Chest Tightness Or Pressure

What Causes Chest Tightness?

Chest tightness can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'critical'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose chest tightness, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "chest tightness" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Angina
  • Electrical Hypersensitivity
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
radiating chest pain
having angina
often/always feeling unusually cold
wheezing
short-term memory failure
occasional unexplained nausea
jumpiness
being anxious/nervous
regular rashes
feelings of insecurity
past pain/burning behind breastbone
non-specific arm pain
... and more than 30 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of chest tightness:
Cause Probability Status
Angina 96% Confirm
Electrical Hypersensitivity 12% Unlikely
Asthma 1% Ruled out
Anxiety 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having chest discomfort, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you experience tightness or pressure in your chest? Do not mention pain here.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Rarely
→ Frequently
→ Most of the time
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of chest tightness, occasional chest tightness, regular chest tightness or chest tightness, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Asthma

As the airways become inflamed and filled with mucus, and the smooth muscles in the airways constrict, chest tightness may be experienced as the feeling of not being able to move air in and out of the lungs.  This feeling may in turn increase anxiety, which worsens the feeling of tightness.  These may occur after exposure to a trigger, or a specific irritant, or after exercise.

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