HEALTH: Heart Attack or Heartburn

The health website medicalnewstoday.com recently published a comprehensive article dealing with the differences between the symptoms of a heart attack and of heartburn. Read the full article on medicalnewstoday

Heart Attack v Heartburn

Anyone worried about chest pain should not wait to get urgent medical care. They should call for an ambulance straight away, especially if the pain is unexplained, sudden, or severe. Heart attack pain is caused when one of the arteries supplying the heart becomes blocked. Angina is a similar chest pain caused when these arteries are narrowed by heart disease. Heartburn is a burning pain often felt in the upper belly or lower chest. It is caused by stomach acid going back up the food pipe.

Heartburn and heart attack pain can be similar. If someone is in doubt whether pain is a heart attack, they should always call for an ambulance. If it is a heart attack, prompt medical care can be lifesaving.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is an event caused by disease in the coronary arteries. These blood vessels supply blood to the heart, keeping it alive with energy and oxygen. When coronary artery disease causes a loss of blood supply to part of the heart muscle, this is a heart attack. A heart attack is when there is a loss of blood supply to part of the heart muscle. A heart attack can lead to the heart stopping. This is called a cardiac arrest. Someone with cardiac arrest will not be responsive and will have no pulse.

Symptoms of a heart attack

  • Chest pain that is often described as pressure, squeezing, heaviness, tightness, fullness, or ache
  • Chest pain that feels like a very heavy weight crushing against the chest
  • Pain may come and go, but lasts for more than a few minutes
  • Not all heart attacks give the same symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and some people experience no symptoms at all.
  • The chest pain or discomfort is usually central or central-left, but it might not be. The pain may spread to other areas – to one or both arms, the neck, jaw, or upper or mid-back.
  • 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

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a symptom, not itself a disease. It is the sensation, usually of burning pain, caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux is the contents of the stomach splashing back up into the food pipe. Heartburn is not related to the heart in any way. The confusion comes from the location of the pain, in the chest.

Heartburn symptoms

  • Heartburn creates a burning sensation in the food pipe. This burning-type pain usually happens just above the stomach. The acid can also reach higher up, possibly even as far as the back of the mouth.
  • Other symptoms of acid reflux disease can go with the heartburn. These can include nausea, bloating, and belching.

Differences between symptoms of heartburn and heart attack

  • Heartburn tends to be worse after eating and when lying down – although heart attack can happen after a meal, too
  • Heartburn can be relieved by drugs that reduce acid levels in stomach
  • Heartburn does not cause more general symptoms such as breathlessness
  • Heart attack does not cause bloating or belching, but these can happen with heartburn

If in doubt?

Anyone worried about chest pain should not wait to get urgent medical care. They should call for an ambulance straight away, especially if the pain is unexplained, sudden, or severe.

Read the full article on medicalnewstoday

 

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