Left Side Chest Pain picture

Left Side Chest Pain: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, and Treatment

Left side chest pain can trigger anxiety and fear in your mind. It is due to the fact that it points towards a heart attack. But, unlike popular perception, the pain you suffer on your left side of the chest may not indicate a heart attack. Although chest pain is one of the common symptoms of heart problem or heart disease, other issues can trigger similar signs or symptoms. Continue reading below to understand the different reasons leading to chest pain. You can also gain comprehensive information on the steps you need to take to deal with the problem.

Immediate Medical Attention For Left Side Chest Pain

While most of the problem may indicate some simple issues, some condition needs immediate medical attention. You can suffer from the left side chest pain due to a life-threatening condition that needs medical assistance as soon as possible. So, when you observe the following signs along with chest pain, get aid from a medical professional immediately:

As every minute counts, you need to take action as soon as possible to avoid severe complications.

Diagnosing Left Side Chest Pain

left side chest painWhen you experience pain on the left side of your chest, it is important to know its seriousness. So, you need to consult your doctor to get the proper diagnosis. The following diagnostic techniques can determine the actual problem:

The tests can reveal the actual condition leading to the pain. Based on the diagnosis, your doctor suggests treatment to relieve the pain and distress.

Health Problems Triggering Left Side Chest Pain

Underlying health problems can trigger left side chest pain. At times, serious problems can lead to fatal complications. Therefore, you need to observe the signs to detect the issue and get the required medical assistance. The following health problems can trigger pain in the chest:

Angina

Angina

Angina is not a disease in itself, but can signify a heart problem. It is the general symptoms that point towards coronary heart disease. The problem occurs when your heart muscles do not get enough oxygen from your blood. So, you can experience discomfort or pain in your chest region.

Symptoms Of Angina

  • Uncomfortable feeling in your arm or shoulders
  • Discomfort in your jaw, back or neck

Treatment For Angina

The treatment can depend entirely on the severity of the condition. So, after the doctor detects your condition, the treatment options available are:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • Cardiac procedures

The Dangerous Left Side Chest Pain: Heart Attack

A heart attack is a dangerous condition that can lead to the death of the affected person. The problem occurs when the heart muscles become damaged due to the deprivation of oxygen-rich blood.

Symptoms Of Heart Attack

When a person has a heart attack, they can feel mild chest pain, which increases slowly. In some people, the problem can start abruptly. So, people can feel pain in the center of the left side of the chest. If you experience a heart attack, then you can observe other signs like:

  • Shooting pain in the jaw, neck, stomach or back
  • Crushing, squeezing or tightening pressure in your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in your arm (usually you can observe it on left arm, but can also occur in the right arm)
  • Heartburn
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lightheadedness

The symptoms of the problem can vary from one person to another. In most cases, men and women experience left side chest pain or discomfort during a heart attack. But, women can experience the following signs:

  • Jaw or back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Treatment For Heart Attack

A heart attack is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. You need to get help from your doctor to avoid fatal complications. Each second counts as the longer your heart muscles goes without oxygen, the higher the chances of irreversible damage. So, the treatment focuses on restoring the oxygen-rich blood supply to your heart as soon as possible. Once you feel good after staying at the hospital, you need to make some changes in your life. The lifestyle modifications include:

Myocarditis

It is the condition occurring due to the inflammation of your heart muscles. The problem affects the electrical system of your heart. So, it can weaken your heart. When you fail to get treatment, it can lead to permanent heart muscle damage.

Symptoms Of Myocarditis

It can trigger chest pain along with other signs like:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)

Treatment For Myocarditis

The mild cases of heart inflammation can improve without any treatment. But, severe cases require a doctor’s attention. The doctor can perform a diagnosis to reveal the underlying cause of chronic inflammation. Depending on the diagnosis, you need to take the medication prescribed by your doctor.

Another Problem Leading To Left Side Chest Pain: Cardiomyopathy

The problem can lead to an enlarged heart. It mainly affects your heart muscle. Some people who suffer from the disease do not experience any signs. But, others can observe signs like:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in different parts of the body (abdomen, legs, hands, ankles, and feet)
  • Heart palpitations

Treatment Options To Overcome Left Side Chest Pain Due To Cardiomyopathy

The treatment for cardiomyopathy can include the following:

Medications

  • Surgically implanted devices
  • Nonsurgical procedures
  • Septal myectomy (Surgery to remove a part of the heart)

You need to undergo certain lifestyle changes to prevent the issue from affecting you again. So, you need to follow the pointers suggested below:

 Pericarditis

Pericarditis

The inflammation or irritation of the pericardium can lead to sharp pain. It can trigger the middle or left side chest pain. The pericardium refers to the two thin tissue layers. It surrounds your heart. So, due to the inflammation, you can suffer from an uncomfortable feeling. The signs and symptoms can imitate a heart attack.

