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Have occasional bouts of chest pain. Suggest the treatment?

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I have occasional bouts of chest pain, sometimes I wake up from it at night. It never lasts longer than 20 minutes. There are no other symptoms. It is moderate to severe. I am a 54 yr old female, weigh 150 lbs. don't have high blood pressure, do plenty of physical work during the day.
Posted Tue, 5 Nov 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Anjana Rao Kavoor 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Please find detailed answer below

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing in to us.

Chest pain comes in many varieties, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. Some types of chest pain can be described as crushing or burning. In certain cases, the pain travels up the neck, pierces through to the back or radiates down one or both arms.

Many different types of problems can cause chest pain. The most life-threatening ones involve the heart or lungs. Because it can be difficult to determine what exactly is causing chest pain, it's best to seek immediate medical help.

Heart problems that can cause chest pain:

1. Angina or a heart attack is pain that occurs because your heart is not getting enough blood and oxygen. The most common symptom is chest pain that may feel like tightness, heavy pressure, squeezing, or crushing pain. The pain may spread to the arm, shoulder, jaw, or back.
2. A tear in the wall of the aorta, the large blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body (aortic dissection) causes sudden, severe pain in the chest and upper back.
3. Swelling (inflammation) in the sac that surrounds the heart (pericarditis) causes pain in the center part of the chest.

Lung problems that can cause chest pain:

1. A blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
2. Collapse of the lung (pneumothorax)
3. Inflammation of the lining around the lung (pleurisy) can cause chest pain that usually feels sharp, and often gets worse when you take a deep breath or cough.
4. Pneumonia causes a sharp chest pain that often gets worse when you take a deep breath or cough.

Other causes of chest pain:

1. Panic attack, which often occurs with fast breathing
2. Inflammation where the ribs join the breast bone or sternum (costochondritis)
3. Shingles, which causes sharp, tingling pain on one side that stretches from the chest to the back, and may cause a rash
4. Strain or inflammation of the muscles and tendons between the ribs

Chest pain can also be due to the following digestive system problems:

1. Spasms or narrowing of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach)
2. Gallstones cause pain that gets worse after a meal (most often a fatty meal)
3. Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
4. Stomach ulcer or gastritis (burning pain occurs if your stomach is empty and feels better when you eat food)

Please do not ignore your chest pain and get yourself clinically examined by an XXXXXXX medicine physician. Having normal blood pressure and/ or doing physical activity does not rule out any of the possible serious causes involving the heart and lungs as mentioned above.

I hope this helps.
Do write back in case of doubts.

Dr.A.Rao Kavoor
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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