Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the UK. Chest pain could be heart pain if:
- The pain is triggered by physical activity and relieved by rest.
- The pain feels heavy, pressing or tight
- You have other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, sweating or pain that spreads to your arm
- You have a risk factor for coronary heart disease, such as being a smoker or having high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, high cholesterol or obesity
The investigation of chest pain includes a consultation and physical examination followed by tests including ECG, echo and exercise testing. You may need further tests like a cardiac CT, MRI or invasive angiography.
Palpitation is the senastion of rapid, irregular, or forceful heartbeats or an awareness of one's own heart beat. It does not necessarily mean that there is a serious medical problem. It is not usually constant but occurs intermittently. Sometimes it is an awareness of an intermittent thump in the chest when one heartbeat is more forceful than the rest.
The assessment of your symptoms will include a consultation followed by a physical examination. You will often have investigations including an ECG and echocardiogram and event recorder monitoring. In some situations you may require specialist investigations such as a cardiac MRI and exercise test.
Breathlessness can be caused by a number of factors including asthma, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is possible that 'heart' pain can present with sudden breathlessness and may be a warning sign that you are developing narrowings within your heart arteries or there is a problem with your heart function. Breathing difficulties can be a sign of 'heart failure' which means your heart is having trouble pumping enough blood around your body, usually because the heart muscle has become too weak or stiff to work properly. There are many ways to investigate breathlessness but a good start would be to see a cardiologist who can assess your lungs and heart.