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The first thing that comes to the mind of a person who experiences chest pain when breathing is that there is something wrong with the heart. It could be true in some cases, but there are numerous other reasons too behind this pain. Here are the possible conditions which can lead to this, followed by the treatment for the same.
Causes
Heart Disease
Chest pain when breathing could be due to the angina pain resulting from a heart disease. This pain is usually experienced in the middle of the chest. This pain occurs when the heart muscles do not get the adequate quantity of oxygen. Lack of oxygen could be due to the coronary artery disease which makes the arteries narrow, thus hindering the supply of oxygen carrying blood.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, which causes the stomach acids to move upwards through the esophagus, could cause chest pain. This is because the esophagus tube which joins the mouth and the stomach is located behind the middle of the chest. GERD causes a stinging and burning sensation in the heart, breast bone and the chest area. That's why a person with this condition may experience chest pain when breathing in deeply.
Pneumonia
Right side chest pain could be due to an infection in the lung tissue, also known as pneumonia. Pneumonia pain is mostly one-sided i.e it is either on the right or on the left side of the chest. The symptoms of pneumonia include discharge of sputum which is yellow or green in color and sometimes may even contain blood, chest pain that becomes worse with coughing and short breaths.
Pneumothorax
Pneumothorax is a condition which is caused when the lining of the lung ruptures, making the lung collapse. Its symptoms include a sudden occurrence of sharp chest pain including upper chest pain, rapid breaths, excessive perspiration and a rapid pulse.
Injury
It also results from an injury caused to the chest as a result of an accident or a trauma. Chest injuries such as fractured or broken ribs also may display symptoms of chest pain in a person.
Pleurisy
Sharp pain could be because of the swelling in the lining of the lungs. This condition is known as pleurisy. Pleurisy is usually caused by a viral infection, pneumonia, tuberculosis or a cancer of the lung.
Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a condition that is caused by the blockage of the arteries by a blood clot in the lungs. In this condition, the person experiences symptoms such as rapid breaths, fever, excessive perspiration and chest pain. In some cases the color of the skin might change to pale blue and the person might even cough up blood.
Stress
Pain in the chest could result from a panic attack, which is often experienced when a person is under a lot of stress. Panic attacks lead to fast breathing and thus, may cause chest pain when a person breathes.
Treatment
The treatment will depend on what is causing it in the first place. Chest pain caused by GERD can be treated at home by following a special GERD diet which includes vegetables and fruits that are light on the stomach such as banana, apples, carrots and potatoes and discontinuing fatty, oily, spicy and acidic foods. For treating pneumonia, medicines such as antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor. As for pain caused by stress, undertaking meditation, yoga or any other stress relieve technique would help considerably.
In case of pain arising out of pleurisy, pulmonary embolism and pneumothorax, a thorough examination and treatment by a doctor is recommended as these conditions can prove to be fatal. If the pain is because of a heart disease, the treatments would include heart surgery or angioplasty. Broken ribs are generally left to be healed on their own, although doctors may prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Chest pain when breathing can be controlled by taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
In the end, it is advised that chest discomfort or pain should never be overlooked and a thorough examination for the possible causes should be done by a medical practitioner.