The Many Causes of Chest Pain
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What are some causes of chest pain?
Chest pain can be a scary thing. The mind immediately goes to a cardiac event, such as heart attack (a blood clot blocking blood flow to the heart) or angina (a temporary restriction of blood flow). There are, however, many chest pain causes that are non-cardiac in nature, but just as alarming. Consider these:
- Heartburn: When stomach acid washes up into the esophagus, it can cause a painful, burning sensation behind the sternum.
- Panic attack: A combination of intense fear with chest pain, rapid heart beat and breathing, sweating, and shortness of breath.
- Pleurisy: Characterized by sharp, localized pain that gets worse when you inhale or cough. This is an inflammatory condition involving either the membrane that lines the chest cavity or that covers the lungs.
- Pulmonary embolism: This life-threatening condition in which a blood clot lodges in a pulmonary artery is usually only seen following surgery or prolonged immobilization.
- Gall bladder or pancreas disease: A problem with either of these organs begins as acute abdominal pain that radiates to the chest.
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