What are the common causes of chest and chest pain?

Chest and breast pain may be the body's way of warning itself of possible injury to the structure of the chest. The causes vary from hormonal changes to pulmonary or cardiac cases. There are two types of chest pain: somatic and visceral. Somatic pain can come from the skin or the muscles and bones, and is often described as a stabbing, throbbing sensation. Visceral pain originates from organs and cavity linings.

A person with chest and breast pain may experience various symptoms to varying degrees. These include shortness of breath, a burning sensation behind the breastbone, and pain that radiates to the arms, shoulders, and neck. Other symptoms include dizziness, profuse sweating, and difficulty swallowing. There is also a tender feeling in the chest when touched.

Musculoskeletal pain in the chest and chest is usually the result of muscle strain from strenuous activities such as exercise and sports or direct physical impact. Another possible cause of chest and breast pain is slipped rib syndrome, which is the result of increased mobility in ribs 8 to 10. These ribs, unlike the other seven pairs, are not attached to the sternum. Somatic chest pain is diagnosed in 15 to 30 percent of cases.

Lung chest pain is pain, on the other hand, that originates in the lungs. The most common sources are chronic cough, pneumonia and asthma. In rare cases, serious medical conditions such as pleurodynia, pneumothorax, or pulmonary embolism can cause severe chest pain. Patients with sickle cell anemia may experience acute chest syndrome, a life-threatening vaso-occlusive disease.

In women, hormonal change is the most common cause of chest and breast pain. It could be due to puberty, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or menstruation. Other gender-specific conditions that contribute to chest pain include pregnancy, menopause, and fibrocystic breast disease. There are also certain medications that contribute to pain, such as diuretics, spironolactone, and methyldopa. Other causes include breast infections, shingles, and liver damage from alcoholism.

Cardiac chest pain is considered the most dangerous and life-threatening of all chest pains, the most common form of which is angina. This is when the inner walls of the arteries are blocked due to a buildup of plaque or cholesterol. Prinzmetal's angina is a type of angina that temporarily restricts blood flow to the heart, causing heart spasms. This usually occurs when the body is at rest and may be related to coronary heart disease. People who experience cramping or prolonged heaviness in the chest are advised to consult their doctors.

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