How Anxiety Causes Chest Pain
When youre anxious, your brain sends a surge of adrenaline and cortisol through your body. These hormones immediately trigger a rapid rise in your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, many people experience chest pain and sweating, or have a hard time breathing.
The sudden boost of adrenaline can narrow the arteries in your heart and attach to cells inside the heart. This condition, called stress cardiomyopathy, mimics a heart attack, from symptoms all the way down to changes in your hearts electrical activity.
Though stress cardiomyopathy usually heals within a few days or weeks, it may lead to weak heart muscles, congestive heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Levels of adrenaline and cortisol dont return to normal in people with anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronically high hormone levels may trigger a panic attack and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Age Smoking And High Cholersterol
Q: What are some major factors that could increase the risk of heart problems?
A: For cardiac risk, the top factors are age, history of smoking, and history of high cholesterol. Age increases our risk of having heart issues the most because as we age, we’re more at risk to develop blockages in the arteries of the heart. Second is having a history of smoking and high cholesterol. People that have smoked for a really long time or have high cholesterol are at a much higher risk for developing serious heart conditions. Also, people with lots of relatives who’ve had heart attacks, especially at a young age, are also at higher cardiac risk.
Other risk factors include people who are obese or have what we call metabolic syndrome, which is a constellation of having a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. After those big buckets, there are some more nuanced smaller, niche risk factors like people who’ve had a history of radiation to their chest for cancer or people who have been on certain medications that could have increased their cardiovascular risk. I would say age, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a strong family history are the really big ones.
Association Between Blood Pressure And Experimental Pain
Higher chest pain ratings obtained at onset of symptoms as well as at peak were correlated with higher intensities of pressure required to evoke pain that was perceived as 60 on the 0 to 100 NPS . The magnitude of CPM, TS, as well as pain scores in response to the heat or mechanical pinprick stimulation was not correlated with BP. In addition, no significant differences were found between the 3 SBP categories in relation to any of the other psychophysical measures.
Significant linear changes were found between the 3 BP groups for mechanical stimulation and PPT. Higher pinprick pain ratings were found among patients with lower BP at admission. Patients with SBP between 90 to 120 mm Hg rated this stimulus as 8.1 ± 11, whereas those with SBP between 120 to 140 mm Hg 3.5 ± 2.1 and patients with SBP above 140 mm Hg scored this stimulus as zero .
A comparison between patients with and without diagnosis of hypertension revealed that lower intensities of pressure stimulation were required to evoke pain-60 experiences in the former as compared to the latter . However, no significant differences were observed in the clinical chest pain measures between patients with and without a medical diagnosis of hypertension.
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Things That Happen During A Heart Attack
Q: What happens during a heart attack?
A: In a heart attack, those arteries get blocked for one reason or another, usually involving some kind of worsening of their risk factors. For example, someone might have a night where they smoke a pack of cigarettes when they usually only smoke a few cigarettes. They might experience a heart attack because all the chemicals floating around in their blood already increased the likelihood of their existing blockages into rupturing. Heres how an existing blockage ruptures. A buildup of cholesterol, fat, and inflammatory cells accumulates underneath a thin layer of protein. When this thin layer of protein is perturbed in some way, it ruptures and all the stuff beneath it are exposed. There are these factors called clotting factors in the blood that are responsible for causing clots to happen when they see something “foreign” . They perceive those streaks of fat, deposits of cholesterol and inflammatory cells as foreign and create a clot – kind of like the clot you get when you get a papercut air is a foreign material to your blood so your blood will start to clot so you dont bleed out to death. Thats what happens inside of your coronary artery when that cap ruptures and the blood is exposed to all the stuff thats harbored inside.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Noncardiac Chest Pain
Noncardiac chest pain is most commonly related to a problem with your esophagus, the swallowing tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. There are several different esophageal disorders that can cause noncardiac chest pain, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease . Otherwise known as chronic acid reflux, this is the most common cause of noncardiac chest pain, accounting for 50% to 60% of cases.
- Esophageal muscle spasms. Abnormal contractions or squeezing of your esophagus.
- Achalasia. This is a rare disorder in which your lower esophageal sphincter doesnt relax and open to allow food into your stomach, causing food to back up into your esophagus.
- Esophageal hypersensitivity. This is a sensory disorder in which the muscles, nerves and receptors of your esophageal wall are overly sensitive. People with this condition experience normal tension, pressure changes, and acid contents as painful.
