Left-sided chest pain

Left-sided chest pain can indicate heart problems, for example, an infarction.


Causes associated with the heart

Heart attack
A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) occurs when the arterial coronary arteries occlude.

The heart works non-stop 24 hours a day.
The heart muscle needs a constant influx of oxygen-rich blood from the coronary arteries.
If there are plaques in the coronary arteries, this can lead to a heart attack.
When plaque forms on the inner wall of arteries, a blood clot or thrombus develops, partially or completely occlusing the artery.
The result is an interruption of blood circulation in the heart muscle.
The heart muscle depends on the supply of oxygen-rich blood from the coronary arteries.
If the occlusion in an artery exceeds 15 minutes, the tissue in this area begins to die.
The type of pain is similar to that of ischemia, and in fact a heart attack is the result of prolonged ischemia.

The pain is not limited to the thorax alone, it continues to move to the left shoulder and neck.
In some cases, patients suffer from back pain that radiates to the heart.
Patients may feel a dull or burning pain in the middle of the chest.
It is important to know that in the event of a heart attack, the affected person cannot feel any pain in the middle of the chest.

Heart attack in women
The symptoms of a heart attack in women may differ from those in men.
Some women do not feel chest pain during a heart attack.
Symptoms include:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Nausea
  3. Pain in the upper abdomen at the level of the stomach
  4. Unusual fatigue
  5. Vomit
  6. Vertigo
  7. Backache
  8. Cold welding
  9. Pain in the arm and neck and lower jaw area

Some of these symptoms may persist for a few days before a heart attack.

How to Recognize Thoracic Pain Caused
by a Heart Attack 
Usually, a chest pain related to the heart develops gradually and lasts a few minutes (at least five), then it either decreases or it presents as an infarction (heart attack).

A central chest pain that radiates into the left arm, shoulder, neck, jaw and to the tips of the fingers can result from a myocardial infarction.
A recurrent chest pain that occurs after physical exertion and passes at rest may be caused by a heart attack.
Piercing chest pain (such as a knife stab) worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing, or deep breathing and is not a symptom of a heart attack.
Chest pain may indicate an impending heart attack if it is accompanied by:

  1. Perspiration
  2. Vertigo
  3. Pain in the arm, shoulder, neck and jaw
  4. Tightness or pressure in the chest area, as if a stone were lying on it
  5. Mortal fear

Diagnosis of a heart attack

  1. In the emergency room, the doctor has the patient’s symptoms described and performs a physical examination.
  2. The patient with heart attack indicates the area with the open palm, because it is diffuse pain; If, on the other hand, the pain is localized and the patient can accurately indicate it with his finger, it is usually not a heart attack.
  3. What is important is when the pain occurs; if they become noticeable during certain movements of the chest, they can originate from the skeletal muscles, but if they subside while sitting, pericarditis may be present.
  4. The doctor will have the following examinations carried out:
  • Electrocardiogram – Abnormal waveforms can be observed on the ECG, but this is not sufficient as a diagnosis, because the examination could show a negative result, even if the patient has a heart attack.
  • Color-coded Doppler sonography – Used to evaluate any heart damage caused by a heart attack.

Ischemia of the heart
Cardiac ischemia is an acute heart disease characterized by reduced blood flow to the heart.
The lack of arterious blood over a long period of time causes damage to the heart muscle.
This affects the heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body and reduces its efficiency.
Thoracic pain (angina) is mainly felt on the left side of the chest.
Cardiac ischemia can cause heart attack, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and heart failure.

Risk factors include:

Non-cardiac causes of left-sided chest pain

Gastroesophageal reflux and heartburn
The symptoms are:

If the symptoms of a heart attack (tachycardia, tachycardia, sweating, pallor) do not occur together with chest pain, it often means that the person suffers from acidification of the stomach or heartburn.

Anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing, and it is also a factor that seriously affects the functioning of the heart muscle.
Stress alone does not cause a heart attack, but it can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, except for pain that radiates into the arm and extreme fatigue.

Intercostal pain or neuralgia
Between the ribs run the intercostal nerves, which can trigger constant chest pain if injured or damaged due to trauma or infection.
The symptoms are pain similar to that of a knife stab, which worsens when the patient coughs, sneezes or laughs.
The pain can also radiate from the chest to the shoulders and, in more severe cases, to the back.

Similar complaints as in intercostal neuralgia occur with cervicobrachialgia.
These complaints are caused by inflammation of the nerves of the neck and upper back.
The result is cervical or upper back pain that radiates along the right or left arm to the hand.
This can also lead to ant tingling in the fingers.

The upper ribs are connected to the sternum by cartilage.
This joint connection is called costosternal articulation.
Inflammation of these joint connections is called costochondritis. As a rule, they are observed in adolescents and young people.
This condition causes localized chest pain, which is acute and stabbing.
Diagnosis – With certain movements of the chest (rotation and flexion) and when the patient inhales, the pain worsens.
If pressure is applied to the area (with a finger), the pain increases; this is not the case with heart or lung problems.

