Chest pain is a common symptom of heart-related conditions, and having pain evaluated as soon as possible is important for avoiding serious complications like heart attacks. Dr. Jeffrey Graf is a top-ranked cardiologist in New York City, using state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques to ensure patients receive the most appropriate care.
Chest pain can occur for many reasons, including serious medical issues like heart disease and less serious problems like mild acid indigestion. Some of the most common causes include:
Because chest pain can indicate a serious underlying medical issue, it's important to have it evaluated, especially if it's severe, persistent or chronic.
Angina is a type of sharp chest pain that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is diminished, usually as a result of narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. The coronary arteries are the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood to support normal function. Sometimes, cholesterol in the blood can form sticky plaques that collect on the sides of the arteries, making it harder for blood to reach the heart. Less commonly, angina can occur as a result of vasospasms, contractions in the arteries that restrict the flow of blood. When the heart receives less oxygen than it needs for healthy function, it sends out pain signals. Angina is a serious sign that the heart is in trouble and it's very important to seek medical care right away to prevent a heart attack.
Heart attacks can cause different symptoms in men and women, and knowing the signs is important for ensuring care is received as quickly as possible. Some common symptoms include:
Treatment begins with a comprehensive examination which may include an EKG, blood tests, diagnostic imaging and other evaluations to determine the cause. Based on the results of the evaluations, treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes or surgery to correct underlying problems including arterial blockages.