Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why am I getting chest pains?"
Lately I have been getting chest pains on a regular basis. It's a sharp, intense pain that is centered directly in the middle of my chest. The pain intensifies when I inhale, and then it eases up slightly when I exhale. The pain occurs at different times of the day, and it does not seem to relate to my activity level, location, or body position. I was very worried when the pains first started, but they seem to go away on their own without any other symptoms or consequences. What could be causing this pain, and is it something that I should be worried about?
Chest pain is a common complaint. It is unfortunately a very worrying finding that requires evaluation. I would strongly recommend you see your primary care physician for this. If the pain is worsening or persistent, you may need to go directly to the local emergency room. There are many important structures in the chest that can result in chest pain. These include: -The heart. Anytime a doctor hears about chest pain, the first instinct is to make sure this isn't a heart attack or an impending heart attack. Obviously, heart issues are more likely in some people than in others, but the concern for this is the main reason we take chest pain so seriously. -The lung. The lungs can also cause similar chest pain. Blood clots in the lung or inflammation or infection of the lung can all cause this type of pain. -The heart's outer lining or pericardium. This can become inflammed and cause chest discomfort. -The esophagus or food pipe. Damage to this can cause chest pain. -The muscles and bones. There are many other causes. The type of pain you describe that worsens with inhalation is often cause pleuritic chest pain -- and most commonly is caused by lung issues. This should be evaluated by your doctor.
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