Posted on Dec 03, 2018, 7 p.m.
Symptoms of heartburn and heart attack may overlap, and sometimes so do the treatments. That painful sensation in the center of the chest during an evening walk after dinner could be a few things such as heartburn flaring up or could it even be more serious such as a heart attack?
Heartburn is a very common symptom of GERD, often called acid reflux; it’s acid being pushed up from stomach bubbles into the esophagus causing painful burning behind the breastbone which can often be mistaken as a heart attack. 8+ million emergency visits occur each year for chest pain, once actual heart problems are ruled out severe heartburn is responsible for over half of these cases.
Chest pain/angina that is caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart or heart attack is most described as a feeling of tightness, constriction, or pressure rather than a burning sensation; but it can be difficult to tell the difference. Chest discomfort brought on by exercise is more likely to be heart related, but angina is possible not being related to physical activity. If experiencing symptoms of uncertainty it is best to see a doctor, and call 911 right away if experiencing chest tightness, having trouble breathing, breaking into a sweat, turning pale, or becoming weak.
Both heart disease and GERD are common, many people take medications to help treat/prevent both conditions. Symptoms of GERD may mimic those of angina or vice versa. If there is cause for concern it is recommended to seek help as soon as possible.
Common symptoms of heart attack/angina can include: irregular or rapid heartbeat; tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain most often in the center of the chest; pain spreading to the neck, shoulders, or arms; cold sweat or clammy skin; shortness of breath; lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness; nausea, indigestion, or vomiting; and appearance of symptoms with physical exertion or extreme stress.
Common symptoms of heartburn/GERD can include: sensation of food coming back into the mouth; bitter or acidic taste at back of throat; burning chest pain beginning at breastbone; pain worsening when bending or laying down; pain moving up towards throat but not radiating to neck, shoulders, or arms; and appearance of symptoms after a large or spicy meal.
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