Friday, September 29, 2023

What’s The Difference Between Heartburn And A Heart Attack

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Could It Be Something Else Entirely

How to tell the difference between a heartburn and a heart attack

Heartburn and heart attacks arent the only conditions that can cause chest pain. Here are some other issues to look out for:

  • Angina. This can happen if your heart doesnt get enough oxygen-rich blood. It can feel like a heart attack.
  • Pleurisy. Inflamed lung or chest cavity tissue can result in chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Gallbladder pain. Your gallbladder releases digestive fluids your body uses to process fats. Gallbladder issues can result in abdominal, chest, arm, neck, or shoulder pain. You may also experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Esophageal muscle spasm. Sudden muscle movement in your esophagus can lead to a tight or painful feeling in your chest.

Heartburn Or Heart Attack

The symptoms of heartburn may mimic those of angina or a heart attack . If you’re uncertain, don’t hesitate to get to an emergency room for an evaluation as soon as possible.


  • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest

  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat

  • Cold sweat or clammy skin

  • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness

  • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

  • The appearance of symptoms with physical exertion or extreme stress


  • Burning chest pain that begins at the breastbone

  • Pain that moves up toward your throat but doesn’t typically radiate to your shoulders, neck, or arms

  • Sensation that food is coming back into your mouth

  • Bitter or acidic taste at the back of your throat

  • Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over

  • The appearance of symptoms after a large or spicy meal

When To See A Doctor For Heartburn

People who experience acid reflux should make an appointment to see a doctor if:

  • the condition persists for some time
  • food sticks in the throat
  • there is difficulty eating
  • there is blood in the stools
  • there is difficulty breathing or swallowing

Persistent exposure to the stomach acid can cause damage to the esophagus.

Emergency doctors will consider the symptoms, examine the patient, and carry out some tests.

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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack:

  • Pain, pressure or tightness in the middle of your chest that you may also feel in your neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Cold sweat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain

Warning signs of a heart attack can vary from person to person. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or pressure. Women are more likely to experience more non-traditional symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or jaw pain. Heart problems are more common as we get older and in people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, tobacco use or a strong family history of coronary artery disease.

Heart Attack Vs Heartburn Symptoms


While heart attacks and heartburn can both cause chest pain, only the former actually concerns your heart. Heart attacks most commonly occur when blood flow to the heart is somehow blocked. This most often occurs due to the buildup of plaque in the arteries or the presence of a blood clot. In contrast, heartburn is caused by stomach acids flowing back up into the esophagus and can cause chest pain that may radiate through to the neck, throat, and jaw. Below are the most common symptoms associated with each condition to help you differentiate between them.

Heart attack: These are often accompanied by a dull, tight, or full feeling in the chest. Pain can spread to the neck, shoulders, and arms, and victims may also experience lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and cold sweats. The pain associated with heart attacks usually lasts for a few minutes before slowly fading and can sometimes be lessened by sitting or ceasing any strenuous activity.

Heartburn: Heartburn is characterized by a sharp or burning pain in the chest that may move upwards into the throat and jaw. It may increase when bending over or laying down. A bitter or sour taste at the back of your throat and the feeling that food is coming back up are both common symptoms.

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What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when one of the arteries to the heart gets completely blocked. This means the part of the heart supplied by that artery is starved of oxygen-rich blood, and the muscle is at risk of dying without medical help. The sooner the treatment, the more muscle you can save.

The most common sign of a heart attack is a severe, constricting, heavy pain in the chest, says consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Archbold from BMI The London Independent Hospital. Its usually a diffuse pain starting in the centre or left of the chest, often radiating out into one or sometimes both arms, or into the jaw.

However, Dr Archbold says its not a pain that you could point at with one finger and say it hurts here like you could with a pulled muscle. Nor does it usually appear on its own people having a heart attack often feel sick , feel sweaty, clammy or breathless. Some say they also experienced a feeling of dread or doom.

Is it indigestion or a heart attack?

  • 4min

Ppi And Heart Failure

Recent research discovered a stunning relationship between acid reflux and heart problems. It seems that certain acid reflux medications, called protons pump inhibitors or PPIs, increase the risk of having congestive heart failure.

We found that PPIs interfere with the ability of blood vessels to relax, said ghebremariam, a Houston Methodist molecular biologist. PPIs reduce the ability of human blood vessels to generate nitric oxide. Nitric oxide generated by the lining of the vessel is known to relax, and to protect, arteries and veins.

