Chest pains can be caused by serious, life-threatening heart or lung diseases. However, also more benign illnesses in the stomach and the back can cause chest pains. You must call the doctor immediately, if the chest pains arise in connection with physical activity, if the chest pains radiate out into your left arm or if the chest pains are so strong that it makes you sweat and feel uncomfortable.
Often chest pains leads to contacting your doctor. Many fear that something is wrong with the heart. However, it does not have to be that severe. Chest pains can be caused by serious, life-threatening illnesses but also more benign illnesses can cause chest pains.
Possible serious, life-threatening illnesses:
- Heart diseases
- Lung diseases
A common serious cause of chest pains is heart diseases. It can be a coronary thrombosis or angina. In both cases, the blood supply to the heart is weakened and this causes chest pains.
If you have a coronary thrombosis, the pain is sudden. The pain is located in the middle of the chest, behind the breastbone and is described as oppressive and very strong. The pain may radiate out into the left arm or up into the jaw. Nausea and vomiting may occur. Most people feel ill at ease and sweat.
The pain connected to angina is not quite as strong as in the case of a coronary thrombosis but otherwise they are described as being similar. Typical for angina is that the pain arises in connection with strain like for example running, work or similar activities. They disappear again, if you stop straining yourself.
The pain connected to angina can therefore be distinguished from a coronary thrombosis by being less strong and by disappearing again when you stop straining yourself.
The most common lung disease that may cause chest pains is pneumonia. Pneumonia appears as fever, cough and trouble with breathing.
Possible more benign illnesses:
- Illnesses in the back
- Illnesses in the stomach
Illnesses in the stomach may cause chest pains. This is the case of gallstone and sore stomach.
Pain caused by gallstone arise shortly after a meal – especially if you have eaten fatty or smoked foods. The pain is locate in the soft triangle at the very top of the stomach, right below the middle of the chest or out to the right in the stomach under the ribs. Typically, the pains radiate up into the right shoulder. The pain comes in attacks and disappears by itself again after a few hours. Often, nausea and vomiting occur together with the pain.
Sore stomach appears as discomfort or pain in the topmost part of the stomach. The pain arrive approximately a couple of hours after a meal. Some describe it as the same sensation of feeling hungry. The pain is soothed when you eat a little or drink a glass of milk – but they return again and again. Many people also complain about heartburn.
Illnesses in the back can radiate round to the chest. Sometimes, the pain is only located in the chest – event though it is an illness in the back causing it. The pain is described as a stab with a knife in the chest and worsens when breathing deeply – like when you have side stitch.