Can smoking cause chest pains?


Quick Answer

Smoking causes coronary arteries to narrow, leading to chest pain, as listed by NHS Choices. Chest pain is more technically known as angina pectoris, as listed by the American Heart Association.

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Can smoking cause chest pains?
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Full Answer

Blood is supplied to the heart through the coronary arteries, as noted by NHS Choices. Coronary arteries are two large blood vessels that promote circulation. When smoking, these vessels become narrow, thus constricting blood circulation to and from the heart. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. In some cases, the blood supply can be completely blocked by a fatty deposit, or plaque. One of the undesired effects is angina, or chest pain.

Angina is a condition associated with heart disease, as mentioned by WebMD. Blood flow to the heart becomes constricted after smoking, thus the heart must work harder since less oxygen is available. The pain can start behind the breastbone and spread to the arms, neck, throat, jaw and back. If a patient is experiencing chest pain, a medical expert may conduct a medical stress test, an electrocardiogram or a coronary angiography. These tests monitor blood circulation through the arteries to the heart. Doctors can prescribe certain medications to widen blood vessels and alleviate some of the pain; however, the best prevention measure is complete cessation from smoking, as noted by the American Heart Association.

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