Causing Chest Pain

What health problems are causing your chest pain?

There are many health problems that cause chest pain. Do you know what is causing yours? If you are experiencing this symptom, you should not ignore it. A good rule of thumb is to seek immediate medical attention if you feel any new or unexplained chest pain. While not all pain is indicative of an emergency condition, there is often no way to know without visiting a physician.
Chest pain is attributed to both heart related and to non-cardiac related problems. Read on to see what health problems could be causing your chest pain.

Chest Pain As Related to Heart Problems

Heart related health problems that cause chest pain may include: Coronary Artery Disease, Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack), Myocarditis, Pericarditis, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mitral Valve Prolapse, and Coronary Artery Disease.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

CAD is a blockage in the heart blood vessels that reduces blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle itself. This can cause pain known as angina, which can be relieved with rest. While CAD does not cause permanent damage to the heart, it does imply that you are a candidate for a heart attack sometime in the future.


Plaque Buildup in Arteries.


Chest Pain (Angina) (pain may spread to arm, shoulder, jaw or back); Pressure or Squeezing Sensation, Shortness of Breath, Palpitations, Faster Heartbeat, Weakness or Dizziness, Nausea, and Sweating.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

A heart attack happens when there is a reduction in blood flow through heart blood vessels causing the death of heart muscle cells.


High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Abdominal Obesity, Gum Disease, Diabetes, Stress, Smoking, or Sedentary Lifestyle.


Severe, Crushing Chest Pain in the Center or Left Side of Chest; Sweating, Nausea, Shortness of Breath, and Severe Weakness.


Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle without any blockage. Symptoms can resemble a heart attack.


Viral Infections, Bacterial Infections, Fungal and Parasitic Infections, Certain Chemicals, Allergic Reactions to Medications or Toxins, and Lyme Disease.


Chest Pain, Fever, Fatigue, Fast Heartbeat, and Trouble Breathing.


Pericarditis is an inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart.


Infections, Trauma, Tumors, Cancer, Radiation, Autoimmune Diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma), and Heart Surgery.


Sharp, Steady Chest Pain Along the Upper Neck and Shoulder Muscle (may get worse when you breathe, swallow food or lie on your back); Low Grade Fever, and Increased Heart Rate.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disease that causes the heart muscle to grow abnormally thick. This can lead to problems with blood flow out of the heart. When the heart muscle becomes very thickened, this can lead to heart failure, because the heart works harder to pump blood.


Genetics, Aging, High Blood Pressure, or Exercise.


Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath, Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Fainting, Fatigue, and Palpitations.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

This is a condition in which a valve in the heart fails to close properly. Having this condition does not put you at a higher risk for heart attack, death, or other heart problems.


Idiopathic (unknown origin); Genetics, or Connective Tissue Disease.


Chest Pain, Palpitations, and Dizziness.

Some people don’t have any symptoms.

Coronary Artery Dissection

This is a deadly condition, which results when a tear develops in the coronary artery.


Traumatic Injury to the Chest or Chronic High Blood Pressure.


Sudden, Severe Chest Pain, Tearing or Ripping Sensation in Neck, Back or Abdomen.

Chest Pain Unrelated to Heart Problems

Chest pain has many possible causes other than heart problems. According to WebMD, a quarter of the US population experiences chest pain that is not related to the heart. In fact, non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP) is the term used to describe chest pain that resembles heart pain, but is not caused by heart disease or heart attack. NCCP is typically felt behind the breastbone (sternum), and is described as squeezing, pressure-like, or burning, radiating to the back, neck, arms or jaw. NCCP is usually associated with problems with your lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, nerves, and even anxiety and panic attacks. As you can see from the discussion below, other symptoms may vary for each of these conditions.

Lung Problems

Pleuritis (Pleurisy)

Pleuritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the lungs and chest.


Bacterial or Viral Infections, Pulmonary Embolism, Pneumothorax, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Cancer.


Chest Pain; Sharp Pain When You Breath, Cough or Sneeze.

Pneumonia or Lung Abscess

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. A lung abscess is usually a complication of pneumonia. A lung abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung.


Bacterial or Viral Infections, Fungi, and Weakened or Suppressed Immune System.


Deep Chest Ache, Difficulty Breathing, Fever, Chills, Cough, and Pus (coughed up from respiratory tract).

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism happens when a blood clot travels through the bloodstream and lodges in the lungs.


Deep Vein Thrombosis, Prolonged Immobility After Surgery, and Cancer Complication.


Chest Pain, Acute Pleuritis, Trouble Breathing, Rapid Heartbeat, Fever, and Shock.


Occurs when part of the lung collapses, releasing air into the chest cavity.


Injury to chest, Lung Disease, Ruptured Air Blisters and Mechanical Ventilation.


Chest Pain, Sharp Pain When You Breath and Low Blood Pressure.

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

PAH occurs when you have abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries going from your heart to your lungs, making the right side of the heart work too hard. The tiny arteries in your lungs become narrow or blocked.


Idiopathic (unknown origin), Genetics, Blood Clots in Lungs, HIV, Illegal Drug Use, Liver Disease (Cirrhosis), Lupus, Congenital Heart Defect and Sleep Apnea.


Chest Pain and Shortness of Breath.


Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways. As airways narrow and swell, they produce extra mucus.


Combination of Environmental and Genetic Factors, Exposure to Various Irritants and Substances that Trigger Allergies, Obesity, Cold Air, Exercise, and Respiratory Infections.


Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath, Wheezing, and Coughing.