Chest pain is one of the primary reasons people visit the emergency room. While chest pain can signal a serious medical issue, like a heart attack, most cases are more benign.
Our experts at St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, see many patients with chest pain. If you have concerns about chest pain, don’t hesitate to seek care.
All chest pain is not the same
Chest pain can occur for various reasons ranging from benign to critical. While severe chest pain might immediately bring heart-related concerns to mind, not every twinge or discomfort signifies a heart attack. Other potential causes include muscle strain, digestive issues, or even anxiety.
When you should go straight to the emergency room
Chest pain accompanied by specific characteristics should never be ignored. These include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain radiating to the arm or jaw
- Cold sweats
Any of these could be signs of a heart attack, and prompt medical attention is essential.
When you should suspect less serious causes of chest pain
Many causes can prompt chest pain. For example:
These include strained muscles or inflammation in the chest wall. These can mimic the discomfort associated with heart-related problems. It’s not uncommon for physical activity, heavy lifting, or persistent coughing to cause chest pain. Consider your recent activities and any associated symptoms when self-evaluating your chest pain.
Gastrointestinal issues, like acid reflux or heartburn, can also produce chest pain. The sensation might be burning or discomfort, which may worsen after eating. Recognizing the relationship between meals and symptoms can help distinguish digestive causes from more serious cardiac concerns.
If you’re in doubt, seek medical care
Chest pain, even if seemingly minor, should not be ignored. If you’re unsure about the cause or concerned about your symptoms, seeking professional medical evaluation from a place like St. Michael’s Elite Hospital is the wisest action. Our team has the expertise to perform necessary tests, such as EKGs or imaging, to determine the cause of your chest pain.
Chest pain isn’t always serious, but it should never be ignored. Understanding the different causes and recognizing red flags can help you to make informed decisions about seeking medical attention. When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek a consultation.
Contact St. Michael’s Elite Hospital or use this website to make an appointment. But chest pain can’t always wait, so you can also make your way to our emergency care department, where the experienced team will help you.