What’s causing pain in the right side of my chest?
The left side of your chest is usually not affected by heart attack or other health problems. However, there are some cases where the right side of your chest gets affected with heart attacks and other diseases. If you suffer from heart disease, then you may get symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and even numbness in your fingers. There are many reasons why one might experience such symptoms. One reason could be a blockage in the blood vessels leading to the lungs. Another possible cause could be an infection in the lungs which causes inflammation and swelling of these arteries.
A blocked artery leads to a drop in oxygenated blood flowing through the arteries. When this happens, the body starts suffering from chest pain and sometimes even death.
How do I know if my chest pain is caused by a blockage?
If you feel any discomfort when breathing in or out, then you need to see your doctor immediately because there is nothing else but immediate treatment. It is important to seek medical care or call an ambulance immediately when you feel something is going wrong in your body. Other symptoms like pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing, loss of energy and in some cases fainting are some of the signs that should not be ignored no matter what.
What happens when I experience a blockage in the arteries?
When you experience a blockage in the artery, your body starts to have a hard time receiving adequate amounts of oxygen. This can cause chest pain and even death so you need to see a doctor as soon as possible when you experience such symptoms and this could be life-threatening.
How do I know if it’s not just a chest cold?
During a cold, the mucus membranes in the upper respiratory track get affected and start producing a lot of snot. The symptoms of a cold are runny nose, cough, sneezing and so on. If you have been suffering from a cold for two or three weeks, then the chances are that it is the common cold and not a heart-related disease.
How do I know if it’s not just pulled rib muscles or something else?
If you have been working out too hard and then experience pain, then it is quite normal for your chest muscles to get strained. The pain normally lasts for a day or two and then it starts subsiding. There is no need to worry unless the pain does not go away even after a week.
How do I know if it’s pleurisy?
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lungs which causes chest pain just like a heart attack. If you do not take any medical treatment immediately, pleurisy could cause pleuritic effusion which is a build-up of fluid around the lungs.
Is it a heart attack?
The most common reason for experiencing chest pain is a heart attack. A heart attack is usually caused by a blockage that stops the blood flow to the heart muscles. This can be life-threatening due to restricted blood supply and immediate medical attention is needed. Common symptoms of a heart attack are pain in the chest that radiates to the left arm, shortness of breath and nausea.
How do I know if it’s my heartburn?
The symptoms of heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are pretty similar to a heart attack. This is because the food content in the stomach gets regurgitated and causes irritation in the oesophagus. This irritation is felt in the chest area which leads to heartburn.
Do I have a blood clot?
A blood clot is formed to stop excessive bleeding when a vein or an artery is damaged. The clot, however, blocks the blood flow through the artery and this restricts the blood supply to a particular part of the body. The restricted blood supply caused by a blood clot is known as thrombosis.
Do I have a pulmonary embolism?
When a blood clot, also known as a thrombus, breaks free from the veins or arteries and travels through the blood vessels and lodges in the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism. The most common symptom is shortness of breath, but many people might not experience any pain.
Does my bowel movement pose a threat to my heart health?
This might sound a bit weird but it could be a possibility. It is not common for people to suffer from heart problems due to constipation. However, if you experience a build-up of faeces in your large intestines, the waste products get absorbed back into the blood stream. This causes toxic build-up and could have harmful effects on your body organs including the heart.
Does my diet pose a threat to my heart health?
A processed high-fat and high-sugar diet increases your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. If you have been neglecting a proper diet for a while, then it could lead to obesity which is another major risk factor.
Why do I experience this pain before my period?
Periods cause a lot of hormonal changes in the body, which is why many women suffer from severe cramps. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it might feel like an acute medical emergency. Hence, it is not surprising that you experience heart palpitations before your periods.
Is this pain a symptom of anxiety?
It is quite possible that you are experiencing stress and anxiety due to personal problems, academic pressures or professional anxieties. The stress and anxiety can manifest as a sensation of pounding or racing heartbeat, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath.
Is this a side effect of my birth control pill?
It is possible that the side effects of your birth control pill are causing you to experience heart palpitations. If you have recently started a hormonal birth control, it could also increase your blood pressure and cause headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Is this a panic attack?
A panic attack is an anxiety disorder in which you experience a sudden onset of intense fear and feelings of impending doom. This could be accompanied by heavy sweating, chest pain, nausea, difficulty in breathing and a racing or palpitating heartbeat.
Does my body react in this way due to a bad reaction to drugs?
It is possible that you have had an allergic reaction to a drug or the dosage was incorrect and it caused your blood pressure to spike. It is also possible that you have taken drugs without knowing your medical history and suffered an adverse reaction.
Why am I feeling nauseous?
A sensation of nausea after an episode of heart palpitations could be due to the anxiety that you are experiencing. This is perfectly normal and can easily be resolved by deep breathing and relaxing until the symptoms subside.
Do I have a tumor?