- Inflammation of the esophagus. This can result from an immune response to infection or food allergies or from peptic ulcer disease.
- Abnormal esophageal tissue. This creates constrictions, such as rings and webs.
When healthcare providers cant determine the cause but have ruled out other possible factors, they diagnose functional chest pain of presumed esophageal origin.”
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Chest Pain Despite Normal Stress Test
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What could cause chest discomfort or shortness of breath during exercise or other physical activity in women who have had a normal stress test?
ANSWER: Chest pain or shortness of breath that happens with exertion could be symptoms of a number of medical conditions even when the results of a stress test appear normal. The two most common stress tests are echocardiogram stress tests and nuclear stress tests.
An echocardiogram uses sound waves to make up images of the heart beating and pumping blood. For an echo stress, you walk on a treadmill to increase your heart rate, or you may be given medication that increases your heart rate. As your heart rate rises, the health care team monitors you to see if the heart muscle is pumping as strongly as it should.
If there is significant blockage in a blood vessel that leads to the heart a coronary artery the part of the heart muscle supplied by that vessel wont pump as vigorously as the other parts of the heart muscle around it. The stress echo images look at how the heart is pumping at rest compared to after the stress portion of the test. If the heart function is normal at rest but doesnt pump as strongly after the stress portion, this can also be a sign of underlying coronary artery disease.
Possible Causes Of Chest Pain
Your chest includes the area on the front of your body, from your stomach to your shoulders. It contains lots of bones and muscles, and the two main organs in your chest are your heart and lungs.
A few common vascular conditions that may cause chest pain include:
Different conditions cause different types of pain, but you shouldnt try to self-diagnose your condition.
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What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain
Dont ignore any type of chest pain or avoid getting treatment.
If your chest pain is new, comes on suddenly, or lasts longer than five minutes after you rest or take medication, call 911 or have someone take you to the closest emergency room.
If your chest pain goes away or comes and goes, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible to find out whats causing the pain, even if its not severe.
When Does Angina Pectoris Occur
Angina often occurs when the heart muscle itself needs more blood than it is getting, for example, during times of physical activity or strong emotions. Severely narrowed arteries may allow enough blood to reach the heart when the demand for oxygen is low, such as when you’re sitting. But, with physical exertionlike walking up a hill or climbing stairsthe heart works harder and needs more oxygen.
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Monitoring And Controlling Blood Pressure
Baroreceptors are specialized cells located within arteries that act as blood pressure sensors. Those in the large arteries of the neck and chest are particularly important. When baroreceptors detect a change in blood pressure, they trigger the body to react to maintain a steady blood pressure. Nerves carry signals from these sensors and the brain to
The heart, which is signaled to change the rate and force of heartbeats . This change is one of the first, and it corrects low blood pressure quickly.
The arterioles, which are signaled to constrict or dilate .
The veins, which are signaled to constrict or dilate .
The kidneys, which are signaled to change the amount of fluid excreted and to change the amount of hormones that they produce . This change takes a long time to produce results and thus is the slowest mechanism for how the body controls blood pressure.
Nonetheless, the ways that the body can monitor and control blood pressure have limitations. For example, if a person loses a lot of blood quickly, the body cannot compensate quickly enough, blood pressure falls, and organs may begin to malfunction .
In addition, as people age, the body responds to changes in blood pressure more slowly.
Clinical Chest Pain Characteristics
The mean pain intensity at symptom onset was 62.2 ± 26.3 NPS. Mean pain scores were 75.4 ± 20.8, and pain intensity ratings at peak were 78.6 ± 21.7. Pain scores at symptom onset were correlated with peak pain scores . Patients described the dominant quality of their chest pain as pressure , burning , stabbing , and undefined . Most of the patients reported that the pain was radiating, predominantly to the left arm, back, or lower jaw.
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When Should I Call Triple Zero And Ask For An Ambulance
If you have any of the symptoms below, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.
- your chest pain is severe, or worsening, or has lasted longer than 10 minutes
- your chest pain feels heavy, crushing or tight
- you have other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, dizziness or a cold sweat
- you also feel the pain in your jaw or down your left arm
First Thoughts When A Patient Comes With Tightness In Chest
Q: Say a patient comes in with tightness in chest, what would be on your mind?
A: Chest tightness or pain can be caused by a really broad number of things . There are a few really key characteristics that could help categorize someone’s chest pain as something acute that require you to mobilize a ton of resources right away versus other things that are not life threatening even if they may be causing the patient’s chest pain and discomfort.
