Should You Worry About Chest Discomfort?

Should You Worry About Chest Discomfort?

24 May 2023

Sure, carrying groceries up a few flights of stairs will leave most of us weak and out of breath, besides, the feeling subsides after a few minutes of rest … nothing to worry about, right?

According to Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist from New York City, shortness of breath while climbing stairs is probably nothing to worry about, but if it starts out once a week, then goes to three times a week, and on, you should get it checked out.

Have you ever heard of angina pectoris, or simply angina? This is chest pain or discomfort that keeps coming back. It happens when some part of your heart doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen for a given level of work. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease. This occurs when arteries that carry blood to your heart become narrowed and blocked. And yes, angina increases your risk of heart attack.

The most common symptoms of angina include a pressing, squeezing, or crushing pain, usually in the chest under your breastbone. This dull ache or tightness in the chest may also occur in your upper back, shoulders, jaw, both arms, neck, and ear lobes. It usually includes shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue.

The symptoms are triggered by anything that causes your heart muscle to need more blood or oxygen supply. Risk factors include exercise, emotional stress, extreme cold or heat, heavy meals, drinking excessively, or smoking cigarettes.

If you’re under 40, you may fail to recognize the signs of angina. You might assume that your symptoms are heartburn, mistakenly believing that you’re too young to have angina. Thing is, while angina less commonly affects people under the age of 40, you’re more likely to experience angina if you’re smoking, are obese, have diabetes, or have a family history of heart disease.

Angina chest pain is usually relieved by resting or by taking prescribed cardiac medications. Nitroglycerin is the most common medicine prescribed for angina, despite what Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck portray in Looney Tunes. In its pure form, nitroglycerin is explosive, but when diluted for medication, it acts as a muscle relaxant. It works by opening up coronary arteries, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart.

What can you do to decrease the risk of angina? Lifestyle changes are vital here. Managing angina includes managing high blood pressure, reducing high blood cholesterol levels, eating less saturated fat, exercising, and losing weight. And, if you’re a smoker, quitting is the most important thing you can do.

Angina is often a warning sign of a heart attack. Go to the hospital right away if you have pain, pressure, or burning in your chest, back, shoulders, jaw, or arms.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

You may also be interested in

Request a Call

Request a Call

I am:

Complete your contact information below.

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by an accredited healthcare sales representative/broker regarding medical scheme and other related products.

What can we help you with?

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by a representative of the Fedhealth customer services team.

What can we help you with?

By clicking the button below, you are giving consent to be contacted by a representative of the Fedhealth Broker sales/ support team.