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.
Gerd Treatment: Lifestyle And Dietary Changes
Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first step in treating GERD. Certain foods make the reflux worse. Suggestions to help alleviate symptoms include:
- Lose weight if you are overweight of all of the lifestyle changes you can make, this one is the most effective.
- Avoid foods that increase the level of acid in your stomach, including caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid foods that decrease the pressure in the lower esophagus, such as fatty foods, alcohol and peppermint.
- Avoid foods that affect peristalsis , such as coffee, alcohol and acidic liquids.
- Avoid foods that slow gastric emptying, including fatty foods.
- Avoid large meals.
- Do not lie down immediately after a meal.
- Elevate the level of your head when you lie down.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Lifestyle changes can help ease heartburn:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
- Avoid tightfitting clothing, which puts pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn.
- Avoid lying down after a meal. Wait at least three hours.
- Avoid late meals.
- Elevate the head of your bed if you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep. If that’s not possible, insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Raising your head with additional pillows usually isn’t effective.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. Both smoking and drinking alcohol decrease the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.
- Avoid large meals. Instead eat many small meals throughout the day.
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Can Acid Reflux Cause Nerve Pain
Acid reflux symptoms can be typical or atypical in nature. Tingling limbs and nerve pain are considered rare and atypical acid reflux symptoms.
Dr. Mark Babyatsky, a former department chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, that inflammation from acid reflux can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia.
As a result, the diaphragm can become inflamed, affecting the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve connecting the neck, lung, heart, and diaphragm. In this scenario, a patient can feel referred pain in the limbs, specifically the arms and shoulders.
Alternatively, nerve-related issues may be caused by pre-existing neuropathic conditions, leading to acid reflux. An example of this is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy characterized by slow digestion. This leads to bloating, heartburn, and vomiting of undigested food.
If youre experiencing acid reflux symptoms with nerve pain, theres a high chance that your nerve pain is not reflux-related, especially if you are experiencing temporary reflux. Get in touch with a medical professional to find a separate diagnosis concerning your nerve pain.
Asthma Uk Community Forum
I expect this has been asked before but do asthma preventative inhalers cause reflux . I was changed to Fostair Next inhaler a few months ago and I have felt breathless and tight chested since and keep burping and coughing. Thinking it was my asthma I went to the doctors and he said my chest is clear and it was reflux. I have been prescribed Lanzaprazole which he wants me to stop on long term but I am not happy about that. I have had reflux in the past but not as bad as this. It just seems to mimic asthma symptoms with the breathlessness and tight chest!
hi i have asthma and i take seretide and ventolin i have not had the side affects that u describe ask your doctor to change them tell him the symptoms your having if he wont see another doctor if the inhalers you are taking are making you worse its plain they dont suit you good luck see your doctor as soon as posssable or speak to him on the phone asthma is bad enough .take care ,
Its certainly true that reflux can cause symptoms that mimic those caused by asthma Ive had that problem in the past. Im also well aware that it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two. My understanding is that Lansoprazole works by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces so you definitely do not want to be taking it if your symptoms are not caused by reflux.
Hope this helps, Karjade
Good luck x
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How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
A Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
Do you know your body mass index ? If not, start now by entering your weight and height into a BMI calculator to use the NIH calculator and find your current BMI.
A healthy BMI is between 19 and 25, but anyone with a compromised LES should not be at the high end of normal. We recommend a BMI of 24 or less. Why is this important? We wrote a cornerstone article titled How is your excess weight destroying your LES , which we highly recommend you read if you have a BMI greater than 24.
This excess weight does two things that will increase your GERD symptoms. First, it distends the stomach, pulling down on the LES and stretching it out. Over a long-term, this will reduce the effectiveness of the LES to act as an effective barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus.
Second, it puts added pressure on the diaphragm, potentially pushing stomach content into the esophagus. Many research studies have proven that a reduction in BMI will reduce GERD symptoms. In an NIH published paper researchers concluded the following:
In summary, our findings suggest that, beyond being overweight or obese, the risk of GERD symptoms rises progressively with increasing BMI, even among normal weight individuals. This appears true for all degrees of symptom severity and duration, as well as for nocturnal symptoms. Notably, weight loss was associated with a decreased risk of symptoms.
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What To Do If Youre Experiencing A Heartburn
When in doubt about acid reflux, it is always better to be cautious and get it checked out at The Emergency Center, which has the tools and experts needed to determine the right diagnosis and start treatment.
The Emergency Center has diagnostic capabilities like ECG and advanced CT imaging to diagnose or rule out heart attack. Additionally, with an onsite lab and pharmacy, patients can find answers without the wait and get needed prescriptions before leaving. Whether it ends up being just a bad case of heartburn or something more serious, going to get evaluated is the first step in finding both care and something equally as important: peace of mind.
Enjoy life. Well be here for the bumps along the way.
Top 15 Heartburn Remedies
Just because heartburn is common doesnt mean you have to suffer with it. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can develop into more serious health problems. Here are the top 15 heartburn remedies…
Despite humorous commercials touting heartburn remedies with funny words like plop-plop and fizz-fizz, heartburn is no joke. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least occasionally, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, occurs when acidic stomach juices flow backward into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining. The resulting pain can be uncomfortable, annoying or excruciating. It can hurt as much as a heart attack, says Paige Hastings, a certified nurse practitioner at The Little Clinic in Nashville, Tenn.But not everyone has such pain you could also feel a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your throat or the awful sensation of food or liquid washing back into your mouth and down the gullet.In fact, frequent heartburn and food sticking in the throat are signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease .Untreated, these problems can lead more serious problems, including strictures , ulcers, cancer and pneumonia, explains Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Virginia Beach, Va.