A tumor in your heart is one of the rarest causes for experiencing heart palpitations. It could be either benign or malignant, in the latter case, it is a matter of life and death. The only way to find out is to consult a doctor immediately.
Do I have an irregular heart-beat?
It is possible that your heart beats in an irregular manner due to stress or anxiety. A quick medical check-up can easily rule out any serious cardiac issues.
Is this a side effect of any medication I am taking?
Sometimes, even the most common of over-the-counter drugs can cause serious side effects if taken in high dosages or on a regular basis. Seek medical advice if you are unsure about the dosage or want to switch to a different medicine to alleviate your symptoms.
Have I been abusing drugs or alcohol?
Drugs and alcohol are well-known for causing blackouts and loss of consciousness. If you have a history of binge drinking or a substance abuse problem, then it is likely that you passed out and experienced palpitations when you came round.
Am I having a heart attack?
A heart attack is one of the most serious causes of heart palpitations. The pain in the chest is often described by patients to be similar to that of an elephant stepping on their chests. You may also experience nausea, shortness of breath, cold sweats and fatigue. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, seek emergency medical attention immediately by calling 911.
Is this an anxiety attack?
Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, and heart palpitations are one of them. The constant feeling of anxiety can cause your heartbeat to increase and lead to a sensation of chest pain. By learning how to manage and cope with your anxiety, you will be able to stop the attacks from occurring.
Do I have a virus?
The flu and other illnesses can cause your heart to beat irregularly due to a compromised immune system. While visiting the doctor for a general check-up is always recommended whether or not you experience heart palpitations, it is especially important in this case.
Do I have an enlarged heart?
An enlarged heart can be caused by a number of different conditions. Among these are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, atrial septal defect and cardiomyopathy. Some of these conditions are non-life-threatening, while others can be lethal if not treated immediately.
Do I have an irregular heartbeat?
An irregular heartbeat is a more accurate description of what heart palpitations actually are rather than a medical term. A healthy heart beats between 60 to 100 times per minute when you are resting. Irregularities can be caused by numerous factors including stress, caffeine and alcohol consumption, illness or even lack of sleep.
Do I have an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women rather than men. Palpitations can manifest themselves as part of the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack. By seeking professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist, you should be able to reduce your anxiety and eliminate the palpitations altogether.
Have I been working out a lot?
Working out on a regular basis is known to improve your health and increase your life expectancy. However, it can be quite strenuous on the body causing palpitations in some people. If you have been engaging in an intensive exercise routine, then it is likely that your heart is struggling to keep up. Take a break from your exercises and give your heart a chance to recover.
Was I waiting for a baby to be born?
There is a condition known as “Pregnancy Related Palpitations” that causes the heart to beat rapidly soon after a woman has given birth. This is caused by the drop in hormones that the body experiences after having a baby. If you have recently had a baby, then it is likely that you are experiencing these palpitations caused by hormonal changes. See your doctor for a check-up.
Did I have too much caffeine?
Caffeine is known to make the heart beat faster and increase anxiety. Keep track of how many caffeinated drinks you consume on a daily basis. If you have more than three, then your palpitations may be caused by your intake of caffeine. Caffeine can also stay in your system for several hours causing the palpitations to occur long after your last coffee.
Did I have too much alcohol?
Alcohol is known to speed up the heart rate causing it to beat irregularly. If you have been drinking alcohol on a regular basis, then your palpitations may be caused by your intake of alcohol. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can stay in your system for several hours causing the palpitations to occur long after your last drink.
Does my job cause me a great deal of stress?
Much like caffeine and alcohol intake, stress is known to make your heart beat faster and cause palpitations. If you have been under a great deal of stress at work or in your personal life, then it is likely that your palpitations are caused by your stressful lifestyle. Try seeking help from a psychologist or your HR department at work to reduce your stress.
Does my diet lack nutrients?
It is possible that your diet does not contain all of the nutrients that your body needs. If you eat a diet high in fat and carbohydrates but low in protein and fiber, then it can cause your heart to beat faster causing palpitations. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains will provide your body with the nutrients that it requires.
Do I have an overactive thyroid?
An overactive thyroid is known to cause the heart to beat faster. If you experience anxiety, weight loss, diarrhoea and an increased heart rate among other symptoms, then you should consult a doctor about having your thyroid levels checked.
Do I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency?
A lack of Vitamin B12 is known to cause the nervous system to malfunction causing abnormal sensations. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause numbness, tingling and a loss of balance. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause palpitations. You should consult your doctor to have your B12 levels checked if you suspect a deficiency.
Did someone close to me recently pass away?
The death of a loved one is known to cause people to experience a variety of physical and emotional reactions. These reactions can include palpitations, rapid breathing, anxiety and irregular heartbeat. If a death has occurred in your life recently, you should seek out a grief counsellor or psychotherapist to help you cope with the loss.
Do I have a family history of heart conditions?
If a close relative such as a parent or grandparent has had any type of heart condition then you are more likely to experience similar problems. You should consult your doctor about having a full medical check-up.
