Mon | Feb 24, 2020

Medical Associates on Call | What's causing my chest pain?

Published:Wednesday | September 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Since chest pain can be a symptom of many different conditions, the longer these conditions are left without treatment, the more likely they are to cause permanent problems. Chest pains and any other symptoms should always be taken seriously.

Dear Doctor Chung,

I have been noticing a slight pain in my chest lately. My wife has been casting it off as 'gas' because most mornings I rush out to work without a cup of tea. But, I do not support this theory. The pain is sudden and sometimes sharp.

To my knowledge, I am in very good health as I watch my diet and my job keeps me active. So, you must understand why this issue puzzles me.

I am in my late 30s and I have two little girls who I must provide for. Is my concern warranted? Or is this type of thing common and treatable?

- Puzzled Dad

Dear Puzzled Dad,

Thank you for your question. Chest pain is a very common complaint and is a symptom of a variety of conditions which may be trivial or serious. Distinguishing between these will depend on the timing, duration and character of the pain, and any other symptoms associated with it.

While you have not provided enough information for me to give a meaningful assessment of this symptom, acid reflux is a possible cause. I would advise that you see a physician to evaluate this symptom, as it is recurrent and concerning to you.

A full and detailed history of the pain and any other symptoms, as well as your full medical history and family history, would be warranted.

The doctor may also order some tests, including, but not limited to, assessment of blood cholesterol and blood sugar, and possibly an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray or upper gastrointestinal study, for example, endoscopy or barium meal. The particular tests ordered will be influenced by the information the doctor acquires during your visit. The cause of the pain will determine the treatment.

Good luck!

- Dr Andrene Chung is the consultant cardiologist with Partners' Intervention Centre Jamaica located at the Medical Associates Hospital. Let the professionals advise you! Call 1-876-926-1400 for your check-up or send an email to:;