Heart Burn And Heart Attack - How To Differentiate?


In general, heartburn is caused due to acid reflux. This means that when the acid from the stomach reaches the esophagus. Even though, the triggers of heartburn will differ from one patient to another, most of them have common symptoms for heartburn.

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

• When there is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone and when it occurs after food consumption and lasts for few minutes to several hours, it is a sign of heartburn

• When the chest pain worsens after lying down or bending over, it may be the sign of heartburn. However, when there is a discomfort in the heart, it is recommended to immediately visit the doctor as against assuming it to be a heartburn

• When there is a difficulty in gulping down foods

• When there is burning sensation in the throat or hot, acidic or sour fluid is felt at the back of the throat

• When there is a feeling of food fastening in the middle of throat of chest

• When there is chronic huskiness, sore throat and chronic cough.

When you experience these symptoms and explain your doctor about the same, he can diagnose whether it is heartburn or a heart attack. However, to monitor the treatment and to identify the severity of your problem, your health care provider might suggest some special tests, when the severity of heartburn is higher and when there is an unusual weight loss.

Is it heartburn or heart attack?

In most of the cases, people visit the emergency room mainly because of the angina, which means severe chest pain. This pain will not always denote heart attack and it might be caused due to severe heartburn as well. Generally, the pain caused due to these two episodes are difficult to differentiate and to complicate the matter further, the symptoms occur in similar types of people like overweight and old age people.

Heartburn symptoms similar to angina:

• Angina also may occur after meals, when an individual is in a lied back position, when there is anxiety and when exercising.

• In both cases, the pain will occur below the ribs or breastbone.

• Pain is rarely accompanied by a cold sweat just in heartburn

But, to differentiate heartburn from angina, there are some symptoms that are associated with angina and they are:

• Possible lightheadedness

• It is generally accompanied by cold sweat

• Shortness of breath

• The pain will spread to arms and neck

• Dizziness

• Sudden pressure in the heart that worsens

• Feeling of tightness around the chest as if a belt is tightened

• The pain will be more specific in the center of the chest


Even though, there are some differences in the pains caused by heartburn and heart attack, it is recommended to immediately seek medical help to make sure that it is not heart attack. Your doctor alone can rightly diagnose and can provide the appropriate solution. When a heart attack is immediately treated, the chance of life extension is more.


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