Essay Example on Mental Health and Heart Health

Published: 2023-12-11
Essay Example on Mental Health and Heart Health
Essay type:  Problem solution essays
Categories:  Healthcare Mental health Disorder
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1220 words
11 min read

There are various situations where chest pain can be a symptom of a heart problem or many other possible causes. However, while some of these causes may be serious conditions, most of them are not harmful. According to Railton (2020), chest pain is the second highest cause of visits to the emergency room (ER) in the United States accounting for more than an estimated 8 million ER visits annually. On a global scale, 20 to 40 percent of the overall population is affected by chest pain (Railton, 2020). Chest pain varies depending on the person and its quality, duration, intensity, and location (Healthline, 2020). The paper analyzes the possible causes of chest pain, the associated symptoms, and possible control procedures for the health factors that result in chest pains.

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Causes of Chest Pains

Chest pains can result from panic attacks. According to Barns (2020), panic attacks activate the body’s stress responses or the ‘fight or flight’ responses, i.e., muscle contraction. This results in stiffening of the chest wall muscles and the nearby regions resulting in chest pains during and after the panic attacks. The panic attacks also result in hyperventilation which is a stress response that causes one to ‘over-breathe’ since the body believes it has to move fast (Barns, 2020). This causes the chest muscles to expand the rib cage, and result in chest pain when the muscles become tired.

Heart-related issues may also result in chest pain. These include heart attack when blood flow to the heart is blocked; angina caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that lead to the heart; and myocarditis brought by inflammation of the heart muscle (Healthline, 2020). Other heart-related issues include pericarditis, cardiomyopathy, and aortic dissection. Cardiomyopathy may result in heart failure (Mayo Clinic, 2020).

Chest pain may result from gastrointestinal causes such as heartburn or acid reflux, gallstones, swallowing problems that originate from esophageal disorder, and inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder. The lung-related causes of chest pain include viral bronchitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolus or blood clot, bronchospasm, and pneumothorax among others (Healthline, 2020).

Other causes of chest pains include muscle-or-bone-related causes such as chronic pain syndromes, bruised or broken ribs, pressure on the nerve resulting from compression fractures. Others include costochondritis, hiatal hernia, pericarditis, pleurisy, and mitral valve prolapse among others (Railton, 2020). Panic disorder also results in the feelings of terror and extreme agitation, coupled with chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath, stomach discomfort, and rapid heart rate (McCann, 2020).

Symptoms of Chest Pain

There is a great crossover between the symptoms of a heart attack and a panic attack. This makes it cumbersome to differentiate the two without physician testing and assessment. The common symptoms that may affect patients who experience either a heart or panic attack include chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, tingling, passing out, sweating, or a sensation of impending fate (Cedars-Sinai, 2018). These shared symptoms of panic and heart attack may also result from other serious conditions such as lung collapse or infection, blood clots, or a tear of the large vessels of the chest for people with pre-existing risk factors. This calls for the need to seek medical attention when experiencing chest pains. However, a predictor of whether the symptoms may be due to panic or heart attack is the patient’s age or history of panic attacks (Cedars-Sinai, 2018).

According to McCann (2018), heart attacks and panic attacks can share similar symptoms, therefore anyone who suffers from sudden severe chest pain (whether under treatment for anxiety or not) should visit the emergency room. A physician will test for the patient’s blood for specific heart muscle enzymes whose absence will rule out a heart attack (McCann, 2018).

The symptoms of chest pain that are a result of a heart condition include tightness or chest pressure, fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, and pain during exertion (Healthline, 2020). A sensation of pain, pressure, or squeezing at the center of the chest is a symptom of a heart attack. The pain may radiate at the neck, jaw, arm, or back (Heart Advisor, 2019).

The other symptoms that may indicate that the chest pain is not related to the heart, and maybe a panic attack include a sour or acidic taste in the mouth, difficulty in swallowing, chills, runny nose, cough, aches, fever, feelings of panic or anxiety, and pain that worsens during a deep breath or cough (Healthline, 2020).

Diagnostic Tests for Chest Pains

These tests are performed to help eliminate or diagnose heart-related problems that cause chest pain. In most cases, a stress test is the first step to evaluate heart function (Zipes, 2011). This will be followed by a variety of imaging tests to show where the blood is not flowing well. These include:

  • Blood tests to measure the levels of enzymes
  • An MRI to highlight any damages to the aorta or the heart
  • An angiogram to show any blockages in specific arteries
  • A chest x-ray to examine the lungs, heart, and blood vessels (Healthline, 2020).

Treatment of Chest Pains

Treatment of chest pains can be done using a medication, surgery, non-invasive procedures, or a combination of the methods. However, the treatment varies depending on the cause and severity of the chest pain. For heart-related chest pain, the treatment methods may include:

  • The use of medication such as nitroglycerin and others that would help to partially open the closed arteries, blood thinners, or clot-busting drugs.
  • Cardiac catheterization to open blocked arteries.
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting to perform a surgical repair of the arteries. (Healthline, 2020).
  • Treatment for chest-pains caused by panic attacks include:
  • Medication that includes serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help manage panic attacks.
  • Use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn to reframe panic attack triggers and thoughts that induce anxiety.
  • Antacids or acid reflux procedures to treat the symptoms.
  • Exposure treatment such as mindfulness and cognitive reframing (Burns, 2020).

Prevention measures can also be undertaken to avoid panic attacks. These include limiting caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol intake, regular exercise to relieve tension and boost the mood, healthy and regular meal intake to stabilize the sugar levels, and getting good quality sleep with a proper sleeping pattern (Barns, 2020).


To conclude, a doctor can treat chest pain caused by various conditions. The most common causes include heart-related issues, gastrointestinal causes, lung-related issues, muscle-or bone-related causes. It may also originate from panic attacks, acid reflux, anxiety attacks, asthma, or related disorders. It is, therefore, vital to seek medical attention when experiencing chest pains since the symptoms of a panic attack and heart attack cross over making it challenging to discern between the two without physician testing and assessment. A physician can make a diagnosis, or recommend additional treatment that will help to manage the condition.


Barns, E. (2020). How to relieve chest pains during panic attacks.

Cedars-Sinai (2018, October 31). Is it a heart attack or a panic attack?

Heart Advisor (2019, August). How to know when your chest pain might be serious. Heart Advisor, 22(8).|A595251310&v=2.1&it=r&sid=GPS&asid=0184196a

Mayo Clinic (2019, March 24). Cardiomyopathy.

McCann, U. (2020). Anxiety and heart disease.

Moores, D. (2019, November 6). Why am I having chest pain?

Railton, D. (2020, January 20). What could cause chest pain?

Zipes, D. (2011, July). Broken-hearted? Saturday Evening Post 283(4).|A261452138&v=2.1&it=r&sid=GPS&asid=10530101

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