Symptoms Of Pericarditis

You can suffer pain in one or both of your shoulders due to pericarditis.

Treatment For Pericarditis

The treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. So, the treatment options available to overcome the problem are:

  • Mild cases of the problem require taking over-the-counter pain killers (NSAIDs) or aspirin. The mild issues clear on its own.
  • Severe cases of the problem require pericardiectomy or surgery (in rare cases)

One Of The Mental Problems Leading To Left Side Chest Pain: Panic Attack

A panic attack is a mental health problem triggering left side chest pain. The attacks come abruptly and tend to worsen within ten minutes. The signs your experience along with a panic attack can mimic a heart attack. If you have suffered trauma or negative incidents in your life, then you can suffer from a panic attack due to fear or anxiety.

Symptoms Associated With Panic Attacks

You can suffer from additional symptoms other than chest pain due to a panic attack like:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Feeling of choking
  • Intense fear or sense of doom
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of detachment or unreality

Some health conditions like thyroid problems or heart conditions can trigger such intense signs in your body. Therefore, you need to see your doctor to detect the actual problem triggering the symptoms. The diagnosis from a medical professional can help reveal the underlying problem.

Treatment Options For Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is also known as a mental health problem. So, you need to consult a doctor specializing in mental health disorders. Your doctor can suggest the following treatment options:

  • Medication to control the signs associated with the disease
  • Psychotherapy to get relief from distressing symptoms

You need to stay calm and relax your mind. Therefore, you can adopt the following techniques to avoid excess mental stress and avoid problems:

Practice relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga

  • Avoid stress by practicing stress management
  • Join a support group
  • Include regular physical activity in your life
  • Quit bad habits like smoking (use of tobacco)
  • Try to avoid drinking alcohol, and taking recreational drugs
  • Stay away from caffeine
  • Get a full night’s sleep to relieve stress

GERD/Acid Reflux/Heartburn

When your digestive acids flow into your esophagus, you can experience chest pain. You can feel like your chest is burning due to the acid flow. The problem also known as acid reflux can trigger other discomforts.

Signs Associated With Acid Reflux

In normal cases, you can experience the problem as soon as you eat your food. You can experience heartburn as a result of the problem when you lie down within a few hours of eating food. The problem is severe. So, it can wake you up from your sound sleep. The other signs associated with the problem are:

  • A burning sensation in your chest and upper abdomen
  • Stomach contents or bile flowing up to the back of your throat

The condition if ignored can lead to a serious condition like GERD. In such cases, you can observe other signs like:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble Swallowing

Treatment For GERD

For simple issues of acid reflux or heartburn, you can take over-the-counter antacids. If the condition does not improve, then your doctor suggests stronger medication. People suffering from frequent heartburn can ease the symptoms by following the pointers suggested below:

Hiatal Hernia

Some people can experience chest pain when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm. The pushing happens through the large muscle present between the chest and abdomen. So, it can trigger severe pain.

Symptoms Associated With Hiatal Hernia

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation of food into your mouth (food comes back to the mouth)

Treatment For Hiatal Hernia

You need no specific treatment to overcome the problem. You can ease the symptoms by following some pointers:

  • Eat small meals
  • Elevate the head while you lie down on the bed
  • Avoid food items that trigger heartburn
  • Never lie down immediately after consuming food

You need to consult your doctor if you suffer from the symptoms even with home care. So, you can get effective treatment to overcome the problem.

Left Side Chest Pain Triggered By Esophagus Problems

Left side chest pain also occurs when you suffer from issues with your esophagus. The following problems can lead to pain and discomfort:

  • You can suffer from chest pain that mimics heart attack when esophageal muscle spasm occurs.
  • The inflammation of the esophagus lining (esophagitis) can trigger sharp chest pain along with burning sensation. Esophagitis is the condition that can cause pain as well as other signs like swallowing problems, pain after eating food, presence of blood in stools or vomit.
  • When the esophageal rupture or tear occurs, it can leak food into the chest cavity. So, you can experience mild to severe chest pain. The problem accompanies with other signs like rapid breathing, nausea, and vomiting.

Treating Problems With Esophagus

You need to see a doctor to fix the problem. The treatment depends on the underlying cause. Mild problems are corrected with medications. While severe issues like esophageal rupture need surgical intervention to repair it.

