Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Heartburn vs. heart attack – How to know the difference

Dr. VV Mahesh elaborates on GERD and how people may confuse heartburn symptoms with a heart attack or vice-versa

Published: Apr 3, 2023 03:43:39 PM IST

Heartburn vs. heart attack – How to know the differenceDo you also feel a burning sensation in your chest? Do you think it is heartburn? Or it might be caused by reduced blood flow to your heart (angina) or an actual heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack, angina, and heartburn might be extremely similar. Even skilled medical professionals can struggle to distinguish between a physical exam and your medical history. Because of this, if you visit the emergency hospital due to chest pain, you will undergo tests right away to rule out a heart attack. So, how do you distinguish between the two conditions?

Heartburn is discomfort or pain that is brought on by digestive acid entering the esophagus. 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
On the other hand, a heart attack involves sudden, crushing chest pain and difficulty breathing, often brought on by exertion. Many heart attacks do not happen that way, though. The signs and symptoms of a heart attack vary greatly from person to person. Heartburn itself can accompany other symptoms of a heart attack.
Typical heart attack signs and symptoms include:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in the chest or arms that may spread to the neck, jaw, or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
Chest pain or discomfort is the most typical heart attack symptom in both men and women. However, some of the other symptoms, such as jaw or back pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting, are more common in women than in men. People who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol are more likely to get heart problems. Overweightness and smoking are additional risk factors. Additionally remember that to Guard against GERD as it can improve your quality of life.

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

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