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Difference Between Heartburn And Heart Issues

Common Symptoms Of Heartburn

Heartburn vs. heart attack – what you need to know

If you’ve got a burning feeling in your chest just behind your breastbone that starts after you eat, it might be heartburn. The symptoms could last from a few minutes to several hours.

Heartburn begins when stomach acid splashes up into your esophagus, a tube that connects the back of your throat and stomach. Besides the burning feeling in your chest, you may also get:

  • Chest pain, especially after you bend over, lie down, or eat
  • Burning at the back of your throat
  • Fluid at the back of your throat that tastes hot, sour, acidic, or salty
  • Long-term cough, sore throat, or hoarseness

Telling your doctor about these symptoms is usually all they need to make a diagnosis of heartburn. But they may ask you to take special tests to find out how severe the problem is or to keep an eye on your treatment.

Is It Possible To Prevent A Heart Attack Or Heartburn

There is a good possibility that both heartburn or a heart attack can be reduced or prevented. A balanced diet along with exercise is key to preventing for both heartburn and or heart attack. In addition to treating the underlying cause of heartburn, there are life style changes and natural home remedies that may help prevent it.

  • Eat small, more frequent meals.
  • Do not eat about three hours before bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of your bed by about 6 inches.
  • Do not eat or drink foods that are acidic or trigger acid development in the stomach.
  • Stop smoking and/or drinking alcohol.
  • Try to take your heartburn medication at the same time each day.

The chances of reducing or stopping recurrent or initial heart attacks may be prevented by lifestyle changes, for example:

Difference Between Heart Attack And Heartburn Causes

Just as the symptoms differ, the causes of heart attacks also vary from the causes of heartburn. Heart attacks are commonly caused by coronary heart diseasewhere arteries become clogged with cholesterol and prevent blood from flowing into the heartas well as blood clots, hypoxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning, and the abuse of drugs. In contrast, heartburn occurs due to the issues with the lower esophageal sphincter that cause it to be unable to tighten properly, allowing stomach acid through to the esophagus. This issue occurs most often because of over eating, or pressure put on the stomach due to obesity or pregnancy. Certain foods such as tomatoes, coffee, alcohol, and garlic may also increase the likelihood of experiencing heartburn as they can relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

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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.

Ppi And Heart Failure

Difference Between Heartburn and Angina

Recent research discovered a stunning relationship between acid reflux and heart problems. It seems that certain acid reflux medications, called protons pump inhibitors or PPI’s, 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.”

PPI’s 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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Heartburn Or Heart Attack How To Save Your Own Life

Would you recognize the difference between heartburn and a heart attack? If you’re not sure, you’re 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 don’t 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 aren’t 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 it’s 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.

South Denver Cardiology Associates Can Help

South Denver Cardiology Associates provides award-winning cardiac care focused on helping you achieve a healthier life. We offer comprehensive diagnostic testing to determine whether your symptoms are heart-related or not. Once weve accurately diagnosed the cause of your symptoms, well work with you to develop the right treatment plan to manage your condition.

Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. South Denver Cardiology Associates serves patients in Denver, Littleton, and the surrounding areas of Colorado.

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Is It Heartburn Or Heart Attack

How can you tell if your chest pain is caused by heartburn or a heart attack? Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish the two, so if there is any confusion as to whether you are suffering from a bout of heartburn or are having a heart attack, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms more typical of the chest pain caused by heartburn include:

  • A burning sensation or pain that occurs just below the breastbone
  • This pain rarely radiates to the shoulders, neck, or arms, though it does occur on occasion
  • This pain usually comes after meals, or when lying down soon after eating
  • This chest pain usually responds quickly to antacids
  • The pain is rarely accompanied by a cold sweat

Symptoms more typical of a heart attack include:

  • The feeling of fullness, tightness, pressure, or pain in the center of the chest
  • There may be a squeezing sensation as if something was tightening around the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Pain may spread to the shoulders, neck, jaw or arms
  • Nausea

Heartburn Or Heart Attack Heres The Difference

The #1 difference between Heartburn and GERD/GORD

Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onFebruary 24, 2017

Experiencing pain or discomfort in your chest can be alarming, but is it always a cause for concern? While chest pain is one of the cardinal symptoms of a heart attack, it has also been linked to a far less severe condition known as GERDgastroesophageal reflux diseasewhich is more commonly referred to as heartburn. While one of these conditions requires immediate medical attention, the other may simply pass with time, so how can you tell whether youre experiencing a heart attack or heartburn?

Continue reading to learn how to distinguish between these different causes of chest pain, including their symptoms, causes, potential complications, and treatments.

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Is It Heart Pain Or Just Heartburn

The signals our body sends us can be confusing. And if the signal is coming from your chest, the stakes are high is it my heart or is it just heartburn?

First and foremost, heres a good rule to follow: If in doubt, check it out. Its always better to be safe than sorry.

That said, there are some clues that can help discriminate between heart pain and simple heartburn:

  • Heart pain tends to be brought on by exertion or stress and is relieved with rest. Heartburn has no relationship to physical activity. Instead, it tends to be related to ingestion of food.
  • Heart pain tends to occur in the context of risk factors for heart disease, including older age, family history of heart disease, history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and/or history of tobacco use. Heartburn has no relationship to heart disease risk factors.
  • Heart pain tends to be progressive over time it will take less and less activity or stress to prompt the pain. Heartburn tends to remain more random.
  • Heart pain is unlikely to occur spontaneously in the middle of the night. Heartburn classically wakes people up at 2 to 3 in the morning.
  • Heart pain may be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, and a sense of doom. Heartburn tends to be an isolated symptom.
  • Heart pain does not respond to antacids. Heartburn often gets better with over-the-counter medication like Maalox or TUMS.
  • NOTE: if you have regularly occurring heartburn, see your healthcare provider.

