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Chest Pain

Causes, Related Symptoms, and Prevention of Chest Pain

Chest pain (胸痛) can be a disconcerting experience, often causing alarm due to its potential association with heart ailments. It is crucial to understand that chest pain can stem from a multitude of sources, ranging from benign to life-threatening. We will delve into the various causes of chest pain, recognise its related symptoms, and explore effective prevention methods. 

Causes of Chest Pain    

Chest pain is a symptom that can be attributed to many different health issues. Here are some of the most common causes: 

  • Covid Causes: Long COVID, also known as post COVID. Covid Chest pain is one of the symptoms of Long COVID.  
  • Cardiovascular Causes: The most well-known and consequential cause of chest pain is associated with the heart, such as angina—pain resulting from reduced blood flow to the heart—or a heart attack. Other cardiovascular causes include pericarditis, myocarditis, aortic dissection, and coronary artery disease. 
  • Respiratory Causes: Lung conditions, such as pneumonia, pneumonitis, pleurisy, pulmonary embolism, and pneumothorax, can also manifest as chest pain. 
  • Gastrointestinal Causes: Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, pancreatitis, and esophageal spasms are gastrointestinal issues that may present with chest pain. 
  • Musculoskeletal Causes: Sometimes, the origin of chest pain can be as simple as a strained muscle or inflammation of the ribs known as costochondritis. 
  • Psychological Causes: Panic attacks, anxiety and somatic symptom disorders (SSD) can produce chest discomfort that resembles heart-related pain. 


Organ-associated Characteristics of Chest Pain  

The nature of chest pain can vary greatly depending on its cause. Some of the symptoms that might accompany chest pain include: 

  • Heart-Related Symptoms: Pressure or tightness in the chest, pain spreading to the arms, back, or jaw, shortness of breath, fatigue, light-headedness and dizziness. 
  • Respiratory Symptoms: Sharp, stabbing pain that worsens with deep breaths or coughs, pain on touching the ribs or rib joints (costochondral, costovertebral or costosternal), and difficulty breathing. 
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Heartburn, a sour or acid taste in the mouth, pain that worsens (or relieved) with meals or when lying down, and difficulty swallowing. 
  • Musculoskeletal Symptoms: Pain with movement or upon touching the affected area. 

Accompanying symptoms of chest pain can infer as to the proximate causes, however, when it comes to chest pain the primary consideration (hence to rule out first) is always towards the condition with the worst possible outcome such as a heart attack (myocardial infarction)  


When to Seek Medical Help     

Chest pain should never be ignored. If you experience severe, sudden chest pain, especially if it is accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, or pain in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, more so, in the presence of risk factors such as cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes, it is vital to seek emergency medical care as these may indicate a heart attack or an impending one. 

Preventive Methods for Cardiac-related Chest pain     

While not all causes of chest pain can be prevented, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart-related chest pain and other health issues: 

  • Healthy Diet: Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet. Limit intake of saturated fats, salt, and sugars. 
  • Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, alongside muscle-strengthening activities. 
  • Avoid Tobacco: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Quitting smoking can improve heart health significantly. 
  • Manage Stress: Learn stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. You can also try hypnotherapy to reduce stress. 
  • Manage cholesterol: one of the known high-risk factors for heart disease is high cholesterol, diet and lifestyle modification together with constant monitoring with or without medication is the mainstay of management. 
  • Manage diabetes/hyperglycemia: Uncontrolled high blood sugar level is also a high-risk factor for heart disease. Management parallels high cholesterol with lifestyle, diet, monitoring and medication. 
  • Manage hypertension: Uncontrolled high blood pressure, together with high blood sugar and cholesterol lead the causes of heart disease. Control of these conditions is universally promoted. 
  • Address obesity: obesity is a global epidemic and a driving contributor to cardiovascular diseases through its role in the development of diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and oxidative stress. 
  • Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular health screenings to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other risk factors for heart disease. 

Chest pain is a complex symptom with numerous potential and significant causes. A chest pain can never be underestimated unless it is medically proven non-life threatening. Prevention through a healthy lifestyle is your best defense against the many causes of chest pain, particularly heart health-related. If you're experiencing chest pain or have concerns about your heart health, contact a doctor to help you understand your symptoms and develop a plan to keep you healthy and informed. 



  1. Mayo Clinic. Chest pain. 24 Jan 2024 Retrieved from  
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Chest pain. 24 Jan 2024 Retrieved from  
  3. WebMD. What's Causing My Chest Pain? 24 Jan 2024 Retrieved from  

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.