Chest Pain and What You Should Do
A pain in the chest may be clearly related to breathing, or it may be quite unrelated to it.
Pain related to breathing
Painful breathing can indicate a disorder of the lungs or their lining (the pleura), or of the bones, muscles or skin of the chest.
The pain forces the sufferer to take short and often rapid breaths. There is often a cough as well.
See a doctor as soon as possible if there is:
• Severe pain.
• High temperature.
• Blood-stained spit.
Pain not related to breathing
Chest pain that is not associated with breathing may have a connection with exertion or with eating.
Pain brought on by physical exertion usually feels ‘crushing’, and may radiate to the neck, the shoulders or the arms. This sort of pain passes off with rest. It is usually a symptom of a heart disorder, and is known as cardiac or anginal pain.
If the pain is associated with eating it may be caused by indigestion or a duodenal ulcer.
See a doctor immediately if:
• There is paleness of the skin and sweating.
• You suspect a heart condition.
• The pain is not improved after an hour’s rest.
Treat indigestion by resting in a chair and taking an antacid. Alternatively, mix half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water and drink it.