Chest pain makes most people worry about their heart, but many other issues can cause this symptom. To discover what’s causing your chest pain, visit board-certified cardiovascular specialist Shahnaz Begum, MD, FACC, at Heart Care in Frisco, Texas. Dr. Begum is an expert in angina (chest pain caused by heart problems) and uses cutting-edge diagnostics to evaluate your condition. Call Heart Care to schedule a chest pain assessment or book an appointment online today.
Chest pain is a common heart condition symptom, but it’s often caused by other health issues, such as:
These and other conditions unrelated to your heart can cause intense chest pain. However, because chest pain may signal a serious illness, you should never ignore it. If you have a heart problem, the sooner you begin treatment, the less likely you are to develop life-changing or potentially deadly complications.
Chest pain related to a cardiac condition is called angina. The root cause is a lack of oxygen in the heart muscle, which can happen for numerous reasons, including excess body weight, a high-cholesterol diet, or lack of exercise.
One of the most common causes of angina is coronary artery disease (CAD) due to narrowed heart arteries that restrict blood flow. CAD results from atherosclerosis, a build-up of excess cholesterol, calcium, and other waste particles that form sticky plaque.
The plaque lines the insides of your arteries, causing other cardiovascular diseases like carotid artery disease, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). CAD is a leading cause of heart attacks (myocardial infarction), which occur when blood flow restriction causes the heart muscle to die.
To diagnose your chest pain, Dr. Begum reviews your medical history and symptoms and completes a physical exam. She listens to your heartbeat through a stethoscope and performs an in-office electrocardiogram (EKG), which produces a graph of the heart’s electrical activity.
You might need an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or various stress tests. Stress testing involves running an EKG or echocardiogram while you exercise, when your heart beats faster and louder. It may involve an injection of nuclear material that shows up on diagnostic imaging.
Other tests include cardiac MRI and CT scans to produce detailed cross-sectional images of your heart and Holter or event monitoring to record the heart’s activity over a longer period.
Chest pain treatment varies depending on the cause. Lifestyle changes are almost always indicated, such as weight loss, switching to a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and exercising more.
You may need medications to improve heart function, for example, artery relaxants or anticoagulants (blood-thinning drugs).
If necessary, Dr. Begum and the Heart Care team can also assess your need for a cardiac stent or bypass surgery.
Call Heart Care or schedule a consultation online today to receive expert chest pain diagnosis and treatment.