PPIs suppress a specific enzyme, called DDAH, that is responsible for opening your blood vessels. A lack of DDAH makes your blood pressure rise.

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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Heart attacks often but not always happen with classic symptoms:

  • chest pain that is often described as pressure, squeezing, heaviness, tightness, fullness, or ache
  • chest pain that feels like a very heavy weight crushing against the chest
  • pain may come and go, but lasts for more than a few minutes

Not all heart attacks give the same symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and some people experience no symptoms at all.

The chest pain or discomfort is usually central or central-left, but it might not be. The pain may spread to other areas. It can affect one or both arms, the neck, jaw, or upper or mid-back.

Heart attack often comes with other symptoms:

  • breaking out in a cold sweat
  • being short of breath
  • feeling very tired or lacking in energy
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded

People who may be less likely to experience symptoms when having a heart attack include older people and those with diabetes. These people may still show other symptoms though, such as breathlessness.

What Does Heartburn Feel Like

How can I tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack?

Symptoms of heartburn can include:

  • A feeling of burning, warmth, or pain in your chest that usually gets worse if you lie down or bend over
  • A sour taste in your mouth

In many cases, heartburn is not serious and can be relieved by avoiding certain foods or taking over-the-counter medicines, like antacids. But if you are pregnant or have heartburn on a regular basis, you should talk to your doctor about the best way to treat it. In some cases, frequent heartburn can be a symptom of a more serious digestive disorder.

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When Do Heart Attacks And Heartburn Happen


15 to 30 minutes after eating. If its worse when youre lying down or bending over, you can be pretty sure its heartburn, says Peters.

Heart attack

Any time. While moments of extreme pressure or physical exertion can bring on a seizure, heart attacks can happen at any point, even during sleep, says Peters.

Prevention Of Heart Attack Vs Heartburn

There are some shared lifestyle changes that can help prevent both heart attacks and heartburn:

  • Quitting smoking

For heartburn, other preventative measures include:

  • Dont eat or drink close to bedtime
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods , alcohol, caffeine, and greasy and fatty foods
  • Avoid certain pain relievers, including aspirin, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen

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Heartburn Or Heart Attack How To Save Your Own Life

Would you recognize the difference between heartburn and a heart attack? If youre not sure, youre not alone. Both conditions can cause similar chest pain. In fact, heartburn can be a heart attack symptom, especially in women. Almost 40% of female heart attack patients reported experiencing heartburn or indigestion shortly before their attacks.

But dont lose heart. For 60% of people who seek emergency care because of chest pain, the diagnosis is heartburn. What makes it so difficult to differentiate between the two? The confusion lies within our own bodies. The nerves responsible for sensing and reporting chest pain simply arent able to identify the origin and nature of that pain.

It can be tough for people to tell the difference between heartburn or heart attack because they can have very similar symptoms. So it pays to know the additional signs that can make it easier to tell them apart.

Generally speaking, unexplained chest pain is a sign that you need to call 911 or head to the closest ER. Often, medical testing is the only way to know for sure and its always better to be safe than sorry. Sadly, the average person having symptoms waits three hours before getting help, which is why many heart attack patients die before reaching the hospital.

Heartburn Or Heart Attack: Differentiating Treatments

Whats The Difference Between Gerd And Acid Reflux

Treatments for these conditions vary due to their severity.

Heart attacks are considered an emergency, and the victim should be taken to the hospital immediately. Doctors will run tests such as and ECG, stress test, blood tests, or X-ray to confirm that the patient is suffering a heart attack. Depending on how severe it is, there are a variety of treatment options.

Patients may be dosed with a thrombolytic to help break down clots, and potentially undergo surgery where the affected artery is inflated with a balloon. A mesh stent may be inserted into the vessel in order to keep it open and improve blood flow.

In contrast, heartburn does not require emergency medical attention, though if it is chronic, you should meet with your doctor to determine whether you have GERD so they can put you on an appropriate treatment plan. If your heartburn is infrequent, it may be treated using over the counter antacids, avoiding cigarettes, wearing looser clothing, chewing gum to help neutralize the acid, or drinking a mix of one tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of water.

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How Do I Know If My Chest Pain Is Gas

If you suffer from pain being caused by trapped gas in the chest and an antacid relieves your symptoms that is a reassuring sign that your chest pain is probably not coming from your heart. People who have chest pain due to GERD or heartburn may find that their symptoms resolve with medication like a proton pump inhibitor or an acid blocker.

