can cause tightness as
the airways swell and spasm. Asthma is often accompanied by a feeling
of chest constriction. Inflammation anywhere in the chest can cause a
feeling of tightness. This includes: costochondritis, or an
along the ribs. Heartburn and stomach problems as well as esophageal
spasms can all contribute to the condition.
Anxiety and panic
are common causes as well. In fact, many of the
symptoms of an
anxiety attack mimic those of a heart attack. People often find out
they are suffering from panic attacks after rushing to the ER with
heart attack symptoms. Because it can be life threatening,
it is best to be on the safe side when experiencing chest tightness
especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms.
What to do
depends upon the cause. If you know the cause is from muscle strain due
to coughing or over-exertion, you can treat it at home by resting and
using heat or ice. Likewise, if you have a chronic condition like
or angina, your doctor has
probably given you instructions on
dealing with tightness when it flares up. Be sure to follow your
doctor's orders carefully to prevent further complications from
Call your doctor if you have chest
tightness accompanied by a cough or lung infection, or if you are
having problems swallowing. Or call 911 if your symptoms are sudden and
accompanied by pain or pressure in your chest, radiate to your jaw,
arm, or shoulder blades, or if you have dizziness, nausea, sweating,
shortness of breath, and a racing heart.
Your doctor can run
medical tests like a chest x-ray to determine the cause of your
chest discomfort. If caused by a lung infection, antibiotics may be
indicated. If caused by heart problems, medications or medical
treatments may be necessary. If your chest symptoms are caused by
anxiety, mental health interventions may be able to help.
only way to know for sure how to treat chest tightness is to uncover
the cause by having a thorough medical examination. Not only will
proper treatment make you feel better physically, it can give you peace
of mind when you don't have to worry about the health of your heart.
from Chest Tightness to Hypertension Symptoms
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