Chest Pain Cause Cardiac Treatment Non Vs Cardiac

If you’ve ever felt chest pain, you know how frightening the experience can be. While not all chest pain indicates life-threatening conditions, such as cardiac arrest, knowing the root cause of your chest pain is important to overall health and well being.

While the cause of your chest pain could be benign, it is important to note that if you are experiencing chest pains and are unsure of the cause, call 911 or seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Even if your chest pain is caused by something as minor as heartburn, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Non-Cardiac Chest Pain

Sometimes chest pain is caused by issues not related to the heart. When this occurs, the chest pain is called non-cardiac chest pain.

Non-cardiac chest pain can have a number of causes, including bruised or strained muscles in the chest wall and pinched nerves. Other causes of non-cardiac chest pain include heartburn and pleurisy:

  • Heartburn: Heartburn is related to your digestive system. Symptoms may include a burning sensation in your chest. Sometimes the burning sensation will be worse at night or when you lie down. Treatments can include:
    • H-2 receptor blockers can be purchased at your local drug store or grocery store. This type of medication affects the amount of acid that your digestive system produces.
    • Proton pump inhibitors affect your body’s ability to produce acid while allowing time for any tissue damage that you might have to heal. You can purchase these medications over the counter.

    You can also take over-the-counter antacids for occasional heartburn. Keep in mind that antacids will only stop the burning. In other words, antacids treat the symptoms but do not treat the causes of your heartburn. It is time to seek medical attention when you start to get heartburn frequently and over-the-counter medications do not effectively stop the pain. If you have any concerns, contact your physician.

  • Pleurisy: If you have sharp pains when you are breathing, you may have pleurisy. Pleurisy can be caused by certain medical conditions, including pneumonia, a bad case of the flu and rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, pleurisy is caused by a clot in the lungs, a serious condition.

    Treatment for pleurisy focuses on dealing with the medical condition that triggers the pain. Depending on the severity, your doctor may ask you to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or may prescribe codeine. In some cases, fluids may have to be removed, which may require a hospital stay, depending on the seriousness of your condition.

Cardiac Chest Pain

Cardiac chest pain is pain that is related to the heart. It can be the result of:

  • Angina: Angina is a condition in which the blood flow to your heart is restricted. Treatments for angina vary according to the seriousness of the disease and may include medication, bypass surgery or angioplasty. Usually, patients are required to make changes in their lifestyles by eating a healthier diet and starting on a physician-monitored exercise plan.
  • Coronary Artery Spasm: A coronary artery spasm causes the blood to stop flowing to your heart. If the spasm lasts long enough, the spasm may result in a heart attack. Treatments for coronary artery spasm include prescription medications and changes in diet to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Heart Attack: A heart attack is a serious condition that is caused when oxygen and blood flow to the heart is restricted, causing cells in the heart to die. While some heart attacks cause severe chest pain, others produce no symptoms. If you think that you are having a heart attack or if you are with someone who is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

As stated earlier, all chest pain, whether cardiac or non-cardiac, should be taken seriously. If you are experiencing chest pains, discuss them with your doctor.

Resources

The Mayo Clinic (n.d.) Angina Treatments. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from the MayoClinic.com Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/angina/DS00994/DSECTION=8.

The Mayo Clinic (n.d.) Chest Pain: First Aid. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from the MayoClinic.com Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-chest-pain/FA00036.

The Mayo Clinic (n.d.) Chest Pain Signs and Symptoms Ill-Defined. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from the MayoClinic.com Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chest-pain/DS00016/DSECTION=5