By Medicover Hospitals / 07 March 2022

Home | Articles | Left side chest pain: How serious it can be?

By Dr Lalith Agarwal
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist
Published on 19/06/2022
  • Chest pain should never be ignored. If a person feels chest pain on the left side of their body, this could be an indication of a heart attack or other medical conditions, such as a lung problem or inflammation of the lining around their heart.
  • Immediately reach out to a nearer hospital if you or someone near you is experiencing unexplained left-sided or center chest pain including the following :
    • Tightness in the chest
    • Arm, neck, jaw, back, or abdomen shooting pain
    • Breathing problems
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness
    • Weakness
    • Vomiting or nausea

    Causes of left side chest pain

  • Left-sided chest pain can be caused by heart problems, lung diseases, bone and muscle problems, or stomach problems. The symptoms and nature of chest pain are determined by the underlying cause, which must be thoroughly investigated.
  • Causes of Pain on the Left Side of the Chest Related to the Heart

  • A myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, occurs when a decrease in blood flow to the heart causes permanent damage and death of some cells in the heart muscle. Severe pain in the chest can lead to this.
  • Angina is a type of chest pain caused by artery-clogging, which reduces blood flow to the heart. This has symptoms similar to a heart attack; it does not cause permanent damage, but it may indicate an increased risk of a heart attack.
  • Pericarditis is an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart, which can be acute or chronic. It causes sharp, stabbing chest pain on the left side.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is abnormal heart muscle thickening. It causes left-sided chest pain.
  • Mitral valve prolapse is an abnormal closure of a heart valve that causes chest pain and palpitations.
  • Lung Conditions That Can Cause Left SideChest Pain

    • Pulmonary conditions can also be a significant cause of Left Side Chest Pain
    • Asthma, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can cause chest pain as well as wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
    • Deep aching chest pain, fever, chills, and expectoration can all be symptoms of chest infections, lung abscesses, and pneumonia.
    • Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura (the lining of the lungs) that can cause sharp chest pain when coughing or breathing.
    • A pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot lodged in the lungs, can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing.
    • Chest pain can be caused by pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the lung artery.
    • Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, can cause left-sided chest pain and difficulty breathing.
    • Coronary artery dissection, which occurs when the artery leading to the heart ruptures, can cause severe chest pain that extends to the back, neck, and abdomen.

    Other Factors Contributing to Left-Sided Chest Pain

    • Gastrointestinal conditions such as bloated abdomen and indigestion, which cause excessive gas accumulation; gallbladder diseases, inflammation of the inner mucosa, gastric and peptic ulcers, and pancreas disorders can all cause left-sided chest pain. In these cases, left-sided chest pain may occur after eating or while lying down.
    • Left-sided chest pain can be caused by bone and muscle injuries left-sided muscular spasms or rib fractures on the left side. It can cause chest pain during movement, exercise, or activity and can be relieved by rest.
    • Nerve injuries, muscle strain, and nerve compression can all cause left-sided chest pain.
    • Shingle is a viral infection that affects the nerve course on the left side and causes chest pain.
    • Stress is another common factor of left side chest pain. Increased stress can cause a sensation of chest tightness. Panic attacks, like chest pain, are caused by heart problems and require proper evaluation.

    Understand When Left Side Chest Pain May Indicate a Heart Attack

  • Not all chest pains are serious. Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack is important to distinguish between pain due to other reasons and pain as a sign of heart attack -
    • Tightness in the chest
    • Pain in the chest that radiates to the left arm, neck, or jaw
    • Breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, and sweating
    • A sensation of uneasiness, nausea, or dizziness.

    Diagnosis

  • There are numerous possible causes of left-sided chest pain. For diagnosing, a doctor will consider a person's medical history as well as their symptoms. A physical examination of the chest, heart, lungs, neck, and abdomen may also be performed by a doctor.
  • Following the physical examination, a doctor may order a number of tests, including:
    • An electrocardiogram
    • A radiograph
    • A full blood count (CBC)
    • A pulmonary angiography using computed tomography (CTPA)
    • An ultrasonic

    Treatment

  • Treatment for left-sided chest pain is dependent on the underlying cause. Medications are given to control the condition and help in pain relief.
  • Chest pain on the left side can be caused by a variety of factors. Appropriate investigations should be performed based on symptoms, history, and clinical examination. Depending on the underlying cause, medication may be used in treatment.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, engaging in regular, moderate exercise, and being physically active are all examples of lifestyle changes. It is critical to understand the risk factors for major illness and heart disease. Stress management and medical treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity can be extremely beneficial.
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