Feeling pain or fluttering in your chest is scary. Chest pain and palpitations are common symptoms that can be both alarming and worrisome — and if your first thought is that you’re having a heart attack, you’re certainly not alone.
Chest pain and palpitations can be serious. But more often than not, they’re caused by benign conditions like anxiety or even acid reflux.
As a leading cardiologist in Elizabeth, Lakewood, Paramus, and Secaucus, New Jersey, Kunal Patel, MD, can help you determine the cause of your chest discomfort. He and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute specialize in diagnostics to evaluate your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
Here are three possible reasons why you might experience chest pain and palpitations, and what to do about them.
Both chest pain and palpitations can be symptoms of high anxiety or stress. When you're feeling anxious or stressed, your body produces more adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that increases blood flow and breathing rate, and more adrenaline can make your heart beat faster and result in chest pain. Although it’s benign, it can still be uncomfortable and concerning.
If you struggle with stress or anxiety, practicing stress-management techniques like deep breathing and physical exercise can be helpful in reducing symptoms.
Sometimes, gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux or indigestion cause chest pain. The nerves that connect to your esophagus and chest run close to your heart, which can make it difficult to determine the origin of the pain. That’s why acid reflux is often referred to as “heartburn.”
If you experience chest pain after eating or lying down, it may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a chronic type of acid reflux. Treating the underlying gastrointestinal issue can relieve symptoms.
Last but not least, chest pain or palpitations could be signs of cardiovascular issues. Angina is chest pain, which is discomfort caused by a lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart muscle, and it can be a warning sign of a heart attack.
Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that can cause palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain. Most arrhythmias are harmless, while others can be serious and require medical attention.
If you have sudden, severe chest pain along with shortness of breath, sweating, or an unusual sense of fullness or pressure, it's important to seek medical attention immediately, as these could be signs of a heart attack.
Experiencing chest pain is concerning, and you should never ignore it. Chest pain and palpitations can be caused by a variety of factors, and only a doctor can determine the cause and recommend the best course of treatment.
Dr. Patel and our team offer comprehensive diagnostics and testing to evaluate your heart health. Once we know what’s causing your symptoms, we develop a treatment plan to help minimize your symptoms and improve your health.
Make an appointment with Dr. Patel and our team to get started. Call the NJ Cardiovascular Institute office nearest you or send us a message online today.