Do you ever wake up with a dull ache in your chest, or feel like an elephant just stepped on your heart? If so, you’re not alone. This sensation is known as angina, which is a type of chest pain caused by an inadequate supply of blood to the heart. When you experience angina, it means there isn’t enough oxygen getting to your heart. While anyone can be at risk for angina, it typically occurs in people over the age of 50 who have other known risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD). Here are reasons why your chest hurts when you wake up and how to manage this sensation if it becomes a more frequent occurrence.
Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Wake Up?
Sharp pain in your chest is more likely to be a symptom of heart disease than it is to be a symptom of a common cold. The pain may also be caused by inflammation in the chest wall or other organs in the chest. Heart disease can occur without any symptoms, so early detection is important. In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may perform tests to check your heart function and look for signs of heart disease.
What Causes Chest Hurt When I Wake Up?
1. Lack of sleep
Exhaustion can cause a variety of symptoms, including chest pain. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists insomnia as a symptom of coronary artery disease. It’s important to note that this is not the same type of pain discussed here. However, a lack of sleep can increase the risk of other types of chest pain that are often mistaken for a heart attack. So if you wake up with chest pain and you’re sleep-deprived, you should try to get more rest in order to rule out this type of pain. If you have other heart-related symptoms, such as shortness of breath, palpitations, or extreme fatigue, don’t rule out a heart attack. It’s best to talk to your doctor if you wake up with these symptoms.
2. The strain on your heart
If you’re waking up with a dull ache in your chest, it could be that your heart is working a little bit harder than normal due to an existing condition or daily activities. When you experience this type of ache, it’s typically due to an increase in blood flow in your body, which can happen when you exercise. The heart is a muscle, so as it contracts, blood flows through it. When you’re exercising or doing physical activity, your heart rate increases, and your blood flow increases. As your blood pushes through your heart, it can cause that muscle to ache.
3. Stress and anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety and stress at some point in their lives, but it is important to note that this type of stress can cause chest pains. When you experience stress, your body releases chemicals called catecholamines that make your heart work harder. This can cause a strain on your heart, which can make you feel a dull ache in your chest. Additionally, as your heart works harder, you may experience shortness of breath.
4. Medication side effects
Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can cause chest pains. If you are taking a blood thinner, it’s important to be aware of the signs of a blood clot. Blood clots can travel to your lungs, which can be deadly. If you’re waking up with a dull ache in your chest and you’re taking blood thinners, it may be due to a blood clot. Blood thinners can also cause your heart to work harder and may cause you to experience shortness of breath.
5. Cardiac dysfunction
A heart attack, a blockage in your coronary artery, and an abnormal heart rhythm are all serious conditions that can cause chest pain. When you experience this pain, your body releases chemicals that make your heart. This ache can be mild or extreme, depending on the severity of the condition. If you wake up and experience a dull ache in your chest, it could be a sign of cardiac dysfunction. However, if you’re experiencing intense pain, it’s best to see a doctor immediately.
6. Inflammation in the body
If you’re experiencing a dull ache in your chest, it could be due to inflammation in your body. This kind of pain typically occurs in people with an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. One of the areas that get damaged is your heart, which can cause a dull ache in your chest.
How To Know If It’s Serious?
- If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
- Symptoms of acute pain in the chest that should be taken seriously include Uncomfortable pressure or tightness in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes Shortness of breath that worsens as time goes on, or doesn’t go away at all Extreme fatigue or weakness Rapid or irregular heartbeat Headaches that are unrelated to the pain in your chest These symptoms could indicate that you’re having a heart attack—a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
- If any of these symptoms are present, you should go to the emergency room immediately.
- Let the staff know that you’re experiencing chest pain and that you’re worried it may be a heart attack. Be sure to let them know that you’re aware that you may be overreacting, this will help them treat you faster.
How To Prevent Acute Chest Pain?
- Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of water is crucial for good overall health and wellness – and it can also help reduce your risk of acute chest pain.
- Avoid smoking – Smoking damages the blood vessels in your body – including the coronary arteries – and is a major cause of this type of pain.
- Exercise – Getting regular exercise can improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Eat a healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein can help improve your heart health. Limit your sodium intake.
- Avoid stressful situations – Stress can negatively affect your heart health, so try to avoid it as much as possible.
- Consuming too much sodium can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, which can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of acute chest pain.
- There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent acute pain in the chest. Since this condition is usually triggered by an underlying condition, it’s important to work with your doctor to treat the underlying cause.
- Acute pain in the chest is a sudden and intense pain that occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the heart. This is usually due to a narrowing of one or more of the coronary arteries from plaque buildup or blood vessel disease. Acute chest pain can be extremely frightening, but luckily it’s not common. It usually only lasts for about 20 minutes and then goes away completely. The good news is that this pain is not a heart attack, which means the pain will go away even if it makes you consider visiting the emergency room.
If you wake up with a dull ache in your chest, it’s important to note that this is a common symptom. However, this pain can be a sign of a serious condition, so it’s important to seek help from a medical professional. If you wake up with a dull ache in your chest and it goes away in a few hours, you’ve probably just experienced a minor heart strain. However, if the pain doesn’t subside, it’s important to get help immediately. If you’re ever experiencing chest pain and you think it may be due to an underlying condition, it’s best to see a doctor. Don’t wait for the pain to go away on its own. Early detection of heart disease can save your life.