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Chest pain has become synonymous with heart attacks.

However, there are many causes of chest pain that are not related to cardiac problems. The symptoms of a heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases include pressure or fullness in the chest, acute pain in the chest, which is not affected by breathing, and may radiate to the jaw, neck, arm and back, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, etc. Chest pain when breathing is generally not caused by heart related problems. Given below is a list of problems which cause chest pain when breathing. Chest Pain When Breathing: Causes and Cures Pain in the chest pain when breathing can be caused by a number of health problems and illnesses. Let's take a look at some of them in detail. Pleurisy: Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the cavity surrounding the lungs. It is also known as pleuritis. The primary symptom of this condition is acute chest pain when breathing and coughing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, fever and chills, and dry cough. The most common cause of pleurisy is a viral infection, but it can also be caused by other ailments like pneumonia, autoimmune diseases, etc. Treatment of the illness depends on the cause of the illness. Pneumonia: One of the symptoms of pneumonia is sharp chest pain when breathing deeply or coughing. It is normally caused by a bacterial infection, and treatment includes taking antibiotics. Other symptoms of pneumonia are high fever, shaking chills, productive cough, shortness of breath, sweating, muscle pain, and so on. Pneumonia can be life-threatening, hence it is important to go to a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Pneumothorax: Pneumothorax refers to a collapsed lung. It happens when air escapes into the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs and creates pressure on the lung. It can happen because of a chest injury. Mild cases of pneumothorax heal on their own, but severe cases need immediate medical attention. The primary symptom of this condition is sudden and acute pain in the chest. Pulmonary Embolism: This is a condition where one or more arteries that supply blood to the lungs get clogged. This happens due to the presence of a blood clot in the artery. The symptoms of this condition include sudden chest pain when breathing in, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, skin turning blue, sweating, etc. Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening if not treated promptly with anti-coagulants. More on sharp pain in chest. Costochondritis: Costochondritis is commonly referred to as chest wall pain. It is an inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum. The main symptom of this condition is chest pain when breathing and coughing. The most common cause of costochondritis is a blow or injury to the chest. It is nothing to worry about. The pain can be relieved by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. Read about chest muscle pain. Pericarditis: Pericarditis is a condition in which the membrane surrounding the heart becomes inflamed. There is no real underlying reason for this condition, and the main symptom is a stabbing pain in the chest when breathing, which resembles the pain of a heart attack, and is, therefore, often, misconstrued to be a heart attack. Treatment includes bed rest and non-steroidal and steroidal drugs and medications . Broken Ribs: Another obvious cause of chest pain when breathing and coughing is a broken rib. In case of an accident or any trauma to the chest, one or more ribs may have a fracture. The only symptom of this may be pain in the chest when breathing or pressing the chest. More on chest pain causes. These were some of the causes of chest pain when breathing. It is better to visit the doctor if you are experiencing any kind of pain in the chest, especially acute chest pain. Chronic chest pain is normally not life-threatening, but chest pain which develops suddenly and is severe should be immediately examined by a physician.

