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I have pains in my left part of my chest here and there also under the bottom of my rib cage could i be having a heart attack? or have some sort of heart dieses? I do have anxiety but it is consistant everyday I get this.

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replied January 11th, 2010
Heart Disease and Heart Attack Answer A9030

According to the symptom you reported (pain in left part of chest under the ribcage), you might be experiencing angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is a condition when the oxygen supply to the heart muscle via the blood is insufficient. The lack of oxygen causes pain which is described as a sharp, stabbing pain.

It is very important whether the pain appears when being calm or only during physical stress. The first condition is considered more dangerous.
The factors for angina pectoris include atherosclerosis which causes plaque to be formed which, on the other hand, narrows the artery. Vasospasm (constriction of the blood vessels) is another factor. It might be related to mental stress, panic attacks being one of them.

The stabbing pain in the chest is enough to see a doctor (preferably cardiologist) for a physical examination and ECG. Cardiac stress test might be required if the pain appears only when you are under physical stress.

It is important to remember that if the pain lasts longer than 5 minutes then you are supposed to get medical care as soon as possible because angina pectoris might actually be the start of an imminent heart attack.

If nothing is found, you might be referred to a gastroenterologist to check if the pain is caused by stomach problems (gastritis, stomach ulcer or Gastroesophageal reflux disease).

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