If you regularly experience chest pain, it’s important to seek professional medical help. Chest pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s important you rule out cardiovascular problems first. At Heart and Vascular Care in Plano, Texas, board-certified cardiologist Bhupinder Singh, MD, works with men and women to diagnose and treat all types of chest pain, including angina and epigastric pain. To schedule your appointment, call the office or book online today.
Chest pain refers to any irritation or discomfort you feel in or around your chest. Some people experience chest pain that’s sharp, stabbing, and electric-like; others experience chest pain that’s dull and throbbing, or pain that radiates into their shoulders, back, neck, or arms.
Sometimes, chest pain occurs as a result of problems with your ribs, esophagus, or nerves. Other times, chest pain indicates a serious, life-threatening issue with your lungs or heart.
Angina is a type of chest pain that occurs when there’s reduced blood flow to your heart. There are several types of angina, including:
Stable angina occurs during and directly after physical activity. When you walk the dog or climb a flight of stairs, your heart requires more blood to function properly. If you have heart disease, though, your arteries narrow, which slows down blood flow. Other factors that can trigger stable angina include smoking, eating large meals, and emotional distress.
Unstable angina occurs due to fatty deposits, or plaques, in your blood vessels. If a clot forms, it prevents blood from traveling through your arteries. Unstable angina occurs suddenly, and rapidly cuts off circulation to your heart muscle. Unstable angina doesn’t respond to rest or traditional medications. It’s a serious, life-threatening condition that requires prompt treatment.
Men and women experience heart attacks differently. Anginal equivalent refers to heart attack symptoms that include shortness of breath, profuse vomiting, and arm pain, caused by reduced blood flow. Angina equivalent can also result in neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, or epigastric pain. Anyone can experience anginal equivalent symptoms, but they’re especially common in women.
To diagnose chest pain, Dr. Singh conducts a physical exam and asks you about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Next, he reviews your medical history and asks you about your lifestyle, including the foods you eat and if you smoke.
If Dr. Singh suspects that your chest pain is a result of angina, he orders an electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG records the electrical signals your heart produces. Dr. Singh uses this information to determine if blood flow to your heart is slow or interrupted.
Treatment of chest pain depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. Usually, Dr. Singh recommends a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medications. For example, quitting smoking and losing weight can significantly improve your cardiovascular health. Prescription medications like beta-blockers, nitrates, or clog-preventing drugs can increase blood flow and heart function.
If your chest pain persists or gets worse, surgical intervention may be necessary. Depending on your needs, Dr. Singh might recommend an angioplasty and stenting or a coronary artery bypass surgery.
To schedule your chest pain appointment at Heart and Vascular Care, call the office or book online today.