Chest pain is understandably worrying, and it's important to find out what's causing it. If you have chest pain and don't know why, double board-certified cardiovascular specialist Anu Chirala, MD, FACC, at South Bay Cardiovascular Center in Morgan Hill, California, can help. Dr. Chirala has extensive experience diagnosing and treating patients suffering from chest pain, so call South Bay Cardiovascular Center to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
One of the worries with chest pain is that something is wrong with your heart, but some of the most likely causes aren't heart-related — they're problems like muscle strains and acid reflux.
That said, heart conditions affect people in high numbers, so it's always wise to check out what's really causing your pain.
When chest pain is due to a heart issue, it's known as angina. This type of chest pain stems from having insufficient oxygen in your heart muscle due to poor blood flow through the heart.
Angina pain tends to feel like something's squeezing your chest and often spreads to your jaw, arms, and back. Having a heart murmur, where your heart makes abnormal sounds, can also occur with chest pain.
Heart-related chest pain (angina) is usually a symptom of heart disease, typically coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is a condition where the arteries in your heart get narrower and eventually blocked by a substance called plaque.
Plaque consists of cholesterol and waste products in your blood, and it forms a sticky coating that builds up on the inside of your artery walls. This buildup is known as atherosclerosis.
Chest pain could be a sign of myocardial infarction (heart attack). If you have severe chest pain or symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, cold sweats, and nausea, you should seek emergency medical attention.
You might also develop chest pain as a complication of having COVID-19.
In most cases, patients with chest pain undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) after having a consultation and physical examination with Dr. Chirala. Other cardiac testing options include:
If there's a chance you could be having a heart attack, Dr. Chirala performs an ECG immediately to find out if there are irregularities with the electrical activity in your heart.
The treatment you need for chest pain varies according to the cause. You might need to take medication to:
Other options include balloon angioplasty with stenting, or atherectomy to improve blood flow through narrow arteries. Dr. Chirala uses minimally invasive cardiac catheterization techniques to perform these procedures.
Dr. Chirala also carries out preventive work to help patients improve their heart health with diet, exercise, and weight loss. She also performs cardiac clearance procedures for patients who need to undergo surgery for their chest pain.
If you're anxious about chest pain, call South Bay Cardiovascular Center today or book an appointment online.