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Chest Pain Stress
The Causes and Symptoms

Chest Pain stress, what do we mean when we say that?

Of course if you do experience chest pain it is advisable to have it checked out by a doctor to rule out heart disease or any other physical causes.

What Does Chest Pain Stress Feel Like?

Well it may be different from person to person but generally it can feel like tightness across the chest. You may feel that it is harder to breath and this may be followed by acid or bile coming up in your throat.

Because some of these symptoms are similar to a heart attack many people may start to panic this causing the heart to race and the breathing to become even shallower.

However it is important to remember that a panic attack can only ever be short lived and will subside in a few minutes. Whereas a heart attack is far more severe, the pain levels are more intense and can spread down the arms.

Why Would Stress Cause Chest Pain?

Stress can cause pains in the chest picture by Lazurite

You have to understand the reaction your body has to stress, to understand why certain aches and pains may be triggered by stress.

We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight response”. This is caused when your brain reacts to stressful situations and starts the stress response so that you’re able to react to the stressful situation, such as running away from a tiger or getting out of the way of a speeding car (it all depends if you’re in the jungle or a city of course).

This stress response is designed to save your life and ensure your continues existence. But when you understand what the stress response does to your body it is not surprising that if experienced often, it can lead to long term health issues such as heart disease.

The affects on your body of the stress response are:

  • Your hypothalamus in your brain releases chemicals into your blood stream which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Your nervous system reacts and makes your heart rate, respiratory rate faster.
  • Your blood pressure increases
  • The muscles tense
  • Blood moves to your muscles and away from your core organs such as your digestive system.

All of these reactions are essential when you need to react fast but unfortunately the stress response can be triggered by other every day stressors and this continued reaction will eventually cause health problems and symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aggression

Stress And The Heart

As you can see when the stress response kicks in a lot is going on inside your body. Chemicals and blood are racing around your body at a quicker rate than normal and so of course you feel these changes. One of which can be a tightening of the chest and the faster beating of your heart. These symptoms mimic some of the symptoms of a heart attack, often causing more anxiety on the part of the individual, which can lead to panic attacks.

Doctors often see patients convinced they are having or have had a heart attack when in fact they have experienced acute anxiety and a chest pain stress response.

Although stress may not have an immediate negative effect on the heart studies have shown that long term stress has a part to play in cardiovascular problems such as heart disease. This is because stress can cause people to treat their own bodies less well. Most importantly it encourages bad food choices to be made, such as eating fattier, sugary foods which in turn blocks arteries and eventually causing heart disease.

How To Treat Chest Pain Stress?

Once you have been checked out by your doctor and no problems with your heart can be found, it is important to start to alter your lifestyle choices and to begin to manage the stress in your life.

Chest pain caused by stress is often most found in middle ages people who lead sedentary lives. For this reason it is important that more exercise is taken on a regular basis.

A healthier diet and better sleep should be high on your list of to do too.

Your doctor may prescribe some short term anti anxiety drugs or even some ant acids to try and calm your system to allow this period of anxiety to subside and give you time to adjust to your new lifestyle choices.

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