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Chest pain on the left side: 6 possible causes and what to do

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Chest pain on the left side: 6 possible causes and what to do
Chest pain on the left side: 6 possible causes and what to do
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Chest pain on the left side can be a sign of heart problems and, therefore, it is very common for a person to think they may be having a heart attack.

However, this type of pain can also indicate less serious problems, such as excess intestinal gas, reflux or an anxiety attack, for example.

When the pain is very severe, does not improve after a few minutes, or is associated with other symptoms such as shortness of breath and tingling in the arm, it is advisable to go to the hospital for an electrocardiogram to rule out any kind of heart problem, especially in the elderly or people who have a chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

What can chest pain be

To find out the possible cause of your chest pain, please answer the following questions:

  • Yes, the pain is getting more intense.
  • No, the pain has remained similar.

If your pain is very intense and has worsened over time, we advise you to go to the hospital or call for medical help, as it could be a sign of a heart attack.

Attention: this tool is not a substitute for consultation with the doctor. Any type of chest pain that is very severe, worsens within minutes, or is accompanied by other symptoms should be evaluated by a physician.

  • Stinging or pricking pain.
  • Burning sensation in the chest.
  • I don't know how to define the pain I'm feeling.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Yes, when I move my torso.
  • Yes, when I take a deep breath.
  • Yes, when I squeeze my belly.
  • No, I think the pain is always the same.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Yes.
  • No.

If the pain you feel is severe, worsens over time or does not improve after 20 minutes, we recommend that you go to the hospital.

In addition to pain, a heart attack can cause other symptoms such as tingling in the arm, general malaise, dizziness, cold sweats and dry cough.

First aid in suspected heart attack

  • 10 main symptoms of heart attack

  • Infarction or anxiety: main differences and what to do

    Restart

    It is possible that it is just a reaction to stress, caused by anxiety.

    We advise you to try to rest in a quiet place and drink a soothing tea such as lemon balm, chamomile or valerian.

    If the pain has not improved after 20 minutes, or if it worsens during this period, we recommend that you go to the hospital to identify the cause and start the appropriate treatment.

    7 natural tranquilizers for anxiety, insomnia and nervousness

  • Anxiety crisis: what it is, symptoms, causes and what to do

  • Infarction or anxiety: main differences and what to do

    Restart

    Since the discomfort you feel gets worse with the movement of the trunk (as happens when looking back, for example) it is possible that it is some inflammation at the muscular level. However, it can also be a sign of inflammation in the cartilages of the sternum, known as "costochondritis".

    This type of discomfort tends to improve with rest, however, you can also consult a general practitioner to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment with medication.

    9 home treatments to relieve muscle pain

  • Costochondritis (sternal pain): symptoms, causes and treatment

    Restart

    In these cases, other symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or tiredness are common.

    It is best to make an appointment with a general practitioner or pulmonologist to identify the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

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  • Respiratory system diseases: what they are, symptoms and what to do

    Restart

    The accumulation of gas in the intestine can cause a stabbing pain in the region of the heart. This pain usually doesn't get worse over time, but it can be very uncomfortable and come on several times throughout the day.

    Although it can happen to anyone, this type of pain is more common in those who suffer from constipation or have an intestinal condition, such as irritable bowel.

    Giving a belly massage and drinking mint or fennel tea are great ways to relieve discomfort and release gas.

    7 best home remedies for excess gas

  • 5 ways to eliminate intestinal gas quickly

    Restart

    Pain in the mid-chest area that gets worse after eating is usually a symptom of a gallbladder problem. This is because the fat in the food stimulates the gallbladder to contract, causing pain.

    In these cases, other symptoms such as retching, swollen belly, whitish stools, diarrhea and loss of appetite are also common.

    It is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.

    6 home remedies for gallstones

  • 6 main symptoms of gallstones (and what to do)

  • Diet in gallbladder crisis: what to eat and what to avoid

    Restart

    Stomach problems, such as gastric ulcers or gastritis, usually cause pain in the mid-chest area, which tends to get worse if you haven't eaten for a long time. This discomfort is usually relieved after eating.

    Along with the pain, other symptoms may arise, such as a swollen belly, decreased appetite, belching and retching.

    The ideal is to consult a gastroenterologist, to identify if there is really any change in the stomach and start the appropriate treatment.

    4 home remedies for stomach pain

  • 7 main symptoms of gastritis

  • Diet for gastritis and ulcer

    Restart

    Reflux is a condition that causes gastric contents to rise up into the esophagus, resulting in pain, usually in the middle of the chest, which can be accompanied by other symptoms such as frequent burping, poor digestion and a feeling of a bloated stomach.

    The pain also tends to get worse when you haven't eaten for a long time or when you bend your torso to pick something up off the floor, for example.

    To confirm the diagnosis of reflux, the ideal thing is to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, as there are medicines and some care that help relieve symptoms.

    Gastroesophageal reflux: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

  • 5 home remedies to treat reflux

  • Diet for reflux: what to eat and what to avoid

    Restart

    Although gastritis most often causes a stabbing pain in the middle of the chest, it can also cause a burning sensation, especially if you haven't eaten for a long time.

    In these cases, other symptoms such as a swollen belly, decreased appetite, belching and retching may also appear.

    The ideal is to consult a gastroenterologist, to identify if there is really any change in the stomach and start the appropriate treatment.

