Chest pain is one of the primary reasons people visit the emergency room. While this type of pain is a sign of a heart attack which is life-threatening, there are other conditions that can cause it as well. The following is an overview of the most common causes of chest pain and how to know when it is time to seek medical attention.

Acid Reflux Chest Pain

Acid reflux is also known as GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux. This condition affects over 15 million Americans and one of the most common causes of chest pain. Those who have acid reflux often experience a burning pain in the chest that extends from the throat down through the chest. Acid reflux is often made worse by eating large meals or eating foods that trigger extreme heartburn symptoms. While chest pain related to GERD is very uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening.

Chest Pain from Pneumonia

Certain infections that affect the lungs can cause pain in the chest. People who have pneumonia experience chest pain due fluid accumulating in the lungs. This can also lead to breathing problems, as well. While there are 5 types of pneumonia, the most common are viral and bacterial. Pneumonia can be a very serious condition. Prompt medical attention is necessary to avoid life-threatening complications.


Costachondritis is best described as inflammation in the chest wall. It is a common cause of chest pain that can be severe at times. Many people experience minor discomfort when pressing on the sternum. Others can have severe pain that radiates down the arms. Mild cases of Costachondritis typically go away without treatment. People who have serious chest pain may need to see a doctor for treatment.

Chest Pain and Hypertension

High blood pressure is seen in as many as 1 in 3 Americans today. Most cases of hypertension are of unknown origin but some people are at an increased risk of developing it. Obesity, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, stress and eating too much sodium are all common causes of high blood pressure. This condition can cause symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, and headaches. People with high blood pressure should see their doctor as it can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Asthma-Related Chest Pain

Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the lungs that can cause a variety of symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Asthma attacks often occur without warning and escalate quickly. Severe asthma must be treated with medication, as it can be fatal if severe. Doctors often use albuterol inhalers and steroid medications to keep asthma symptoms at bay. They may also prescribe rescue medications in the event a life-threatening asthma attack occurs.

When chest pain occurs, it is never a comfortable feeling. However, there are many different things that can cause it. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of chest pain, so it is important to seek medical attention if it is severe or unrelenting. Prompt treatment is key to warding off complications that can have the potential to become serious or life-threatening.

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