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Is It Heartburn Or Heart Problems

What Is Heartburn What Is A Heart Attack

Health Talk: Heartburn or Gallbladder Disease?

Heartburn is a symptom, and usually feels like a burning sensation in the chest, under the sternum, and in the esophagus that can extend to the neck, throat, and/or face. Heartburn often is caused by a malfunction in the esophageal sphincter muscle , which causes regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

Heartburn is a misnomer because it does not involve the heart. Other names for heartburn include indigestion, dyspepsia, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease , pyrolysis, and even “cardialgia.”

A heart attack often is a sudden and sometimes fatal occurrence of coronary thrombosis that frequently produces chest pain and/or additional pain that may radiate to the neck, jaw, and/or arms. Heart attacks involve the heart and not the esophagus or acid regurgitation.

Because the esophagus and heart are located near each other, many people consider pain in that region as a sign of either heartburn or a heart attack. However, individuals may often not know how to tell heartburn from a heart attack.

Solving The Mystery In Record Time

Even if you know the signs of a heart attack and are informed and engaged in your own or a loved ones healthcare, if there is a reason for concern, it is always better to be safe and quickly seek a professional medical evaluation. Even medical professionals can mistake one condition for another without the proper tools needed to make a diagnosis. Our hospitals, emergency rooms, cardiologists and other medical professionals are experts at investigating and uncovering the true cause of your heart attack symptoms. HCA Midwest Health has 11 emergency rooms conveniently located throughout Kansas City with heart care experts ready to solve the mystery quickly.

With the areas largest network of award-winning, accredited chest pain centers, your chance of surviving a heart attack improves by more than 35 percent. No other Kansas City area hospitals open up clogged arteries for heart attack patients faster than we do.

Every second counts when solving a mystery. Dont drive. Call 911.

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.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

You should see a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and for proper treatment if:

  • You have constant heartburn that won’t subside
  • Your symptoms of heartburn are becoming more severe or frequent
  • You have taken an over-the-counter PPI for the recommended two weeks and your symptoms return
  • You experience vomiting or difficulty swallowing with your heartburn
  • You have hoarseness or wheezing
  • You experience unexpected weight loss

Untreated acid disorders can lead to complications, including Barrett’s esophagus , esophageal cancer, or scarring or narrowing of the esophagus.

You should seek care immediately if you vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds . You should also seek care immediately if you notice blood in your stools or have black or tar-like stools .

If your vomiting is large, green, yellow, or forceful, you should seek care urgently by going to an emergency room.

Heart Attack Vs Heartburn Complications

Most Common Heartburn Causes &  Symptoms

If left untreated or handled improperly, both conditions could lead to complications further down the line. Below are the most common complications associated with heart attacks and heartburn.

Heart attack: The damage that occurs as a result of a heart attack can lead to complications such as abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias, heart failure, heart ruptures, and valve problems. Most of these issues have the potential to become fatal, so it is imperative that all heart issues are checked as soon as possible.

Heartburn: Chronic heartburnGERDcan cause complications, including esophageal damage like inflammation, ulcers, and scarring. These conditions are known as esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, and esophageal stricture respectively. GERD can also cause Barretts esophagus, which is the development of precancerous cells in the gullet. It can also increase your risk of esophageal cancer, and cause tooth decay as the acid wears away at tooth enamel, leaving your smile weak and vulnerable to cavities.

Read Also: What Causes You To Have Heartburn

Heartburn Vs Heart Attack Symptoms

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons to go to the emergency room. While many of these people are having angina or a heart attack, some folks may have severe heartburn.

Often, the pain from angina, a heart attack, or a severe heartburn episode are so hard to tell apart that doctors need sophisticated tests to figure out what’s going on.

To complicate things even more, angina/heart disease and heartburn share risk factors of being older or overweight.

Signs more typical of heartburn include:

  • You have a sharp, burning feeling just below your breastbone or ribs.The chest pain can be accompanied by an acidic taste in your mouth, regurgitation of food, or a burning in your throat.
  • Pain generally doesn’t spread to your shoulders, neck, or arms, but it can.
  • Pain usually comes after meals, particularly after foods or drinks that trigger reflux in you.
  • Pain also comes when you lie down or exercise on a full stomach.
  • Symptoms usually get better quickly after taking an antacid.
  • You rarely get a cold sweat or shortness of breath along with your other symptoms.

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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Heartburn Or Heart Disease The Subtle Warning Signs Of A Sick Heart

Wouldnt it be nice if there was some kind of heads-up perhaps an audible lub-dub you could get when your heart is in trouble? Unfortunately, the chilling reality is you could have a heart attack that is so subtle you might confuse it for indigestion, anxiety, or a sore chest muscle. Truly, its not always as dramatic as in the movies. You can be caught off guard by a sick heart that doesntbring about profuse sweating, clinching of the chest, or gasping for air. But in real life, thats not always how a failing heart behaves.

