When you have pain in your chest, your first thought may be that you’re having a heart attack. But chest pain can develop from many causes. If you have concerns about your heart health and underlying chest pain, board-certified cardiologist Kunal Patel, MD, at NJ Cardiovascular Institute in Newark and Secaucus, New Jersey, can evaluate your heart and provide the answers to your health questions. For an evaluation, call the office nearest you or request an appointment online.
Chest pain refers to any discomfort you may experience in your chest, which is the area in front of your body below your neck and above your belly. The pain may be a dull ache or a burning sensation or a sharp shooting pain.
While chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack, it’s not the only reason for chest discomfort. Other causes of chest pain include:
If it feels as though your chest is being squeezed or crushed or the pain is radiating down your arms, you should seek medical attention right away and call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Dr. Patel conducts a comprehensive examination when you come to the office with concerns about chest pain, including in-office diagnostic tests such as an echocardiogram, a Doppler ultrasound, and a stress test.
Coronary artery disease refers to the narrowing or blockage that occurs in the arteries that supply blood to your heart. If your heart isn’t getting an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, your heart won’t work properly. If the supply of blood is completely cut off, you may have a heart attack.
The narrowing and blockage develop from a buildup of plaque inside the blood vessel walls. You’re at risk for developing coronary artery disease if you have a history of high cholesterol.
The primary symptom of coronary artery disease is chest pain, referred to as angina. With angina, you may experience a heaviness or tightness in your chest.
Treatment for coronary artery disease is aimed at improving blood flow to your heart to prevent chest pain and heart attacks. Depending on the extent of the blockage, Dr. Patel may recommend lifestyle changes and medication to improve heart health and function. However, if conservative measures fail to improve blood flow or the blockage is severe, he may recommend other options such as:
A stent is a wire mesh that is placed in your artery to keep it open for better blood flow.
If the blockage is severe or more than one artery is affected, Dr. Patel may recommend bypass surgery. During this procedure, an artery or vein from another part of your body is grafted around the clogged artery to restore blood flow to your heart.
Chest pain may develop from many causes. For expert cardiac care, call NJ Cardiovascular Institute today.