Chest Pain Overview Topic Guide
Chest Pain: Chest pain has a variety of noncardiac and cardiac causes, some of which can be very serious. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include burning, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest. Atherosclerosis, angina, lung tumors, chest trauma, abdominal pain, and gastric reflux are just a few potential causes of chest pain. Chest pain is diagnosed by taking the patient history and performing a physical exam. Blood work, imaging tests, and an exercise stress test may be ordered. The treatment and prognosis of chest pain depends on the underlying cause.
Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries) Hardening of the arteries (arthrosclerosis) is a disorder that occurs when fat and cholesterol are deposited in the walls of the arteries, and harden into plaque that can block arteries. Cause is unknown, but risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, diet, age, being male or African-American. Hardening of the arteries may range from no symptoms, to heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death. Treatment includes lifestyle modification, medications, or surgery.