Chest pain and dizziness are common symptoms of many underlying causes. They often occur by themselves, but they can happen together as well.

Usually, chest pain with dizziness isn’t a cause for concern. This is especially true if your symptoms quickly go away. In this case, you can visit a doctor if you’re concerned.

But if your chest pain and dizziness last for more than 15 minutes, call 911 or your local emergency number. You should also get emergency help if you can’t breathe or if the pain spreads to other parts of the body.

Read on to learn possible causes, accompanying symptoms, and treatment options.

The causes of chest pain and dizziness range in type and severity. Pay attention to your symptoms, which can help you determine the underlying cause.

Anxiety

It’s normal to feel anxious every now and then. But if anxiety builds up, or if you have an anxiety disorder, you might experience chest pain and dizziness.

You may also have:

  • headaches
  • dry mouth
  • rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
  • fast heart rate
  • irregular breathing
  • nausea
  • trembling
  • chills
  • excessive worry
  • tiredness
  • gastrointestinal problems

High blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, the force of blood in your arteries is too high. It’s also called hypertension and usually doesn’t cause early symptoms.

In severe or advanced cases, high blood pressure is associated with:

  • chest pain
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • restlessness
  • shortness of breath
  • blurry vision
  • ringing ears

Panic attack

panic attack is a sudden episode of intense anxiety. It involves four or more of the following symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • palpitations
  • trembling
  • feeling of choking
  • nausea
  • digestive problems
  • feeling too hot or cold
  • sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • numbness or tingling
  • feeling detached from reality
  • fear of death

It’s also possible to have a limited-symptom panic attack, which includes fewer than four symptoms.

Intestinal gas

Everyone has intestinal gas (air in the digestive tract). If the gas builds up, you might experience:

If you have upper abdominal pain, you might feel it in the chest. The pain may also lead to nausea or dizziness.

Angina

Angina, or chest pain, happens when part of your heart doesn’t receive enough blood. It often appears during physical activity, but it can also happen at rest.

MEDICAL EMERGENCY

Angina that lasts for several minutes might be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 immediately if you have chest pain with:

  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • sweating

Heart disease

Heart disease is an umbrella term for heart-related conditions. It can involve many aspects of the heart, including the heart’s rhythm, blood vessels, or muscle.

While different types of heart disease cause different symptoms, it generally causes:

  • chest pain, tightness, or pressure
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • irregular heartbeat

Heart disease can cause many complications, so it’s best to seek immediate help if you have these symptoms.

Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia, or dysrhythmia, is an abnormal heartbeat. This happens when the heart beats irregularly, too fast, or too slow.

If you have an arrhythmia, you might experience chest pain and dizziness. Other symptoms include:

  • skipping heart beats
  • lightheadedness
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating

Heart attack

Your coronary arteries send oxygen-rich blood to the heart. But if an artery becomes blocked with plaque, this blood flow is interrupted.

The result is a heart attack, or myocardial infarction. Common symptoms include:

  • chest pain that spreads to your arms, jaw, neck, or back
  • sudden dizziness
  • cold sweat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • heartburn
  • abdominal pain
MEDICAL EMERGENCY

A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Migraine

Migraine is a neurological condition that causes intense, throbbing headaches. Chest pain isn’t a common symptom, but it’s possible to have it during a migraine.

Other symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sensitivity to light or noise
  • sweating
  • feeling cold
  • vision changes
  • ringing ears

Food poisoning

Food poisoning happens when you eat a food contaminated with harmful bacteria. This can cause:

  • stomach cramps
  • gas pain that can spread to the chest
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • nausea

If you have a high fever or become dehydrated, you may also feel dizzy.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats too fast. It affects the heart’s chambers, which interrupts blood flow to the rest of the body.

This can cause chest pain and dizziness, along with:

  • palpitations
  • tiredness
  • trouble breathing
  • fainting
  • low blood pressure

Mitral valve prolapse

The heart’s mitral valve stops blood from flowing backward by regularly closing up. But in a mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the valve doesn’t close correctly.

