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Chest Pain

Chest pain causes an ache or discomfort in your chest and can be an alarming symptom associated with various cardiovascular conditions. Chest pain can be caused by conditions related to the heart or lungs.

Although all chest pain is not caused by a life-threatening condition, it is good to know when cardiovascular issues cause chest pain. Timely assessment and treatment are essential to prevent complications and ensure good heart health.

At Kimball Health Services, we provide high-quality, compassionate care for those experiencing cardiac concerns, such as chest pain.

Symptoms of Chest Pain

Depending on the underlying reason for the chest pain, it may manifest differently for people. Symptoms for chest pain can feel like:

  • A sharp or stabbing pain can indicate acute issues, such as a heart attack or other cardiac events.
  • A persistent, dull ache could be caused by chronic conditions like angina or underlying heart problems.
  • A burning sensation may typically be a result of heartburn or acid reflux but should be investigated to rule out underlying cardiac issues.

It is important not to ignore chest pain and always have any symptoms medically assessed promptly. Any persistent or increasing pain, especially if it lasts more than a few minutes, requires urgent attention.

Symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, or pain radiating to the arm or jaw may be symptoms of a serious cardiac event and need immediate medical attention. Please call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Causes of Chest Pain

Chest pain can be caused by cardiac and non-cardiac reasons. 

Non-cardiac reasons for chest pain can include:

  • Digestive problems, such as heartburn, swallowing disorders, gallbladder stones, or inflammation in the pancreas
  • Lung problems, such as pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs), lung inflammation, collapsed lungs, and pulmonary hypertension 
  • Panic attacks during periods of intense fear or anxiety

Cardiac reasons for chest pain can be caused by angina, heart attack, and heart valve or heart rhythm problems.

Whether your chest pain is caused by a heart-related condition or not, please consult your physician for any type of chest pain. 

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a cardiovascular condition caused by the accumulation of plaque in the coronary arteries. The plaque along its walls narrows the artery, restricting blood flow to the heart. 

Risk factors for CAD include:

  • Elevated blood pressure can strain the arteries and increase the risk of damage.
  • High LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels can lead to plaque formation.
  • Smoking and tobacco use damage blood vessels and accelerate plaque formation.
  • Unchecked diabetes can cause damage to the arteries due to high blood sugar.

Common symptoms of CAD include:

  • Chest pain (angina) due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle
  • Shortness of breath during physical activity
  • Feeling unusually tired or weak, even with minimal exertion

Kimball Health Services employs state-of-the-art diagnostic processes to evaluate your condition. This may include:

  • Imaging tests like angiograms and CT scans
  • Blood tests to evaluate cholesterol levels
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to detect any irregularities in the heart

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure is a chronic condition characterized by the heart’s inability to pump blood effectively, leading to inadequate circulation to meet the body's needs. 

Congestive heart failure may be caused by:

  • Damaged heart muscle due to CAD
  • Strain to the heart due to long-term high blood pressure
  • Damaged blood vessels and heart muscle due to uncontrolled diabetes
  • Damage to the heart from a previous cardiac event

Symptoms of congestive heart failure can include shortness of breath, mucus-filled persistent coughing, and fluid retention in the extremities (legs and abdomen).

Diagnosing congestive heart failure usually involves imaging tests like X-rays, blood tests to check B-type natriuretic peptide levels, and an echocardiogram.

Treatment for Chest Pain

Knowing about the symptoms and causes of your chest pain is necessary for effective treatment. Treatment options may include both medication and lifestyle changes to encourage heart-healthy habits.

This can include:

  • Dietary adjustments to include more nourishing and heart-friendly foods.
  • Regular exercise to improve cardiovascular well-being.
  • Smoking cessation

In cases where medication has not been effective, treatment may involve interventional cardiac procedures. These minimally invasive procedures can help widen narrowed or obstructed arteries (angioplasty) or use a small tube to keep a narrowed artery open (stenting). 

Both these procedures help improve blood flow to the heart and relieve chest pain symptoms.

In extremely severe cases, surgical interventions, such as open heart surgery, may be needed to treat the underlying cardiac condition. 

When you come to Kimball Health Services, rest assured that our experienced providers will help you with personalized plans to ensure your heart’s well-being.

Get Help for Chest Pain in Kimball

At Kimball Health Services, your heart's well-being is our top priority. If you have experienced chest pain or related symptoms, it's time to take action. Ann Anderson, APRN, has decades of experience and is ready to help with your cardiac concerns.

As one of the top critical access hospitals in the nation, we pride ourselves on delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

In case of an emergency, call 911 or walk into our emergency department anytime. For appointments, call ahead or fill out our online form. We're here for you whenever you need us.

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