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When Should You Worry About Chest Pain?

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Chest pain cannot be turned a blind eye to. However, it must be emphasized that the issue can be because of various causes. Therefore, not all the grounds are concerning, but some can be threatening.

This blog will discuss when chest pain becomes concerning and when you should start worrying about them. Of course, chest pains are frightening and painful, but that does not mean that you need to run into the emergency room for the slightest tweaks in your chest. 

At the same time, and much more importantly, you do not want to stay home because you think your chest pain is no big deal. We will discuss the different kinds of chest pain you may suffer from and when to go to the doctor. If you have any doubt while experiencing pain, the best thing is to call 911. 

Causes: Why does my chest hurt?

You are not wired the same way in your chest as in your fingers and toes. For example, if you get a cut on your finger, you will feel pain right over that spot. It is not like that in the chest. 

You can be having a severe heart problem or a lung problem, and you may have pain all over the place with a vague uneasiness and pressure. And since your chest is not wired the same, the reason for your chest pain is mostly confusing. 

In addition, other possible causes include diabetes, hypertension, angina, and lung disease, which will further cloud your judgment. 

Depending on the causes and the prevailing condition the doctor may prescribe you relevant medications, such as Isosorbide Mononitrate (Ismo), Atenolol(Hipres), Amlodipine (Amlip), etc. 

How do I know if my chest pain is serious?

The three types of chest pain that you do not have to worry about are:

  1. If chest pain gets better when you exercise, it is probably nothing to worry about. Almost no severe chest pain is going to get better if you exercise. So if you go for a walk, you get on a rolling machine, and your pain gets better, then it is nothing to worry about. 
  1. If you have pinpoint pain in your chest, it is rarely a problem. However, if you have to point out the location of your pain, you should not worry about it. You may still need to see your doctor if the pain continues to stay; it generally has nothing to do with your major organs like the heart or the lungs. 
  1. Suppose you have a pain that is a sharp shooting pain or an electrical shock that travels from one point to another in your body. 

In that case, that is virtually never a problem to worry about. Of course, you can still see a doctor if it concerns you and get to know more about it, but you need not worry. 

Sharp Pain in Chest: When should I go to the hospital?

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The types of chest pain you should worry about are mentioned below. These pains can be life takers and should concern you regardless of gender and age. They are:

  1. If you have chest pains with shortness of breath is a red alert. You may be breathless and have chest pains simultaneously; like, say, after walking up the stairs, you need to go to the doctor and get it checked immediately. The problem could be your heart or a combined heart and lung problem, which is a bad sign. So do not wait to see your doctor. 
  1. Suppose you have chest pain and swelling in your ankles, feet, and legs. If you are even nearly uncomfortable in your legs, you should go to the doctor immediately. That is hard unless proven otherwise. 
  1. The chest pain that we should typically worry about is tightness in the chest and pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest or somebody is giving you a bear hug. This is a classic reason that doctors worry about. Hence, see a doctor immediately if you feel tightness in the chest or sharp pain in the chest.
  1. Suppose your chest pain gets worse with exercise. The exercise here does not mean running on the treadmill, but the chest pain you will have. At the same time, you carry a grocery bag on a flight of stairs or lift something substantial for a long distance. 
  1. If any form of walking gives you chest pains, then that is Angina until proven otherwise. This is a red flag, and you need to see your doctor. Chest pain that can kill you is rarely a sharp-shooting short-term pain.
  1. With the two exceptions, if you have diabetes, all bets are off because one thing that diabetes does is causes neuropathy. People with diabetes know what neuropathy feels like, which is a numb, tingly discomfort. 
  1. But you can also have neuropathy in chest nerves, and you might not have any classic symptoms. So if you, as a severe or a newly diagnosed diabetic, have any discomfort in your nose down to your toes, you have to go to the emergency department to make sure that the pain is nothing to be concerned about. 

What causes pain in the middle of the chest between breasts?

Women do not have the classic middle of the chest substernal chest pain. Instead, women can have shoulder pain, upper belly pain, and have these kinds of pain. It does not necessarily mean you will have a heart attack, but you should be extra careful about these pains. 

So if you as a woman have any discomfort from your nose to your navel, you should see your doctor if it is severe enough. The pain may be in your arms, the jaw, the back, and the neck. 

Other symptoms can be breaking out of cold sweat, nausea, and dizziness. Many times women think that the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable. Still, they can be subtler and sometimes confusing. You have to go to a doctor to ensure you do not have a heart attack. 


What is pleuritic chest pain?

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which comprises two significant, thin layers of tissue that divide your lungs from your chest wall. Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is characterized by intense chest discomfort (pleuritic pain) that intensifies with respiration.

Does your chest hurt with Covid?

COVID-19 can cause significant chest aches in a small percentage of patients, usually triggered by heavy breathing, coughing, or sneezing. This is most likely due to the virus directly impacting their muscles and lungs.

What is the reason for chest pain on the left side?

Your first assumption may be that you’re suffering a heart attack if you experience pain on the left side of your chest. Although chest discomfort can be a sign of heart disease or a heart attack, this isn’t always the case.

Sudden chest discomfort followed by symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and dizziness might indicate a life-threatening emergency. Get assistance right away.

What are the types of chest pain?

There can be various types of pain. The broad categories are:

  1. Heart-related 
  2. Lung-related causes
  3. Gastrointestinal causes
  4. Bone related
  5. Muscle related

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Photo of author Janet Fudge
Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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