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Chest Pains: When Should You Go To Urgent Care?

Chest pain is a common complaint that can happen to anyone, but more so to adults and seniors. It is so common that studies have suggested that about 25% of the population will experience it at least once in their lifetime. In fact, it was also reported that almost 5% of all ER visits were due to chest pain. 

Chest pain is not a normal occurrence. It is a clinical symptom that usually denotes a problem in the heart, lungs, ribs, esophagus, muscles, nerves, or abdomen. 

Any discomfort in the chest can be caused by life-threatening conditions, and the only way to know for sure is to have a physician assess you. 

We encourage you to focus on your cardiovascular health and learn how to take care of your heart. In this article, we will discuss chest pains and their accompanying symptoms, causes, and what to do when faced with these symptoms.

What are the symptoms of chest pain?

Chest pain refers to any aches or discomfort felt at the front of the body between the neck and upper abdomen. It can manifest in many different forms and may be described as the following:

  • A dull ache
  • Sharp pain
  • Burning pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • A tightness or crushing sensation

Furthermore, pain in your chest can also spread to other parts of the body, depending on their root cause. The pain can travel to the neck, jaw, back, and arms.

Such aches can also have varying intensity and duration depending on their cause. Some may last for several minutes, while others manifest as a steady ache that worsens during activity. 

What causes chest pain?

Chest discomfort can have varying quality, location, intensity, and duration depending on the underlying medical cause. Physicians usually differentiate causes through symptom correlation, medical history review, and diagnostic tests. Some of the most common causes of chest pain include the following:

Heart-related chest pain

Chest pain is a common warning sign of a heart attack or heart problem. This type of pain is known medically as angina, which happens when the heart muscles don’t get enough oxygen. 

Generally, chest discomfort arising from a heart issue feels like a crushing and tight sensation in the chest. The burning or searing pain can spread to nearby body parts (e.g., neck, jaw, arms) and may worsen with activity. Other symptoms that can come with chest pains include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats.

Some of the specific heart issues that can cause chest pain and discomfort include the following:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Myocardial infarction or heart attack
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection

Lung-related chest pain

Chest pains originating from the left or right side of the chest may point to a lung-related medical condition. This type of pain usually causes pinpoint discomfort or piercing pain, especially when breathing and coughing. Some of the possible lung conditions that might be causing such a symptom include:

  • Pneumonia or lung abscess
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumothorax
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD
  • Pulmonary hypertension

These conditions can cause chest ache when there’s inflammation in the lungs, infection, blood clot, or a collapsed lung. Lung-related chest pain may come with other symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, and pus discharge (for infection).

Gastrointestinal-related chest pain

The gastrointestinal or digestive tract runs from the mouth to the anus, which includes the esophagus, abdomen, and others. Any abnormalities in these structures and abdominal contents  can cause chest pain or discomfort, such as the following digestive conditions:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) - heartburn or GERD causes acid reflux or the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. This causes mild to moderate burning sensation or discomfort in the mid-chest.
  • Ulcer - open, painful sores in the stomach cause the acid to injure its walls, thus leading to abdominal pain that may be felt from the navel to the chest.
  • Esophageal contraction disorders - a pressure or squeezing feeling in the chest due to the abnormal muscular contraction in the esophagus.
  • Esophagitis - the inflamed esophagus walls can cause pain or discomfort under the breastbone.
  • Gallstones - formation of gallstones blocks the ducts of the gallbladder, causing it to swell. This can then cause an individual to feel extreme pain in the chest or under the ribs. 
  • Gastritis 
  • Pancreatitis

Other causes of chest pain

Pain and discomfort in the chest area may also be due to trauma to the ribs and other bones, inflammation of the cartilage, and muscle sprain and injury. Additionally, chest aches may also be a symptom of a whole other medical condition, such as shingles, lung cancer, panic attack, and anxiety attack. 

When to go to an urgent care?

It can be difficult to differentiate heart-related chest pain from GIT-related discomfort. So if you feel a sudden pressure, dull ache, or searing pain in the chest area, then it’s best to seek an urgent care facility immediately. This is especially true if chest pain comes with the following symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sweating or cold sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting

Chest pain, even if it comes and goes, is not a normal body reaction. So if you or a loved one experiences such a syndrome, then you should get yourself checked by a physician right away.

Normally, urgent care clinics can cater to non-cardiac-related chest pains. However, if a patient does not know the root cause of their discomfort, it’s okay to go to the ER or urgent care, whichever is accessible. 

