Q. What can cause chest tightness besides heart issues?

Doctor Answer is medically reviewed by SecondMedic medical review team.

Answered by Seconmedic Expert

Chest tightness can be caused by a variety of factors besides heart issues. Some common causes include:

Muscular or Skeletal Issues: Strained muscles, ribcage injuries, or conditions like costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage connecting the ribs to the breastbone) can lead to chest discomfort.

Respiratory Conditions: Asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia can cause chest tightness due to restricted airways or inflammation in the lungs.

Gastrointestinal Problems: Acid reflux, gastritis, or esophageal spasms may lead to chest discomfort that can mimic heart-related symptoms.

Anxiety and Stress: Psychological factors such as anxiety, panic attacks, or stress can cause chest tightness and a feeling of heaviness.

Lung Conditions: Pulmonary embolism, collapsed lung (pneumothorax), or pleurisy (inflammation of the lining around the lungs) can result in chest discomfort.

Allergies: Allergic reactions or environmental irritants can cause chest tightness, especially in individuals with asthma or allergies.

Physical Strain: Strenuous physical activity, heavy lifting, or overexertion can lead to temporary chest tightness.

Rib or Chest Wall Injuries: Fractured ribs, bruised sternum, or other injuries to the chest area can cause pain and tightness.

Nerve Irritation: Conditions like shingles or intercostal neuralgia can lead to chest discomfort due to nerve irritation.

Medication Side Effects: Certain medications may have side effects that include chest tightness or discomfort.

It's important to note that chest tightness should not be ignored, especially if it is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, or pain radiating down the arm. If you experience chest tightness or any unusual symptoms, it's recommended to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause.

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