In my experience, when following up with patients who survive an ominous heart event, the most common statement I hear from them is there were no warning signs. When they were present, they were initially dismissed in the hopes that the discomforts, not excruciating, would be temporary. The unexpected and quiet presentations of heart disease can be especially risky because you may spend precious time searching for an antacid instead of seeking care in the nearest emergency room for a life-threatening heart problem. And because heart disease is often translated to mean heart attack, some mistakenly believe thats the only troublesome condition of a damaged heart.

Nausea and indigestion. This could possibly just be an upset stomach. Perhaps you ate something that didnt agree with you however, a diseased heart with reduced blood flow to the digestive system diverts blood to vital organs like the brain, leaving you feeling queasy.

The Symptoms Of These Two Health Problems May Overlap And Sometimes So Do The Treatments

Heart burn, antacids and heart disease

During your regular after-dinner walk around the neighborhood, you feel a painful sensation in the center of your chest. Could it be your heartburn flaring up again, or something more serious?

Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease , often called acid reflux. Acid from the stomach bubbles up into the esophagus, causing a painful burning just behind the breastbone. Not surprisingly, it’s often mistaken for a heart attack. In fact, of the over eight million emergency room visits for chest pain each year, severe heartburn accounts for over half the cases in which actual heart problems are ruled out.

Chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart or a heart attack is often described as a feeling of tightness, constriction, or pressure, rather than a burning sensation . But it’s not always easy to tell the difference. “Chest discomfort brought on by exercise is more likely to be a heart-related problem,” says Dr. Michelle O’Donoghue, cardiovascular specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But you can also have angina that’s not related to physical activity, she notes. If you have any symptoms you’re not sure about, see a doctor. And call 911 if you feel chest tightness, have trouble breathing, break into a sweat, turn pale, or become very weak.

GERD and heart disease are both common, and many people take medications to prevent or treat both conditions.

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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.

What Is The Prognosis For A Heart Attack And Heartburn

The prognosis for the majority of people with heartburn is good to excellent if they try to prevent any future problems. Severe heartburn has a reduced prognosis as it can lead to esophageal damage, Barretts esophagus, and/or inability to swallow due to stricture formation.

The prognosis of a heart attack may be good to fair if treated immediately however, the prognosis decreases if a large amount of heart muscle is damaged or destroyed during a heart attack. Complications of heart attacks include irregular heartbeat , heart valve damage, heart failure, additional heart attacks, and/or sudden death.

Complications occur more frequently after a person survives a heart attack. Complications occur less frequently after heartburn.

Also Check: Causes Of Severe Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Dietary And Lifestyle Changes

It is helpful for some individuals who have constant heartburn to avoid certain foods that may trigger their symptoms.

Foods that are associated with heartburn include:

  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in citric acids, such as oranges or lemons

It may be helpful to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than infrequent large meals.

If you suffer from acid reflux, it may be helpful to elevate your upper body at night while sleeping.

Heartburn Or Heart Attack Heres The Difference

Pin on heartburn help

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 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:

Could It Be Something Else Entirely

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.

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Heartburn Or Heart Attack: Differentiating Treatments

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.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Heartburn And A Heart Attack

How to tell a heart attack from indigestion?

First things first: if youre in pain or you simply arent sure if the physical discomfort or pain youre experiencing is serious, get medical attention immediately. Its always best to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional evaluate the situation. Bearing that in mind, it may be helpful to keep in mind that heartburn usually strikes after eating and that it can cause a sour or acidic taste to develop in your mouth. If your game day involves eating an array of foods outside of your norm and lying on the couch, you may be setting yourself up for a bad case of heartburn. However, research has also shown that the food free-for-all that typically occurs on Super Bowl Sunday can also cause problems and raise the risk for people prone to heart trouble.

While its difficult to distinguish between heart attack and heartburn, there are steps you can take to prevent heartburn in the first place. Eating and drinking in moderation will help prevent this, but for some people, even a single buffalo wing can trigger the burn. If you know you struggle with heartburn, beat the temptation by bringing your own healthy game day snack or altering your recipes by swapping out common triggers with more soothing options.

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When Should I See A Doctor

Due to the serious nature of a heart attack, its always best to play it safe and seek medical attention if youre experiencing persistent or unexplained chest pain. Always call 911 and request emergency medical assistance if youre experiencing chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes or that returns intermittently. Prompt treatment can potentially save your life.

What Are The Complications Associated With Heartburn

Occasional heartburn isnt typically a cause for concern. However, frequent heartburn may be a symptom of GERD. This condition may require treatment with prescription medication or surgery.

If left untreated, GERD may lead to additional health problems, such as an inflammation of the esophagus, which is called esophagitis, or Barretts esophagus, according to a 2018 review . Barretts esophagus causes changes in the lining of the esophagus that can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.

Long-term heartburn can also affect your quality of life. See your doctor to determine a course of treatment if you find it difficult to carry on your daily life or are severely limited in your activities due to heartburn.

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