Chest pain can be a concerning symptom, especially if it occurs on the left side. While it’s not always a sign of a serious problem, it’s important to be aware of the possible causes of left-sided chest pain so that you can seek medical attention if necessary.
Causes of Left-Sided Chest Pain
There are many possible causes of left-sided chest pain, ranging from mild to serious. Some of the most common causes include:
Angina: Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. It is often described as a feeling of pressure, tightness, or squeezing in the chest. Angina can be a symptom of coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
Heart attack: A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is completely blocked. This can cause damage to the heart muscle, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
Pericarditis: Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds the heart. It can cause chest pain that is sharp and stabbing, and it may worsen when you breathe in or lie down.
Pleuritis: Pleuritis is inflammation of the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs and chest wall. It can cause chest pain that is sharp and stabbing, and it may worsen when you breathe in or cough.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause chest pain, coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Heartburn can sometimes feel like chest pain, and it may be worse after eating or lying down.
Esophagitis: Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus, which can cause chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and heartburn.
- Costochondritis: Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone. It can cause sharp, stabbing chest pain that is worse when you move or take a deep breath.
- Panic attack: Panic attacks can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and a feeling of impending doom.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you are experiencing left-sided chest pain, it is important to seek medical attention right away, especially if you have any of the following risk factors for heart disease:
- Age 55 or older
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms along with left-sided chest pain, it is also important to seek medical attention immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Jaw pain
- Arm pain
Chest pain can be a symptom of a variety of conditions, some of which are serious. It is important to be aware of the possible causes of left-sided chest pain so that you can seek medical attention if necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances of a full recovery.