Pain in the left upper chest

Strain of the left pectoral
Dull pain in the left breast may be caused by a strain of the pectoral muscle.

The pectoral muscles are located on the left and right side of the thoracic. Injury to the pectoral muscle can occur during contact sports or fitness training.
Exercises such as barbell pressing a few centimeters from the sternum can cause pain in the center of the chest, both right and left.
A torn or torn pectoral muscle on the left side of the thoracic can cause severe pain.
The pain may also radiate to the left shoulder and armpit.
Symptoms worsen with physical activity or when the arm is led backwards to the back.

Angina pectoris
Angina pectoris is caused by coarse cholesterol plaques that gradually settle on the inner walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart.
The result is a narrowing of the arteries and a reduced flow of oxygenated blood to the heart.
If the blood flow is reduced, this can lead to repeated episodes of chest pain.
The pain increases with intense physical activity, which leads to tachycardia and increased oxygen demand.

Coronary spasm
This disease is also called Prinzmetal angina. When the arteries carrying blood to the heart involuntarily cramp, blood flow temporarily stops, causing chest pain.
A person can also suffer from it in peace.

Esophageal spasm
Pain when breathing in the upper left quadrant of the chest may be caused by an esophageal spasm.
The nerves that innervate the heart and esophagus are the same.
Discomfort of the esophagus causes difficulty swallowing and pain when breathing and eating.
Gastroesophageal reflux can cause pain in the central chest area.

Diseases of gallbladder, pancreas and lungs
Left-sided chest pain is not always caused by the heart.
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or gallbladder can cause acute

Cause pain.
The pain can start in the chest, especially if it is caused by an ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Lung diseases that cause chest pain include:

  1. pulmonary embolism,
  2. pulmonary hypertension, etc.

causes chronic muscle pain in the body, including in the chest.

Chest pain after eating

Gastroesophageal reflux
One of the main reasons for thoracic tightness after a meal is acid reflux, which also causes heartburn and air accumulation in the stomach.
There are several reasons that cause acid reflux, including:

  1. skipping a meal, especially breakfast,
  2. eating fatty and fried foods,
  3. eating late before bedtime,
  4. smoking,
  5. Alcohol
  6. Overweight
  7. disorders of the digestive system,
  8. stress, anxiety and other negative emotions,
  9. pregnancy,
  10. Dyspepsia (poor digestion).

Digestive disorders that can cause the feeling of chest tightness after eating include:

  1. gastric or duodenal ulcer,
  2. Heartburn
  3. Gastric tumor.

A feeling of tightness in the chest after eating can be caused by excessive food intake.
When someone eats exceptionally much, strong pressure is exerted on the stomach and intestines.
The result is chest and abdominal pain.

Gallbladder diseases
The gallbladder is an organ that contains bile. This is a liquid that serves the absorption of lipids.
If there is a large amount of cholesterol in the gallbladder, concrements can form from it, also called gallstones.

Gallstones cause severe pain in the upper and lower parts of the abdomen, which can radiate to the shoulder and shoulder blade.
The pain increases especially after heavy meals.
Other symptoms of this condition include vomiting and nausea.
The discomfort of the gallbladder can be caused by:

  1. increased cholesterol levels,
  2. Overweight
  3. Crohn’s disease,
  4. oral contraceptives that increase estrogen levels.


Arrhythmia is a condition that leads to irregular heartbeat.
This is not normal and can occur after eating.
The consequences include a feeling of tightness in the chest.

Thoracic pain when running

Chest pain when jogging can be caused by irregular breathing or by overexertion of the pectoral muscles.

Precordial oppression
The precordium is a part of the chest wall in front of the heart.
This disorder can provoke chest pain in children and young people. There is a severe pain when inhaling and exhaling (especially with deep breathing).
This pain barely lasts 2-4 seconds. In rare cases, however, it can last for about half an hour.
There is no treatment for this, as the causes are unknown.

Angina pectoris
Angina occurs when not enough oxygenated blood flows to the heart.
When running, the lower extremities consume a lot of oxygen, thereby delaying the return flow of blood to the heart, causing severe chest pain.

Heart attack
Some studies show that marathon runners have a greater risk of developing heart problems because long-distance sports cause structural changes to the heart and large arteries.
A severe chest pain while running can be a symptom of a heart attack.
The characteristic sign of a heart attack is chest pain on the left side, radiating to the arm, shoulder, neck and up to the teeth.
Symptoms include massive sweating and dizziness.

Cold weather
Chest pain in winter can be caused by an increased breathing rhythm when running, which leads to the inhalation of too much cold air into the lungs.

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