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Is Chest Pain Always Heart-Related?

Experiencing chest pain can be alarming, and it's natural to immediately think of heart-related issues. However, chest pain is a complex symptom that isn’t always related to a heart problem. 

At Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, our team specializes in using minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the cardiovascular system. We’re equipped to accurately diagnose cardiac chest pain.

Heart-related chest pain

The good news is that in most cases, chest pain isn’t a sign of a heart attack. However, each year heart attacks strike more than 800,000 people in the US, and many don’t have any prior symptoms. 

Heart attack chest pain is often described as pressure or squeezing sensation in the chest. Another common cardiac cause of chest pain is angina, a symptom of coronary artery disease, where narrows or blocks the heart's arteries with cholesterol deposits. 

Angina pain can feel similar to a heart attack but usually occurs during physical exertion or stress.

Gastrointestinal causes

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one common cause of chest pain unrelated to the heart. This occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to a burning sensation in the chest, often mistaken for heart pain. We can help manage this condition through dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and medication.

Musculoskeletal and respiratory causes

Another potential cause is costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage connecting your ribs to your breastbone. Respiratory issues such as pneumonia can also cause chest pain, often accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath or a cough. Muscle strain in the chest area, resulting from overexertion, is another common, yet often overlooked, cause of chest pain.

The importance of a cardiac evaluation

A cardiac evaluation is designed to determine if your chest pain is heart-related. Our evaluation typically includes a detailed review of your medical history, a physical examination, and specific diagnostic tests. 

These may involve an electrocardiogram (EKG) to assess heart rhythm, blood tests to check for cardiac biomarkers, and possibly a stress test to observe your heart's performance under exertion. 

In some cases, more advanced imaging like an echocardiogram or a coronary angiogram may be needed. Our goal is to get a complete picture of your heart health to accurately diagnose the cause of your chest pain. 

The importance of seeking medical advice

You should never ignore chest pain. It’s always important to listen to your body and seek medical advice when you experience any unusual symptoms. Our team is here to provide you with the care you need.

To schedule a cardiac evaluation give us a call or message the office nearest you. We have offices in Hudson, and Brooksville, Florida.

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