One of our Cardiologists, Amnon Beniaminovitz, MD, was quoted by Shape on the caused of chest tightness. View the placement on Shape.
He was quoted saying:
“Tightness in the right side of the chest (and/or the middle of the chest) can be a sign of a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in one of the arteries that go from the heart to the lungs”, says Amnon Beniaminovitz, M.D.
“Given the overlap between deadly and benign chest pain, it is often difficult, even for physicians and health care professionals, to distinguish between the two,” explains Dr. Beniaminovitz. “It is better to err on the side of caution and be evaluated immediately.”
Then there are full-on panic attacks, which happen when heightened anxiety leads to “sudden, disproportional” increases in stress hormones and activity in the sympathetic nervous system (aka the fight-or-flight part of the nervous system), explains Dr. Beniaminovitz. “When people are having a heart attack, the same stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system get activated,” he says, meaning the symptoms between the two overlap a lot: chest pain, breathing difficulties, a racing heart, general weakness, faintness, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers, a sense of terror or impending doom, chills, and cold sweat.
The good news: Anxiety—and the panic attacks that might happen as a result of the condition—can be treated with therapy and/or medication. But if you’re even the slightest bit unsure about whether you’re experiencing a panic attack or something more serious, it’s always better to err on the side of caution, says Dr. Beniaminovitz.