Why Does Your Heart Hurt?


Quick Answer

Heart problems, including heart attacks, are a major cause of chest pain, according to WebMD. Cardiovascular disorders, such as coronary artery disease or dissection, pericarditis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, myocarditis and mitral valve prolapse, all cause pain in the area around the heart.

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Full Answer

Myocardial infarction results when the blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart is reduced, explains WebMD. Myocardial cells die because of this. Pain due to a heart attack is described as crushing and severe. It occurs in the center or left side of the chest and is unrelieved by rest. It can be accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath, nausea and weakness.

Coronary artery disease also restricts blood flow to the heart resulting in angina. This produces a squeezing or pressure-like sensation. Exercise, emotional upset or excitement can trigger it. It is relieved by rest, notes WebMD.

Dissection of the coronary artery may also cause chest pain, according to WebMD. Inflammation of the heart muscle, called myocarditis, causes chest pain, fever, fast heartbeat, fatigue and difficulty breathing.

An infection or inflammation of the sac around the heart, or pericarditis, causes chest pain. The pain radiates along the upper neck and shoulder and is sharp and constant. It can worsen with breathing or swallowing food.

Cardiomyopathy, an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, can restrict blood leaving the heart, and exercise induces shortness of breath and chest pain. Chest pain sometimes results when the mitral heart valve fails to close properly.

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