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Do You Have Chest Pain And Discomfort
These are the most common symptoms of a heart attack, for both men and women, young and old. But there are other symptoms to look out for, as well. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath a squeezing, aching or sharp pain in the chest or arms that may spread to the neck, back or jaw unexplained nausea, heartburn vomiting sweating fatigue irregular pulse
lightheadedness or sudden dizziness.
Acid Reflux Or Heartburn
Youre more likely to get acid reflux or heartburn if you have asthma especially if your asthma is severe or difficult to control.
This is where acid from the stomach leaks out of the stomach up into the oesophagus .
You might get a burning feeling in your chest after eating, a bad taste in the mouth, and find it hard to swallow.
If you keep getting acid reflux or heartburn, its known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease .
GORD and obstructive sleep apnoea are linked too, so you may have both at the same time.
How GORD can affect your asthma
If you have asthma and GORD, you need to keep a closer eye on your asthma symptoms. They could get worse because of stomach acid irritating your airways.
The things that make heartburn worse being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking, and stress are all common asthma triggers too.
Although its not yet clear whether treating acid reflux improves asthma symptoms, there is some evidence to say it might improve them for some people.
How to lower your risk of symptoms
- Ask your GP or pharmacist about medicines for acid reflux
- Keep a food diary to see what makes it worse
- Ask for help with losing weight
- Stop smoking
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What Happens When You Have Heartburn
While its name suggests otherwise, heartburn has no impact on your heart.
Heartburn, or acid indigestion, happens when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. It causes an uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat.
The esophagus is located close to the heart, so its often difficult for people to distinguish where the pain is coming from, Dr. Abdallah says.
This is why its important for a doctor to rule out a heart attack if over-the-counter antacids dont work or if you experience the less pronounced symptoms, he says.
If left untreated, heartburn can cause more serious problems such as inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough or even cancer.
The good news: Several types of over-the-counter medicines are available to treat heartburn.
Whats The Difference Between Heartburn And A Heart Attack
It has been reported that 85% of hospital ER admissions for chest pain are not a heart attack. While it is difficult to completely differentiate symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack, how do you know when too much holiday cheer is just heartburn or something more serious, like a heart attack?
Heart attacks, in general, produce a continuous discomfort or pressure sensation in the center of your chest. The pain associated with heart attacks may be experienced as a burning, aching, squeezing, or heavy sensation that can spread to other areas of the body like the arm, shoulder, upper back or jaw. During a heart attack, there are symptoms present that are not generally felt during episodes of indigestion. Symptoms of a heart attack may include shortness of breath, sweating, light headedness, dizziness, and nausea.
Indigestion generally causes temporary chest discomfort or burning anywhere from the upper abdomen to the throat. Heartburn usually hits after eating spicy, fatty, or greasy foods, but as with too much caffeine, feeling stressed, or eating too much.
Symptoms may worsen when taking a deep breath or coughing, but the pain is often relieved by taking antacid medications. Symptoms are usually:
- Feeling pain, burning, and discomfort in your upper abdomen
- Feeling full too soon while eating
- Feeling bloated and gassy
The good news is by making a few small dietary changes you can that can reduce run-ins with heartburn.
5 ways to prevent indigestion
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Typical And Severe Symptoms Of Gerd: Dealing With Symptoms Of Acid Reflux Disease
Having regular problems with your digestion? You may be suffering from symptoms of GERD GastroEsophagal Reflux Disease. Learning to recognize the symptoms of GERD can save you from a lot of unnecessary discomfort.
Explained simply, GERD is a health problem in which acid is forced out of the intestines and back up the esophagus the pipe which food goes down when you swallow it, which leads into your intestines.
The problem is more commonly known as heartburn or acid reflux, although heartburn itself is really just a symptom and can be caused by other health problems.
Lets take a detailed look at how to recognize GERD in both adults and children, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it and how its usually treated.
Treating Heartburn And Gerd
Heartburn is a feeling of burning pain in your lower chest, behind the breastbone. It comes from acid backing up from your stomach to your throat. You may have seen ads for heartburn drugs, such as Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid. These drugs are called PPIs . They keep the stomach from making too much acid. They have been shown to heal irritation of the tube between the throat and the stomach .
In most cases, you dont need a PPI for heartburn. You can get relief from a less powerful drug. And when you do need a PPI, you should take the lowest dose for as short a time as possible. Heres why:
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Note The Time Your Heartburn Symptoms Occur
Think, too, about when the heartburn occurs. Galier says if it happens after a big meal, and it’s just the burning in the chest, with no other symptoms, itâs more than likely heartburn or indigestion. But if you have any doubt, it’s wise to ask your doctor for an evaluation.
“If you have chest pain after a meal, it’s more likely to be reflux,” agrees Glenn Eisen, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of endoscopy at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. But that’s not a perfect test, he says. “It could be cardiac.”
Phil Katz, MD, says that knowing what “classic” heartburn is like may help. Katz is president-elect of the American College of Gastroenterology and clinical professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
âThe classic heartburn symptom,â he tells WebMD, âis burning that starts at the upper stomach or lower breastbone and progresses upward and occurs after a meal or when bending over.” He adds, “It’s rapidly relieved by an antacid within a few minutes.â
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Find out how pregnancy affects asthma and how you can manage your.
Youre also more likely to suffer from acid reflux when stomach acid travels back up.
using a preventer inhaler when you get a cough or cold speak to a.
Asthma is most likely to be caused by a convergence of factors that can include.
While this research is preliminary, it may explain why corticosteroid drugs do not.
. Treating GERD symptoms with anti-acid drugs may resolve asthma in some.
Doctors have suspected that acid reflux that does not cause symptoms interferes with asthma control.
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Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
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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.