Have I been under extreme stress lately?
Stress is one of the leading causes of palpitations in today’s fast-paced world. If you suspect that you have experienced a great deal of trauma or stress lately then your heart may be beating irregularly as a result. Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life by spending time relaxing with friends or engaging in a soothing hobby such as painting or knitting.
Have I recently changed my diet?
Some foods can cause your heart to beat faster for a short period of time. For some people, eating chocolate causes their heart to beat irregularly for several hours after consumption. If you have recently changed your diet and suspect that it may be causing your problem, speak to your doctor about having a full check-up.
Do I do a lot of caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in tea, coffee, cola and other foods and drinks. If you have been consuming a lot of these types of beverages or eating large amounts of greasy fast-food, then you should try to cut down on them. Caffeine is a known cause of palpitations and can cause your heart to beat irregularly.
Have I been taking illegal drugs?
If you have been taking drugs such as cocaine or marijuana then you could be causing your heart to beat irregularly. Use of these types of drugs is known to cause palpitations as well as hallucinations and anxiety.
Have I been taking the incorrect medication?
Some over-the-counter medications as well as illegal drugs are known to cause palpitations. If you have recently started taking a new medication, stop using it and seek medical advice about having your heart checked out.
Is my chest feeling tight?
This could be a sign of a heart attack. If you feel that anything around your chest is feeling too tight or uncomfortable then seek emergency medical assistance immediately.
Do I have trouble breathing or feel like I might pass out?
These are signs of a condition known as angina. Angina causes temporary episodes of pain in the chest that are often described as an “uncomfortable pressure.” It is a warning sign that your heart muscle does not get enough oxygen and may be in danger of a heart attack. Anyone who experiences angina should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Do I have problems with erections?
Men may experience episodes of premature ejaculation or complete loss of libido, while women may experience problems achieving an erection or a reduction in vaginal secretions. These are all signs of a problem with your autonomic nervous system and you should seek medical assistance immediately.
Do I feel depressed or anxious?
Long-term anxiety and depression can lead to biological changes in your brain that can cause problems with your autonomic nervous system and lead to palpitations. If you feel that you have been excessively stressed lately, then seek medical assistance.
Do I have trouble sleeping?
Insomnia can be caused by many factors but often it is a sign of an underlying problem such as anxiety or depression. If your symptoms worsen at night then you should seek medical assistance.
Do I have a fast heart rate all the time?
If you notice that your resting heart rate is above 100 beats per minute, then you could be suffering from an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). This can cause your metabolism to increase and lead to weight loss as well as many other symptoms. If you believe this may be the cause of your palpitations, see your doctor immediately.
How can I relieve the symptoms?
If you suffer from palpitations, there are many steps you can take to relieve the symptoms. The first is to see your doctor and have your heart checked. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may run a series of tests to ensure that your heart is functioning properly.
If an underlying condition is causing your palpitations, then your doctor will treat this. For example, if you have anemia then you may be prescribed some medication or supplements to help increase your blood count back to a healthy level.
In addition, there are also some lifestyle changes you may need to make such as quitting smoking or adjusting your diet. If your doctor feels that these are not contributing factors then he or she may refer you to a specialist such as a cardiologist who can provide further treatment options.
Can I prevent the symptoms from getting worse?
There are many steps you can take to help prevent your condition from worsening. The first is to see your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more strain is put on your cardiac tissue and this can cause damage in the long term.
In addition, you should try to avoid any triggers that may set off your symptoms. For example, if stress tends to make your heart beat faster, then try to take some time to relax or exercise regularly.
If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Nicotine is a stimulant and may be contributing to your symptoms. Even if you don’t smoke, other people’s tobacco smoke can affect you too so try to limit your exposure as much as you can.
Finally, make an appointment with your doctor on a regular basis. If you have any underlying conditions that are likely to worsen over time, it’s best to catch them early on so that treatment can begin immediately.
Do I need to see a doctor?
If you have been experiencing heart palpitations for more than six months then you should consult a doctor as you may be suffering from an underlying condition.
If your heart beats faster or slower than it used to, if it skips beats or if you experience chest pains particularly in the center of your chest then you may have a more serious problem on your hands and need emergency assistance immediately.
Try to remain calm and remember that the episode will pass after a few minutes. In the meantime, find somewhere safe to sit or lie down until you feel better.
Sources & references used in this article:
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What’s at the heart of your patient’s chest pain? by BB POPE – Nursing Made Incredibly Easy Journal, 2004 – journals.lww.com
Distress in My Chest: The Approach to a Student Presenting With “Chest Pain” by T Gay, RP Olympia – NASN School Nurse, 2018 – journals.sagepub.com
Symptom description in patients with chest pain—A qualitative analysis of emergency medical calls involving high‐risk conditions by K Wibring, J Herlitz, M Lingman… – Journal of clinical …, 2019 – Wiley Online Library
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