ZocdocAnswersTension headaches, dehydration, and chest pain. Could it be from eating salty foods?

Question

Tension headaches, dehydration, and chest pain. Could it be from eating salty foods?

I had some delicious (but very bad for you) fried chicken for lunch and ever since, I've been having chest pain, alternating from the left side of my left breast, to the middle of my chest, but it's worse on the left side. When I breathe in is when I can feel it the worst, but it comes and goes. In addition, I've been having tension headaches like a kind of throbbing pain, not severe, but noticeable and irritating. I've gotten these somewhat frequently before and it always occurs in the same two places. I don't drink enough water (I'm trying to get better), so I think it might be dehydration, but I'm not sure. I'm also on my period, so I took an Excedrin after I ate, which made me feel worse, probably do to the caffeine. I'm thinking dehydration is probably cause for all the symptoms, but I'm not sure. I've been dizzy, unable to focus, and nauseous as well all day, so I'm a little worried since I'm having all these symptoms. Any advice is appreciated!

Answer

There is a lot going on in this question! First of all, in response to the query about whether the salty and greasy foods could be the cause of your chest pain and other symptoms. Although over time the consumption of unhealthy foods can raise your risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack (which would be the most serious cause of chest pain), this does not happen instantly. However, heavy foods like these can cause heartburn and acid reflux, which could be a cause of chest pain happening right after eating. Regardless, it is best to have the chest pain checked out by your regular doctor, because ruling out a serious problem such as a heart attack is still the most important thing. Your risk of heart attack depends on a lot of factors including your age and other medical problems, something that your regular primary care doctor is best qualified to address. They will also be able to evaluate your other symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness. If you can't get advice from your regular doctor right away (say by making a phone call), the next best option is a trip to the emergency room, especially if the chest pain is persistent or worsening.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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