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Sudden severe chest pain? We best recommend you to consult the best cardiologist in town or rush to the hospital nearby, no matter the confusion!
However, it is good to stay well-informed and hence our experts from Red heal will explain to you the difference.

Heart Burn and Heart Attack:

Despite its name, Heartburn or acid indigestion is related to your esophagus. But because the esophagus and heart are located near each other, either one can cause chest pain which is why many people mistake heartburn for heart attack and vice versa.

what is Heart Burn?

Heartburn is not related to the heart but is a symptom of indigestion or acid reflux. Backflow of stomach acids or stomach contents into the esophagus (food pipe), causing a painful burning feeling just behind the breastbone is known as Heartburn. This pain is often mistaken for a heart attack due to the location of the pain in the chest.

Heartburn Symptoms:

  1. Chest pain at the breastbone
  2. Burning sensation in the food pipe
  3. Sensation that food is coming back into your mouth
  4. Acidic taste at the back of your throat
  5. Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over
  6. Pain that keep you from sleeping, especially if you’ve eaten just before you go to bed
  7. Nausea, bloating, and belching
  8. Pain after large or spicy meal

Heartburn Causes:

  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Overweight 
  • Consumption of caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Habit of lying down immediately after eating
  • Medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen

What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack is often described as a feeling of tightness, constriction, or pressure, rather than a burning sensation. Heart attack occurs when an artery supplying the heart muscle with blood and oxygen is blocked. Blockage is often due to build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form plaque in the coronary arteries that feed the heart.

Heart Attack symptoms:

If you have any of the following Heart attack symptoms, get medical help right away:

  1. Chest tightness and pressure
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Cold sweat or clammy skin 
  4. Weakness 
  5. Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  6. Few minutes of chest pain like a heavy weight crushing against the chest
  7. Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  8. Light-headedness & Dizziness
  9. Nausea, Indigestion & Vomiting
  10. Symptoms with physical exertion or extreme stress

Note: If you have the above symptoms and are not sure about your condition, see a doctor right away.

Heart Attack Causes:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Blockage in one of the arteries 
  • Coronary artery sudden contraction
  • Lack of oxygen in the blood
  • Usage of drugs that cause blood vessels to narrow

Major Differences: Heartburn Vs Heart Attack

Heartburn symptoms might be confused with angina or a heart attack, and vice versa. It’s not always easy to distinguish between Heartburn and heart attack because of the esophagus position, near the heart. However, there are differences: 

  • If you belch and the symptoms go away, it probably isn’t related to your heart but to your esophagus and if you have shortness of breath or sweating, then it’s likely a heart-related issue.
  • Chest discomfort brought on by exercise is more likely to be a heart-related problem, especially if the pain is unexplained, sudden, or severe.
  • Heart burn is associated with food and hence gets worst in terms of causing pain after the intake of food. However, a heart attack can be caused even at the resting state.
  • For connecting pain of Heart and stomach, it is best to take antacid first and check for effectiveness. The best natural antacid to be taken at home is lemon water with a half teaspoon of black pepper.
    • Note: Refer to a chemist or your Doctor
  • Heartburn does not cause symptoms like shortness of breath, while a heart attack does affect the breathing.
  • Heartburn usually causes bloating while heart attack does not cause any.

While antacid is for the immediate relief of the problem, if it persists for a day or two, it is best to Refer the Gastroenterology Nearby.

Let your doctor rule out the possibility as it’s very easy to confuse the two issues.

If you’re uncertain whether it is heartburn or heart attack, seek medical attention right away. 

Tips to keep the heartburn away:

  1. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, 
  2. Avoid Anti-inflammatory medications 
  3. Raise the head of your bed during sleeping
  4. Don’t eat close to bedtime
  5. Over-the-counter medications
  6. Keep an eye on your symptoms and live accordingly
  7. Consider frequent health checkups to manage health better 

Tips to keep the heart attack away:

  • Stop smoking 
  • Limit alcohol
  • Take good nutrition
  • Be physically active every day
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage diabetes well
  • Avoid stress

When to see a doctor for heartburn:

People who experience heartburn should consult a doctor if:

  1. Condition that persists for long time or recurring
  2. Food sticks in the throat
  3. Difficulty eating
  4. Weight loss
  5. Blood in the stools
  6. Breathing or swallowing

Consistent exposure to stomach acid can harm the esophagus because the stomach is designed to manage acid, but not esophagus.

It is recommended to check with your doctor if you have recurring heartburn as it indicates gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Left untreated, this chronic digestive condition can lead to complications. 

Note: Sometimes heartburn can also be serious conditions such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), Cancer (or) Peptic ulcer.

When to see a doctor for heart attack

Seek medical help right away if you experience chest pain or pressure that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back again and pain that spreads to other parts of the body for example arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach. 

Treatment for heartburn

Treatment depends on the cause. It may include:

  • Medications to neutralize the acid 
  • Avoid foods that trigger reflux
  • Eat 2 to 3 hours before sleep
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoking

Treatment for heart attack:

Emergency treatments may include:

  • Aspirin to stop the blood from clotting
  • Nitro-glycerin to improve blood flow
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Treatment for chest pain

While we always try our best to provide you with expert diagnosis information, we totally understand your concern. Amid of COVID, if you are unable to visit the Doctor and wants consultancy over any related issues, Feel Free to reach Online Consultancy at Redheal portal. We promise to connect you with the Best Gastroenterology in Hyderabad.

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