Untitled-design-2023-04-27T231303.587 Chest Pains: When Should You Go To Urgent Care?

Get quality and immediate medical assistance at Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches

A persisting chest pain may or may not be life-threatening. So experiencing one warrants a visit to an urgent care near you to see a medical provider.

Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches offers superior medical care and comprehensive services to provide the immediate medical needs of patients. Our board-certified physicians are well-equipped and trained to manage various medical conditions, ranging from simple coughs and colds to minor fractures and injuries. 

Contact us now or visit one of our locations near you:

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Strep throat is a sore throat that results from a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. Research from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 14,000 to 25,000 cases of the invasive group form of the infection each year, and in the last five years between 1,500 to 2,300 people die annually.

This article will provide an overview of strep throat symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. With this information, you will be prepared to recognize the signs of strep throat and to take the necessary steps to get the treatment you need quickly and easily.

What is Strep Throat? 

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat  and tonsils that causes inflammation and irritation. Strep throat is very common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, but can affect adults as well.

Strep throat is caused by the streptococcus bacteria, which is highly contagious. If the patient takes antibiotics, they can still be able to spread the infection 24 hours after beginning the medication. If they do not receive treatment, they will remain contagious for up to 3 weeks after getting the infection. Also, the risk of spreading the virus is highest when the patient is sick.

Strep throat is easy to treat with the right medical assistance, but if the condition is ignored and left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation. At Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches, our medical professionals are skilled at treating strep throat and offer top-notch treatment for those suffering from it.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

If you are concerned that your sore throat might be caused by strep throat, her are some of the common symptoms you need to watch out for to prevent serious complications and the spread of the infection: 

  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • White patches on the tonsils
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Sudden fever 
  • Rashes
  • Nausea or vomiting (especially among children)
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal sense of taste
  • General discomfort

In children, the symptoms may include abdominal pain and a reddish rash on the body. Strep throat is commonly spread through direct person-to-person transmission, or if your eyes, nose or mouth are exposed. For children, they often get infected by putting things in their mouths or when teething. 

If you suspect you, your child, or someone you know may have strep throat, it is important to visit a medical specialist right away.

Diagnosis of Strep Throat

Diagnosis of strep throat is based on symptoms, a physical examination, and laboratory tests. The doctor may look for swollen tonsils, redness in the throat, white patches on the throat or tonsils. They also do a throat swab or a rapid strep test which can determine if the infection is caused by strep bacteria.

If the test is negative but the doctor still suspects that you might be infected, they may order a throat culture to confirm the diagnosis. This process involves collecting a sample of cells and fluid from the throat and tonsils. The sample is then examined for the presence of bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause infection or inflammation. It could take 2 to 5 days to receive the results.

How to treat Strep Throat?

In some cases, strep throat can be resolved on its own but a common treatment involves antibiotics. The doctor may prescribe a 10-day course of antibiotics and it is important to take the entire course of prescription even if the symptoms improve. This is to prevent the infection from coming back.

In addition to antibiotics, other treatments may be recommended to relieve the symptoms of strep throat such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce fever and pain. Gargling with warm salt water or a throat spray or lozenge may also be helpful. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to keep the throat moist and reduce pain.

To prevent the spread of the infection in your home:

  • Keep your utensils and drinking glasses separate from your family’s, and wash it with hot water
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, napkins, and towels from your loved ones
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Use a new set of toothbrush after the antibiotic treatment
Untitled-design-2023-04-02T211651.178 Strep Throat Symptoms and Treatment

When to Visit a Doctor for Strep Throat?

If you suspect that you or someone you love might have a strep throat infection, it is recommended to seek medical help so that treatment can start as soon as possible.

If you are searching on Google and looking for a “reliable urgent care near me”, look no further. Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches provides high quality and individualized care for patients with suspected strep throat infection seeking consultation, examination, or treatment.

Our clinics are strategically located to provide patients with easy access to our healthcare services. You may visit one of our facilities locations near you: 

For any concerns, or to book an appointment in advance, you may contact us at (561) 328-8433. 

***

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. 

Locations

North Palm Beach / Palm Beach Gardens Clinic Location:

11951 US Highway 1 Suite 108,
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
(561) 429-6109

West Palm Beach / Palm Beach Clinic Location:

5818 South Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
(561) 429-4779

Palm Springs / Forest Hill Blvd Clinic Location:

3537 Forest Hill Boulevard,
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
(561) 328-8433
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