April 16, 2024

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American cardiologist: Severe chest pain while running, is it a heart attack?

American cardiologist: Severe chest pain while running, is it a heart attack?

American cardiologist: Severe chest pain while running, is it a heart attack? In recent years, heart attacks have occurred from time to time during the marathon, which has made some runners fearful. So, if you suddenly experience severe chest pain while running, is it a sign of a heart attack?

American cardiologist: Severe chest pain while running, is it a heart attack?

Tamara B. Horwich, associate professor of clinical medicine/cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, pointed out that chest pains may be “good news” when running. This is a warning to the body that indicates that our body’s abilities are insufficient. To keep moving.

And the most terrible accident while running is a cardiac arrest, which causes sudden death without any signs. According to a study released by the American Heart Association in 2018, about 0.54 out of every 100,000 participants in a half or full marathon had experienced cardiac arrest. It seems a small number, but 71% of people die after cardiac arrest, and the proportion of men is even higher.

Eugene Chung, director of sports cardiology at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center of Michigan Medicine, said that chest pain during running is not necessarily a heart disease, but we should respect the pain warning issued by the body and stop exercising for evaluation. If it is a heart attack, there is often pain in the center of the chest, lasting for more than a few minutes, feeling heavy or tight chest pain, pain and discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, and shortness of breath, Symptoms of nausea and dizziness. Some women may not feel chest pain, but the symptoms of shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back pain are more pronounced.

The following are several heart diseases associated with chest pain while running.

Angina pectoris

Chest pain during exercise may be a symptom of angina pectoris. The blood supply to the heart is insufficient and pain occurs due to blockage of major blood vessels such as coronary arteries. The hallmark symptom of chest pain caused by angina is chest pain, shortness of breath that aggravates with exercise, and the pain can radiate to the chin, back, or left arm. Therefore, if you have symptoms of this type that cannot be relieved after a break, you should see a doctor immediately. You may not need to seek medical advice immediately for chest pain during an exercise, but patients with repeated chest pain or even fainting should be vigilant.

Supraventricular tachycardia

Runners may experience supraventricular tachycardia, which is a tachyarrhythmia in the top chamber of the heart, which can cause chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and palpitations. Under normal circumstances, the human heart beats 60-80 times per minute, but supraventricular tachycardia can occur more than 100 times.

Ventricular tachycardia often occurs. Runners can try to relieve them through the “Valsalva maneuver”, hold their breath and push the air to the abdomen, and affect blood circulation and autonomic nerve function by increasing intrathoracic pressure. If it is not relieved, you need to consult a doctor for medication.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

In patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the myocardium continues to thicken and the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases. The left ventricle is the area most often thickened, and it is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood into the various chambers in the body. This part of the functional decline can lead to a decrease in blood pump reserves, chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are not prone to heart attacks, but they need to see a doctor regularly and use drugs to relax myocardial pressure.

In addition to the heart, some other system and organ disorders can also cause chest pain:


Dehydration affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively, causing rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat or palpitation, chest pain and discomfort. Generally speaking, men should drink 13 glasses of water a day, and women should drink at least 9 glasses of water. People who exercise vigorously should drink more frequently.

Vocal cord dysfunction

Generally speaking, our vocal cords open when we breathe and close when we speak, swallow, and lift heavy objects. However, during strenuous exercise, the larynx may suddenly become blocked, causing breathing difficulties, affecting exercise capacity, and making people feel panic.

Exercise-induced asthma

Some people without asthma may have exercise-induced asthma. A person who has symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness shortly after running may be exercise-induced asthma. Generally speaking, these people are very sensitive to low temperature and dry air. They do not have to give up outdoor sports in winter, but they should warm up fully before exercise. They can wear masks and scarves to ensure that the air they breathe is warm and humid.

Gastroesophageal reflux

The reflux of stomach acid from the stomach can cause severe pain. For people with this underlying disease, the pressure on the abdomen from the exercise of the legs and hands during running may squeeze stomach acid into the esophagus. This kind of chest pain is often accompanied by a sour or bitter taste, and pain after lying down.

In order to avoid acid reflux, they should eat less spicy and acidic foods, drink less carbonated drinks and coffee, and do not tie their belts tightly after running after a meal. They can eat snacks in advance to avoid heartburn.


Severe chest pain that suddenly appears and disappears may come from muscle, joint, and bone pain, such as costochondritis. This disease can cause severe chest pain, and obvious symptoms can occur when the chest area is compressed or when you move quickly. During an attack of costochondritis, the patient feels pain when breathing deeply, and this pain can also radiate to the arms and shoulders. The symptoms of costochondritis are similar to those of a heart attack, so seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Pneumonia recovery period

When the patient recovers from pneumonia, he may want to go out and run two laps. At this time, lung inflammation that has not fully recovered may cause chest pain and discomfort, especially during deep breathing. This kind of chest pain is generally located in the pleural area, and it will cause chest pain as soon as a cough or deep breathing occurs. Therefore, patients in the rehabilitation period should gradually resume exercise under the guidance of a doctor.

Especially for patients recovering from COVID-19 pneumonia, because the medical profession still lacks understanding of the long-term effects of this disease, doctors recommend avoiding exercise for 10 days after recovery, and gradually increase the amount of exercise for the next 7 days.


(source:internet, reference only)

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