Pulled Muscles And Chest Wall Injuries

Injury or pulling of muscles in the chest can result in severe pain. The sprained muscles between the ribs can also lead to the problem.

Symptoms Associated With Chest Trauma

When you suffer from trauma, you can experience pain and other symptoms. So, the other signs associated with the problem are:

  • Fractured ribs
  • Bruising of the chest wall
  • Fractured breastbone (sternum)
  • You can feel pain while coughing or taking a deep breath due to the injury

Treatment For Chest Trauma

If you have experienced trauma to the chest or ribs, then see your doctor immediately. The broken ribs or fractured breastbone take weeks to heal. You need to take rest to speed up the healing. Avoiding strenuous activity until you recover completely can prevent worsening of the problem.

Collapsed Lung

Collapsed Lung

The sudden left side chest pain can indicate a collapsed lung. The problem can affect both sides. The problem medically known as pneumothorax occurs due to trauma to the chest or from a chronic disease. It results in sharp pain on either side of the chest.

Symptoms Associated With Collapsed Lung

People who have endured trauma to the lungs or have severe disease that affects the organ can suffer other signs. When you observe the following symptoms, get immediate medical help:

  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Skin turning blue (due to lack of oxygen)

Treatment For Collapsed Lung

Your doctor decides the ideal treatment based on the underlying cause of the problem. But, the problem is considered as a medical emergency. So, you need to get medical assistance as early as possible.

Left Side Chest Pain Caused By Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a health condition that affects your lungs. You can experience sharp or stabbing chest pain when you take a deep breath. It can also result in severe pain when you cough. The problem affects people who have suffered from a respiratory illness like influenza or bronchitis.

Symptoms Associated With Pneumonia

People suffering from pneumonia can experience different symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Shaking or chills
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough, sometimes with mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment For Pneumonia

You need to see a doctor immediately to get treatment. The treatment duration depends on the severity of the problem. Based on the severity, you need to stay at the hospital for a few days. You need to take the following:

  • Antiviral medication
  • Antibiotics

You have to take rest when you recover from pneumonia. You must not physically exert yourself. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Lung Cancer

Cancerous presence in your lung can trigger chest pain. You need to consult a doctor when you observe pressure in your chest area.

Symptoms Associated With Lung Cancer

People suffering from lung cancer get an accurate diagnosis from the doctor after undergoing biopsy. But, many people may not know they suffer from a serious issue. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the signs you can observe in your body. The signs that indicate the life-threatening the problem are:

  • Intense coughing
  • Coughing up mucus or blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurring bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain from coughing bouts
  • Experiencing pain in your shoulder or back

Treatment For Lung Cancer

You may not experience signs during the early stages of cancer. But, you need to consult your doctor once you observe signs. The earlier you diagnose the problem, the better your chances of the outcome. So, your doctor can suggest the following treatment options:

The treatment option used in combination can eliminate the cancerous presence in your body.

Pulmonary Hypertension

It refers to the high pressure in your lungs. The problem can result in left side chest pain. The problem can progress and result in heart failure.

Signs Associated With Pulmonary Hypertension

The problem can trigger several other symptoms along with the chest pain. So, people suffering from the issue can also suffer from the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Loss of energy
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Racing pulse

Pulmonary Embolism: The Dangerous Problem Triggering Left Side Chest Pain

Pulmonary Embolism

The sudden yet sharp pain is one of the prominent signs of Pulmonary Embolism (PE). It is a serious condition, which needs immediate medical treatment. The problem can cause blood clots in your lungs. So, you can experience fatal complications, including death.

Symptoms Associated With Pulmonary Embolism

Apart from the left side chest pain, you can also experience other signs. When you observe such signs, seek medical help immediately to prevent adverse effects. So, you need to look out for signs like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Lightheadedness

The problem is considered as a medical emergency. So, it calls for immediate medical treatment to save your life.

Conclusion

Left side chest pain can occur due to a few health conditions. The condition may occur with or without additional signs. When you observe the pain in your chest, you need to consult your doctor immediately. A professional diagnosis can aid in finding the exact reason leading to pain and distress. You need to pay attention to symptoms displayed by your body. Sudden chest pain occurring due to no underlying reason requires professional medical help. You have to contact your doctor when you experience chest pain along with trouble in breathing, dizziness, or pressure feeling on your chest. It indicates a life-threatening emergency like a heart attack. So, get medical help immediately to avoid permanent damage to your heart muscles. With swift medical help and good care, you can prevent any fatal complications.

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