When In Doubt Check It Out
If youre not sure if its heartburn or your heart, seek medical attention right away. Its very easy to confuse the two issues so let a doctor rule out the most severe possibility. This is an especially important message for women.
Women are more likely to call help for someone else but not themselves, Bauman said. In fact, 81 percent of women said they would call 911 for someone else showing signs of a heart attack but only 65 percent would call for themselves, according to a special report in Circulation.
She added: I always tell people if youre concerned and not sure if its your heart, its better to err on the side of checking it out and having someone tell you its not a heart attack.
Heartburn Or Heart Attack
What does heartburn have to do with your heart? Nothing, actually!
Despite its name, heartburn or acid indigestion is related to your esophagus. But because the esophagus and heart are located near each other, either one can cause chest pain which is why many people mistake heart burn for angina and vice versa.
How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn
Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:
- Pepcid AC®.
- Tagamet HB®.
Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.
Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.
The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.
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About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
Heartburn Heart Attack And Gender
Not everyone experiences heart attacks the same way. The common signs of heart attack include chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or burning, and it could be in the middle or to either side of the chest, says Patterson. It may or may not spread to the neck, jaw, back or arm.
Other possible symptoms of heart attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Exercise intolerance
- Other symptoms similar to heartburn and abdominal pain
In particular, gender may have an impact on potential heart attack symptoms. Women tend to not have the typical heart attack symptoms. It can present as something that feels like heartburn, states Sauer.
It is more common for women to present with the atypical symptoms, agrees Patterson. An example would be fatigue without chest pain or shortness of breath without chest pain.
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Is It A Heart Attack
Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart muscles becomes completely blocked. If a person does not receive immediate treatment, part of the heart muscle can die.
A common symptom of a heart attack is pain or discomfort that typically occurs in the center or left side of the chest. This pain may come and go, and its severity can range from mild to severe. It can also sometimes feel like heartburn or indigestion.
However, not everyone who has a heart attack experiences chest pain. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary considerably from person to person, and they may come on slowly or very suddenly.
Other symptoms of a heart attack might
- breaking out in a cold sweat
Anyone who suspects that they or someone else is having a heart attack should immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room.
When trying to distinguish between cardiac and noncardiac chest pain, a person needs to consider the following three factors:
- the location of the pain
- how the pain feels
We discuss each of these in more detail below:
Chest Pain: Its Not Always A Matter Of The Heart
There are plenty of other potential suspects when it comes to chest pain.
Mild or severe discomfort in the middle or left side of the chest that feels like fullness, pressure or squeezing could be a potential sign of a cardiovascular event.Most people experience chest pain at some point, but how do you know if it is a heart attack or simply heartburn or anxiety?
Understanding the differences between cardiovascular events and other causes of chest pain can save you a trip to the emergency room. It is also important because the discomfort could be caused by other urgent conditions, as well as less serious issues that may point to a chronic medical problem.
When it comes to cardiovascular causes of chest pain, UAB Medicinecardiologist Gregory Chapman, M.D., says the usual suspects include coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, and heart valve or rhythm disorders. But there are plenty of other potential suspects. Chapman included a chapter on chest pain diagnosis in his book A Strong and Steady Pulse: Cardiac Stories, which is scheduled for publication in 2021.
Take symptoms seriously
In the United States, nearly 6 percent of emergency room patients report chest pain. More than half of those cases involve non-cardiac chest pain, or NCCP, that is caused by heartburn, anxiety or other issues. A staggering 80 percent of patients who complain of chest pain during primary care visits are simply experiencing NCCP.
Gregory Chapman, M.D.Mimicking a heart attack
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What To Do If You Have Frequent Heartburn
If you suffer from more-than-occasional heartburn or indigestion, it is important that you seek attention from a health care professional as soon as possible. These may be symptoms of a serious medical condition like a heart attack, ulcer, or gallbladder disease. Furthermore, the symptoms of heartburn may be a sign of damage to the esophagus which can lead to scarring and narrowing of the esophagus or to abnormal cell growth, increasing the risk of cancer.
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What Are Prescription Medications For Heartburn
If over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers do not relieve your heartburn, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription for other medicines, such as:
- Prescription-strength acid blockers: In prescription-strength , Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid® and Axid® can generally relieve heartburn and treat GERD.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These are drugs that block acid production more effectively. Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec® and Protonix®.
There are some proton pump inhibitors that can be purchased over-the-counter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these medications and what is best for you.
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Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own
For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.
Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women
Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.
Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.
Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.
Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.
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How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn
Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:
Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.
Heartburn Or Heart Attack When To Sound The Alarm
Heartburn is a very common condition that affects about 42 percent of Americans. In fact, I experienced it myself shortly after dinner last night. It is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux that you typically feel as pain or burning in the chest. When you have heartburn, some of the acid in your stomach comes up into your esophagus, causing that pain. Taking an over-the-counter antacid can bring relief in moments.
Chest pain, however, is also a common sign of heart disease. Heart disease is life-threatening and is diagnosed in about 12 percent of Americans . It is one of the top causes of death for Americans. A heart attack, a condition in which the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen because of blocked blood vessels, can strike suddenly and be fatal if not treated promptly.
If youre experiencing pain or burning in your chest, how do you know its just heartburn and not something more? We spoke with a pair of UVA doctors for some clarity.
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When To See A Doctor
If OTC medications arent treating your heartburn, talk to your doctor.