MVP doesn’t always cause symptoms. But if it does, you may have:

  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • exercise intolerance
  • anxiety
  • hyperventilation
  • palpitations

Cardiomyopathy

In cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle has a hard time pumping blood because it’s too thick or big. There are several types, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Advanced cardiomyopathy may cause:

  • chest pain, especially after heavy meals or physical activity
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting during physical activity
  • irregular heartbeat
  • heart murmur
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in the legs, abdomen, and neck veins

Pulmonary hypertension

In pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure occurs in the lungs. It involves the blood vessels in the right side of the heart, which are forced to work extra hard.

Along with chest pain and dizziness, symptoms include:

  • lightheadedness
  • swollen legs
  • dry cough
  • shortness of breath
  • palpitations
  • slightly blue lips or skin (cyanosis)
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • fatigue

Aortic stenosis

In the heart, the aortic valve connects the left ventricle and the aorta. If the valve’s opening becomes narrow, it’s called aortic stenosis.

This is a serious condition, as it can reduce blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body. As aortic stenosis progresses, it can cause chest pain and dizziness, along with:

  • fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pressure
  • palpitations
  • pounding heartbeats
  • weakness
  • fainting

Depending on the underlying cause, chest pain and dizziness can show up with other symptoms. This includes:

Chest pain, dizziness, and headache

If your chest pain and dizziness is accompanied with a headache, you might have:

  • anxiety
  • migraine
  • severe high blood pressure

Chest pain, dizziness, nausea, and headache

Often, chest pain and dizziness with nausea and headache is related to:

  • anxiety
  • migraine
  • severe high blood pressure
  • food poisoning

Chest pain, dizziness, and ringing ears

Possible causes of chest pain and dizziness with ringing ears include:

  • anxiety
  • panic attack
  • migraine
  • severe high blood pressure

A doctor will use several tests to determine what’s causing your symptoms. This will likely include:

  • Physical exam. A doctor will examine your chest, neck, and head. They’ll also listen to your heartbeat and measure your blood pressure.
  • Medical history. This helps the doctor understand your risk for certain conditions.
  • Imaging tests. You might get a chest X-ray and CT scan. These tests take detailed photos of your heart, lungs, and arteries.
  • Blood tests. Some heart-related conditions increase blood levels of proteins or enzymes. The doctor might order blood tests to measure these levels.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). An ECG measures your heart’s electrical activity. The results can help a cardiologist determine if part of the heart muscle is injured.
  • Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to capture a video of your heart, which can help identify heart muscle problems.
  • Stress test. A stress test examines how physical exertion affects your heart and blood vessels. A common example is walking on a treadmill while hooked up to a heart monitor.
  • Angiogram. Also known as an arteriogram, this test helps a doctor find damaged arteries. A dye is injected into your heart’s blood vessels, which makes them easier to see in an X-ray.

The goal of treatment is to manage the underlying condition. Therefore, the best treatment plan depends on what’s causing your symptoms. It may include:

Lifestyle changes

Some causes of chest pain and dizziness can be managed at home. In addition to medical treatment, the following lifestyle changes may help:

Specifically, these home remedies are ideal for controlling:

  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • migraine
  • heart disease
  • cardiomyopathy

Prescription medication

For most heart-related conditions, a doctor will likely prescribe medication. Generally, these drugs help by reducing blood pressure or controlling irregular heartbeats.

Medication used for heart conditions include:

You might also get prescription drugs for anxiety disorders or migraine.

Psychological counseling

Psychological counseling is used to manage anxiety disorders. This may also reduce the risk of panic attacks and migraine headaches, which can be triggered by anxiety.

Pacemaker

If you have arrhythmia, you may need a medical device called a pacemaker. This device is implanted in your chest and controls your heartbeat.

Valve surgery

In severe cases of aortic stenosis and mitral valve prolapse, surgery may be necessary. This might include valve replacement or repair.

Most cases of chest pain with dizziness aren’t serious. However, you should get emergency help if your symptoms last for more than 15 minutes. This could indicate a heart attack.

With a doctor’s help, it’s possible to manage underlying conditions of chest pain and dizziness. Always follow the doctor’s recommendations for best results.

JPeei Clinic