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Chest pain

Almost 40% of physically healthy people with panic attacks experience pain in their chest. The thought that this pain might be a serious heart problem sends many sufferers to the Emergency Room for help.

The predominant complaint of those suffering from coronary artery disease is most likely to be a pain or pressure in the center of the chest. They may also feel such discomfort elsewhere in the chest or in the neck, jaw, or left arm, and occasionally may notice tachycardia (as mentioned above).

Angina pectoris is an acute pain in the chest caused by interference with the supply of oxygen to the heart. It is a distinct pain, usually concentrated on the left side and sometimes spreading (radiating) to the neck and down the left arm. The feeling is of tightness, strangling, heaviness or suffocation. It is not a disease, but a symptom of some underlying disorder that reduces the supply of oxygen to the heart. Coronary artery disease or hypertension are the most common causes, with aortic stenosis, anemia or hyperthyroidism also possible causes.

Physical Causes of Chest Pain

  • coronary artery disease
  • angina pectoris
  • heart attack

A heart attack (myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis) occurs when the blood supply to the heart is significantly blocked. The main symptom is usually a crushing pain in the center of the chest, which may continue into the neck, jaw, arms and stomach. The pain may begin during exercise or a stressful event. Unlike angina, this pain does not stop when the exercise or event ends. A heart attack is a medical emergency. Medical help is needed immediately.