There are lots of different types of chest pain, and most people will have it at some point in their lives. Many of the causes are not serious, but it is important that if you have chest pain, you get it checked out. This is because some pains can come from the heart and if not treated quickly can turn serious.
Causes that a doctor will work through include indigestion, heart problems, lung problems, and muscle problems.
Heart problems include things like angina. This is where not enough blood can get to the heart because of narrowings in the arteries. This can be worse for example when people walk or go out in the cold. A heart attack or stroke is often unlikely, but if you have had one before it is especially important that you look after your heart for the future. Sometimes heart problems can run in families too, so it is often useful to know a bit about your family history.
There are a few different tests that are often used to work out what the cause of chest pain is. These are often simple, are quick to do, and do not hurt.
There are loads of good treatments available for chest pain, which will depend on what the cause is. These can include advice on lifestyle changes, like giving up smoking and weight loss, tablets, and in more serious cases things like stents, which are like small metal jackets that help to keep a heart artery open. Sometimes patients are seen just the once and discharged, sometimes it is recommended to have follow up appointments, for example to see if a particular treatment is working.
Are you worried about chest pains or palpitations?