What Causes Chest Pain?

Chest pain is a sensation that sends alarm bells ringing in the minds of individuals and often triggers the immediate fear of a heart attack. While this concern is valid and should never be dismissed, it's just as important to recognize that chest pain can stem from a variety of sources, ranging from benign to life-threatening. In this short article brought to you by Cardiovascular Specialists of York, we explore several common causes of chest pain.

If you have a family history of heart disease or experience chronic or severe chest pain, it is always advisable to visit a licensed cardiologist. The professionals at Cardiovascular Specialists of York are happy to schedule a convenient appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.

Understanding Chest Pain

Chest pain manifests as a discomfort or pressure sensation in the thoracic region. It's important to approach chest pain with utmost seriousness, as it can signify underlying conditions that demand prompt medical intervention. While the prospect of a heart attack looms large, it's also essential to consider other potential culprits that may be responsible for the discomfort.

Heart-Related Causes

Heart-related issues such as angina or myocardial infarction (heart attack) top the list of concerns associated with chest pain. Angina, characterized by chest discomfort or pressure typically triggered by physical exertion or emotional stress, indicates inadequate blood flow to the heart. On the other hand, a heart attack occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle is severely restricted or completely cut off. This can lead to tissue damage and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Gastrointestinal Causes

The digestive system can also be a source of chest pain. Conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and esophageal spasms can manifest as a burning sensation behind the breastbone, mimicking the discomfort of cardiac origin. Moreover, peptic ulcers or inflammation of the gallbladder may also result in pain to the chest area.

Musculoskeletal Causes

Chest pain can even arise from musculoskeletal issues such as muscle strain, costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage that connects ribs to the breastbone), or rib fractures. These conditions often result from trauma or repetitive strain and typically worsen with movement or palpation of the chest wall.

Pulmonary Causes

Conditions affecting the lungs or surrounding structures may also elicit chest pain. Pneumonia, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung arteries), pleurisy (inflammation of the lining surrounding the lungs), or pneumothorax (collapsed lung) are among the pulmonary pathologies associated with chest discomfort.

When to Seek Medical Evaluation

While some causes of chest pain may be benign or self-limiting, others require immediate medical attention. Given the life-threatening implications of a heart attack, any chest pain accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, or pain radiating to the arm, jaw, or back warrants a visit to a physician or heart doctor.

Furthermore, individuals with known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, or a history of smoking, should err on the side of caution and seek prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional. Residents in the area can call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule an appointment with a licensed cardiologist today.


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Sylvia Savoie

Hanover, PA

My mom was seen by Dr. Gilbert. She was treated like a queen. Treated her with respect and dignity and took his time even going through writing the information down so she would have the paper. I can’t say enough and the staff at the Cardiovascular Specialist of York clinic was great and friendly.

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Joann Bernard

York, PA

Dr. Gilbert provided excellent service. Both personable and professional. Went above and beyond to provide detailed explanations that I could readily understand. I've never felt more comfortable and better served. If you need a cardiologist in town, I strongly recommend seeing Dr. Gilbert.

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Karen Canzoneri

Pennville, PA

Excellent experience. Dr. Gilbert gave me a wealth of information about taking good care of myself.  I went into this appointment a little worried but came out relieved after his clear explanation and valuable health tips. If you are looking for the best cardiologist in town look no further than Cardiovascular Specialists of York.

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