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Chest Pain Overview (cont.)

What are the signs and symptoms that occur with chest pain?

This signs the symptoms of cardiac chest pain are chest discomfort, including pressure, squeezing, heaviness, or burning sometimes associated with a sensation of choking or shortness of breath. The discomfort is often described as ranging from sharp to dull and is usually located in the upper abdomen, back, neck, jaw, left arm, or shoulders. It can be precipitated by

  • exertion,
  • eating,
  • exposure to cold, and/or
  • emotional stress

and usually lasts about 1 to 5 minutes. For some, this pain is relieved by rest or from taking the medication nitroglycerin. The pain intensity usually doesn't change with respiration, cough or position change. Classically, cardiac chest pain is in the left chest. However, it may occur in the center or right chest.

Non-cardiac chest pain may have many of the above symptoms. However, non-cardiac chest pain may change with respiration, cough, or position. Regardless, chest pain is not normal and should be diagnosed by a doctor because it can represent a serious health risk.

Women may have somewhat different cardiac chest pain symptoms including more nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms. Pregnant women may experience chest pain from heartburn, indigestion, enlarged breasts, pressure (baby putting pressure on diaphragm/ribs), widening of the rib cage, and stress. In children and teens, chest wall pain is the most common cause of chest pain. Rarely is there a heart problem in these ages, but it can occur with conditions such as Marfan syndrome or tearing of the aorta.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/29/2016

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