Header Image for Inside Chest Burns When I Cough

Inside Chest Burns When I Cough

Infections and Other Chest Conditions

Chronic Respiratory Conditions

Gastrointestinal Conditions

Serious Lung Conditions

Acute bronchitis often develops from a cold or other respiratory infection and affects the bronchial tubes. This condition can lead to coughing spells accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness. The flu, on the other hand, can cause similar chest discomfort but also includes systemic symptoms like fever, chills, and body aches.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Persistent cough, which may produce clear, white, yellowish-gray or green mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Low fever and chills
  • Chest tightening

Flu-related chest symptoms, however, are part of a broader array of signs including severe muscle or body aches, headache, fever above 100°F (37.8°C), and extreme fatigue that may improve then worsen again after one or two days when respiratory symptoms increase.

Both conditions share overlapping features such as coughing and general discomfort in the chest area. Treatment strategies differ slightly due to their underlying causes—viruses for flu and bacteria or viruses for bronchitis. Rest and hydration are important for recovery in both cases, and avoiding irritants like tobacco smoke can be beneficial.

Understanding the differences between these conditions is crucial for recognizing their symptoms. If difficulty breathing beyond mild discomfort occurs or if symptoms persist longer than three weeks without improvement despite rest and hydration, it may be indicative of more serious conditions such as pneumonia or chronic bronchitis.

Pneumonia, Pleural Disorders, and Pericarditis: Chest Discomfort and Pain

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, where these air sacs may fill with fluid or pus. This condition often leads to cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. Chest pain associated with pneumonia typically worsens with deep breaths or coughs.

Pleural disorders affect the thin membranes covering the lungs (pleura). Conditions such as inflammation of these membranes (pleurisy), infection (empyema), or excess fluid between them (pleural effusion) can result in sharp chest pains that intensify during breathing movements.

Pericarditis entails the inflammation of the pericardium, the double-layered membrane surrounding the heart. The symptom profile of pericarditis includes sharp, stabbing chest pain that often improves when the individual is sitting up and leaning forward, but may worsen when lying down or taking deep breaths.

Chest discomfort and pain can be indicative of various conditions affecting the lungs or heart, including pneumonia, pleural disorders, and pericarditis. Sudden severe chest pain, particularly if accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or pain in the arm, jaw, stomach, shoulder, or back, may be associated with more serious health issues.

Find Top Clinical Trials

Choose from over 30,000 active clinical trials.

COPD and Asthma: Chronic Cough and Chest Tightness

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are both long-term lung conditions. They share symptoms like chronic cough and chest tightness, which are crucial for understanding these conditions.

Chronic Cough
A chronic cough is a common sign of both COPD and asthma, often persisting for weeks or months. In asthma, this cough typically worsens at night or early in the morning and can be dry or produce mucus (phlegm). For individuals with COPD, the cough is likely to produce a larger amount of mucus, particularly in the morning.

Chest Tightness
Chest tightness, a feeling of squeezing or pressure in the chest, results from the narrowing of airways in the lungs, which restricts air flow.

  • In asthma, chest tightness often occurs during an attack and may also flare up due to exercise or allergens.
  • In COPD, this sensation may be more constant, reflecting persistent breathing difficulties.

Understanding the symptoms of chronic cough and chest tightness in COPD and asthma is essential for recognizing the challenges associated with these conditions.

GERD: Chest Burning

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) often presents a symptom that can alarm many: chest burning. This sensation, sometimes referred to as heartburn, occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve-like muscle between the stomach and esophagus, may not close properly or opens too often. Consequently, the acidic contents of the stomach irritate the lining of the esophagus, leading to a burning feeling in the chest.

The intensity of chest burning can vary from person to person. It can range from a mild annoyance to intense pain that might be mistaken for a heart attack. Besides the discomfort in the chest area, symptoms can include:

  • Regurgitation (a sour or bitter taste in the mouth)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic coughing

Managing GERD-related chest burning often involves lifestyle changes and possibly medication. Trigger foods such as spicy dishes or acidic fruits can exacerbate symptoms for many sufferers.

  • Staying upright after eating and losing excess weight can also reduce episodes of reflux by decreasing pressure on the abdomen.
  • Over-the-counter antacids may provide immediate relief for occasional symptoms.

Understanding what triggers GERD is key to managing it effectively and avoiding instances of painful chest burning. If lifestyle changes are not sufficient or if symptoms persist, further diagnostic tests or alternative treatments may be considered.

Pulmonary Embolism and Lung Cancer: Persistent Cough and Chest Pain

Persistent cough and chest pain are symptoms associated with serious conditions such as pulmonary embolism or lung cancer. These symptoms are key in the early detection and treatment process.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE) is the occurrence of a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the lungs. This blockage can lead to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that intensifies with deep breaths
  • A persistent cough, which may produce bloody sputum

PE is considered an emergency situation that requires prompt attention.

Lung Cancer arises when abnormal cells in the lungs proliferate uncontrollably. Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A persistent cough that does not resolve
  • Escalating chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood

These symptoms typically start subtly and progressively worsen over time.

Both conditions exhibit similar initial symptoms but stem from different causes and necessitate distinct treatments. Early recognition of these signs is crucial for timely diagnosis.