The first thing that comes to the mind of a person who experiences chest pain when breathing in, is that there is something wrong with his or her heart. It could be true in some cases, but there are numerous other reasons too behind this pain. Here are the causes of experiencing chest pain when breathing in, followed by the treatments. Chest Pain When Breathing In : Causes Heart Disease Chest pain when breathing in could be due to the angina pain resulting from a heart disease. This pain is usually experienced in the middle of the chest. This pain occurs when the heart muscles do not get the adequate quantity of oxygen. Lack of oxygen could be due to the coronary artery disease which makes the arteries narrow and the supply of oxygen carrying blood is thus hindered. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Acid reflux disease also known as GERD, which causes the stomach acids to move upwards through the esophagus could cause chest pain when breathing in. This is because the oesophagus tube which joins the mouth and the stomach is located behind the middle of the chest. GERD causes a stinging and burning sensation in the heart, breast bone and the chest area. That's why a person with this condition may experience chest pain when breathing in deeply. Pneumonia Right side chest pain when breathing in could be due to an infection in the lung tissue, also known as pneumonia. Pneumonia pain is mostly one sided i.e it is either on the right or on the left side of the chest. The symptoms of pneumonia include discharge of sputum which is yellow or green in color and sometimes may even contain blood, chest pain that becomes worse with coughing and short breaths. Pneumothorax Pneumothorax is a condition which is caused when the lining of the lung ruptures, making the lung collapse. Its symptoms include a sudden occurrence of sharp chest pain including upper chest pain when breathing in, rapid breaths, excessive perspiration and a rapid pulse. Injury Chest pain when breathing in might also result from an injury caused to the chest as a result of an accident or a trauma. Chest injuries such as fractured or broken ribs also may display symptoms of chest pain in a person. Pleurisy Sharp chest pain when breathing in could be because of the swelling in the lining of the lungs. This condition is known as pleurisy. Pleurisy is usually caused by a viral infection, pneumonia, tuberculosis or a cancer of the lung. Pulmonary Embolism Pulmonary embolism is a condition that is caused by the blockage of the arteries by a blood clot in lungs. Under this condition, the person experiences symptoms such as rapid breaths, fever, excessive perspiration, chest pain when breathing in. In some cases the color of the skin might change to pale blue and the person might even cough up blood. Chest Pain When Breathing In: Treatments The treatment for the chest pain will depend on what is causing it in the first place. Chest pain caused by GERD can be treated at home by following a special GERD diet which includes vegetables and fruits that are light on the stomach such as banana, apples, carrots and potatoes and discontinuing fatty, oily, spicy and acidic foods. For treating pneumonia, medicines such as antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor. In case of pain arising out of pleurisy, pulmonary embolism and pneumothorax, a thorough examination and treatment by doctor is recommended as these conditions can prove to be fatal. If the chest pain is because of a heart disease, then the treatments would include heart surgery or angioplasty. Broken ribs are generally left to be healed on their own although doctors may prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Chest pain when breathing in can be controlled by taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Here's hoping that now you know the various causes of experiencing chest pain when breathing in and also the possible treatments. Chest discomfort or pain should never be overlooked and a thorough examination for the possible causes should be done by a medical practitioner.

Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease


Changing your eating habits can be tough. Start with these eight strategies to kick-start your way toward a heart-healthy diet.
By Mayo Clinic staff Although you might know eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it's often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you'll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol


Of the possible changes, limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is the most important step you can take to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

The American Heart Association offers these guidelines for how much fat and cholesterol to include in a heart-healthy diet:

Type of fat

Recommendation

Saturated fat

Less than 7 percent of your total daily calories

Trans fat

Less than 1 percent of your total daily calories

Cholesterol

Less than 300 milligrams a day for healthy adults; less than 200 milligrams a day for adults with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol or those who are taking cholesterol-lowering medication

The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats butter, margarine and shortening you add to food when cooking and serving. You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.

You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks even those labeled "reduced fat" may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase "partially hydrogenated" in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

Fats to choose

Fats to limit

Olive oil Canola oil Margarine that's free of trans fats Cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Benecol, Promise activ or

Butter Lard Bacon fat Gravy Cream sauce Nondairy creamers Hydrogenated margarine and shortening Cocoa butter, found in chocolate Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils

Smart Balance

2. Choose low-fat protein sources


Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.

Fish is another good alternative to high-fat meats. And certain types of fish are heart healthy because they're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You'll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Other sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.

Legumes beans, peas and lentils also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting soy protein for animal protein for example, a soy burger for a hamburger will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.

Proteins to choose

Proteins to avoid


cheese

Skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and

Full-fat milk and other dairy products Organ meats, such as liver Egg yolks Fatty and marbled meats Spareribs Cold cuts Frankfurters, hot dogs and sausages Bacon Fried or breaded meats


and tofu

Egg whites or egg substitutes Fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon Skinless poultry Legumes Soybeans and soy products, for example, soy burgers

Lean ground meats

3. Eat more vegetables and fruits


Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals; they are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits also contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

Featuring vegetables and fruits in your diet can be easy. Keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Keep fruit in a bowl in your kitchen so that you'll remember to eat it. Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredient, such as vegetable stir-fry or fresh fruit mixed into salads.

Fruits and vegetables to choose

Fruits and vegetables to avoid

fruits

Fresh or frozen vegetables and

Coconut Vegetables with creamy sauces Fried or breaded vegetables Canned fruit packed in heavy

vegetables

Low-sodium canned

water

Canned fruit packed in juice or

syrup

Frozen fruit with sugar added

4. Select whole grains


Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products.

Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.

Grain products to choose

Grain products to avoid

Whole-wheat flour Whole-grain bread, preferably 100 percent whole-wheat or 100 percent

White, refined flour White bread Muffins Frozen waffles Corn bread Doughnuts Biscuits Quick breads Granola bars Cakes Pies Egg noodles Buttered popcorn High-fat snack crackers

whole-grain bread High-fiber cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber a serving Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat (kasha) Whole-grain pasta Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular) Ground flaxseed

5. Reduce the sodium in your food


Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon)

People age 51 or older, African-Americans, and people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day

Although reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking is a good first step, much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups and frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat. If you like the convenience of canned soups and prepared meals, look for ones with reduced sodium.

Another way to reduce the amount of salt you eat is to choose your condiments carefully. Many condiments are available in reduced-sodium versions, and salt substitutes can add flavor to your food with less sodium.

Low-salt items to choose

High-salt items to avoid

Herbs and spices Salt substitutes Reduced-salt canned soups or prepared meals Reduced-salt versions of condiments, such as reduced-salt soy sauce

Table salt Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen dinners Tomato juice Soy sauce

and reduced-salt ketchup

6. Control your portion size


In addition to knowing which foods to eat, you'll also need to know how much you should eat. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories, fat and cholesterol than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs. Keep track of the number of servings you eat and use proper serving sizes to help control your portions.

A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces or pieces. For example, one serving of pasta is 1/2 cup, or about the size of a hockey puck. A serving of meat, fish or chicken is 2 to 3 ounces, or about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Judging serving size is a learned skill. You may need to use measuring cups and spoons or a scale until you're comfortable with your judgment.

7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus


You know what foods to feature in your heart-healthy diet and which ones to limit. Now it's time to put your plans into action.

Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and limit high-fat and salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices. For example, if you have grilled salmon one evening, try a black bean burger the next night. This helps ensure that you'll get all of the nutrients your body needs. Variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.

8. Allow yourself an occasional treat


Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won't derail your heart-healthy diet. But don't let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you'll balance things out over the long term. What's important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.

Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you'll continue to find that heart-healthy eating is both doable and enjoyable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind.

Salmon

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart by reducing both inflammation and the risk of blood clots. These fats also work to keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Eat salmon or other oily ocean fish like tuna, sardines or herring at least two times per week. For a heart-healthy meal, try grilled salmon steaks with a green vegetable and a side salad with a sprinkling of lemon juice instead of high-calorie salad dressing.

Olive Oil

Olive oil reduces your risk of heart disease by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Choose olive oil for cooking, or make a nice dip for whole grain bread by pouring a bit of olive oil in a small bowl and add a bit of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of oregano.

Oats

Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta glucan that helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps keep your digestive system healthy. Enjoy oatmeal with just a small amount of brown sugar and plenty of strawberries and walnuts for breakfast. Cold cereals made with oats are also great with low-fat milk or soy milk plus slices of fresh fruit.

Apples

Apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin which acts as an antiinflammatory and will help prevent blood clots as well. Apples contain vitamins and fiber, come in several delicious varieties and are portable. Eat an apple with a handful of walnuts or almonds as a healthy snack or add apple slices to your healthy salads.

Almonds

Almonds and other nuts contain healthy oils, vitamin E and other substances that will help keep cholesterol levels in check. Almonds are also a good source of protein and fiber. Almonds make a great snack on their own, or sprinkle slivered almonds on green beans or asparagus with lemon juice as a deliciously healthy side dish.

Red wine

Red wine contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to be good for your heart. Be sure to enjoy red wine in moderation. Studies show that only 4 to 8 ounces of red wine is needed each day.

Whole Grains

Whole grains provide vitamins and fiber that will help to keep your heart healthy. Make a deliciously healthy sandwich with two slices of 100-percent whole-grain bread, three ounces of lean turkey breast, lots of sliced tomatoes and avocado, plus lettuce and a bit of mustard. Switch from white pasta to whole grain pasta too.