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What Are The Causes Of Chest Pain
Chest pain can be a symptom of many different conditions, some of which are more serious than others. Its best to seek medical attention for any chest pain in case it is heart-related.
Common non-cardiac causes of chest pain include:
- indigestion or reflux when stomach acid rises up the food pipe, and causes a burning pain in the chest
- inflammation where the ribs join the breast bone
- chest infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- anxiety or panic attack these may also cause dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating and breathlessness and can last for up to 20 minutes.
Common cardiac causes of chest pain include:
- angina pain caused by poor blood flow to the heart muscle, which usually occurs when the heart needs to work harder than usual. This might be due to exercise, anxiety or emotion, cold weather, or following a large meal. The pain is usually short lived and eases with rest.
- heart attack when the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle is blocked. Chest pain caused by a heart attack usually does not go away with rest, and urgent medical attention is necessary.
Less common causes of chest pain include:
- shingles an infection that typically causes pain before a skin rash appears
- mastitis usually caused by a breast infection related to breastfeeding
- a pulmonary embolism a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. You may have sharp, stabbing chest pain that is worse when you breathe in.
What Is Chest Pain
Chest pain is a pain in any area of your chest. It may spread to other areas, including down your arms, into your neck or jaw. Chest pain can be sharp or dull. You may feel tightness, achiness, or you may feel like your chest is being crushed or squeezed. Chest pain can last for a few minutes or hours. In some cases, it can last six months or longer.
What does chest pain feel like?
Angina, one type of chest pain, happens when your heart isnt getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina is a symptom of a heart issue. It often worsens during exertion and improves when youre at rest.
- Feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest.
- Cause discomfort in your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck and back.
- Feel similar to indigestion.
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Find Out What You Should Do If You Have Chest Pain But All The Tests Are Normal
Many people have chest pain but the cardiac tests come back normal. Chest pain is the No. 1 reason for emergency room visits.
Most of these patients are told that their chest pain is not related to their heart.
The etiology for chest pain is not always the heart, but it is so important to be sure it is not the heart! says Dawn Kershner, DO, a cardiologist at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Kershner continues, Chest pain can be caused by numerous GI problems, musculoskeletal like a pulled or inflamed muscle/joint pulmonary embolus, which is a blood clot in the lung that can kill within minutes.
As a cardiologist, I make sure the chest pain is not cardiac and then start looking for the non-cardiac cause.
Do not delay if you are having chest pain, you do have a choice: Sit or lie there wondering if its your heart preparing for an attack, or you can head to the emergency room to get it checked out.
If the incident passes and youre still alive, do not assume its nothing to worry about. Make an appointment with a cardiologist and get tests done.
Chest Pain High Blood Pressure Anxiety
Chest pain and anxiety conditions along with high blood pressure levels can arise due to various reasons like,
Suffering from anxiety
Chest pain indicates that you are suffering from severe anxiety, usually, anxiety can be responsible for the high blood pressure level of people suffering from high blood pressure, which causes headache. Situations such as pain in the chest, irritability, anger, inability to talk, etc. may arise,
Consumption of excessive alcohol
Conditions such as high blood pressure anxiety can be caused by alcohol consumption, in case of high blood pressure, alcohol consumption can be responsible for increasing the normal level of blood pressure,
Lack of sleep
If you have abnormally low blood pressure, you may become sleepy, this lack of sleep can dramatically increase your normal blood pressure level,
causing you to have various types of headaches along with a headache. You must keep a gap of two hours between eating dinner and sleeping in order to make up for sleep.
Lack of exercise
If you want to avoid different types of risk of blood pressure, then make a habit of exercising daily, it normalizes your blood flow and saves you from various risks, and removes laziness from the body,
And you remain worry-free, according to research, the reason for depression in most people is their small physical problem, which causes depression, so exercise is very important to overcome depression,
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Only When You Lie Down At Night
Q: Which symptoms indicate that the chest pain is less serious?
A: Other clues of less serious causes of chest pain or tightness would be if you really experience the chest pain only when you lie down at night or if you have chest pain after eating large meals. Those symptoms would indicate that it’s reflux. If there’s a burning quality to the pain along with it, that would also indicate that it’s reflux.
How Can Chest Pains Be Prevented
You can reduce your risk of heart, vascular and other diseases by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
- A healthy diet. Your healthcare provider or registered dietitian can help you create an eating plan thats right for you.
- Managing health conditions you have, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Exercising most days of the week.
- Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Not using tobacco products.
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