Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Heartburn and heart attack – How to know the difference

Dr. Varadaraj Gokak explains the differences between Heartburn and heart attack

Published: Apr 28, 2023 06:00:58 PM IST
Updated: May 10, 2023 01:14:15 PM IST

Heartburn and heart attack – How to know the differenceHeartburn is described as a burning pain often felt in the upper belly or lower chest caused by stomach acid going back up the food pipe. On the other hand, a heart attack is an event caused by a disease in the coronary arteries. These blood vessels supply blood to the heart, keeping it alive with energy and oxygen.

Heart attack is often characterized by classic symptoms, chest pain or discomfort is usually central or central-left, but it might not be. The pain may spread to other areas. It can affect one or both arms, the neck, the jaw, or the upper or midback. However, all heart attacks do not have the same given symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and some people experience no symptoms at all.

Other symptoms of heart attack are  

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Being short of breath
  • Feeling sick or nauseous
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling very tired or lacking in energy
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
In contrast, heartburn is a symptom, not a disease. Heartburn is not related to the heart in any way. The confusion comes from the location of the pain, in the chest. The stomach produces mucus to protect its lining from the acid that it uses to help with digestion. The food pipe lacks this protection, so acid reflux can damage its lining.

Typical features of heartburn include:

  • A burning sensation in the chest that involves the upper abdomen
  • Usually occurs after eating or while lying down or bending over
  • May awaken one from sleep, especially if the individual has eaten within two hours of going to bed Can be relieved by antacids
  • Accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
Light-headedness or sudden dizziness. It is very important to “Guard against GERD” and other heart condition. Therefore, regardless of whether chest pain is thought to be caused by indigestion, heartburn, or any other reason, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. One must straightaway call a doctor if the pain is sudden, severe squeezing, pressurizing, and is accompanied by a sudden burst of sweat, dizziness, extreme weakness, and cold hand and feet.

Issued in Public Interest by Dr.Reddy's Laboratories LTD

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