Pain in the sternum, also called chest pain, is most often associated with problems in the functioning of the cardiovascular system. However, this type of illness can mean many other health problems, even diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. What does chest pain mean?
Pain in the sternum – what symptoms accompany it?
Most patients describe eternal pain as a feeling of lacrimation, tingling, or pressure. The pain can be sharp and stitching or dull, spreading and spreading to the surrounding tissue. The pain is often accompanied by bloating, belching, indigestion and burning in the chest. Depending on the cause of the pain, they can be continuous or appear in certain situations, for example, after physical exertion, at rest, with a deep breath, swallowing, coughing or tilting.
Sternum pain – causes
Chest pain can be caused by many factors and conditions. The most common causes of this type of pain that are associated with cardiovascular problems:
Pericarditis – accompanied by constant or periodic pain, but rather acute. Discomfort often worsens when lying down, swallowing, and breathing and worsens when the patient leans forward;
Myocarditis – in addition to pain, there are a number of diseases, such as fever, general weakness, fatigue, and sometimes symptoms characteristic of heart failure;
Angina pectoris – in this case, pain usually occurs after exercise and goes away at rest. The pain is acute, often irradiuyucha in the direction of the forearm or jaw;
Disperse thoracic aortic aneurysm – the pain appears suddenly and is very strong with a destructive character. Sometimes this leads to fainting, limb ischemia, and even a stroke.
Some causes of pain in the sternum that are caused by diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as myocardial infarction, pose a serious threat to the patient’s life. With a heart attack, the pain occurs suddenly and becomes severe, and patients describe it as pressure behind the sternum. Pain can spread towards the left shoulder and lower jaw. Other symptoms of a heart attack include weakness, shortness of breath, sweating, and pallor of the skin.
Chest pain can also be caused by respiratory and even gastrointestinal illnesses. The most common conditions that cause pain near the sternum, not related to the circulatory system:
Gastroesophageal reflex disease is a very common cause of chest discomfort. The pain is described as burning and spreads to the throat. Discomfort is felt more when lying down and when leaning forward;
Inflammation of the pancreas – its symptom is pain located in the lower chest, sometimes in the epigastric region. Discomfort increases when lying down, and decreases when the patient leans forward. In addition to pain, hypersensitivity to epigastric touch and vomiting may occur;
Pneumonia – manifested by fever, cough and frequent shortness of breath, as well as increased heart rate;
Pleurisy is often the result of pneumonia, a respiratory viral infection, or pulmonary embolism. In this case, pain occurs primarily when breathing;
Pneumothorax – pain in this disease often radiating to the stomach, arm and neck. In addition, rapid and shallow breathing is observed;
Previous trauma – often pain in the muscles or bones in the sternum is caused by a sprain or trauma to the chest.
Chest pain – when to see a doctor?
If you experience chest pain, do not delay visiting your doctor. The specialist will keep a medical history, during which he will question the patient about diseases and prescribe tests to determine the cause of the pain. Especially if the pain persists for a long time, is very intense or gradually intensifies, a visit to a specialist is indicated. If severe pain occurs suddenly, go to the hospital as soon as possible or call an ambulance, as such pain can be a sign of a heart attack or other life-threatening condition. Symptoms associated with chest pain that should prompt you to see a doctor immediately include rapid breathing, low blood pressure, confusion, irregular heartbeat, heart rate that is too low or too high, and shortness of breath.