Chest Pain Linked to Common Psychiatric Problems
WebMD News Archive
"Particularly with anxiety, it is unclear whether it is causing the
chest pain or people are more aware of the chest pain that they may already
have," Hotopf tells WebMD. "It may be that having anxiety makes you
more aware of the fairly innocent sensation ... a twinge in the chest."
"I see no particular shortcomings of the study; it strikes me as a fresh
exposition of old information," Vincent Felitti, MD, tells WebMD. Felitti,
a professor at the University of California, San Diego and head of the section
of preventive medicine for Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Southern
California, reviewed the study for WebMD.
Felitti says that the least common cause for chest pain is actually problems
with the heart. Some of the pain stems from constant tightening of certain
muscles, he says. "All of this goes on unconsciously. In the scalp it's a
tension headache. In the back it is chronic low back pain. In the chest it is
misrecognized as heart disease."
Felitti adds that the cause of chest pain isn't usually discovered if the
person goes to an emergency room. "I think in the settings in which chest
pain is usually seen -- typically emergency rooms -- they are not are not
likely to be of a mind to look beyond anything that is of cardiac origin; they
are simply diagnosing someone as not having something, instead of having
something. And that sets up the likelihood of repetition," where the person
will continue to have chest pain and feel the need to seek emergency care.
- A well-known symptom of a heart attack is chest pain, but heart disease is
actually the least common cause of this ailment.
- A new study shows that in up to 25% of patients, chest pain is a symptom of
a psychiatric disorder, usually either anxiety or depression.
- It is not known whether psychiatric disorders cause chest pain or whether
these patients are just more aware of any sensation that they may have.