What is chest pressure?

Chest pressure is the sensation of a squeezing, tightening, crushing or pressing in the chest area, with or without pain. It is sometimes described as a feeling of a band tightening around your chest or of something heavy sitting on your chest. A pressure sensation can come from a condition occurring in any part of your chest, including your chest wall muscles, esophagus, heart, lungs, nerves, ribcage, or tendons. If you have pain with the pressure, it may radiate between your chest and your neck, abdomen or back.

Chest pressure can be a symptom of disorders such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chest pressure accompanied by pain that changes with breathing or that radiates to your back may be pleuritic pain (usually caused by dryness or inflammation in the sac that surrounds the lungs) or muscle inflammation. Other causes of chest pressure include anxiety and more serious conditions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) or heart conditions ranging from rapid heart rate (tachycardia), to heart attack (myocardial infarction) and irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Depending upon the cause, chest pressure can be accompanied by other symptoms, including fast heart rate, sweating, abdominal pain, or difficulty breathing. Unexplained pressure in the chest should always be investigated by a health care practitioner.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience chest pressure or pain; confusion or loss of consciousness, even for a brief moment; pounding or rapid heart rate (tachycardia); shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or swallowing; or sudden swelling of the throat, face or lips. Seek prompt medical care if you experience chest pain that gets worse with breathing or a change in position or a regurgitation of stomach contents up into the esophagus, throat or mouth.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with chest pressure?

Chest pressure may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the chest may involve any of several body systems.

Cardiovascular symptoms that may occur along with chest pressure

Chest pressure may accompany symptoms related to the cardiovascular system including:

CAUSES

What causes chest pressure?

Chest pressure can be a symptom of a disorder such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chest pressure accompanied by pain that changes with breathing or that radiates to your back may be pleuritic pain (usually caused by dryness or inflammation in the sac that surrounds the lungs) or muscle ... Read more about chest pressurecauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 1, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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