Chest pressure may be described as the feeling of something heavy sitting on chest or feeling a band tightening around chest. It is that sensation of tightening, squeezing, pressing or crushing in chest areas and it may be accompanied by pain or with no pain. When the chest feels heavy, the pressure sensation may be coming from conditions occurring in part of chest such as the wall muscles, heart, lungs, esophagus nerves, tendons, or ribcage. Whenever there is pain accompanying the feeling of pressure in chest, it can radiate between chest and neck or abdomen and back.
Causes of heaviness of the chest
Having chest pressure could be a symptom of a disorder like gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn. In case the chest feels heavy and this is accompanied by pain which changes with breathing and radiates to the back, it may be referred to as pleuritic pain that is normally caused by dryness or inflammation in sac surrounding the lungs.
Other causes of feeling pressure in chest are anxiety and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening allergy reaction. The feeling of chest pressure may also be due to heart conditions such as tachycardia or rapid heart rate, myocardial infarction or heart attack, and arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythm.
Depending on the cause of chest pressure, other symptoms may occur such as sweating, fast heart rate, difficult breathing, and abdominal pain. An individual having unexplained pressure in chest should seek medical help to undergo further examination. When you experience chest pressure with pain and other symptoms like loss of consciousness, confusion, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and difficult breathing, seek prompt medical care.
A feeling of pressure in chest that gets worse when you breath, change position, or worsens when there is regurgitation of stomach, you need medical help. When the chest feels heavy, it may be a sign of a serious health condition. At times, people may have a feeling of pressure in chest due to indigestion and gas. It may also occur when an individual is having a heart attack, ergo, it is impossible to tell whether the chest pressure is a symptom of a serious health problem or just some passing thing.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes difficult breathing particularly when it is triggered by an allergy. This condition can cause heaviness of the chest and tightness. A patient with asthma will have difficulties breathing, and if not treated, it may be life threatening.
Severe anemia may trigger asthma attacks. An injury occurring in the rib cage may cause tightness of the chest and soreness in muscles. When you have trapped or pulled muscles of the chest, it may result in heaviness of chest. Aortic aneurism is a condition where part of aortic wall dilates and starts to bulge. Pain and discomforts may become constant and the pain radiates to chest areas allowing a patient to feel heaviness in chest.
Panic attacks are a common cause of chest heaviness. When a person has panic attacks or anxiety attacks, they have trouble with breathing. The chest feels constricted and an individual experiences sweating, heart palpitations, and sudden onset of dizziness.
Symptoms that may occur with chest heaviness
Chest pressure may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the cause. Cardiovascular symptoms which accompany chest pain are such as lightheadedness and dizziness, chest pain radiating down to the arm or jaw, fainting, lethargy, and change in consciousness. An individual may also have irregular heart rate and rapid heart rate.
Respiratory symptoms that may accompany chest pressure are such as difficult breathing, heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, sudden diarrhea, regurgitation of stomach content, difficulty swallowing, and sudden diarrhea. Other symptoms may be anxiety, slurred speech, hives, sudden feeling of itchiness, sweating, sudden skin redness, swelling, and warmth.
Serious symptoms that could accompany the feeling of pressure in chest are such as tightness, chest pain, difficult breathing, difficulty swallowing, hives, rapid heart rates, confusion, loss of consciousness, profuse sweating, and saddening swelling of lips, throat, or face.
Having chest pressure may be due to a serious condition and failure to seek treatment could result in serious complications or even permanent damage. When an underlying cause has been diagnosed, a patient needs to follow the prescribed treatment plan to reduce the risk of having complications. Some of the complications that may arise include heart failure, esophageal scarring, respiratory failure, esophageal cancer, and collapsed lung due to pleurisy.
Diagnosis of chest heaviness
When the chest feels heavy, a doctor will ask questions and conduct examination to find out the cause of the condition. A doctor may want to know how long you have been having this problem and the first time you noticed it.
Also, the doctor may want to know whether you are experiencing pain, pounding heartbeat, confusion, anxiety, or slurred speech. Such information is intended to help the doctor determine what might be causing the feeling of heaviness in chest. This will allow for the right treatment plan to be provided.
Filed in: Health and Lifestyle