Several health conditions and physical symptoms can cause unnecessary stress and worry for most individuals. This is understandable, as some of these symptoms can be the sign of some underlying condition that needs to be addressed. One of the most distressing kinds of pain for most people is the pain in the mid-section of the body, especially the area in and around the chest. It can be attributed to the fact that people are aware that most of their vital organs are found in this area of the body from the lungs to the heart, liver, and kidneys. However, one particular area in the chest can make people worry more than the other areas, and this is when pain is felt behind the left breast. In this article, we look at the causes and treatment for the said medical condition, and when should patients seek medical assistance. Read on to find out more!
Chest Pain in the Left Breast: A Brief Introduction
The body’s left side or portion is home to several organs that are vital for survival and good health. The large intestine, pancreas, stomach, spleen, and heart can be found around and under the bones of the breast. Aside from this, it also has the left kidney, the left breast, and the left lung, which can be found slightly higher than their right side counterpart. Once the pain in the left portion of the breast is felt or experienced, it may be the result of different factors or variables some of which are serious while some are simple.
Possible Reason for the Pain in Chest: Issues with the Chest and the Heart
Below are some of the chest and heart conditions that may lead to pain in the left breast:
1. Heart attack
Due to the heart being located in the chest’s center-left portion, a heart attack is commonly the first health condition people associate with having pain near the left part of the breastbone. Some of the symptoms of a heart attack include pressure, tightness, and squeezing of the chest. It must be noted, that sometimes, not all of the said symptoms will be experienced by patients. Experts point out that about a third of patients who will get a heart attack will not experience any sort of pain. If pain is present during a heart attack, it can come for a few minutes and go on its own without any intervention.
Some of the other symptoms of a heart attack include discomfort in the jaw, shoulder, and arm, unexplained fatigue, vomiting and nausea, and shortness of breath. To address a heart attack, doctors will usually recommend surgery such as angioplasty. This procedure will have the doctor utilizing a balloon to have an artery that is clogged to become unblocked. To keep the artery open and free-flowing, a stent will be used. On the other hand, coronary bypass surgery will have a blood vessel that is healthy to be grafted and used as a literal bypass or the artery that is blocked.
Pericarditis refers to the pericardium’s inflammation. The pericardium is the membrane that has the heart surrounded with two layers of tissue. Pain can happen when this membrane gets irritated due to friction caused by the pericardium rubbing against the heart. It can be the result of several factors such as a chest injury, heart attack, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and autoimmune disease. One of the most common symptoms of pericarditis includes chest pains that are characterized as stabbing. The pain can also get worse whenever the individual swallows, coughs, or lies down. This pain can also be felt in the shoulder, neck, and back. Pericarditis can also have other symptoms, such as anxiety and tiredness.
To treat this condition, the healthcare professional may be prescribed with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Pain relievers or steroids may also be given to the patient. For severe cases, the medical professional may also advise the patient to have the fluid in the pericardium drained.
3. Precordial catch syndrome
This condition is most commonly observed or noted in young adults and older children and can happen due to the chest wall nerves getting irritated or pinched. This condition can be the result of several variables such as bad posture, growth spurt, or an injury to the chest. While some of the symptoms of this condition can imitate that of a heart attack, precordial catch syndrome is a condition that is harmless and will usually resolve on its own without any formal treatment. Most people who are older than 20 years old will most likely have outgrown this issue. Some of the symptoms of this condition include pain that can get worse when breathing, sudden onset, and chest pain that is stabbing and sharp usually on the left portion of the breast. As mentioned earlier, there is no need to treat the condition itself, but doctors may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers (OTC).
4. Injuries to the Chest
Any strong force or blow applied to the chest such as those during sports, a car accident, or from a fall, can crack or break the ribs or have the chest bruised. When this occurs to the left portion of the body, complications that are severe or serious may occur. Ribs that are fractured or broken, for example, can lead to punctured organs such as the spleen and the liver. Some of the symptoms of chest injuries include pain when twisting, deep breathing that is painful, tenderness in the area of the injury.
When Should You Seek Help?
Patients are advised to seek their doctor’s help for the following reasons:
- Pain that won’t go away even after resting
- Stool changes
- Chest injuries
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pressure or tightness, especially for people with heart issues