Am I Suffering From Heart Attack Or Heartburn? What To Note?
Heart attack, angina, and heartburn are distinctly different conditions that exhibit various symptoms but feel very much similar. They all start with a burning sensation in the chest.
Because of their similar sensation, even experienced doctors are not always able to tell the difference at the get-go. Hence, if you are admitted to the emergency department for chest pain, chances are their key priority is to rule out the possibility of a heart attack. At the end of this post, we hope that you have a deeper understanding of the difference between the two conditions.
Heartburn or heart attack?
Heartburn is one of the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It occurs when our stomach acid bubbles up into our oesophagus, resulting in a burning sensation in our chest region. Some common symptoms of heartburn include:
- Burning sensation in the chest
- Pain spreads up the oesophagus but does not radiate to the surrounding regions
- Acidic or bitter taste at the back of your throat
- Pain worsens when you bend over or lie down
Heart attack, on the other hand, is when there is insufficient blood flow to our heart, resulting in a feeling of pressure, constriction, or tightness rather than a burning sensation. While it is easy to tell the difference theoretically, it is not the case in real life, and it can be easy to confuse the two. Some common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Dull or stabbing pain, squeezing, pressure, or tightness around the centre of the chest
- Pain spreads to the surrounding regions, such as arms, neck, or shoulders
- Clammy skin or cold sweat
- Dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, or lightheadedness
Angina is another type of chest pain that has similar symptoms to heart attacks. Both are due to insufficient blood flow to the heart. In a heart attack there isa sudden complete blockage of the coronary arteries whereas in angina the blood vessels are narrowed. ndividuals with angina have a higher risk of developing a heart attack.
When to see a doctor?
Because of such similar symptoms and with the addition that one may panic during such an occurrence, we highly advise that anyone experiencing the following signs should call 911 immediately:
- Dizziness and nausea
- Cold sweat
- Shortness of breath with or before chest discomfort
- Discomfort or pain in the stomach, neck, jaw, back, or arms
- Chest discomfort or pain, such as fullness, pain, squeezing, or pressure that last for more than a couple of minutes or come and go repeatedly
It is vital to get to the emergency department as soon as possible, as a heart attack can be life-threatening.
Can other digestive conditions cause chest pain?
Chest pain is not only a common sign of heartburn or heart attack. A muscle spasm in the oesophagus can result in chest pain similar to a heart attack. Gallbladder disease can also cause pain that starts at the upper right or upper middle section of the abdomen and radiates towards the chest, arms, neck, or shoulders.
Again, it is highly advisable to seek immediate medical attention should you experience chest pains.
Heartburn is a sign of GERD and acid reflux that results in a burning sensation in the chest. Such a sensation can be similar to chest pain associated with heart attacks or angina. Because of that, do not take the risk of self-diagnosing yourself and get yourself admitted to the emergency department immediately. Even if it goes away on its own quickly, it is highly advisable to seek medical attention.
At GUTCARE, we handle everything related to your digestive and gut health, from GERD to colon cancer. Whether you are experiencing everyday issues, such as vomiting symptoms, or life-changing issues, such as pancreatic cancer symptoms, our team of professionals are able to provide appropriate treatment.
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