If you think a certain food is causing your symptoms it is often recommended to try eliminating that food for a period of time to see if your symptoms resolve. Common foods that can cause gastrointestinal problems are:

  • Gluten
  • Lactose. Found in dairy products like milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Eating too fast

Knowing The Difference: Heartburn Or Heart Attack

Are you a victim of uncertainty? Not knowing the difference between heartburn or heart attack? You can now smile because the answers are just here.

A house doctor in Brisbane advises that if you ever experience a weird pain in the chest you should seek medical care as soon as possible.

Have you ever felt a burning sensation mostly after taking in some food or a drink? If yes then you exactly know what I am talking about. Heartburn! This is a situation where a certain burning sensation is felt around the chest. This comes about as a result of acid irritation from the stomach. Probably asking why not in the belly? The stomach is lined with mucus that protects it from the acid formed in the stomach which helps in digestion thus no irritation is felt. The food pipe feels the irritation because it lacks the mucus to protect it against the acid, therefore, resulting in some burning feeling around the chest.

Some of its symptoms are as follows

  • Burning sensation just above the stomach.
  • Feeling to vomit.

A heart attack is what many dont wish for as its a very deadly disease. Its failure of the arteries to supply blood to the heart. This is usually caused by the hardening of the arteries a condition called coronary disease of the arteries and mostly affects old people. Human beings are living vehicles. If vehicles lack fuel flowing to the engines, they will stop and stagnate. Likewise, when human beings lack blood flow to the heart, they stop too.

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Does Everyone Get The Same Heart Attack Symptoms

No and this is when things get complicated. About 10% of people get an atypical presentation where they feel chest pain but its not bad enough to immediately seek help, says consultant interventional cardiologist Dr Kamal Chitkara of BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham. This is particularly common in people with diabetes where the nerves can sometimes alter sensation so pain isnt felt as acutely.

Those who have had slowly progressing heart disease also dont always get a severe pain. Dr Archbold says, If youve had a progressive narrowing of the arteries, your body will actually create new channels, called collaterals, through which blood flows. During a heart attack when that narrowed artery finally blocks the collaterals still work, reducing your symptoms such as chest pain.

Most people are pretty good judges of whats going on with their own bodies. But telling a heart attack from other causes of chest pain is tough stuffeven, it turns out, for highly trained doctors. Thats why I thought this personal story, written by a Harvard doctor who has heart disease, would make an interesting read. Its an excerptthe full version can be found in Heart Disease: A guide to preventing and treating coronary artery disease, an updated Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Do Women Get The Same Symptoms

Heartburn vs. heart attack – what you need to know

Women, particularly pre-menopausal women, also dont necessarily present with heart attacks in that chest clutching way you see in movies. In fact, a study published in the journal Circulation found only 30% of women had traditional chest pain symptoms, and in many cases it was more of an ache than a pain.

Instead, they had symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, nausea, stomach upset or back pain, which is extremely hard to diagnose as a heart attack. Extreme fatigue in the month before the attack was found to be the most common symptom if you suddenly find you cant do normal tasks, like make a bed without needing a rest, see a doctor urgently.

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Heartburn Vs Heart Attack How Do I Know What It Is

It can be hard to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack because the symptoms can overlap. Heartburn is discomfort from stomach acid backing up into the esophagus . A heart attack is when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked.

Here are some symptoms that can help you determine the difference between heartburn and a heart attack.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Despite having similar symptoms to heartburn, the symptoms of a heart attack are quite unique:

  • Pain, pressure, or a squeezing sensation in your chest or arms that begins to spread to the neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Persistence or increasing intensity of symptoms over the course of several minutes

The symptoms of a heart attack often come on very quickly, as they are typically a result of a blockage within the coronary artery.

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What To Do If You Have Chest Pain

If youre having chest pain that you think could be a heart attack, dont drive yourself to the emergency room. Always call 911 or local emergency services so you can get medical attention as quickly as possible.

The more time the heart goes without proper blood flow, the more damage the heart muscle may undergo. This is why its not a good idea to wait or hesitate if you think you may be experiencing a heart attack.

What Are Heart Attack Signs

Whats The Difference Between Gerd And Acid Reflux

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
  • Fatigue
  • 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.

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