    7 main symptoms of gastritis

  • 7 home remedies for gastritis

  • Diet for gastritis and ulcer

    Restart

    Unfortunately we don't have enough data to help identify the possible cause for the pain you are experiencing.

    We advise you to consult a general practitioner or go to the hospital for a more detailed assessment.

    Chest pain: 9 main causes and when it could be a heart attack

  • Pain in the middle of the chest: what it can be and what to do

  • Pain in the right side of the chest: 7 common causes (and what to do)

  • Chest pain on the left side: 6 possible causes and what to do

    Restart

    • Yes, it gets worse after eating.
    • Yes, it gets worse when I don't eat for a long time.
    • No, I don't think it's related.

    The following are the main causes of left chest pain and what to do in each situation:

    1. Excessive gases

    The accumulation of intestinal gas is one of the most frequent causes of pain in the chest region. This type of pain is more common in people who suffer from constipation and usually manifests as a slight discomfort that lasts for a few minutes or hours, but can be relieved when the person passes gas or defecates.

    This type of pain tends to appear isolated and is not accompanied by other symptoms. In some people, only slight swelling of the belly and presence of bowel sounds may be observed.

    What to do: to relieve pain, an abdominal massage can be done to stimulate the release of gases. Also, lying on your back and squeezing your legs against your stomach can also help release trapped gas and lessen discomfort. See other strategies to eliminate intestinal gas.

    2. Anxiety or panic attack

    Extremely anxious situations or panic attacks can cause chest pain that is very similar to a heart attack, but which, unlike a heart attack, is a mild stabbing pain rather than tightness or pressure in the heart. In addition, it is common for a person with an anxiety attack or panic attack to feel tingling all over their body, not just their arm.

    Also, anxiety and panic attacks usually arise after a moment of great stress, such as having an argument with someone, for example, while a heart attack can appear for no reason. Check out other symptoms of anxiety and how to distinguish from a heart attack.

    What to do: when you suspect an anxiety crisis or panic attack it is important to find a quiet place and try to relax, listening to music or drinking passionflower, valerian tea or chamomile, for example. If you are being treated with some type of anxiolytic, you can take a dose of SOS prescribed by your doctor.

    However, if the pain continues to be very strong after 15 minutes and if you suspect a heart attack, the ideal is to go to the hospital because, even if it is just anxiety, there are treatments that can be done in the hospital to relieve this discomfort.

    3. Gastroesophageal reflux

    Another very common situation for the appearance of pain on the left side of the chest is gastroesophageal reflux, as this is a condition that causes stomach acid to go up into the esophagus and, when this happens, it can cause contractions involuntary esophagus, which generate a pain that can be felt in the chest.

    Along with the pain, there may also be other characteristic symptoms such as a lump in the throat, heartburn, burning in the stomach and pain in the left side of the chest, for example.

    What to do: A good way to relieve reflux pain is to drink ginger tea as it helps reduce inflammation. However, people with reflux should also make some changes to their diet and may even need to take some medicines such as antacids and gastric protectors. Ideally, treatment should be indicated by a gastroenterologist, after confirming the diagnosis with tests such as endoscopy. See the main ways used to treat reflux.

    4. Angina pectoris

    Angina pectoris, or angina pectoris, is a condition that occurs when there is a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle, leading to left-sided chest pain that can last between 5 to 10 minutes and radiate to the arm or neck.

    This type of condition is more common in people who have high blood pressure, who smoke, or who have high cholesterol. Learn more about angina pectoris, its symptoms and treatment.

    What to do: It is important to see a cardiologist for cardiac tests, such as an electrocardiogram, to confirm the diagnosis. Generally, angina must be treated with lifestyle changes and the use of certain medications. When not treated properly, angina can result in serious complications such as heart attack, arrhythmia and even stroke.

    5. Inflammation of the heart

    In addition to angina, inflammation of the heart muscle or pericardium, known as myocarditis and pericarditis, respectively, are also an important cause of pain in the heart region. Usually, these conditions arise as a complication of some infection in the body, whether by viruses, fungi or bacteria, which is not being treated properly.

    When there is inflammation of any structure of the heart, in addition to pain, other symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, dizziness and shortness of breath are common.

    What to do: whenever there is a suspicion of a heart problem, it is very important to go quickly to the hospital or consult a cardiologist.

    6. Infarction

    A heart attack is an emergency situation that can be life-threatening. For this reason, whenever there is a suspicion of infarction, it is very important to go quickly to the hospital, to confirm the diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment.

    A heart attack is more common in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure, untreated diabetes, high cholesterol, or who have unhe althy lifestyles such as smoking, not exercising, and being very overweight.

    Classic symptoms of a heart attack include very intense pain on the left side of the chest, in the form of tightness, tingling in the arm, feeling short of breath, coughing and even fainting. Check out the 10 signs that can indicate a heart attack.

    What to do: in case of suspected heart attack, call medical help immediately, calling SAMU 192, or go quickly to the hospital, trying to keep the person calm down to avoid a worsening of symptoms.If the person has never had a heart attack and is not allergic, 300 mg of aspirin, equivalent to 3 ASA tablets, can be offered to thin the blood. If the person has a history of infarction, the cardiologist may have prescribed a nitrate tablet, such as Monocordil or Isordil, to be used in emergencies.

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