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables contain folate, which helps to keep homocysteine levels down, and vitamin E. Green leafy vegetables have also been associated with better retention of memory as age. Try using fresh spinach leaves or other greens for your favorite salad instead of iceberg lettuce.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with vitamins and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Add thick slices of tomatoes to sandwiches and salads or enjoy tomato sauce on whole wheat pasta. In fact, cooked tomato sauce and canned tomato sauce that you buy in the store both contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

Soy

Soy protein has been shown to prevent heart attacks and soy makes an excellent protein substitute for red meat, which will reduce your saturated fat intake. Add tofu to your favorite stir fry or pour soy milk on your morning cereal.

Salads are usually served at the beginning of a meal, but a salad can also make a healthy, low-calorie meal all by itself. When you use lots of fruits and vegetables, they can also be loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. The key to keeping salads interesting is to change the ingredients each time you make one. Don't just think of the simple garden salad, but imagine adding fruits, nuts, and lean meats to your salad to make a great low-calorie, highly nutritious meal.

How Much Salad is Enough for a Meal?

Use the calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need per day, and divide that number of calories by the number of meals you want to eat for the day. If you are eating 2,000 calories per day, you might want to allow yourself 500 calories per each of three meals and 500 for snacks. Or, you could opt for a lighter breakfast and a larger dinner, depending on how you feel. A dieter who is eating 1,300 to 1,500 calories per day might want a smaller salad, maybe 300 to 400 calories. Keeping a food diary is a good way to keep track of your calories and nutrition.

Greens

Most salads start with a pile of greens. Since greens are low in calories and are a good source of fiber, it's a great way to add volume to your meal without adding a lot of calories. There are different varieties of lettuce, such as iceberg, leaf, spinach, escarole, romaine, or butter. The darker lettuces offer more vitamins than pale iceberg, for example. Spinach has iron, and all varieties are low in calories. One cup of shredded lettuce has about 5 to 10 calories.

Vegetables

Almost any raw vegetable can be cut up and added to a salad. Green beans, snap peas, carrots, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers are all great suggestions. We need five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, so eating a salad is a good way to meet those needs. Brightly colored vegetables have bioflavonoids, and the dark green vegetables are lowest in calories -- about 20 calories per half cup serving.

Fruit

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apple slices and raisins add vitamins and antioxidants. The delicious burst of flavor and sweetness they add can also help you cut back on, or eliminate, high-calories salad dressings. A half cup of apple slices has 30 calories, and a half cup of berries has about 40 calories.

Meat and Cheese

To make a meal of a salad, you may wish to add some healthy protein sources like chopped or sliced hard-boiled eggs, lean beef, cooked shrimp, tuna, chicken breast, or strips of cheese. Make sure to measure your protein sources, since meats and cheese have more calories than fruit or vegetables. Avoid fried meats like chicken strips or battered and fried shrimp. They contain unhealthy fats and lots of calories. A quarter cup of chopped chicken meat or one egg will add 75 calories. Half a can of tuna will add about 80 calories. Two ounces of cubed or shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese may add up to 200 calories.

Nuts

Sprinkle a few nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews for a nice crunch. Just a few nuts will do, about one-eighth cup of nuts adds about 90 calories. Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and all of the nuts add protein and heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Salad Dressing

One tablespoon of regular commercial salad dressing will add 50 to 80 calories, so be careful to measure how much you use. A large salad may tempt you to use a lot more, just remember that one-quarter cup of dressing could add up to 300 calories. Low fat dressings are available, which offer fewer calories, but they may not taste as good. A salad with a variety of fruits and vegetables really doesn't need any dressing; some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice will likely be enough to suit your taste.

A Salad to Try

Here is a great example of a delicious, healthy salad:

two cups of green leaf lettuce one-fourth cup raw green beans one-fourth cup snap peas one-fourth cup chopped tomato one-fourth cup sliced carrots one-fourth cup apple slices one-fourth cup blueberries

one-fourth cup chopped chicken breast one chopped hard boiled egg one ounce of shredded mozzarella cheese one-eighth cup walnut pieces lemon and lime wedges

This salad has lots of vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber and comes in at just under 400 calories. Serve this salad with a glass of icedherbal tea or a big glass of sparkling water with lemon. Salads can be changed and adapted to any diet. Choose low carb green vegetables for low carb diets and use low-fat or no dressing for low-fat diets. Choose the lowest calorie ingredients if you are watching your calories. Keep lots of salad fruits and vegetables on hand, and you will find it easy to create salads several times per week. Change the ingredients to create completely different flavors, and you will never get bored with healthy salad meals.