    Consider Medical Conditions That Cause Gas Pains

    Besides food and drink, you may have a medical condition that creates gas pains.

    • Heartburn or indigestion can cause stomach acid to leak up into the esophagus and cause sharp chest pains from burping.
    • Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , can cause air to become trapped in your esophagus. The feeling can cause anxiety, which then leads to a short burst of heart palpitations.
    • Gallbladder disease can cause pains in the chest from excess gas. Youll also experience a loss of appetite, nausea, chills and pale stools with this issue.
    • Inflammatory bowel disease can cause gas build up in the digestive system. In addition to excessive flatulence, Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis can cause abdomen pain, diarrhea or constipation and nausea.

    Contact your primary care provider if you believe you are struggling with one or more of these conditions. They will be able to order numerous tests to help diagnose the root of your problems.

    Read Also: Natural Ways To Deal With Heartburn

    When To See A Doctor About Heartburn Vs Indigestion

    If your symptoms of heartburn and/or indigestion dont improve after a few weeks of home remedies and preventive measures, see your doctor.

    Chronic heartburn or indigestion issues could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. To get to the root of chronic indigestion or heartburn issues, your doctor may order a few tests, including:

    • a physical exam of your abdomen
    • acid probe tests to measure when stomach acid reaches back into your esophagus
    • imaging tests, such as X-rays and endoscopies , to look at your esophagus and stomach
    • blood or stool tests to rule out bacterial infections that may be causing indigestion
    • pain in your abdomen that doesnt go away
    • frequent vomiting
    • blood in vomit or stools
    • tar-colored stools

    Does Everyone Get The Same Heart Attack Symptoms

    Heart Attack Versus Heartburn

    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.

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    Doctors Can Confuse Heartburn And Heart Disease Even In Themselves

    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.

    Early one spring, I noticed a burning sensation high in my abdomen whenever I walked up a hill or worked out on the treadmill. I felt perfectly healthy otherwise. I had lots of energy and could do high-level exercise on the treadmillonce the burning sensation went awaywithout becoming short of breath. I thought it was just heartburn, so I started taking powerful acid-suppressing pills. They didnt help.

    Sometimes when I would feel the burning in my chest, I would remember an old saying to the effect that A doctor who takes care of himself has a fool for a patient. Still, I hesitated I didnt want to waste the time of a cardiologist if all I had was heartburn.

    Heartburn Or Heart Attack: Knowing The Signs

    Differentiating simple heartburn from heart disease symptoms can be challenging. Sometimes, people may have a meal and then go out for a walk. In that situation, it can be difficult to tell the difference between reflux or heart disease, says Patterson.

    Its hard because the symptoms might be similar, agrees Sauer. You may not be able to decipher them. It may even require an ECG or stress test to check if its your heart.

    With reflux, patients may have a bitter taste in the mouth. With heart problems, there is no bitter taste in the mouth and no association with food, says Patterson. I would differentiate the symptoms in regard to meal vs. exercise, and acidic, funny taste in the mouth vs. none.

    In addition to the time of occurrence and related activity, understanding your own potential risk factors for heart disease is also helpful. Age is an important risk factor for both men and women. A mans chance of a heart attack increases at around age 40. However, the increased risk occurs around menopause for women.

    Other factors include gender and family history of premature coronary artery disease. These factors are not in our control, but there are many more controllable risk factors, reminds Patterson.

    Major risk factors for heart disease that we can control include:

    • Weight
    • Hypertension
    • Illegal drug use

    But what about the pounding chest pain and collapse weve all seen in countless movies and TV shows? Isnt that how heart attacks are supposed to happen?

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    Differences Between Strained Chest Muscle And Cardiac Pain Angina

    Musculoskeletal chest pain tends to be quite different from worrisome heart pain, says Alvaro Waissbluth, MD, an Ohio-based heart surgeon board certified in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular diseases, and founder of Eat Tank, an educational nutrition initiative that provides simple tools and practical knowledge for better understanding food.

    Dr. Waissbluth continues, Musculoskeletal chest pains almost always change with physical movement of the chest wall either from breathing or moving ones arms or body.

    This causes tension on the actual muscles or tendons or ligaments or joints that are inflamed and makes them hurt.

    This is a hallmark feature of chest muscle soreness.

    Like any sore or strained muscle, the pain will fluctuate or be aggravated with movement.

    Also, musculoskeletal chest pains are often fleeting lasting a few seconds at most and go away when the movement is over. Angina doesnt last for three seconds.

    Pay attention to your movements.

    What motions did you carry out just before that fleeting chest pain?

    The offending motion could have even been committed while you were seatedsimply twisting in your chair, pressing a hand against the armrest, may be all it takes to buzz the strained chest muscle.

    They are rarely accompanied by other symptoms and typically dont radiate anywhere else, says Dr. Waissbluth, referring to musculoskeletal pain.

    Take an exaggerated exhalation or inhalation to see if either bring out the discomfort.

    Heart Attack Vs Heartburn Symptoms

    Difference Between Heartburn, Dyspepsia & Peptic Ulcer Disease

    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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