Left Side Chest Pain

By John Pope

The chest is where our heart is placed. Just like our heart, the chest is also a very important part of the body, since this is where our lungs, ribs, aorta, and pulmonary artery are positioned. This is why keeping our chest healthy and pain free should be a priority. However, the causes of chest pain may vary depending on the area involved. When the left side of our chest is in pain, we panic and anxiously consider the reasons for feeling that pain, because, most of the time, we associate chest pain with heart attack or other major heart problems. Whenever you feel chest pain in the left area, it is best advised to seek medical attention.

Causes of Chest pain in the Left Side

1. Angina

Angina pectoris is one of the most common symptoms of left side chest pain. It is a serious form of pain mostly experienced by middle-aged people. It is best described as a feeling of pressure, tightness and constriction in the left side area of the chest. The pain usually spreads throughout the lower jaw, shoulder, neck, back, arm and hand.

2. Acidity, Gas and Heartburn

Left side chest pain usually originates from acidity, gas or heartburn. This gas forms within the intestine and stomach and goes up to the chest, presses against the wall and causing you to feel pain in the left chest area. If a person is experiencing other symptoms such as bloating, belching and abdominal pain, he or she is, therefore, probably not experiencing a heart attack but suffering from acidity or gas or heartburn. However, left side chest pain should never be ignored and your symptoms should be considered carefully.

3. Heart Attack

Myocardial infarction, better known as heart attack, is a very alarming cause of pain on left side of the chest. Heart attacks occur with the rupture of the surface that covers the fatty deposits or plaque in an artery, this may then result in blockage by blood clots or thrombus. The muscles of the heart depend on these arteries for their supply of blood and may start to collapse because of a lack of oxygen rich blood being supplied. If the artery remains blocked for longer than 15 minutes the tissues in the chest area start to die and cause left side chest pain. Besides from left side chest pain, here are some of the other symptoms that are associated with heart attack:

  • Sweating;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Dizziness or irregular heartbeat; and
  • Pain spreading from chest to back.

4. Lifestyle Causes

Aside from the causes mentioned above, it is sometimes lifestyle considerations that are responsible for left side chest pain. These are mostly stress, obesity and diabetes. Stress can often be the main factor; people who go through stress often complain of a certain pain in the left side of their chest. Although stress itself does not automatically lead to a heart attack, it is, nevertheless, a contributory factor, along with other health considerations. Other lifestyle causes include obesity and diabetes; both are by-products of modern life and are linked to overeating, smoking and drinking.

Some Treatments to Consider when Experiencing Left Chest Pain

Treatments for left side chest pain depend upon the kind of pain you are experiencing. There are several causes of left side chest pain and each one of them has their own form of treatment. So before you actually treat whatever left chest pain you are feeling, try to consult your doctor for diagnosis. Once your left chest pain is ascertained, specific treatment should be followed.

If in case you are experiencing a serious symptom like angina or heart attack, immediate medical attention must be initiated. These symptoms usually trigger pain from in the shoulder blades and jaws, with nausea, tightened chest, dizziness and blurry vision. You should also consider prescribed medications to lessen the pain. When the pain is due to arterial blockage, a procedure like angioplasty may be an option. However, if you are experiencing left chest pain due to diabetes or you have acquired a family history of heart attack, it is best to have a regular cardiac function examination. If you have been experiencing left chest pain for more than a year now, aside from seeking proper medical attention, you might want to change your lifestyle to help alleviate the discomfort.

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