Heart Hurts When I Breathe

Chest pains can be frightening and make you worry whether you are having a heart attack or something really serious. If you ask “why my heart hurts when I breathe,” you may also ask if you are possibly having a heart attack. While chest pains should be checked by a doctor, they may not all be related to your heart. Chest pain when breathing often has other causes that are related to your lungs, stomach, rib inflammation and the nerves in your chest. If you cannot find out the cause of this, you need to see a doctor right away to rule out anything serious.

What Does It Feel Like If My Heart Hurts When I Breathe?

Pain in your chest when breathing can feel scary. For some, it is just a little uncomfortable. Others may have extreme discomfort. The pain may even make it difficult to catch your breath. The other sensations may include:

  • Pain with breathing when you move
  • Cramping feelings in your ribs
  • Hurts to take a deep breath
  • Pain with breathing when lying down
  • Pain during breathing and talking
  • Burning pain in your chest

Breathing that causes pain in your chest could be something serious. You need to see your doctor and be checked out right away for anything life-threatening. Depending on the cause, your doctor will give you instructions on what to do.

My Heart Hurts When I Breathe. Why?

If you have any of the above symptoms, get to a doctor and tell him or her "my heart hurts when I breathe". Your doctor will run certain tests to look for the cause. Some causes are pretty easy to figure out if you have had a recent illness or medical condition. Other causes may be a little harder to figure out. Here are some of the causes:

  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic asthma
  • Chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia (Chest pain is usually on one side)
  • Pleurisy (Inflamed wall linings of the lungs)
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
  • Pneumothorax (Collapse of air pocket outside the lungs)
  • Empyema (Infection of pus outside the lungs)
  • Emphysema (Chronic lung disease)
  • Pericarditis (Inflammation of the lining of the heart)
  • Blood clot in the lungs
  • Tuberculosis
  • Heart attack

What Can I Do If My Heart Hurts When I Breathe?

If the symptoms resolve very soon, your condition may be nothing to worry about. You may take warm bath or apply warm compress to relieve your symptoms. Stretching and breathing exercises may also help you remedy the situation. But if the pain lingers for a long time or is worsening, you may either call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room for an evaluation right away. Watch for other serious signs like:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Passing out or fainting
  • Gasping and choking
  • Heavy sweating
  • Pale color to your skin or bluish
  • High fever
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Blood in your sputum

Is Chest Pain When Breathing Serious?

The severity of the condition depends on whether it is cardiac in nature. Chest pain that radiates up your neck, in your jaw, or back and stomach can be a sign of something very serious and you must go to the emergency room right away. Signs of a heart attack can come on very suddenly or gradually. Heart attack pain doesn’t change with rest, change in position and remains to be there regardless of breathing. Heart attack pain tends to worsen with exercise and doesn’t go away, even with home treatment.

Chest pain that isn’t serious is usually very brief and only occurs with certain movements. It may occur suddenly and sharply, but it then subsides.

Other People's Experiences

"A few months ago, I noticed my heart hurts when I breathe. This caused a lot of pain and trouble when eating, too. I went to the hospital and my oxygen levels were good and I was negative for heart attack. The doctor looked at my posture and said it may be the cause. It happens a lot with eating and sitting at my desk for long periods of time."

"When you have chest pain with breathing, don’t get too panicky because this can make it hurt worse. I had this happen in my early 20s and thought I was having a heart attack. I panicked and almost passed out just from being scared. When I went to the emergency room for this, the doctor let me know that heart attack pain usually doesn’t get better or worse with breathing and this type of pain is usually something else going on. We talked and decided that I was under too much stress and this was causing muscle spasms in my ribs. I was given anti-inflammatory medications and told to drink lots of water. I also found some ways to relieve my stress and it got much better."

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