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Discomfort chest above heart almost in shoulder, feels food is stuck. Belching provide relief. No hernia. Suggestions?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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For about 5 days now, I feel like food is getting stuck between my chest/abdomen. It causes me mild discomfort in the middle of my chest/back. Also have some discomfort on the left side of chest above heart almost in shoulder area? it doesnt necessarily bother me during the course of the day, more so after I eat. Belching does provide relief although it is constant? I am hoping it is nothing serious, but with the location being close to the heart it does make me a bit anxious? I had a cat scan on my stomach about a year ago to rule out a possible hernia, but everything came back negative. Any suggestions?
Posted Mon, 20 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 45 minutes later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Chest pain or discomfort can be related to any of the structures in the chest:(1) the skin (2) the muscles and soft tissue (3) the heart (4) the lungs (5) the bones such as the sternum and ribs (6) the esophagus

The pain related to the heart most commonly occurs is there is a decreased blood supply to the heart, this reduced supply would be felt usually when the persons is active because this is when the heart needs the most blood.
It would be associated with shortness of breath, palpitations and in some cases increased sweating.This is called angina. It is more likely if there is a history of high blood pressure, previous heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and inactivity, smoking , family history of heart disease and diabetes.
In the case of a heart attack where the pain is more constant, this pain would be severe and you would need to be in the hospital because in a heart attack- the heart is not working. A person would not be able to survive 5 days with a persisting heart attack if not in hospital.

The fact that the pain has been occurring mainly after you eat, associated with some relief on burping and a feeling of food being stuck implies that it may be related to the esophagus.
GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease can present with all the symptoms that you have mentioned. It may also be associated with bloating, burning sensation in the chest in some persons.
It is treated by lifestyle changes and medication. The lifestyle changes involve
(1)the use of less fried/fatty/spicy/acid/citric food,
(2)using smaller portions,
(3)waiting at least 2 hrs after eating before lying down,
(4)weight loss if there is any excess weight
If the life style medication by itself is not effective then medication is available. Some of the most commonly used medications are: nexium, prilosec, pravacid

Even though your symptoms do not necessarily imply heart disease because of your age , it may be best to have a baseline heart evaluation so that you know where you stand and your level of risk for a future event.
This would involve an examination by your doctor, blood tests for cholesterol levels and an ECG.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
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