In rare instances when you cant manage heartburn with medications, a doctor may recommend surgery to reduce the risk that acid will reflux up from the stomach.
If you cant tolerate OTC medications for heartburn, your doctor can recommend other options.
Is It Gas Pain Or A Heart Problem
Its perfectly normal to pass gas between 10 and 20 times a day. At the same time, its understandable to be worried if you feel chest pain after eating a meal. After all, if its gas, arent you supposed to feel it in your gut, not near your heart?
While you may be simply feeling the sensation of gas pain in your chest, this pain could also indicate a serious heart issue. Learn how to determine if you or a loved one needs to seek medical attention.
Please note, if you are still unsure if you are experiencing gas pain or a heart problem after reading this article, play it safe and go to the nearest emergency room to receive care.
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Signs That Heartburn Is A Warning Of Something More Serious
Heartburn is often not serious and will go away on its own or with over-the-counter medications. If you have heartburn that occurs with other symptoms, it could be a sign of a more serious problem. These symptoms may include:
Shortness of breath
Increased heart rate
If you have heartburn or chest pain with any of these symptoms, it is important to get immediate medical attention. This is because these symptoms could mean there is a more serious cause that requires urgent treatment.
Heartburn Symptoms Vs Heart Attack
The symptoms of heartburn and heart attack are often confused17,but they are very different conditions. Its important to learn the difference and know when to seek medical help.
Signs Of A Heartburn
Signs of heartburn include a burning pain in your chest that rises toward your throat, burning pain that worsens when you bend over or lie down, or an unpleasant, acidic taste in your mouth and even bad breath3.
Signs Of A Heart Attack
Signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, the neck, the jaw or the stomach, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea or lightheadedness.
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
If your heartburn seems worse or different than usual, seek medical attention immediately if you experience chest discomfort, have heart disease or diabetes, smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol. Do not wait. Call 911 immediately for emergency medical help.18
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What Happens After A Heart Attack
When a heart attack does occur, the part of the heart that has gone without a blood supply is injured. The extent of damage depends on the size of the area that was nourished by the blocked artery and the length of time between injury and treatment.
The heart muscle heals from a heart attack by forming scar tissue, usually over the course of several weeks. Even though a part of the heart may have been injured, the rest of the muscle keeps on working. However, the damaged heart may be weaker and unable to pump as efficiently as before. Proper treatment and a change in lifestyle after a heart attack can limit or prevent further harm.
Location Of Chest Pain
Both cardiac and noncardiac chest pain can occur in the center of the chest behind the breastbone.
However, cardiac chest pain can spread across the chest and even affect other parts of the body, such as the:
In contrast, noncardiac chest pain tends to feel like an intense stabbing or burning sensation just beneath the surface of the skin.
Coughing, breathing, or moving can affect the intensity of noncardiac chest pain, while the severity of cardiac chest pain usually remains stable, even when resting.
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What Are Heart Attack Signs
Typical heart attack symptoms include:
- Pressure, tightness, pain or a squeezing/aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
For both men and women, the most common symptom of a heart attack is chest discomfort.
Women usually experience some of the additional signs, such as jaw or back pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should take steps to get checked out right away.
Is Heartburn A Symptom Of A Heart Attack
Heartburn is often a symptom of GERD, but it can also be a symptom of a heart attack. In fact, heart attacks can cause other symptoms that usually happen with GERD, such as nausea, burping, and vomiting. In this case, the symptoms usually do not occur by themselves and will come with other symptoms that point to a more serious cause.
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Do You Feel Pressure In Your Chest And Discomfort In Your Shoulders Arms Neck Jaw Or Back Do You Feel Like You Have Indigestion
Angina signals an underlying heart condition that can lead to a heart attack. Stable angina is triggered by emotional stress, smoking, heavy meals and extreme variances in temperature, all of which cause your heart to work harder.
This type of angina is episodic but controllable. Your doctor can help you understand and manage the condition.
Unstable angina is characterized by sudden chest pain or worsening or persistent chest discomfort that occurs during sleep or reduced physical activity. It is caused by a reduction in blood flow to the heart. This is a serious health issue that requires immediate medical attention.
Heartburn Or Heart Attack Should I Seek Help
If you have chest pain and are not sure if its heartburn or a heart attack, call 911 right away. Its better to get emergency treatment and find out that you have a minor health problem than to ignore something that could be deadly.
Remember, paramedics will provide the fastest, safest transportation to the hospital. Do not drive yourself or ask someone else to drive you.
To learn more about heart attack causes, symptoms, and treatment options, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI .
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Medical Treatments For Gerd
Medications are available with and without a prescription for acid reflux and GERD.
Antacids: First-line treatments for acid reflux are usually antacids. These medicines act quickly to reduce the effect of stomach acid, which can relieve symptoms. Examples of these medicines are Tums and Rolaids.
If these medicines dont relieve acid reflux or a person has GERD, other treatments can include:
H2 blockers: H2 blockers are designed to reduce the amount of acid a persons stomach produces. Sometimes taking these medicines with antacids can help. Examples of these medicines include cimetidine and famotidine .
Proton pump inhibitors: These medications work longer than H2 blockers to reduce acid in the stomach. They can also help heal the stomach lining. Examples include:
Prokinetics: These are medications like metoclopramide . There is controversy as to whether these medications benefit people with GERD. Many new prokinetics have been removed from the market due to serious side effects .
If medications dont reduce a persons acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES.
- difficulty breathing