Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I have a sharp pain right under my sternum which increases when I lean forward?"
i do smoke and drink but i have a son and would like to know what it could be linked to
If this is a new change in your health, it will be very important for you to have this evaluated right away. There are many things that can cause chest pain and specifically chest pain that is positional. Pericarditis or an inflammation in the lining around the heart classically worsens when a patient leans forward. Sometimes pleuritis, or inflammation of the lining around the lungs, can cause a similar sharp pain, but this is more typically associated with taking a deep breath. A blood clot which travels to the lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism) is also a very worrisome condition that can cause sharp chest pain. Patients who smoke can be at increased risk of developing a pulmonary embolism. Pain under the sternum can also be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease. In order to determine what is causing your symptoms, whether one of those more concerning findings or something more benign, a physician will want to talk with you about the onset of your symptoms; your overall medical history and medications; and perform a physical examination. In cases of chest pain, an EKG is also a very important diagnostic tool. If you don't have a primary care physician, it may be most appropriate for you to seek evaluation in an urgent care or emergency room.
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